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Naples and Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius are all within reach as a long day trip from Rome, either by tour bus or under your own steam using the train services in the area.
This page explains how to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius by train from Rome. The first two are relatively simple; Mount Vesuvius by public transport requires a little more planning.
For those who would like to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and/or Mount Vesuvius on a guided tour, we details of tours available at the bottom of the page..
Visiting Pompeii - what to expect
If you are already in the Naples, Sorrento area we have a similar dedicated page visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum & Mount Vesuvius from Naples.
Pompeii is about 15 miles south of Naples, mid-way by road and rail between Naples and Sorrento. There is a frequent but crowded private local train service called Circumvesuviana, between Naples and Sorrento that stops at Pompeii Station just a few yards from the main entrance to the Pompeii site.
From Rome to Naples there are very frequent trains with broadly 3 classes of trains that take between one and three hours depending on class of train and a corresponding wide range in fares. Advance purchase online fares are available on the fastest trains and can be astoundingly good value.
The national railways also run a train service between Naples and Salerno that stops at a separate station in Pompeii to the Circumvesuviana train and is within walking distance of the Pompeii site.
Trains from Rome terminate at Naples Centrale Station.
Both trains to Pompeii operate from Centrale station. The Circumvesuviana trains have independent ticketing with no online facility, so you cannot buy a through ticket from Rome to Pompeii. You buy a ticket on the day in cash at Naples.
The national railways service you can buy online or on the day.
Confusingly the Pompeii platforms at Naples Central Station are called Naples Garibaldi Station even though they are in the same building as Central Station. Crudely both the Pompeii trains run about every 30 minutes and take 30-40 minutes to Pompeii.
About half way between Pompeii and Naples on the Circumvesuviana train is Herculaneum, a more compact version of Pompeii. Many people find this less marketed site more enjoyable than Pompeii. Locally it is referred to as Ercolano after the modern town of the same name.
Ercolano Scavi is the train station that serves Herculaneum, about a 10-minute walk.
Ercolano Scavi station is crudely about midway between Pompeii Station and Naples Garibaldi Station on the Circumvesuviana trains. The Herculaneum site is about 10 minutes' walk from the train station.
Mount Vesuvius is the villain volcano that of course erupted and buried both Pompeii and Herculaneum.
It is a natural tourist attraction and is very popular twinned with Pompeii in a full day trip. Whilst Pompeii and Herculaneum are simple by train, Mount Vesuvius is more problematic. The main access points independently are from Pompeii and Ercolano train stations.
Ercolano is the shortest distance from Mount Vesuvius but it is a mixed bag of taxis and minibus operators where it's all rather informal with language barriers and room for misunderstandings.
At Pompeii it's more mainstream tourist operations with printed schedules, advance purchase ticketing and clear documentation with purpose built vehicles. There is also a reliable scheduled bus service run by the local public bus operator that shuttles between the main gates of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius.
Visiting Mount Vesuvius - what to expect
• Cheapest advance purchase fares • Pay by credit card • Instant confirmations • Timetables
The Circumvesuviana is a small independent network of lines out of 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 news-stands and bars.
You probably know yourself whether tour buses are your thing or not. From Rome a tour coach can take the best part of three hours to make the journey to Naples.
The fast trains are much speedier to Naples than any vehicle and you can take the train to Naples Station and choose a tour that departs from Central Station Naples, though you will require a very early train from Rome.
At Pompeii and Herculaneum there is very little in the way of information provided to explain what you are seeing. If you go on a tour you will normally get a qualified guide that will take you on a walking tour of about two hours around Pompeii or Herculaneum.
If you visit independently then an audio guide is your best hope of making sense of what you are witnessing.
Pompeii in particular is a vast site. The guides will cover all the main must see sights within Pompeii in a very time efficient manner.
There is a danger for the independent visitor that you spend a lot of time walking the less interesting part of the site and miss some of the highlights unless they are pointed out.
From Rome tour buses run daily on two popular day tours that include Pompeii. Each tour is a very long day (around 12-13 hours) so it is an early start.
Naples & Pompeii day tour from Rome - full details
Mount Vesuvius & Pompeii day tour from Rome - full details
By taking the train from Rome to Naples Central Station you have a much wider choice of tours. Note this is not Switzerland, trains in Italy do not go to clockwork all the time, far from it. The fastest high speed trains tend to be the most reliable and punctual.
|Vatican Museums tours & fast track tickets|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets||From €27|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets + audio guide||From €36|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets + early entrance||From €60|
|Vatican Museums fast track access with optional lunch||From €66|
|Vatican Museums private tours with fast track access||Prices vary on numbers|
|St Peter's Basilica tours & fast track tickets|
|St Peter's Basilica fast-track with audio guide||From €25|
|St Peter's Basilica guided tour||From €27.50|
|St Peter's Basilica guided tour with access to cupola (Dome)||From €44|
|St Peter's & Vatican Museums combined tours|
|Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 1||From €50|
|Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 2||From €50|
|Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St Peter’s||From €76|
|Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens & St Peter’s guided tour with breakfast||From €139|
|Vatican gardens tours|
|Vatican gardens walking tour||From €50|
|Vatican Gardens bus tour||From €85|
|Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill|
|Colosseum & Roman Forum fast track tickets||From €26|
|Colosseum & Roman Forum special access Belvedere, Arena & Underground||From €101|
|Walking tours (Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi...)|
|Colosseum & Roman Forum walking tour||From €54|
|Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona||From €61|
|Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Trevi, Navona||From €40|
|Villa Borghese Gallery|
|Villa Borghese fast track tickets||From €25|
|Villa Borghese fast track tickets + guided tour||From €44|
|Villa Borghese fast track tickets + Gardens + guided tour||From €59|
|Other popular City of Rome tours|
|Best of Rome by bike||From €55|
|Roman Gladiator lesson||From €91|
|Night tours of Rome||From €66|
|Private tours of Rome|
|Flexible customised private tours of Rome by car|
|Private sightseeing tour of Rome by golf cart|