Capri or Pompeii?

Jan 4th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Capri or Pompeii?

Were booked for Italy in June, 2.5 days in Venice (Locanda Orseolo)and 7 days in Rome (Del Senato). We'd like to take the train from Rome to Naples and visit either Capri or Pompeii. It will be the first visit to either location and would appreciate thoughts one which is the better choice and which sights not to miss on our one day trip.

rohani is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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Considering the fact that it's a day trip only, I'd vote for Pompei.

nnolen is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Any reason why?
rohani is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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I would take the dawn eurostar to Naples. If not rainy or windy, take ferry to Capri, which will be a refreshing change from hot cities and ruins. Then if you can possibly tear yourself away early, take the short ferry to Sorrento and board the train to Naples which stops in Pompeii, which is open quite late.

You can do the loop in reverse, skipping whatever based on weather and impulse. Pompeii is amazing, but hot and somewhat redundant to what you've been experiencing in the Roman forum or sidetrip to Ostia Antica ruins near Rome's airport.

This whole issue has been extensively covered in the archives you can search. My greatest travel regret was not combining Capri with Pompeii on my first day tour long ago. Much later found I liked Capri far better than Pompeii, and Rome least of all.
viking is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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I think the answer depends on you and what your interests are. Having been to both places, I'd never choose Capri over Pompeii. We found Capri mostly interested in luring tourists to expensive shops, whereas Pompeii was a completely fascinating trip back in history.

There are some beautiful vistas and some interesting ruins on Capri, but you have to be willing to seek them out and in good shape to do the climbing to get to the best places. The weather also is a major factor, of course.

Still, Capri would be more of a change from Rome than Pompeii, and as someone else said, you might be better off visiting Ostia Antica than Pompeii, as you wouldn't have to spend so much time getting there.

If you're fascinated by Roman history, don't miss Pompeii. If you like the outdoors and are looking for a change from Roman ruins, then Capri might be a better choice for you.

I do think it would be too much to do both on the same day and go back to Rome.
nonnafelice is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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Thank you these are all great advices and good information to start.
rohani is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 03:39 PM
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Capri can be very "jet set," especially the Piazza Umberto, which is called the "living room" of Capri. Here you will find the beautiful people sitting around sipping Campari, decked out with their Dior sunglasses and Hermes handbags. However, you will also see "day trippers" with their packed lunches sitting along the walkways of Capri. This mix of people make Capri very interesting.

Pompeii is a very different kind of place, as it is a tourist attraction that is "historical." Capri is an attraction because it is relaxing and beautiful. Pompeii is "educational," whilst Capri is a place to go shopping, walk around, and dine in fabulous little trattorias.

I like both places, but they are each a very different experience. It is like comparing apples and oranges.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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lol if i calculate my travel time rome -pompei, and you want CAPRI ?? as daytrip no dude it is virtually impossible

takes extra time to get to the coast,and then you need another connection with the boat and stuff

the blue grot is nice, but you should consider spending 1 night in napoli and take a second day for capri in my opinion...

pompei / vesuvius seems more intresting than capri also
aquadigio is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 10:30 PM
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Combining them is very possible and I have detailed the exact footsteps/timeframe in the archive. There used to be a guided tour combining them which I regretfully passed up long ago, but then our Pompeii tour swung by sparkling Sorrento anyway. Since then I have combined Capri with even far off Paestum Greek ruins; a bigger challenge.

If the weather is good, at least extend a Pompeii visit for an hour excursion to the beautiful Sorrento seacliffs - a huge remedy to the otherwise grim utilitarian journey Rome-Naples-Pompeii. And for the Sorrento-Naples portion (coming or going) you simply must travel by water for the sweeping view of Vesuvius, etc. In fact go by Capri if just to have a gelato between ferry connections - the close view of the island from a ferry is astonishing.

Maybe it's too crowded to linger in June, but a quick trip up the hill to the backside of Capri village really rewards in various cliffside gardens. I love Pompeii too, certainly far more than Herculeum or Ostia Antica, but if you plan ahead you don't need a full day for it's highlights.
viking is offline  
Jan 4th, 2005, 10:52 PM
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Combining them - while remotely possible - would do both places an injustice. Pompeii alone takes hours to see, it is huge. Paestum, on the other hand, is much smaller and entirely do-able when combining with another place. Comparing the two archaeological sites is inaccurate as it is much quicker to navigate around Paestum as it is Pompeii.

