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Vast site: Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in background
Pompeii is of course the major tourist attraction to visit on a day trip from your Sorrento hotel.
There is no shortage of tours available from hotels, tour operators and agencies when you are in Sorrento.
A painless half day visit to Pompeii is the standard tour offered by everyone and there are also tours with permutations of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius, Herculaneum and Naples.
The alternative to taking a tour bus is to independently visit all four of the above using the local Sorrento to Naples train service that is both cheap and frequent.
The 4-hour Pompeii sightseeing tour from Sorrento with around 2 hours being shown around the vast Pompeii site by a guide is very good.
The Pompeii site is vast and with very little information on the ground.
The guide will make sure you use your time efficiently and take you to all the highlights so you don't miss anything and crucially make sense of the spectacle you are witnessing.
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Independent sightseeing & tours
The tour runs daily all year with hotel pick-ups in Sorrento. Price includes admission to Pompeii and services of the guide. The aim is to leave Sorrento around 10.15am after the hotel pick-ups for the 4-hour tour.
With an early start this tour combines an orientation of Naples with a tour of Pompeii with some free time.
Your comprehensive guided tour of Naples includes stops at the cathedral to visit its Treasure Chapel and S. Restituta basilica, dating back to the 4th century.
You'll also drive to Plebiscite Square to see the Royal Palace, the beautiful church of St Francesco di Paula, the Town Hall Square and the New Castle built by the French Family of Anjou. Before driving to Pompeii, you'll admire wonderful views of the picturesque baroque city of Naples from the terraces of Posillipo.
At Pompeii your guide will take you on a walking tour including all highlights so you don't miss anything and crucially make sense of the spectacle you are witnessing. Before returning to Sorrento, you'll have approximately 30 minutes to spend at leisure in Pompeii.
The tour runs daily all year round, with hotel pick-ups in Sorrento. Price includes admission to Pompeii and services of the guide. The aim is to leave Sorrento around 7.15am after the hotel pick-ups returning to Sorrento after lunch.
You can save yourself some money by visiting Pompeii independently with the added advantage that you can explore the vast Pompeii site at your own pace. Using the same train you can also visit Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius.
Key aspects to factor into your decision on whether to use a tour or visit independently are:
The Circumvesuviana trains are not full size trains where you will relax admiring the countryside in a stress free environment. The train experience is more akin to a metro train with many stops every few minutes and crowded carriages at all times. There is a good chance you will have to stand for part of your journey.
The Pompeii site is vast. Once you are inside there is little in the way of information provided. Do make a point of getting a map which are not always offered. Exploring independently it's well worth doing some research and reading up. It is quite possible to wander around the site for hours and miss some of the highlights. To make sense of what you are seeing you really need at least the audio guides that are available. Better still a knowledgeable guide will efficiently take you around the site so you see all the main attractions and fully understand what you are seeing.
The Pompeii site is uncommercialised. There is also little shade and very little noticeboards or information provided. Don't expect vendors every 100 yards selling ice cream and water bottles, there are none. In the centre of this vast site is just one cafeteria and toilet block. Come prepared with plenty of sunscreen and plenty of water. It's easy for your visit and perhaps your holiday to be ruined through dehydration and sunstroke with an extended visit to Pompeii.
From outside Pompeii Station there are a couple of tour companies offering tours up to Mount Vesuvius.
A few extra train stations from Pompeii towards Naples is Ercolano Scavi Station, 10 minutes' walk from Herculaneum. Herculaneum is a much smaller site than Pompeii but the buildings are much better preserved. There are also far fewer people visiting.
Circumvesuviana train at Pompeii Station
Full details of the Circumvesuviana trains that enable an independent visit to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius From Sorrento are on our dedicated page linked below.
The Circumvesuviana is a small independent network of lines out of Naples that cover the region to the east of the city.
The line is not part of the national railways so you cannot buy a ticket to Pompeii using the national rail network and Circumvesuviana journeys combined in one ticket.
There are no seat reservations. You pay cash for tickets in advance at the stations or local newsstands and bars.