Mount Vesuvius is actually an active volcano 1280 meters high that guards the city of Pompeii in the Bay of Naples, in the Campania region. Almost 2000 years ago it erupted and its lava buried, among others, the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Although the archaeological site is the Mecca of pilgrimage for millions of visitors every year, Vesuvius is well worth a visit. It is quite easy and accessible to reach its summit, to contemplate the crater of the volcano and get the best views of the region. Are you convinced yet? Read on!
The best way to climb Vesuvius: a hike from Pompeii
One of the reasons that will bring you to this area is undoubtedly to visit the archaeological site of Pompeii, the Roman city where life stopped that morning in August '79 when Vesuvius erupted. Today it is possible to stroll through its cobbled streets, see its temples, theaters, baths, amphitheaters and even some taverns of the time that are preserved petrified since then.
Vesuvius guards Pompeii as it is located 25 kilometers from it. You can get there by public transport, a bus that costs about 3,50€ approximately, or renting a car. But undoubtedly the most convenient way to get there is to take an organized excursion to Pompeii from Rome or an excursion to Pompeii from Naples that includes a stop at Vesuvius in its itinerary. This way you will not have to worry about anything: a guide will accompany you at all times during the visit and the private bus that will take you to and from the city will bring you to the top of the volcano.
There is so much demand to visit the area that many excursions include different services and one of them is the ascent to the volcano. Be well informed before the itinerary and opt for one of the complete options that take you up to the crater of the volcano after the visit to the archaeological site.
Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion from Rome
If you are traveling in the Eternal City and you have holes in your itinerary, I recommend you to take an excursion to Pompeii and Vesuvius. One of the richest places in the world in historical, archaeological and cultural terms. A city covered by the ashes of the eruption of the volcano in 79, which remains perfectly preserved today.
Visit the archaeological site, walk through its streets and then take a bus up to the mythical Mount Vesuvius, the protagonist of this story that left petrified in time, a small part of the Roman Empire.
You will have round trip transfer, tickets to the National Park of Mount Vesuvius, the archaeological site of Pompeii and the company of an expert guide, all included.
Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion from Naples
If you plan to visit Naples instead, then you have an easier time booking an excursion to Pompeii and Vesuvius from there.
An activity that lasts about 7 hours and that will take you directly to the city buried in ashes due to the eruption of the volcano in 79. You will always be accompanied by a professional guide who will teach you interesting facts and curiosities of that Ancient Rome so full of life and activity.
You will tour the entire archaeological site and then you can climb to the top of Mount Vesuvius, to enjoy the panoramic views and the peace that the Italian meadows convey, before your return to the Neapolitan metropolis.
How to reach Vesuvius on your own
If you decide to reach Pompeii on your own, don't worry because the top of the volcano is also accessible for those who travel on their own. Between the archaeological site and the volcano there are only about 20 kilometers and it won't take you more than half an hour to get there. You have three main options, each with its own particular advantages and, of course, a different price.
From Pompeii to Vesuvius by car
If you have reached Pompeii in your own car or rental car, the most practical way is to use it to reach the volcano as well. The road is very well signposted and the road is practically straight, you will drive parallel to the sea following the direction of Herculaneum.
You will arrive at the national park and at the foot of the volcano, where some curves start so you can drive up part of the road and limit the time of the ascent on foot. I leave you this link to Google Maps so you can check the suggested itinerary and the traffic conditions at the time of your departure.
The parking lot is about a thousand meters above sea level, so you will only have to walk the last stretch of the climb (do not be confident, it is short but the climb is quite steep) and you will finally reach the top of the crater. Parking there costs 6 €.
From Pompeii to Vesuvius by cab
A quick and very comfortable way to move between the archaeological site of Pompeii and Vesuvius is to take a cab. If you are traveling in a group of 3 or 4 people, seriously consider this option because it may be economically worthwhile to go by cab.
It should not be too difficult to find a cab at the exit of the Pompeii archaeological park, but if you are more relaxed, you can always look for a cab service online and order it via web or by phone. Some recommended cab companies in the area are RTLA Partenope Srl and Cooperativa cab Vulcano A RL. You can try contacting them by calling this number to book in advance +39 081 542 3101.
The price is around 25-30 € each way and it won't take you more than half an hour to get there. The cab driver will drop you off at the parking lot at an altitude of 1000 meters where you will have to walk.
From Pompeii to Vesuvius by bus
The cheapest and most popular option for visitors to Pompeii is to arrive by public transport, the bus that takes you from the archaeological site to the volcano. It is a public service with frequent departures linking both attractions and on arrival at the volcano, as do cabs and cars, will leave you at 1000 meters above sea level so you can make the last stretch on foot.
The trip takes just over half an hour and the ticket price is 2.70 € per person and takes about 50 minutes to make the journey. You can check the stops, general information and timetables on the EAV website.
How much does it cost to climb Vesuvius
Depending on how you have decided to get there, your visit will require a different budget. In general, the entrance to the national park costs 10€ per person and can be purchased online at the Italian ticketing site Vivaticket.
Parking also costs a fee and you can book your parking space online in advance: think that once you get up there there will be no coverage, so anything you can carry booked in advance will make your visit easier. You can do this through the official Parksuvio website. Depending on the type of vehicle you bring, the price ranges from 3 to 6 € (for example, a standard vehicle with capacity for 5 passengers costs 3 €, a mini van or van, 6).
How is the ascent to Vesuvius
As mentioned above, the climb up to 1000 meters can be done by bus, cab or car, so you will only have to walk the last stretch. Even so, the level of difficulty of the climb is medium, since there is a difference in altitude of about 140 meters that your legs will notice as you go along the route.
What you will see from the top
On a clear day (which fortunately in this area of Italy is the vast majority of days of the year), you will have magnificent views of the Bay of Naples. At your feet will be some of the towns and villages surrounding the Vesuvius national park, such as Herculaneum, but you will also have an aerial view of the Mediterranean and the islands off Naples, such as Procida, Ischia or Capri.
How much time do you need to climb Vesuvius?
Calculate that between getting there, going up, taking pictures while enjoying the views from the top and making the descent, you will need almost half a day or half an afternoon. Calculate the opening and closing times of the national park to make sure you have enough time to make the climb at your leisure.
Tips for climbing Vesuvius
Climbing Vesuvius is a unique experience, but I recommend that you follow these tips to make the experience go smoothly:
- Be aware of the weather forecast: in winter, the temperature at the top of the volcano is much lower than what you will feel when you start the climb. Be prepared with several layers of warm clothing and a waterproof jacket or windbreaker. In summer, if the temperature is too high, the park itself may close during the central hours or not recommend the climb to avoid health problems.
- Although the walking section is relatively short and the difficulty of the trail is medium, the climb is not recommended for people with cardiovascular problems.
- Wear comfortable shoes to be able to cope with the hike (if you have visited the archaeological site of Pompeii in sandals, I recommend carrying sports or hiking shoes in your backpack as a spare).
- Book in advance: cab, parking and national park entrance fees, the earlier you book, the better.
- Bring water and a snack in your backpack to recover your strength at the top.
- Calculate the time you will need to go up and down andavoid that it gets dark when you are at the top. Opening hours are adapted to the winter and summer seasons, so check before you travel.