Given the time to allow for the train down to Naples, then boat transfers to/from Capri, the places to see on Capri, then allowing enough time (4-5+ hours) to walk around Pompeii, there is just not enough time in 1 day to manage both thoroughly. You might consider making it a 2 day trip (deducting the days from your 7 in Rome) so that while in Capri, you could overnight there (or in Naples) then see Pompeii the next day, allowing time for late afternoon return train back up to Rome.
Huitres is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 05:48 AM
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Sorry I was sort of vague in that first post!

I would choose Pompei based on time restrictions only.

I just think it is too much for a day trip to try to get down to Naples, get to the port, get on a boat, and get out to Capri. That's an awful lot of hassle for just a couple of hours on the island.

I am a HUGE fan of Capri, but I think if you really want to appreciate the island's beauty, a day trip isn't going to cut it.

However, I think most people CAN cover the Pompei ruins pretty thoroughly in a single day, thus my vote for Pompei.

I can't tell you that Pompei is a "better choice", but I think it's a more realistic one given your time frame. In my opinion, trying to cram both into one day doesn't allow you to fully experience either.

BTW, Capri is not just pretty faces and expensive labels. Getting off the beaten path gets you some ruins, too. Villa Jovis is particularly interesting, though quite a hike!

nnolen is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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So the consensus is to spend 3 hrs training to Pompeii, about 4.5 hours on site, then 3 hrs traveling back? Although Pompeii could justifiy much much longer, I do agree about taking it in smaller bites partly due to relentless shadeless heat.

This just seems like such a depressing waste of opportunity. You've invested all that travel time into yet more hot, urban grind, yet are minutes away from the most refreshingly beautiful coastlines of the planet.

It sure is nice to avoid the hot middle of the day, and in June Pompeii accomodates this with exceptionally long hours - you could start a long (daylit!) visit maybe even 16:00. Furthermore departing Rome at dawn can put you in Capri as early as 10:00. Closing the loop is the briefest, frequent ferry ride to sparkling Sorrento and brief frequent train to Pompeii.

Granted this is aggressive, and has pitfalls that should be anticipated by a first timer by more homework/discussion. Even the Pompeii gravy run has pitfalls in the Naples train xfer we haven't discussed. But it shows the window of opportunity that folks should be made aware of, and think of using at least partially.

With the Pompeii area so surrounded by wonders and the site itself being so convenient (they'll even store luggage of passing travelers for free!), I focus on the trickier destinations and work in Pompeii in the leftover chunks of time. I have combined a Pompeii daytrip with Capri, Positano, and Paestum (altho not from Rome, nearly impossible connections) and just loved the smorgebord of contrasts.

OK, you've heard how Vikings storm the coast, but I do think Italy has a unique appeal to it's Amalfi (and riviera) coastlines that ought be be experienced even if it's challenging...
viking is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 01:29 AM
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Rohani - I agree with Viking. If you don't mind an early start you can see more than just Pompei - and it's a pity to miss the chance.

Personally for a day trip I'd do Pompei + the Amalfi Coast rather than Pompei + Capri.

[The best way to do this would be to take an early train from Rome down to Salerno and take the first ferry along the coast to Amalfi.

From Amalfi you could go to Positano by ferry or bus, and maybe have lunch there. Then from Positano it's easy to reach Pompei by public transport (bus to Meta, then train to Pompei Scavi)

Sure - it's a long day. But I did it several times when I lived in Rome and had visitors.
Not one of them ever regretted it

Steve_James is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 04:58 AM
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An opinion from somebody leaving in Sorrento and working in the tourism business:
Try to visit Capri when you'll have the chance to spend at least 1 night there. The "day travellers" make it over packed from the time the first ferry gets to Capri until the last leaves it (too touristy to enjoy). The island shows a very different exclusive beauty in the remaining hours!
Doing both Capri and Pompei coming from Rome would be such a hard day considering you'll have 4 hours train (Rome-Nap-Rome), almost 2 hours boat, 1 hour local train (Nap-Pom-Nap) and if you're lucky another hour or two for all the waiting unbetween, which makes a total of 9 hours ca. and you haven't visited anything yet!!!
At the end: Visit Pompei, a unique site, not even Rome offers a place that represents Roman life in a 3D picture taken that far away day of August in 79 a.C.
francesco_m is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Great information you have all provided! We would probably only do one of the locations. Were leaning more towards Capri for the reason as some mentioned that it's different than what we'd be seeing in Rome. We don't have expectations of being able to do and see all, but a few points of interest to us.

