Visiting Ercolano (Herculaneum) Italy

What to expect, tickets, and getting to Ercolano (Herculaneum)

Ercolano (Herculaneum)

Fewer visitors than Pompeii: Ercolano (Herculaneum) Scavi


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Official website (in Italian)- Ercolano (Herculaneum)

Ercolano, known to many as Herculaneum, is just a few miles from Pompeii and 150 miles south of Rome, close to Naples.

In many respects Ercolano is a smaller version of Pompeii, both are buried Roman cities that have been remarkably preserved when excavated.

A lot of people prefer Ercolano to Pompeii as it is a much more compact site and has significantly less visitors. Both sites are managed by the same people and it is easy to visit both in one day using a combined ticket and the local train which connects both.


Ercolano - one of five sites

The partially buried Roman town-city of Ercolano is part of a set of five archaeological sites in the area.

Pompeii attracts by far the most tourists and is a vast site. However there are five linked sites in the area. You can buy combination tickets covering all the sites or just buy tickets for an individual site.

The five sites do not include Mount Vesuvius, itself a world famous attraction. There are regular tours you can buy on the day taking you up Mount Vesuvius from the railway stations at both Pompeii and Ercolano.


Visiting Ercolano - what to expect

Ercolano Bar

Ercolano Bar

Unlike Pompeii, Ercolano is in the middle of a built up town, Ercolano. If you do not come on a tour bus it is a 10-minute walk from the local railway station, Ercolano Scavi straight down the main street of the town.

There are not the queues as at Pompeii mid-morning and there is no tourist tat village outside the gates.


The excavated town of Ercolano is well below the current level of the modern town, all the support structure of the site, ticket offices, gift shop, restaurants look down on the excavated city below.

Facilities within the complex are basic, one small restaurant and cafe, rest room facilities, a bookshop/gift shop and that's about it. The restaurant and cafe often doesn't even bother opening even when there are significant visitors.

The whole site is also very exposed with minimal shade, so bring lots of sunscreen, a hat and water. gain, it's not as bad as Pompeii as the size of the site is so much smaller.


The cobbled and rough nature of the surface means that wheelchairs and prams are impractical. Most small children will get bored very quickly.


What to see at Ercolano? Do I need a tour or audio guide?

When you buy your ticket there should be available a map of the site. Normally it is more a matter of you asking for a map than them giving you one, but make sure you leave the entrance area with one.

Ercolano (Herculaneum) Audio Guide

Audio guide: Pompeii/ Herculaneum

Once you are inside the site there is little in the way of information available to make sense of what you are viewing.

If you come on a tour a guide of some kind will be offered. The quality of the guides vary significantly so it's pot luck if they add any value to your visit.


You can hire guides that hang around the ticket desks. Quality is variable (as are visitors requirements) so do spend time talking to the guide before you commit. Aat least be comfortable you can understand what they are saying.

For most independent visitors who want information about what they are seeing (recommended) the audio tours seem to be the most popular guide.

You hire them at a separate kiosk well after going through the ticket office and rest room block.

A rather annoying facet is that you need id, passport or credit card which they keep until you return the audio device.

Like most such devices worldwide, they are a bit dry and do tend to drone on a bit but there are enough nuggets of great information to make them worthwhile and are not expensive.


Ercolano tickets & opening times

For the current ticket prices, click through on the official website link at the top of the page.

If you haven't got an automated translation facility on your browser, the ticket prices are under the “Biglietti” (tickets) heading. Opening hours are under "Orari".

Note: at the time of writing they do not accept credit cards at Ercolano.


Getting to Ercolano (Herculaneum)

If you are not visiting on a tour then the best way to visit is probably the Circumvesuviana trains. This is a network of several lines in the Naples region, with Naples as the hub. The line to Ercolano goes from Naples to Sorrento.

There are two train stations called Ercolano, you want Ercolano Scavi.

Trains go twice an hour between about 6am and 9.30pm Trains are crowded, be prepared to have to stand for much of the journey.


Journey times are about 20 minutes to Naples and 50 minutes to Sorrento.

When you exit the station, you will probably be met by touts offering a shuttle service to Ercolano (Herculaneum).


Many tourists think it's a significant distance because of the shuttle, but it is only 10 minutes' walk. You'll probably walk there faster than hanging around for the shuttle vehicle.

From the station entrance walk down the station approach road to a small roundabout style junction, cross straight over and down the main street directly opposite. Soon you'll get some reassuring signs so you know you are walking in the right direction.

Journey times are about 20 minutes to Naples and 50 minutes to Sorrento.

There are two train stations in Naples. The Naples Airport bus and the trains to Rome (and other cities in Italy) are from the Central (Garibaldi) Station. The trains take 20 minutes to travel between Ercolano and Pompeii.

Circumvesuviana trains - full details

Day Tour From Naples To Pompeii & Herculaneum

Pompeii Ticketing & 5 Sites Pass

Pompeii is open every day except 25th December, 1st January and 1st May.

From 1st April to 31st October the site is open 8.30 - 7.30pm (with last entrance 6pm).

At other times the site is open 8.30 - 5:30 pm (with last entrance 3.30pm).

Note: at the time of writing they do not accept credit cards at Pompeii

Pompeii Entrance Tickets

Unico Artecard - 3 day tourist pass for Naples, Pompeii etc, including public transport

Aimed squarely at the visitor to Naples this pass combines public transport in Naples for 3 days, (including the Naples airport bus) plus entry to two attractions from a long list that includes the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and Pompeii and Herculaneum.

From the third attraction onwards you enjoy up to a 50% discount on standard tickets.

Unico Artcard Naples

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