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Visiting Pompeii, Italy

What to expect, tickets, tours and advice on getting to Pompeii

Pompeii - how to visit
Will I need a tour guide at Pompeii?

Where is Pompeii?

The world famous Pompeii is 150 miles south of Rome, fairly close to Naples. It is a long day from Rome or an easy excursion from Naples or the very popular holiday area around Sorrento. Many people combine their trip to Pompeii in one full day with Mount Vesuvius, the famous volcano.

As Pompeii re-opens after the enforced Coronavirus closure, visitors will see that all the recommended measures are in place to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit. They have also opened up new houses and gardens that have never been seen by the public before, to help encourage and reward visitors to the site.

Pompeii, the archaeological site, is part of Pompeii, a sizable town to the south of Naples, midway between Naples and Sorrento. The regular Circumvesuviana trains run about twice an hour between the Naples and Sorrento stopping at Pompeii. Trains are cheap and crowded, in many ways the journey experience is more like a Metro train than a “proper” train.

Getting to Pompeii independently

=Circumsuviana train to Pompeii Scavia train station
Circumsuviana train to Pompeii Scavia train station

For independently minded travellers using public transport the trip is going to involve a trip on Circumvesuviana train from Naples or Sorrento to Pompeii Scavia train station, crudely half way long the route about 30 minutes from either.

If you are travelling from Rome, the Circumvesuviana trains depart from a station adjacent to the main Naples Centrale station where the inter-city trains arrive.

Circumvesuviana train - full details

Visiting Pompeii - opening times, facilities, entrance gates and luggage

Pompeii entrance
Pompeii entrance
=Pompeii ruins people walking
Walking the ancient roads of Pompeii

How long is a visit?

The Pompeii site is vast.

If you have a deep interest in the subject matter you will need all day, most leisure tourists may spend 2 hours, 3 hours at most.

Pompeii opening times

Due to the pandemic the opening times of Pompeii has been adapted. It is now open from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

The site opens at 9am and is open for entry until 5.30pm. The actual site closes at 7pm.

Luggage and bags

Luggage or bags larger than 30x30x15cm are not allowed into Pompeii.

There is a cloakroom at the entrance gates where you can leave bags and there is a commercial left luggage facility by the Circumvesuviana train station.

Three Pompeii entrance gates

There are three main entrance gates. Two gates are close together at the south western corner of the Pompeii site, one by the Circumvesuviana train station, the other by where all the coaches deposit their passengers-quite close by.

The other entrance main gate (Piazza Anfitheatro) is about 15 minutes walk to the east in the town of Pompeii itself. The public bus to Mount Vesuvius terminates here.

Facilities within Pompeii and at entrance gates

It is worth emphasising that once inside Pompeii, facilities are minimal and totally non-commercial. There is just one small restaurant/cafe and rest room facility in the middle of the site, plus rest rooms at the entrances.

This is not Disneyland, don't expect ice-cream stands and other commercial distractions scattered around the ruins.

The whole site is also very exposed with minimal shade, so it is imperative you bring lots of sunscreen, a hat and water. If you forget, make sure you get supplies from the tourist village outside before you enter.

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

Do I need a tour guide or an audio guide at Pompeii?

=Pompeii / Herculaneum audio guide
Pompeii/Herculaneum audio guide

There is very little in the way of information within Pompeii 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.

When you buy your ticket there should be available a map of the site. Normally it's more a matter of you asking for a map than them giving you one, but make sure you don't leave the entrance area without one.

There is also a small complementary booklet called “A brief guide to Pompeii”. Again you may have to go looking for it. Inside the booklet are notes against all the locations on the audio tour. It is worth the effort seeking this out.

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

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 by the admissions desk.

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.


Pompeii tickets

You can order Pompeii tickets and tours to suit your needs in advance. No queueing and waiting, no foreign exchange issues.

Up until last year admission was free during regular hours on the first Sunday of the month for all visitors. However this Government policy was changed and museums and cultural sites were allowed to choose if they were to offer this free entry or not. This change was due to the problems that occured with the vast amount of tourist visitors descending on free days alongside locals, making the attraction and surrounding area difficult to manage. Some attractions continue to offer every first Sunday of the month free, Pompeii does not.

In 2019 Pompeii offered the first Sunday of the month free in the off peak season, October to March, plus it signed up to the Io Vado AI Museo initiative which envisaged 20 days of free admission to all Mibac sites in a calendar year. As well as the first Sundays of the month from October to March, and the Museum Week. There have however been changes in thought since then and the programmes are awaiting an update for 2020.

Pompeii

Skip-the-line Pompeii ruins ticket

Skip-the-line Pompeii tickets
Skip-the-line Pompeii tickets

• Skip-the-line entry ticket to Pompeii • Instant confirmation • Free cancellation • Option to present ticket on smartphone

pompeii

Pompeii skip-the-line small group tour

Pompeii half day tour
The best of Pompeii tour

• Max 15 per group • 3-hour tour in am or pm • Expert guide • Peek into ancient lives: a bakery, the old port, public baths • Stroll along the city walls for panoramic views of Naples and Capri

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, Pompeii and Herculaneum.


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


artecard

Campania ArteCard

Campania Artecard
3-day tourist pass - sights and transport around Naples

• Includes Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum • Free entry to the first 2 visited museum and/or archeological sites of your choice (Pompei ed Herculaneum Scavi) • Discount of 50% from the 3rd museum or archaeological site visited

Tours to Pompeii from Naples, Rome & Sorrento

We have dedicated pages for a wide choice of guided day tours visiting Pompeii that originate from Naples, Rome and Sorrento.

Pompeii day tours from Naples - full details

Pompeii day tours from Rome - full details

Pompeii day tours from Sorrento - full details

Private tours to Pompeii & Ercolano (Herculaneum) from Naples

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.

pompeii

Private visit to Pompeii from Naples

Pompeii and Herculaneum day trip from Naples
Naples tour to Pompeii with option to stop at Herculaneum and Mt Vesuvius

• 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

pompeii

Private Pompeii & Amalfi Coast tour

Pompeii and Herculaneum day trip from Naples
Visit Pompeii - Sorrento, Positano and the Amalfi Coast with driver

• 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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