Visiting Mount Vesuvius Independently

A Practical Guide For Those Planning On Visiting Mount Vesuvius

Pompeii To Mount Vesuvius Bus

Pompeii To Mount Vesuvius Bus
(Busvia del Vesuvio)

Mount Vesuvius is famous as the volcano that erupted in Roman times (AD 79) and buried Pompeii. The volcano is just 6 miles from the modern city of Naples and is a very popular visitor attraction with a lot of visitors coupling a half day at Pompeii with a visit to Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is one of the world's most dangerous volcanoes. The volcano has an eruption cycle of about 20 years, but the last eruption was in 1944.

It not at all unsafe to visit Mount Vesuvius but before you go you should be prepared. This is not Disneyland, vehicles do not go to the top but will drop you off at an altitude of around 1000m.

The trail to the top climbs just under another 200m. For most people in reasonable condition its no problem but if you are not 100% fit or have a medical problem you may want to take advice.

The most common mistake by tourists is simply not to come prepared. Many turn up in T shirts not realising its a lot colder at this altitude than on the coast. You may need rain gear, you may need a hat, sun screen and lots of water - just be prepared.

Mount Vesuvius National Park

Since 1995 the volcano has been a National Park.

Gone is the funicular railway and commercial exploitation, in its place nature trails, preservation of fauna and local culture is the focus. Of the nine trails, trail number 5 is the one most tourists take from the car park (for which there is a fee) to the cone of the crater.

After paying for your ticket, the full path winds for a total distance of 3807m to a maximum altitude of 1170m above sea level. The entire excursion, there and back, takes 3 hours.

However the full path may well not be open to you or you may need special permission. The medium length path ascends 140m with an average gradient of 14% and can be walked in approximately 2 hours, there and back. The short length path takes an hour and may be the only option available and is normally the one available if you are on a tour.

Access to a volcanology guide is part of the ticket.

Unless the volcano is shrouded in cloud do expect great views whichever path you take. The views across the Bay of Naples are great, but its the view down into the crater that is the lasting memory for most. Don't expect bubbling lava lakes or anything like that, sulphur gases are about as much as you should expect in that respect.

Getting To Mount Vesuvius By Public Transport

A lot of visitors visit to Mount Vesuvius is by tour buses that go direct to the car park at 1,000m. For independent minded travelers the trip is going to be two stage. First a trip on Circumvesuviana train from Naples or Sorrento to either Ercolano Scava or Pompeii train station then a bus of one sort or another.

Circumvesuviana train at Pompeii Station

Circumvesuviana train
at Pompeii Station

Circumvesuviana Train

In Naples the Circumvesuviana trains run from two stations including the main Central (Garibaldi) Station

From Naples journey times is about 20 minutes to Ercolano Scavi and 40 minutes to Pompeii.

From Sorrento journey times is about 50 minutes to Ercolano Scavi and 30 minutes to Pompeii.

Trains are cheap and crowded, the ticket offices do not take credit cards, cash only.

Circumvesuviana Trains - Full Details

Ercolano Scavi To Mount Vesuvius

Ercolano Scavi is the closest station to Mount Vesuvius access. When you spill out of the train station there is normally a collection of taxi's and mini-buses that will take you to Mount Vesuvius. Reviews on things like TripAdvisor have been very mixed, the main problem being around the logistics of the return leg,

Vesuvio Express Ercolano

There is a more formal shuttle bus service called Vesuvio Express that advertises on its web site that it runs every 40 minutes from Ercolano Station.

Pompeii To Mount Vesuvius

Although Pompeii is further from Mount Vesuvius the the bus options up to Mount Vesuvius are more mainstream tourist with firm timetables, established tour companies and advance purchase ticketing.

There are two main companies from Pompeii, you will find both as you exit Pompeii Station.

Tramvia del Vesuvia Tram To Mount Vesuvius

Tramvia del Vesuvia Tram
Mount Vesuvius

Busvia del Vesuvio

The purpose designed vehicles of Busvia del Vesuvio, (see picture at top of page) are certainly the most professional and the proposition being offered is also the best described in advance.

Departures run hourly from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 23 seat, air-conditioned vehicles.

The trip length is 2.5 hours and you can make reservations in advance on their web site.

Tramvia del Vesuvia

Bit of a mystery why a tram style vehicle, apart from the novelty value. It must be a bone shaker of a ride!.

This two hour in length option leaves six times a day, three early morning, three early afternoon.

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