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How best to do a Pompeii day trip? on our own? with an organized tour?

How best to do a Pompeii day trip? on our own? with an organized tour?

Old Jun 20th, 2009, 11:39 AM
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How best to do a Pompeii day trip? on our own? with an organized tour?

We'll be spending 6 days/6 nights in Rome, and want to spend one of those days visiting Pompeii. We will be visiting mid-August. How is the best way to do this?

Should we take the train down there ourselves, do everything on our own, and possibly find a tourguide at Pompeii when we get there? Then we would return whenever we want...

Should we book some kind of tour group, go down their by bus, have the day scheduled? I've seen some that include your plans once you are down, others that are primarily the transportation.

What are the pros/cons of each approach? Do they differ significantly in price? We are mid-20s and this is our first trip to Italy if that makes a difference. Any other recommendations for our Pompeii day?
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 11:50 AM
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The do it yourself tour is not difficult. Train from Rome Termini to Naples central, at Naples central go downstairs and catch the Circumvesuviana to Pompeii Scavi. At the entrance you can hire a audio handset. The map provided gives suggested 2,4 and 6 hour self tours.

Each location is marked with a number - keying this number into the handset gives you a description of the building with additional links to assorted audio clips. For Example, at a temple, you will get a quick description of the temple/altar placing etc, but can then dial up a far more detailed account of Roman deities and religious practice.

On my trips around Pompeii I have noticed that the quality of the guided tours varies greatly.
willit is offline  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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I agree..we had a Rick Steves book and followed that by ourselves. Very easy. Enjoy!
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Mid-August and Pompeii are not a good combo. It will be very hot and Pompeii is huge with little to no shade. Try to go on an overcast day or at least check the weather when you arrive Rome for the predicted coolest day while you are there.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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I have done it two ways, once independently by train as described above, and once with the shuttle bus run by Enjoy Rome at http://www.enjoyrome.com/shuttle_tour/pompeii.html.

Both ways were good. The train is the least expensive route. The Enjoy Rome bus was the most relaxing option and we got back in time for dinner in Rome. One possible disadvantage was that you have to be done with the ruins by the time the bus leaves. That gives you four hours, which was fine for us but some people might want more time at the site.

We did not have a guide at Pompeii, and that was fine with us.

The guided tour buses from Rome that make a day tour to Pompeii include stops for lunch and souvenirs and frequently go out of the way to drop off passengers in Naples, so my impression is that there is a lot of wasted time. I believe they are also significantly more expensive than the two options I used.
Nikki is online now  
Old Jun 20th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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I wouldn't go to Pompeii in mid-August. Temps over 100F are not unusual. For me, that's too uncomfortably hot to enjoy or appreciate anything. An overcast day would probably just be more humid.

If you must, be sure to take water and wear hats. I would wear walking sandals rather than sneakers and expect my feet to be pretty dirty at the end of the day. If it were really hot, I'd take an umbrella (really) for some shade.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 02:44 PM
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I agree that Pompeii in August sounds like an endurance test. I went in April, and it was plenty hot then. If you really want to see a Vesuvius ruin in August I'd recommend going to Herculaneum instead (and the Villa Oplontis on the same trip). It is smaller, less busy, and has some shade. Although it doesn't have the big public structures you'd see at Pompeii, I think it gives a better sense of everyday life, as parts of the second stories survived, and some of the mosaics are still in situ.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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>

I disagree about wearing sandals at Pompeii. The walking is rough and your feet can get sunburned too. Wear supportive lace up shoes/sneakers with socks.

If you do decide to go in August bring enough water to last the entire time you're there.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 03:38 PM
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Not just any sandals... This is my idea of a walking sandal. You could wear socks if you wanted to, but I would want maximum breathability.

http://privo.zappos.com/n/p/dp/49931582/c/655.html [I have these.]

or

http://privo.zappos.com/n/p/dp/49931562/c/655.html [More supportive and more open but less fashionable.]
Jean is offline  
Old Jun 21st, 2009, 07:26 PM
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Thank you for your advice. We don't really have flexibility with respect to when we can go, and my husband really wants to see Pompeii so we will be braving the heat.

We currently live somewhere that can be very warm (it was 100+ a few days ago) so we'll work it out.

I think the flexibility of the trains would be nice. How much time would we really want to spend in Pompeii? Is the 4 hours of most bus tours enough? If not, we'll probably just do the train.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 01:56 PM
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If you end up choosing to do a tour, be sure to ask how much time you will be allowed in Pompeii. Many of the tours will take you to a "cameo factory" or some other sourvenir place, run by their buddies. This can be fun but it takes time away from the main attraction. We took a "Gray Line" tour out of Rome and it was good.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 02:02 PM
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DH and I took train with plan to stay half a day. We bought a book from stand outside. We ended up staying about 6 hours! For some reason, we were easily able to imagine life here (and I guess we snuck looks at Vesuvius every so often). I'd go on your own Wear a sun hat and loose cool clothes.

Please report back when you return!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 02:05 PM
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I too will be in Italy in early August and my sister and I will be headed to Pompeii. We're in college so its really the only time we have to go together, so we're braving the heat. However, in regards to the train tickets, should we buy them ahead of time, or try to buy the day of? is it normally a crowded train that we should worry about pre-ordering?
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 02:53 PM
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We just bought our train tickets at the station the day we were going.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 04:55 PM
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I will also be going to Pompeii in August. I know it will be hot but are there places to sit down, take a break from walking & get a drink? I'm sure there are bathrooms but are they in more than one location? Thanks!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 06:05 PM
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I believe the only restrooms are at the entrance and at the one building where there are refreshments inside the site.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 07:49 PM
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I think 4 hours is plenty. We got a guide on arrival. Took the train from Rome to Sorrento (our home base) then train back to Pompeii on the day we visited. Nanini
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 10:22 AM
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My husband is a bit direction challenged and when we're together doesn't like to hand over the map. I have learned it is a wonderful thing to have a guide in a place like Pompeii. Also, we are not the type to spend 6 hours too many places (well, we spent almost that at Alhambra but it wasn't hot there when we went).

For us a couple hours in Pompeii was just about right. 4 or 6 would have been too long for our feeble attention spans. Plus, I hate the heat and my little feet get tired after about 4 hours.

I do have friends who have easily spent 6 hours there...and felt it wasn't enough time.

So, think about yourself in a giant museum - how much is usually enough for you??

We hired a guide right at the gate. He was an older gentleman, had a definite plan, we saw a ton as he knew how to navigate the crowds (September) and he was very sprightly. We had to move to keep up with him!

Enjoy!

gruezi
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Old Nov 27th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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The OP's trip was in August '09.
Jean is offline  
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