Train travel in Italy is the ideal alternative not only for those who do not like flying but also for those who want to take advantage of a different way of traveling: relaxing, ecological and itinerant at the same time.
Train travel is the best way to visit Italy on a budget, relaxing without having to handle online check-in, endless waits, and hand baggage anxiety. The beauty of the train travel is also the absence of traffic, comfort, sustainability and the pleasure of approaching the destination by observing the landscape that changes from the window. From the valleys to the mountains, to the coastlines to the cities, the railway lines pass through all the different landscapes of Italy.
Train travel can offer unique landscapes inaccessible with other means of transport such as the blooming of wild orchids in the Alta Murgia National Park, or the historic villages on the Sulmona-Isernia at 1260 m above sea level.
The historical routes and the railway lines that cross Italy make us daydream looking at mountains, or valleys and fabulous coasts.
Are you already dreaming of your Orient Express holiday but do not know where to start? Here are some tips for a stress-free Italy on a budget train travel to discover the most beautiful attractions in Italy.
Find your perfect train travel while on a budget and discover Italy
How and when to book your train travel in Italy
Check train timetables and fares for any trip to Italy on the Trenitalia website where you can choose between the high-speed arrows or regional, fast and normal trains.You can book directly online from the site or from the app, at the station, to the self-service machines.
For short journeys on regional trains, it is not necessary to book in advance, the price is fixed, so there is no advantage in terms of pre-booking. For longer train journeys, it is advisable to book well in advance to take advantage of the lowest low-cost fares. You can compare the high-speed prices of the main railway operators in Italy Trenitalia and Italo.
Italy on a budget: single tickets or interrail passes
Traveling in Italy on an Interrail rail pass gives you the flexibility to go as you please, but is it really the cheapest solution? It depends on the type of trip you intend to make. The “classic” Interrail ticket is valid within a set period of time and to travel on high-speed trains or night trains, it is necessary to book incurring additional costs. It can, therefore, be a winning solution for more organized travelers who have a limited period of time.
A practical solution for the weekend is provided by Trenord’s integrated train + shuttle + ski pass packages.
If you are traveling Italy on a budget, you might prefer to plan in advance to get high-speed trains’ cheap advance-purchase fares.
Train travel in Italy: the most striking panoramic routes
The railway line connecting Italy to Switzerland is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
On the famous red Bernina train traverses a sensational alpine landscape, past lofty waterfalls, glaciers and crossing dramatic ravines and viaducts of timeless elegance and breathtaking beauty.
In summer you can travel in the “Cabrio” carriages, open and panoramic, climbing over the Bernina pass at 2,256 meters. Train journeys are available all year round to enjoy the explosion of the colors in every season.
A historic railway line, which from Genoa rises to the mountain for 25 kilometers, up to the upper Valle Scrivia. It crosses nine small historic centers and runs through thirteen galleries in the heart of the Ligurian Apennines.
Its vintage design is reminiscent of a mini Orient Express, some carriages date back to 1929, with the original wooden seats and the bronze and brass finishes.
Through the Val d’Orcia, in the province of Siena, a World Heritage Site, the Nature Train takes a journey back in time, with its wooden vintage carriages and, in some cases, with the steam locomotive.
The journey, which lasts an hour and a half, leaves from Siena and stops in historic and romantic stations from where it is possible to venture on themed itineraries through parks, reserves, oases, caves, and waterways.
It crosses the Majella National Park by train, between Abruzzo and Molise.
It is the highest railway in Italy up to 1260 m, covering 70 km of parks and nature reserves. Historical wooden trains from spring to autumn will stop in the historic villages for visits and other activities such as trekking and tastings.
The Catania – Riposto railway line runs along the Etna, the highest volcano in Europe. On board the Circumetnea train, you will be immersed in an incredible nature, where you can admire glimpses of volcanic craters from an altitude of almost 1000 meters, citrus groves, stretches of lava and vineyards.
Enjoy your train travel in Italy!