Visiting Pompeii, Italy

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


Pompeii guide

Tours at Pompeii: you can hire a guide outside

 

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Official website - 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.


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.


There is also a national railways local train that connects Naples with Salerno and stops at a different station in the town of Pompeii itself, about 700m from the main entrance to Pompeii.

Visiting Pompeii - Logistics of a visit

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.


Typical visitor scene at Pompeii

For tour groups and individuals: entrance to Pompeii

Pompeii opening times?

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

From 1st April to 31st October the site is open 9.00 - 7.30pm (with last entrance 6pm).

At other times the site is open 9.00 - 5:30 pm (with last entrance 3.30pm).


Do I need a tour guide? / audio guides

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.


Pompeii / Herculaneum Audio Guide

Audio guides: Pompeii/ Herculaneum

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.


3 Pompeii Entrance Gates

Typical visitor scene at Pompeii

Walk down ancient roads: Pompeii

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.


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.

Pompeii ticketing

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


Admission is free during regular hours on the first Sunday of the month for all visitors


Pompeii Entrance Tickets
Pompeii 3 hour small group tour

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

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.


Unico Artcard Naples

Getting to Pompeii

Circumvesuviana train at Pompeii Station

Circumvesuviana train
at Pompeii Station

If you are not visiting on a tour or have accommodation in Pompeii then the most popular 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 Pompeii goes from Naples to Sorrento.


Circumvesuviana trains Naples to Sorrento via Pompeii.

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 45 minutes to Naples and 30 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


Metropolitan Railway Naples to Salerno via Pompeii.

The Metropolitan Railway is a branch (line 2) of the Naples Metro system.


The station at Pompeii is in the town, further from the entrances of Pompeii than the Circumvesuviana line whose station is less than 100 yards from an entrance.


The plus side is that the trains may well be less crowded than the Circumvesuviana trains and you can purchase tickets online through TrenItalia.


Naples Centrale Station / Naples Garibaldi Station Confusion

In Naples the main transport hub to get to Pompeii is at the main train station, Naples Centrale, where all the national railways service terminate or pass through.


Both Circumvesuviana trains and Metropolitan Railway trains run from a station called Naples Garibaldi.

Although Naples Garibaldi has its own separate platforms and entrances it is physically part of Naples Centrale Station.


Naples Centrale Station is the main station on ground level. From ground level escalators go down one level to an underground shopping centre and go further down to the Naples Metro.

Naples Garibaldi Station is on the same level as the shopping centre and is well signed.


If you are travelling to Pompeii from Naples Garibaldi Station once you have gone through the ticket barriers make sure you descend down the the platform for the train service to Pompeii you have purchased a ticket for!


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