Visiting Ercolano (Herculaneum) Italy

A Practical Guide For Those Planning On Visiting Ercolano (Herculaneum)

Ercolano (Herculaneum)

Ercolano (Herculaneum)

Official Web Site (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 its a much more compact site and has significantly less visitors. Both sites are managed by the same people and its easy to visit both in one day using a combined ticket and the local train which connects both.

Ercolano, One Of 5 Sites

The partially buried Roman town-city of Ercolano is part of a set of five archeological 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.

Planning A Visit

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 its 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/cafe, rest room facilities, a bookshop/gift shop and that's about it. The restaurant, 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. Again, its 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 Is There To See?
Do I Need A Tour Guide / Audio Guide ?

Ercolano (Herculaneum) Audio Guide

Pompeii / Herculaneum
Audio Guide

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

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 its 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 some time talking to the guide before you commit, at 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.

Ticketing & Opening Times

For the current ticket prices, click through on the official web-site 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".

Ercolano (Herculaneum)<br>Station Shuttle Service

Most People Don't Need
The Station Shuttle Service

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 6 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. 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 its a significant distance because of the shuttle, but its 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

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