Why Should You Visit Pompeii?
I feel like most people who visit southern Italy organize a day trip to Pompeii at some point. Surprisingly, I have met many who fail to take it (usually because they are overwhelmed with downtown Naples).
Today’s article will therefore explain all the ways to incorporate Pompeii into your trip. If you miss one, you can try another. I will also discuss the differences and similarities between Pompeii and Ercolano (aka Herculaneum), another city destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius.
Whether you are planning to visit Italy soon or in the somewhat distant future, I hope my advice gives you courage for your trip to Pompeii.
How to get to Pompeii from Naples
The most typical Pompeii day trip takes you from Naples to Pompeii and back again in a single day. This is where the confusion begins. Although you will need to enter a special area at Napoli Centrale station and board a train known as the ‘Circumvesuviana’, the vehicle you enter is neither marked nor particularly pleasant. It’s just an ordinary second class Italian train car.
The good thing: The trip from Naples to Pompeii takes less than an hour, depending on which train you take. Here is another tip, for that purpose. Try taking one of the express services between Naples and Sorrento, which will take you to Pompeii without stopping at each station. These will be marked as such on the start sign just outside the Circumvesuviana ticket gates.
Ways to visit Pompeii
Take a day trip from Naples
The easiest way to visit Pompeii is to do as I described in the section above: as a self-sufficient day trip from Naples. Note that if you follow this plan, it is possible to nest in a stopover in Ercolano (the merits of which I will discuss later in this article) whether on the outward or return trip from Pompeii.
Join a group tour
An even more insane way to enjoy a day trip to Pompeii is not to go independently at all. That you book a skip-the-line Pompeii tour from Walks of Italy, choose another travel agent, or take advantage of one of the deals your hotel has to offer, a tempting way to beat the tour groups that fill Pompeii is to join them.
Stop on the way back from Amalfi
The bad news? Unless you leave the Amalfi coast very early in the morning, your return (via Sorrento) to Naples will be a hellish nightmare. The good news? If you’re heading out early in the morning, it’s easy to stop in Pompeii (and potentially Ercolano) on the way back to town.
Spend a night in Pompeii
Who says you have to limit your day trip to Pompeii to just one day? While none of the hotels or Airbnbs around Pompeii are really interesting, there is something to be said about enjoying the general atmosphere without having to rush.
Visit from further afield
Since Naples is connected by high-speed train to many other destinations in Italy, it is possible to take a day trip from other cities in Italy to Pompeii. While Rome (which is about an hour from Naples via HSR) is the more obvious choice, it’s also technically possible to take a day trip to Pompeii from Milan, Florence or Venice.
Pompeii against Ercolano
Although I have made over half a dozen trips to Italy, my visit in 2021 was actually my first time in Pompeii itself. Previously, I only visited Ercolano (Herculaneum), another nearby town that also succumbed to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. I chose Ercolano on the advice of Francesco, an Italian friend who is an architect and historian.
Why did he recommend Ercolano, rather than a more standard day trip to Pompeii? “The houses in Ercolano have two floors,” he explained, adding that they were generally in better condition than their counterparts in Pompeii. “Well, at least most of them.” As we explored the ruins he also noticed that Ercolano seemed slightly less crowded than Pompeii, although both (having now visited Pompeii) have been madhouses as far as I know.
Other FAQs on visiting Pompeii from Naples
Can you do Pompeii in a day?
You can absolutely do Pompeii in one day! The best way to do this is to leave Naples no later than 8:30 a.m. so that you can get to Pompeii before the 9 a.m. opening. Buying your Pompeii ticket online will also save you time. After enjoying Pompeii in the morning, you can have lunch at one of the restaurants near the station.
Is a day trip to Pompeii worth it?
A day trip to Pompeii is well worth it, considering how easy it is to get to Pompeii from Naples. On the other hand, if you are planning to visit Pompeii from elsewhere in Italy, you may find that the time, money, and energy you spend are too much for the thrill of a day trip. day in Pompeii.
Are there day trips from Rome to Pompeii?
Many organized tours depart from Rome for Pompeii, but you can also make the trip on your own. To do this, take an Italo or Frecciarossa high-speed train from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale, then transfer to the Circumvesuviana. Return to Rome the same day, or stay overnight in Naples.
The bottom line
Whichever way you take it, a day trip to Pompeii will be a highlight of your Journey to Italie. This is especially true if you’re a ’90s kid like me and attended school when renewed attention seemed to be given to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius nearly two millennia ago. No matter when you grew up, of course, it’s impossible to walk the cobbled streets of Pompeii (or nearby Ercolano) without feeling moved. Along with the Amalfi Coast, the islands of Capri and / or Ischia and Naples itself, Pompeii is one of the highlights of the deep south of Italy.