The first EUI(Eurostar) train ride from Rome-Naples (info of Rail Europe)is at 845am reaching at 1030am (earlier ones are on the IC). We plan to take the hydrofoil, and would like to know if there is a specific location we should be taking it from and returning to and how late they operate (last Eurostar leaves around 730pm back to Rome).

We plan to purchase the train tickets from Rome-Naples a day or so before and then from Naples-Rome the day of the visit. Would this be ok?

Again, thank you for all of your insights. Nothing beats first hand expierence!
rohani is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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I wouldn't necessarily look at only Rail Europe for train times. You may want to check as well. I learned long ago that only seems to list about half the train schedules that are usually available. I put in June 1, 2005 (not sure what day you want to go to Naples), and it shows a 6:45 a.m. ES (Eurostar Italia) train that leaves Rome and arrives at 8:38 in Naples.

Here is the website if you are interested:

For what its worth, we visited Pompeii as a daytrip from Rome and we had a wonderful time.
tcreath is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Excellent advice Francesco, it is exactly what I was suggesting too (overnighting in Capri).

Rohani, you should only be checking the website as it is the most accurate and up-to-date with all train information. I have found the Rail Europe site to not be updated as frequently and is not as reliable as the primary source:

Note: you can buy your train tickets the day of or the day before, really a matter of preference. Also, if the lines are long at Roma's Termini (which they often are), you can buy the tickets out of the machines there in the entrance of the station (I have done so twice). You can pay with V, MC, AMEX and go directly to the binario (track) after validating them. Very simple. Also, you can buy the return trip tickets at the same time - even if you miss that train, you can use them on another return, no problem. Again, I have done both several times.

The hydrofoils depart from Napoli's Beverello port, near the Piazza Municipio. There is a bus/tram #1 that departs from outside the Napoli train station (in Piazza Garibaldi) that goes to the Piazza Municipio. The boats are ahead of you about 100 yards from the stop. Alternatively, you could take a taxi directly there.

If you do the overnight Capri option, remember to use caution when in the Napoli centrale station and in Piazza Garibaldi (I was robbed there). Keep your baggage in view and close to your person at all times, remove any rings or jewelry (your wife's) that you may have on so as to discourage potential interest.
Huitres is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 03:02 PM
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Good advice again. Now that you've brought up Trenitalia. We are planning on taking the train from Venice to Rome and were going to purchase those tickets on the ES with seat reservations in the states before we leave. Thought this would be better than dealing with it in Venice and also making sure we had seats as we'll have luggage. Is this the way to go and does can we purchase in advance from Trenitalia?
rohani is offline  
Jan 7th, 2005, 01:42 AM
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Rohani - If you're in Venice for a couple of days I'd book your ES Rome tickets there.

If you really want to book in advance you can do so online through the Trenitalia website.

Re a day-trip to Capri, you really need to leave well before 08.45 - otherwise you won't be in Capri before lunchtime.

Hope this helps ...


Steve_James is offline  
Jan 7th, 2005, 01:53 AM
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I've bought all my train tickets in Italy, when I am there. Often schedules change slightly and I would rather just get mine there in person. I have never had a problem purchasing tickets nor lack of seat reservations, etc. I travel to Italy all 4 seasons of the year and even in the height of summer (August), I have not had trouble getting seats. But I suppose it is a matter of preference. Those that have used the Trenitalia site to purchase tickets in advance in the U.S. might like the convenience of doing so beforehand. I believe a handling/delivery charge is added to the order, so cost would be slightly more than buying in person.

If you are concerned about the ES train from Venice-Roma, then buy the tickets the first day you are in Venice so you are not rushing to buy them on the day of your departure.

What I have done in advance when in Italy is to purchase several city pairs ahead of time (e.g. at Roma's Termini station, I've bought tix for R-Napoli, Napoli-Salerno, Napoli-Caserta, etc. even if not in that city when purchasing!). It saves some time and you'll have some of your tickets in advance.
Huitres is offline  

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