This year, I went to Naples – mainly to visit nearby Pompeji and Mount Vesuv. I did a lot of research and found a lot of tours to the historic site of Pompeji and up the Vesuv; however, I decided to do it on my own to save some bucks I could spend on ice cream later on. And I can tell you: it’s so much easier to do it on my own than I would’ve thought!
Getting to Pompeji is pretty easy: from the train station Piazza Garibaldi take the train that goes to Sorrento and get out at the station Pompeji Scavi (not the other Pompeji stop!!). A single ticket costs 3,60€ and you have to purchase the ticket at the counter (have a look at the change, chances are quite likely that people will try to scam you!) and then validate it when going down to the train.
When you arrived in Pompeji, either follow the masses or, if you’re alone or the first one, get out of the train station and go right. After a few metres you’ll find the entrance to the historic site of Pompeji on the left hand side.
On your way from the train station to Pompeji there are tons of people trying to sell you tickets, private tours, audio guides etc. I would always suggest to not buy anything from them: when you buy your tickets at the official site you’ll also get a booklet with lots of information which made a guide needless to me.
Whatever happens, take enough food with you !!! Prices are, as you can imagine, dizzying here! As you’re allowed to take food inside the historic sites better bring your lunchbox with you to avoid a crash!
Getting up the Vesuv
This was a tricky one to me, I did a lot of research but couldn’t really find much about that topic. In the end, it was quite easy (but realtively pricey though) to get up the former volcano: when you exit the train station of Pompeji Scavi there’s a small counter where you can buy your tickets to get up the Vesuv by private (shared) buses. You’ll pay 12€ for the trip itself plus 10€ for National Park entrance fees (it actually is just 8€ as I found out on the ticket, so I’d rather say the ride costs 14€). When you get your tickets you’ll be brought to the car park of the Vesuv and from there you’ll get up the mountain by offroad cars – and I can tell you: even the ride itself is a dear adventure on these bumpy roads. Theses cars will bring you to the highest point which is accessible by car. From there, it takes you approximately 15-20 mins by foot to get up to the cone of the former volcano! When you’re there, you can walk around the cone and enjoy the view and the feeling of standing on an old volcano that killed so many people.
Consider two things: the last bus up to the Vesuv goes at 4 o’clock and if you’re visiting in summer it gets incredibly hot on the historic site of Pompeji. What worked out best for me was to visit Pompeji in the morning (the site opens at 9) and then leave around noon to jump into a cold bus and enjoy the fresh breeze on top of Mount Vesuv (it really gets cold, be prepared for that!) and I would always do it like this again!
Getting back to Naples
Accomodation in Naples is cheaper than in Pompeji and with approxmiately 45 – 60 minutes it’s absolutely doable to go back to Naples after your visit. As in Naples, tickets can be bought at the counter in the train station and also cost 3,60€.