Sicilian Odyssey on the Danube Express: Taormina to Venice

12-day Escorted Tour


The Tour

New for 2017: Sicilian Odyssey. Experience the allure of Italy by private luxury train on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. Please note: trip is also available southbound (Venice-Taormina).

The Sicilian Odyssey begins with two nights at the iconic five-star NH Collection Hotel Taormina with stunning views of Mount Etna and the Gulf of Naxos. From there, you’ll board the luxurious and comfortable Danube Express, your “five-star hotel on wheels” for the next eight days and seven nights. Wend your way through 13 cities and provinces of Sicily and Southern Italy, stopping along the way to soak up the history and local culture with guided tours and experiences. Then, spend two nights at the five-star Hotel Danieli in Venice.

Enjoy guided city tours of  Syracuse, Ragusa, Palermo, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, and Venice. Tour Mount Etna with a local volcanologist and enjoy the sight of the beautiful Gulf of Naxos from the heights of Taormina. Enjoy a special dinner deep in the countryside of Caltagirone at the Michelin-starred Al Fogher restaurant. Take a private cruise from Salerno along the iconic coastline to Amalfi.  Tour Rome by private golf buggy, making your way to many of the city’s UNESCO sites. Indulge in a wine-tasting in Chianti. Learn about authentic Sicilian cooking through watching a demonstration and participating in pastry making.

The all-inclusive itinerary and the comfortable luxury of the Danube Express will whisk you from location to location in a way not possible by any other means of travel.

Journey is also available southbound. Click here for full southbound itinerary details.

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“…its riveting itineraries, fully inclusive pricing and comfort undoubtedly put it in the forefront of luxurious European railway travel.”

— Angela Walker, Vice President, Operations, The Society of International Railway Travelers®, following her May, 2015 journey on the Danube Express.

The Itinerary

Arrive in Taormina, Sicily, where you will be met and transferred to the luxurious five-star NH Collection Hotel Taormina.

Enjoy a welcome reception dinner in the elegant surroundings of this hotel where you can meet your fellow travelers on this highly anticipated journey.

With views overlooking the gulf of Naxos and Mount Etna, the city of Taormina makes for a truly memorable setting to begin our voyage. A privately guided tour of the Mount Etna museum with a local volcanologist will start our first full day before taking time on the slopes of the geological wonder 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 theater.

This morning, we will transfer from the hotel to the station where our train, the Golden Eagle Danube Express, will be ready to receive us to begin our journey.

There will be time to settle in to your private cabin before arriving at the attractive hilltop town of Caltagirone, renowned for producing beautiful pottery since the 10th century. We will visit a local ceramic workshop before an intriguing visit to the Villa Romana del Casale, one of the best-preserved Roman Villas in the world, where we will discover more about the Roman civilization that once ruled the island. This evening, we will enjoy a special dinner deep in the countryside at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Al Fogher.

Following a leisurely breakfast on board, admiring the pleasing passing Sicilian landscapes, you will have the option of free time to explore the various characterful squares and churches of Catania, before taking a hands-on Sicilian pastry cooking class at the Società Storica Catanese (Catania Historical Society). Enjoy your creation alongside famous local liquors before returning to the train later that evening.

The former Byzantine empire was founded and raised in Syracuse. We’ll escape the hustle and bustle of the city itself and take the view from the water with a tour around the Island of Ortigia before heading back to the train to enjoy lunch as we travel into Ragusa. This quaint small town has plenty of character, with its many grey stone houses and churches littering the hillside making for wonderful picture postcard scenery. A brief walking tour of the historical old-town –  complete with a visit to a local chocolatier – will invigorate you before free time in this beautiful corner of Sicily.

Enjoy a delicious locally-sourced breakfast on board the Golden Eagle Danube Express before opting to either explore the flamboyant and feisty capitol city of Siciliy — Palermo — or take a transfer to Corleone to learn about the notorious Mafia families made famous by Martin Scorsese’s motion picture, The Godfather.

Dinner will be served on-board before we join one of the very few ‘rail ferries’ in the world to cross over to the Italian mainland.

This morning will be a real rail highlight as we journey up to Salerno to explore the Amalfi Coast by coach and boat. With the iconic coast on our left and the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park to our right, the scenery will be something to marvel at. Once we arrive in Salerno, we’ll take a stunning private cruise along the bay to the town of Amalfi. Here you will take one of our Freedom of Choice options: either take a walking tour of Amalfi or visit a local lemon grove to learn more about the distinctive citric fruit grown across southern Italy. A private coach will then transfer our group to re-join our train in Naples, taking a panoramic tour of the Amalfi Coast on route.

