Should you take a Pompeii day trip from Naples?
The short answer is yes! Naples is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, buried by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Once a thriving city inhabited by wealthy Romans, excavations at Pompeii have revealed lavish private homes as well as public buildings including temples, shops, thermal baths, and an amphitheater.
It’s perfectly feasible to plan a Pompeii trip from Naples independently although there are plenty of tour options if you prefer that route. This post will show you how to make your own way to the archaeological site before detailing the best tours of Pompeii.
Is a Pompeii day trip from Naples worth it?
Other than scoffing down Neapolitan pizza and exploring the alleyways of Quartieri Spagnoli, Pompeii is one of the best things to do in Naples – especially if you’re captivated by Roman history.
However, if you’re not a huge fan of conventional museums or historical attractions, Pompeii is still utterly fascinating.
This open-air archaeological zone is essentially a time capsule, showing the daily life of the ancient Romans in this once-affluent town.
Buried by a thick layer of volcanic ash, the preservation is unparalleled with any other site in the world. Barring, of course, the nearby Herculaneum (Ercolano) which met the same fate as its neighbor.
Visiting Pompeii is highly recommended for solo wanderers, couples, families, and groups of friends.
Although you can also visit Pompeii from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Naples is the closest city to the ancient site. Due to this, you can devote an entire day to wandering around the ruins or add on a side visit to Herculaneum or the summit of the active volcano, Mount Vesuvius.
Note that if you do want to visit all three attractions in one day, it’s worth looking into tours to streamline the process. We’ve listed a selection of the best Pompeii tours from Naples at the end of this article.
Is a day in Pompeii enough?
One day is sufficient for covering the entire buried city. Technically, you can spend a half day wandering the streets before visiting the volcano responsible for the catastrophe.
If you have more time on your Naples itinerary, you could absolutely spend a whole day exploring Pompeii. The site is massive and a full day means you can take a guided tour before meandering independently and letting the experience sink in.
With another full day, you could visit Herculaneum and Vesuvius. This option makes more sense as Herculaneum is a smaller city overall. Plus, it’s located closer to Mount Vesuvius and has an easier bus link courtesy of the Vesuvio Express.
Planning a Pompeii day trip from Naples
It’s extremely straightforward to plan a Pompeii day trip from Naples. The archaeological site is only 15 miles (24 km) south of the city center with several ways of getting there.
While this guide focuses on Naples, consider that a day trip to Pompeii is also one of the best things to do in Sorrento on the Amalfi Coast.
Pompeii opening hours
Pompeii is open every day of the year with the exception of 25 December, 1 May, and 1 January. In general, the opening hours are:
- 1st April to 31st October: 9 am until 7 pm (last entrance at 5:30 pm)
- 1st November to 31st March: 9 am until 5 pm (last entrance at 3:30 pm)
However, before you plan your Pompeii day trip from Naples, you should always double-check the opening hours on the official website. Note that some villas and museums are closed on select days of the week.
Buying tickets for Pompeii
General admission to Pompeii is €18 ($19.50 USD) per adult. Reduced tickets apply to those aged between 18 and 24 while children under the age of 18 enter for free.
It’s possible to buy general Pompeii admission tickets online in advance or in person at the entrance. However, you cannot pre-purchase reduced-rate tickets.
There are a number of free tickets available on the first Sunday of every month. However, these are strictly limited to avoid overcrowding and are only assigned in person at the main entrance. In that case, you’ll want to arrive in time for opening hours.
If possible, it makes far more sense to buy Pompeii tickets in advance. The popular attraction does sell out during peak travel times. Plus, securing tickets online saves you time when you arrive.
Otherwise, you can look at Pompeii tours from Naples like this one which includes admission and round-trip transportation from the city center.
Best time to visit Pompeii
As it is very popular for visitors to plan a Pompeii trip from Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast, the ruins are busy at all times of the year.
Pompeii is at its busiest (and hottest) during the summer months, peaking in July and August.
In contrast, November through March is the quietest (and coldest) time of year to visit. Meanwhile, the shoulder seasons of spring, early summer, and autumn are ideal due to the weather conditions. While it won’t be quiet, it will not be overwhelmingly busy either.
