Monday 26 October 2015

Getting to Pompeii and Vesuvius on a day trip from Naples

When I was researching our trip to Italy, I struggled a little to find clear information on getting to the Pompeii archaeological site from Naples independently. And more importantly how easy it would be to get from there to Vesuvius and then back to Naples.

Luckily, when we got there, it was, (as you can imagine for trip done every day by thousands) very easy. This post describes just how easy.

From Naples to Pompei
The Circumvesuviana rail service runs from Naples to Pompei about every 30 minutes. 

Follow this symbol!
You can catch the train from the main central station at Piazza Garibaldi. There's a metro stop inside the station. Arriving at the station, follow the Circumvesuviana signs. The Circumvesuviana line is on a separate network to the Italian mainline and you can only buy tickets for stops on the line through the Circumvesuviana counters. It costs just 2 euros 60 for the 30 minute trip. 

Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri or Santuario
Ideally, you want to get on a train that stops at Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri (Scavi means archaeological excavation in Italian), as the stop is just outside the main entrance to the ruins. 
A Pompeii street
Without realising it, we ended up on a train that stopped at Pompei Santuario and not Scavi. If this happens to you, it isn't really a problem, as its only a short walk from this stop to one of the entrances (although its a bit of a longer walk to the main entrance). 

To get to the ruins from the Santuario stop, go straight ahead when you exit the station. Then turn right after the church and go straight on down Via Roma. The entrance is about a 5 minute walk from the church on the right.

Getting a guide around the ruins
There are more options for a guide at the main entrance outside of the Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri station than the entrance closest to the Santuario stop. We still found a guide at this entrance though and paid 90 euros for a two hour tour (for both of us). 

A Pompeii zebra crossing (raised stepping stones allowed
 people to cross the street without stepping in
waste water and rubbish flowing in the street)
While it was worth it, for a more budget visit, from the main entrance, you can get an audio guide. There is also a greater possibility of splitting the cost of guide with others, more of whom will be arriving at this entrance.

To Vesuvius
There is a local bus that runs up to the volcano, but when we were there it didn't appear to be running. Instead, we walked down to the main entrance - about a 15 minute walk - where a couple of different companies run a shuttle bus up to Vesuvius. We went with Tramvia, which cost 12 euros for the return trip and runs 3 times a day. We caught the last one of the day, which was at 2.40pm.

Vesuvius' crater
The entrance to the volcano cost 10 euros and we were given an hour and a half there. This was just about enough time to walk up, soak in the views, walk round the top and walk back down again.

Another company Busvia charges 22 euros, but this includes entry to the site and so essentially, its the same price.

Getting back to Naples
The Tramvia bus was heading back to Pompei after Vesuvius, but after a confused multilingual discussion with the driver, we discovered that it was going to Naples after that. For no extra cost, we were able to stay on the bus. It dropped us off at the main train station, where we started the day. 

A doable day trip?
It's definitely a doable day trip from Naples to see both Pompeii and the volcano that destroyed it, but start early to make the most of it. 

'Foro' square inside Pompeii, with Vesuvius
looming in the background
You need two hours or more at Pompeii (we were there for three) and archaelogical buffs will want to plan their visit carefully, so they get to see the parts of the site they want to see. Its very easy to get from Pompeii to Vesuvius and although we could have lingered a little longer, the hour and a half that the tour gave us was just about enough. It takes around 25-35 minutes to walk up to the rim (then you need 30-40 minutes to walk around and 20 minutes to get back down again).

And finally, Pompei or Pompeii?
While researching our visit and even while we were there, I became a little confused by how many i's to put at the end of Pompei(i). In case you were also wondering, Pompei is the modern day town, which forms part of the Metropolitan City of Naples. Pompeii is the ancient ruined city, located in Pompei.

Related post:
Exploring Naples

Eff It, I'm On Holiday


  1. I loved visiting the ruins of Pompeii. It's such a humbling experience!

    1. I know! So interesting. I'd love to go back and explore a bit more.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Naples and the surrounding area are definitely high on our travel wishlist. Maybe 2016 will be the year we get there... So many places so little time! #theweeklypostcard.

    1. We really liked Naples too. Great food and really interesting city! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. We visited Pompeii but didn't get to Vesuvius. There's so much to see in this amazing ancient city. We were surprised by how much had been unearthed and preserved.

    1. It is amazing. Fascinating too to see the casts of the human bodies and the animals, particularly seeing Vesuvius looming over the city in the background!

  4. Haven't been to Pompeii, looks like it's worth a visit and good to know that it is doable as a day trip from Naples. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed having a guide to show us around.

  5. We took the train from Naples down to Sorrento which we used as a base, and then did a daytrip to Pompeii from Sorrento. Even then, we didn't have time to go up Mount Vesuvius as we lingered so long amongst the ruins. Rick Steves has a free audioguide you can download into your smartphone. We found it very informative and handy.

    1. I saw someone with a Rick Steves guide book, when we were there. Are his books pretty popular in the US? Haven't seen them in the UK? Good tip and good way to get hold of an audioguide. Do you have to pay for it?

      I can well imagine spending a few more hours just exploring the ruins. Really interesting.

  6. Great guide! I'll visit the Amalfi Coast in April and I want to take a day trip to see Vesuvius and Pompeii (or Herculaneum, haven't decided yet!). Did you like the trip to Vesuvius? It's what I'm most excited for.

    1. Yes we did like going up Vesuvius. Amazing views from the top! And it was steaming a teeney tiny bit! Pompeii was really interesting. We didn't go to Herculaneum, although we were told that although its smaller some parts of it are better preserved.

      We also went to Capri and the Amalfi coast ... posts to follow!!

  7. Thanks for this guide! I hope to do a south of Italy tour in the near future and Pompeii and Vesuvius is definitely on the itinerary. :)