You don’t want to go all that way and have your day in ruins so I thought I’d pass on some tips – I have a lava of them but here’s just 7 of them:
- Pompeii alternates between cobbles, dirt tack or gigantic stepping stones and Vesuvius is a dusty, rocky uphill tack – so wear sturdy footwear and be prepared for aches and blisters the next day
- Keep your eye on the weather – Pompeii has very little shade (take sunscreen, hat and water), even on an early Spring day in April it was a hot and sweaty experience. The further you climb up Vesuvius the colder it gets (so take extra layers) and if you have a choice of days then choose a less cloudy one as the views are magnificent and if I’d climbed all that way and couldn’t see anything I’d be really annoyed!
- Pompeii has only one desk for collection and return of audio guides (you need to leave ID as a deposit), the main one at Porta Marina. It is not worth using the smaller Piazza Anfiteatro entrance (which always has much smaller queues) and then walking through the site to Porta Marina to pick up your audio guide – trust me, really! But it is worth getting the audio guide – it was wonderful and brought the city back to life. Vesuvius doesn’t have audio guides but desperately needs them – see previous post.
- Recommended visiting time for Pompeii is 3 hours (minimum) and for Vesuvius between 1.5 -2 hours (I did 5.5 hours and nearly 3 respectively), so if you are visiting both on the same day it is going to be a long day
- Prices when you are doing it on a budget (not a package tour)
- Train from Naples: €4
- Entrance fee: €15 – Pompeii
- Audio guide: €8 – worth the fee
- Water: €1 – Pompeii has free water fountains, so refill it before leaving
- Lunch: €4 – home made sandwiches & snacks
- Ice cream: €3 – I don’t consider ice cream a luxury
- Bus to Vesuvius: €8 – approx (return)
- Entrance fee: €10 – Vesuvius
- Train to Naples: €4
- It is easy to get swept along with the tourist crowd and its’ pace – take some time away from it and give yourself some space to reflect on what you are really seeing
- Head down to Pompei town – there is a wonderful church (The Pontifical Shrine of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei, gotta love the Catholic church for their naming abilities) and a 240ft bell tower, which is a short, sharp climb but has great views. Around the square, in front of the church, are some lovely bars and cafes – much nicer than those in front of the Porta Marina entrance and much better value for money. It may be a 20-minute walk from the main entrance but the square is only a few minutes’ walk from either of the two train stations so if you are on public transport it is a much nicer end to your day trip.