Seeing as you need at least two hours to explore, it makes sense to get there as early in the morning as possible. That way, you can spend a whole day at Pompeii if you want to.
What to wear on a Pompeii day trip from Naples
Pompeii is an archaeological site with uneven grounds, loose rubble, dust, and hilly spots. Therefore you need to dress in sturdy footwear such as sneakers or walking sandals. White shoes are not recommended unless you’re happy for them to change color on your day out!
Hiking boots aren’t essential although you might appreciate poles when walking back down from the Vesuvius summit. The trail consists of gravel and scree, so it can be a little slippery. However, the walk should only take around 20 minutes each way.
If you plan a Pompeii day trip from Naples during the summer months, opt for lightweight, breathable clothing. Shorts and vests are fine but you’ll need to cover up with plenty of sunscreen as the site is exposed to the elements. A hat and sunglasses are essential, too.
Again, note that the high altitude of Vesuvius means that it’s colder and windier. Pack a light jacket or similar to throw over your shoulders for this leg of your day out.
Large backpacks are not permitted in Pompeii and must be left in the cloakroom. Although this is a free service, it’s best to travel light and just carry the essentials, including a large bottle of water, snacks, and a picnic if you want to keep costs down.
If you are visiting during the summer months, check out our full guide for what to pack for Italy in summer.
Getting to Pompeii from Naples
There are four ways to travel from Naples to Pompeii.
Even if you are intending on joining a guided tour of Pompeii, you may still need to arrange your own transportation to the ruins.
Pompeii day trip from Naples by train
Connecting Naples and Sorrento, the Circumvesuviana commuter train also stops at Pompei Scavi Villa Dei Misteri Station. Journey time from Napoli Porta Nolana (Naples Piazza Garibaldi) is 40 minutes and tickets cost €3 ($3.20 USD) each way. At present, tickets can only be purchased at the station.
The ruins are minutes from the platform, making this one of the cheapest options for getting to Pompeii from Naples.
Otherwise, you can splash out for a ticket on the Campania Express. This is geared more toward tourists and has air-conditioning.
One-way journeys cost €15 ($16.30 USD) and have fewer stops, although the travel time is similar to the Circumvesuviana. While it is possible to pre-purchase tickets online, the website isn’t particularly reliable so you might want to swing by the station in person.
Getting to Pompeii from Naples by shuttle bus
The shuttle bus is a slightly more expensive option but does work out more comfortably than the commuter train. Several companies operate shuttle buses from Naples to Pompeii.
Leaving from Parco Castello, this shuttle bus provider has two daily departures. The first leaves at 9:20 am with a return departure of 1:45 pm. Alternatively, the second bus leaves at 11:05 am and brings you back at 3:45 pm. The journey time is one hour and you’ll have an audio guide during the ride.
At $22 per person, this isn’t a bad price and saves you the time of navigating train schedules and busy carriages.
Getting to Pompeii from Naples by private vehicle
If you’re renting a car, you could always drive to Pompeii from Naples. There are several parking lots close to the entrance of Pompeii and you’ll stand a better chance of getting a space the earlier you travel.
If you are looking to rent a car for your trip around the Amalfi Coast, be sure to check for the best prices on Discover Cars. This is the website I use for booking cars around the world and continue to have wonderful experiences with their customer service. Book a car on Discover Cars here.
Otherwise, you could have a taxi driver take you. In this case, you will need to pay for the return fare back to Naples. Local drivers generally quote around €90 ($98 USD) for the ride there and back plus a couple of hours of waiting while you explore. If you want to add a visit to Mount Vesuvius, the fare will increase.
While taking a taxi is the quickest option, having to keep an eye on the clock might detract from the experience.
Taking a tour of Pompeii from Naples
The final option is to book a guided tour of Pompeii that includes round travel.
However, not all Pompeii tours from Naples actually include transport. Therefore, you need to look closer at the booking terms before going ahead so that you know exactly what package you’re choosing.
We’ll list our favorites that include transport below.
