Sicilian Odyssey (Southbound)

Italy is overflowing with ancient history, none more prevalent than the crumbling ruins of Pompeii and the few remains of the catastrophic eruption of 79AD that turned a once-thriving city into a virtual ghost town. The architecture is vast and varied; from the quirky flamboyance of Palermo to the medieval influences of Cremona.

Budapest - Venice - San Marino - Bari – Naples & Pompeii – Palermo – Corleone - Agrigento – Ragusa – Syracuse – Catania - Taormina

Tour Schedules & Prices


Day 1 Budapest


Arrivals day in Budapest, where you will be met and transferred to the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace for a one-night stay. Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the elegant surrounds of this art nouveau landmark where you can meet your fellow travellers on this highly anticipated journey.

Why not extend your stay in Budapest to explore the Hungarian capital at your leisure? Please contact us for hotel options, touring programmes and rates.

Day 2 Budapest


Budapest is two cities separated by the River Danube. The old city of Buda and the imposing Royal Palace dominate the city with stunning views across the Danube to the commercial heart of Pest. Our morning city tour includes the Royal Palace, St. Mathias Church and a panoramic view of the city from Gellert Hill.

We enjoy a drinks reception in the impressive Royal Waiting Room at Budapest Nyugati station before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Settle in to your cabin and enjoy a late lunch as the train heads out of the Hungarian capital and south across the border into neighbouring Slovenia and onto Italy.

Day 3 Venice


Venice is a truly captivating city of romance; its unrivalled beauty takes away the breath of first time visitors and regulars alike.

The Golden Eagle Danube Express will arrive in Santa Lucia station at breakfast and guests will have the opportunity to take a morning tour around the highlights of this romantic city followed by free time in the afternoon. This evening enjoy dinner in the city before returning to the train late in the evening for our departure as we head down the eastern seaboard of Italy towards our next destination.

Day 4 San Marino


San Marino is a mountainous micro-state surrounded by north-central Italy. Among the world’s oldest repub-lics, it retains much of its historic architecture. On the slopes of Monte Titano sits the capital, also called San Marino, known for its medieval walled Old Town and narrow cobblestone streets. The Three Towers, castle-like citadels dating to the 11th century, sit atop Titano’s neighbouring peaks.

Day 5 Bari


Today we spend the day touring the charming Apulia region, including visits to the unique architectural sites of Matera and Alberobello, both declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, followed by a guided tour of the Florentine style old-town of Bari and its domineering fortress and castle that has stood guarding the port since the 12th century.

This evening as we sit down for dinner our train travels across central Italy through the Matese Hills.

Day 6 Naples & Pompeii


The city of Naples is centrally located on the Gulf of Naples between Mount Vesuvius and the volcanic area of Campi Flegrei and is a melting pot of many cultures. This morning we enjoy a panoramic tour of the city, including a visit to the fascinating Galleria Borbonica, an ancient underground passage constructed for military purposes to connect the Royal Palace to military barracks in the city.

From here we visit the crumbling ruins of Pompeii. This famous town which was destroyed by lava flow in the momentous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD has been painstakingly conserved over centuries to keep visitors coming to the region. Our guests will be welcomed at the President Restaurant for lunch, where we have the opportunity to enjoy a tasting of Pompeian bread. One of the staff from President will join the group, after lunch, for an extended visit of the Pompeii excavation, and enjoy the method of bread production of Pompeian era.

Day 7 Palermo & Corleone


Overnight the Golden Eagle Danube Express travels from the Italian mainland across the Straits of Messina on one of the very few ‘train ferries’ in the world to the island of Sicily.

Our first stop this morning is the flamboyant and feisty capital of Sicily, Palermo. Here we’ll take in a gentle walking tour of the city’s bustling old-town and enjoy the city’s melting pot of architec-tural styles. We will finish the tour with an aperitif and small concert at the stunning Teatro Mas-simo, the biggest theatre in Italy and the third largest in Europe.

This afternoon you have the choice to continue browsing the capital or take a transfer to Corleone to learn about the notorious Mafia families made famous by Francis Ford Coppola's motion pic-ture, The Godfather.

Day 8 Agrigento & Ragusa


Wake up this morning in Agrigento, home to Italy’s most impressive Greek ruins. While the city itself lacks character, we will focus on the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Valle Dei Templi, one of the most outstanding examples of Greek art and architecture with a privately-led tour around the remains of the ancient city.

During lunch on board we will continue our journey by train from Agrigento onto Ragusa. This small quaint town has plenty of character with its many grey stone houses and churches decorating the hillside, making for wonderful picture postcard scenery. A cooking demonstration at a nearby hotel will allow us to get hands-on with local delicacies before a brief walking tour of the historical Old Town.

This evening we will have dinner in the basement of the 20C Palazzo Di Quattro in the heart of the old town. The I Banchi restaurant is not only a restaurant but also a bakery and pastry shop that sells high-quality regional produce alongside its bread and cakes.

Overnight, the train will continue its journey through Sicily onto Syracuse.

Day 9 Syracuse & Catania


The former Byzantine empire was both founded and raised at our first destination of the day in Syracuse. We’ll take a walking tour before escaping the hustle and bustle of the city itself and enjoy the view from the water with a tour around the Island of Ortigia before heading back to the train for lunch.

This afternoon the train will meander north-eastwards, allowing us to enjoy passing through the scenic Sicilian landscape with views of Mount Etna before arriving in Catania where you will have the option of free time to explore the various characterful squares and churches.

This evening we arrive into Taormina, our final destination and transfer to your luxury hotel for a two-night stay.

Day 10 Taormina


With views overlooking the gulf of Naxos and Mount Etna, the city of Taormina makes for a truly memorable setting for the end of our voyage. A privately guided tour of the Mount Etna museum with a local volcanologist will start our day before taking time on the mountain slopes itself at a Sicilian Palmento. Here you’ll sample local wines and take lunch amongst the vineyards.

This afternoon we’ll have time to relax amongst the gorgeous medieval churches and the stunning Greek theatre before we toast the success of the tour on our final evening at our farewell dinner, complete of course with fine wine.

Day 11 Taormina


Following breakfast on the final morning, you will be transferred to the airport for onward departures.

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