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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.
If you are not visiting on a tour then the best way to visit is probably the Circumvesuviana trains from Naples. 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 and also stops at Pompeii.
If you are travelling from Rome, there are fast hi-speed trains that take around 70 minutes to Naples
Ercolano and Pompeii from Rome by train
There are two train stations called Ercolano, you want Ercolano Scavi.
Circumvesuviana trains from Naples go twice an hour between about 6am and 9.30pm Trains are very 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.
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.
Ercolano is in the middle of the town of Ercolano. If you do not come on a tour bus walk from the local Circumvesuviana railway station, Ercolano Scavi, (more details further down the page).
Despite what the local touts may tell you its a 10 minute walk straight down the main street of Ercolano.
Ercolano is open every day except Wednesdays, 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).
There are not the queues as at Pompeii mid-morning and there is no tourist tat village outside the gates.
There is very little in the way of information within Ercolano describing what you are viewing.
If you want to make sense of what you are viewing you really do need a tour guide, an audio guide or a very good guide book. No audio guide is provided with admission.
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 after going the the ticket gate.
Once you leave the visitor facilities section, if you are not with a guide make sure you obtain a map of the site.
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.
This is not Disneyland, don't expect ice-cream stands and other commercial distractions scattered around the ruins.
The excavated town of Ercolano is well below the current level of the modern town. The entrance gates, ticket offices, gift shop, toilets, audio-guide kiosk and-restaurant are on the modern ground level and look down on the excavated city below.
The whole site is very exposed, only the ruins provide any shade, so it is imperative you bring lots of sunscreen, a hat and water.
Luggage or bags larger than 30x30x15cm are not allowed into Pompeii.
There is a cloakroom at the entrance gates where you can leave bags.
You can order Pompeii tickets and tours to suit your needs in advance. No queueing and waiting, no foreign exchange issues.
• Skip-the-line entry ticket to Herculaneum • Instant confirmation • Free cancellation • Option to present ticket on smartphone
For those who don't want the hassle of finding your own way and appreciate being informed on what you are witnessing, the stress free option is to simply take a tour that sets out from Naples with pick-ups at the cruise terminal and major hotels in Naples.
If you are coming from Rome by train, tours will pick-up from the Starhotels Terminus Hotel, a major hotel immediately outside the main entrance of Naples Centrale Station on your left.
• Free hotel pickup and drop-off included • Led by a local guide • 3-course lunch included
Using a local private car and driver is a very attractive option and for small groups can be very affordable too. For those coming from Rome you can be met at Centrale Station.
Your English speaking driver will meet n greet you at Naples Centrale Station and will ensure your trip encompasses exactly what you want to see at a pace set by you.
All vehicles are non smoking and fully air conditioned.
We offer three sizes of vehicle, for 1-3 people, 4 or 5 people and 6 to 8 people. Price is per vehicle not passenger.
After booking you pay a small deposit and receive a voucher through email. The remainder will be paid directly to the driver.
• Free hotel pickup and drop-off included • Led by a local guide • 3-course lunch included • Option to add on Herculaneum and/or Mount Vesuvius
• Private round-trip transportation between Naples and Pompeii plus the Amalfi Coast • See Sorrento and Positano • Option to add on guide for Pompeii excavations
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