With live music in the carriage, bear sightings and an active volcano in clear view, our tipsters’ rail trips show that it’s often more about the journey than the destination
The 68-mile trip round Mount Etna in eastern Sicily was full of contrasts: the bleak black landscapes of the lava fields; lush valleys covered in fig, orange, pistachio and olive groves; the almost-abandoned villages and stations at the start and the busyness of Catania. Etna was constantly in sight, often belching out black smoke. On the early stretch from Riposto to Randozzo there were few people inside or out. At Randozzo we grabbed a quick coffee at the buffet before changing to a modern train to continue to Catania. The scenery gradually become more urban and we moved forward in time at least a century.
• circumetnea.it, single under €10