Getting to Mount Vesuvius from Pompeii
You might want to head straight to Vesuvius after exploring the ruins. Fortunately, you have the choice of taking a public bus or a tour bus from Pompeii.
First of all, the public bus route run by EAV is cheap and pretty straightforward. The bus stop is located in Piazza Immacolata, around 15 minutes walk from the ruins. Follow Via Plinio and keep your eyes peeled for Ristorante Corallo and Pizzeria da Zio Carmine as it’s in between the two.
Buses depart every 50 minutes and you’ll need to pay for your ticket in cash – around €4 ($4.30 USD). The bus will drop you near the trailhead from where you will walk to the crater rim on foot. This takes around 15 minutes.
Otherwise, you could book a tour with Busvia del Vesuvio. This company runs a “free” return shuttle service from Pompeii train station on the basis that you will visit the summit on one of their tours.
Best tours of Pompeii from Naples
While it is possible to visit Pompeii independently, taking a tour of Pompeii from Naples can streamline your day out.
This will work well if you’re nervous about organizing your day around schedules and busy trains. In addition, tours do generally make far more sense if you want to visit Vesuvius and Herculaneum over the same day.
It’s also the best option if you want to learn as much as possible about the history of this site. Going with a knowledgeable guide is a fun way to hear stories and gain insight into what is known about this ancient city.
These are the best tours of Pompeii across the board.
1. Best tour of Pompeii on a budget (no transport included)
This Pompeii small-group tour with an archaeologist is available as a shared or private outing. The package covers slip-the-line entry, the cost of admission, and a guided 2-hour tour. Once the tour ends, you can stay as long as you want exploring the rest of the archaeological site.
Transportation isn’t included, so you’ll need to make your own way to the meeting point. This is right next to Pompei Scavi Villa Dei Misteri Station, so you can take the train or shuttle bus.
Priced at $60 per person, this is one of the overall best tours of Pompeii for value and flexibility if you want to hang around for longer. It’s also an option for travelers planning a day trip from Sorrento or the Amalfi Coast. Book this tour option here.
2. Best combination tour of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius from Naples
This 8-hour tour of Pompeii from Naples (or Sorrento) is the best choice if you want to visit Mount Vesuvius and have all your travel taken care of.
The package includes roundtrip transportation in a private vehicle, admission to Pompeii and Vesuvius, and a guided tour of the buried city.
There is some free time assigned for exploring Pompeii after the walking tour ends and you’ll tackle the volcano hike alone. Although, there are independent guides stationed at the national park trailhead in case you want to enlist someone to teach you more about the crater.
Plus, you can add lunch to this tour package for a surcharge. Otherwise, consider packing a picnic or grabbing a sandwich from Naples before you leave to save cash. Book this tour option here.
3. Best tour of Pompeii from Naples for foodies
The fertile slopes of Mount Vesuvius produce incredible wines. Therefore, if you want to sample it where it’s made, you might like the sound of this day out.
This full-day tour of Pompeii from Naples with wine tasting includes pick-up and return to the city. Once at Pompeii, you’ll need to purchase your admission ticket separately. If the tour capacity is fewer than 6 people, you will explore with an audio guide. Otherwise, a guided walking tour is included.
The tour concludes with a wine tasting, a tour, and a Mediterranean lunch at the Campania Ars Vinearia. Book this wine and city tour here.
4. Best all-inclusive tour of Pompeii from Naples (with Ercolano and Vesuvius)
If you’d like to visit Pompeii alongside Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius in one day, this is where you’ll benefit from booking a tour. Public transport makes it virtually impossible to get to all three and explore them in the level of detail they require.
This 8-hour private tour of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Vesuvius is quite costly (unless you are traveling with four people, then it is relatively reasonable).
It delivers on value and efficiency. Overall, it’s one of the best tours of Pompeii if you’re eager to get the most comprehensive experience across the three sites and are traveling to Naples with limited time.
In addition to round-trip transportation and admission, you’ll explore the attractions with a licensed guide. The price fluctuates depending on the number of participants in your group. Check prices and book that tour here.