We wake on the outskirts of the Italian capital this morning. With so much to discover we’ll begin the day with an introductory tour of the real UNESCO World Heritage site gems by private golf buggies. Our tour will take in Villa Borghese through the famous Via Veneto. After driving around the park to see its monuments and buildings, a stop will be made at the Pincio Terrace from which one enjoys a beautiful view of Rome and the Vatican. Further stops at the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona will allow you to see more of Rome’s most iconic sights before a light lunch.

The afternoon you will have the choice to continue to explore the city under your own guidance or to join the group to see more of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Heading north, dinner will be served on board as the twilight approaches cruising through the rolling-hills of the Italian countryside of Umbria to the stunning Tuscan town of Siena.

A full day of touring in the warming town of San Gimignano and Chianti in the province of Siena will allow us to take a leisurely pace exploring these two Italian classics. Also known as a ‘Medieval Manhattan’ with its 14 towers, our tour of San Gimignano will focus on its history and intact 14th century streetscapes. Chianti will follow, accompanied with a healthy tasting of the famous red wine named for the town where it originated.

This afternoon is free to explore the town of Siena where the train rests. Dinner will be served locally, accompanied by the town’s rich history.

A short train ride leaving Siena this morning will take us further into Tuscany to the beautiful Renaissance city of Florence. We’ll begin with a panoramic tour of the city’s best known features before taking to the water to see Florence’s world-renowned arches and bridges including the iconic Ponte Vecchio. A stunning venue for lunch will give you a memorable view to remember overlooking the city.

After lunch, you will have time to explore or maybe shop for leather in the Oltrarno district or maybe explore the cobbled lined streets Centro Storico.

This evening we’ll make our final journey by train north towards Venice, but not before our final dinner on board celebrating our journey.

Venice is a truly captivating city of romance; its unrivalled beauty takes away the breath of first time visitors and regulars alike. Included in our time in Venice is two nights at the iconic five-star Hotel Danieli. The hotel enjoys a spectacular location and is only a short stroll from St Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs.

Today, guests will have the opportunity to take a walking tour around the highlights of this romantic city. Alternatively, you can spend the day exploring this magnificent city at your leisure, taking an iconic gondola ride in the basin of St. Mark’s, seeing St Mark’s Basilica, or strolling through the Rialto Market. On our final evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel, giving you the opportunity to say goodbye to your fellow travelers and toast the success of our tour.

Following breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for onward departures. There is also an option to extend your stay in Venice for additional nights to explore more of this fascinating city.

Journey is also available southbound. Journey dates are September 14-25, 2017. Click here for full itinerary details.

2017 Dates:

September 14-25 (Southbound)
To Be Determined (Northbound)

2018 Dates:

September 17-28 (Southbound)
September 25-October 6 (Northbound)

The Prices

2017 Pricing Double Single Deposit
Heritage Class $12,495 $18,795 $1,500
Deluxe Class $19,995 $33,595 $2,000
Deluxe Superior Class $23,995 $39,995 $2,500

All pricing is per person.

Note: please contact us for 2018 pricing.


Included in the tour price:

• Arrival and departure transfers.

• A generous drink allowance, including wine, is included with lunch and dinner.

• All gratuities.

• All off-train touring, with personal headsets to make it easy to hear your guide.

• Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled drinking water are available in your cabin 24 hours a day.

• An on-board doctor, with medical facilities, is available, should the need arise.

• 24-hour service attendant.

• Porterage of bags; your bags will be stowed for you on the train and transported to your hotel at the end of your trip.

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The Highlights

  • Travel through Sicily & Italy, with seven nights on board the Danube Express
  • City tours of Syracuse, Ragusa, Palermo, Rome, San Gimignano, Siena, Florence, and Venice.
  • Private cruise from Salerno along the iconic coastline to Amalfi
  • Special dinner deep in the countryside of Caltagirone at the Michelin-starred Al Fogher restaurant
  • Wine-tasting in Chianti
  • Tour of Mount Etna & Mount Etna Museum with local volcanologist
  • Authentic Sicilian cooking demonstration & pastry lesson
  • Accommodation in five-star Hotel San Domenico Palace in Taormina for 2 nights
  • Accommodation in five-star Hotel Danieli in Venice for 2 nights
  • Fully inclusive meals, drinks, gratuities, touring, & transfers.
Looking out over the gulf of Naxos in Taormina. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
Looking out over the gulf of Naxos in Taormina. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
Beautiful dining car set for the evening meal on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. IRT Photo by Angela Walker.
Beautiful dining car set for the evening meal on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. IRT Photo by Angela Walker.
The beautiful Renaissance city of Florence. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
The beautiful Renaissance city of Florence. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
Venice, Italy. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.
Venice, Italy. Photo by Golden Eagle Luxury Trains.