Sicilian Rail Adventure:Catania to Palermo- A Cross-Island Journey

Sicilian Rail Adventure:Catania to Palermo- A Cross-Island Journey

Sicilian Rail Odyssey: Catania to Palermo via Train and Bus

After four days in Catania, with excursions to Taormina and Syracuse, we set off for Palermo. We had two routes to choose from, each with one transfer: either along the coast with a transfer in Messina, or across the island with a transfer in Dittaino.

We opted for the Dittaino transfer, taking a Trenitalia bus for the first leg, as it replaced the train service on this route. The journey from Catania to Palermo takes four hours, and since we were only spending one night in Palermo, we left Catania at 9 am.

The bus was parked in front of the train station without a designated stop. We had double-checked the departure point the day before, just to be sure. A ticket inspector from the station checked our tickets before we boarded the bus. The bus weaved through the streets of Catania, heading towards the airport for another stop. Then, we traveled on the highway to Dittaino station, where we had half an hour for our transfer. We waited at the station's small café with refreshments before continuing our journey towards Palermo by train.

We traveled on an Alstom Minuetto unit, manufactured in 2006. The seating arrangement in the passage between the cars was interesting, resembling a semi-circular couch. However, to prevent lying down, there was a prominent backrest between the seats.

On our way to the coast, we passed through a landscape filled with greenery. The journey went by relatively quickly, and we soon arrived at Termini Imerese, located on the coast. If we had another day or two, we would have taken a side trip from here to Agrigento. Not far from Agrigento is the rocky cliff Scala dei Turchi. We continued along the coast to Palermo, arriving around 1 pm.

Palermo: Markets, Playgrounds, and Food

From the station, we headed straight to our accommodation. After our experience in Catania, where our lodging was almost half an hour's walk from the center and the station, we chose a more strategic location this time. It was 10 minutes from the station, a few minutes from the port, and most importantly, close to a playground.

We left our backpacks in the room and headed to the nearest market, Mercato della Vucciria. It's a small square lined with small restaurants with grills and tables outside. You can choose fresh fish and meat, which they'll bring to your table in no time. The prices are half of what you'd find in regular restaurants.

Next, we ventured towards the port, stopping at a well-maintained playground along the way, which was diligently guarded by security all day. We ended up spending most of our free time there.

After dark, we headed to the marina, which has a complex of restaurants and cafes. This area had been completely renovated, including a fountain that offered a fantastic show at night. We sat outside in fabric loungers, enjoying the evening atmosphere. We returned the next morning as well.

On our second day in Palermo, we had to "wait" until 6 pm for our night train to Rome. The weather was in our favor, sunny with a pleasant temperature. We were able to leave our backpacks at the accommodation until the afternoon, so we didn't have to worry about luggage storage. We set off for another market, Mercato di Ballarò, spread across several surrounding streets. Then, we revisited the marina and had lunch at the Mercato della Vucciria.

We spent the afternoon near the playground and then made our way to Palermo's train station. It's located on a busy main road next to the bus terminal. Built in 1885, it's one of the oldest operating stations in Italy.

The station has small shops, refreshments (including McDonald's), and public paid toilets. We arrived about an hour early, and the train was on an unmarked platform that was being cleaned. We realized later, upon boarding the train, just how thorough the cleaning had been (unlike the night train to Vienna).

We bought water and food for the train, had a small dinner, and boarded the train about twenty minutes before departure...