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Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Daytrip from Sorrento


Jun 4th, 2005, 03:57 PM
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Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii Daytrip from Sorrento


We will be using Sorrento as a base for our September trip and are planning to do a day trip from Sorrento to Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. I realize that this might be a little rushed, but unfortunately, our schedule limits us to complete both in a day trip.

I am looking for some information on how to do this - what trains to take, how to get to the top of Mt. Vesuvius, how to get to Pompeii from Vesuvius, any helpful websites, etc. We wont have a car, and will be taking the trains and buses everywhere.

Also, if possible, we'd like to schedule the day in such a way that we avoid crowds as much as possible, although I realize that this may be impossible !

Thanks in advance all !
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Jun 4th, 2005, 04:50 PM
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Hi Carl, This is from directions for a Rome-Pompeii daytrip that I have posted in the past. But it always needs to be updated, new or dead URL's, more info, etc. But this version is updated, if you (or anyone) wants the whole thing (it's very long) email me with ROME in the Subject Line.
But I snipped the sections that you'll need. From Sorrento the same Circumvesuviana Train goes to Pompeii and Ercolano/Herculaneum where the Mt. Vesuvius bus leaves from. Regards, Walter

[POMPEII] Exit the Pompeii Scavi CV Station turn right and walk 50m (I would buy water & snacks from the stalls along there if need be, there's also a restaurant) to the entrance which is set back alittle on the left.   [This is based on info that I have read from other posters, I've never used these guides. There are licensed guides with ID's outside the entrance that charge 35-40euro hour per tour, *not* per person, same price as for 1 person or for a small group of 5 max.]  The entrance is a small outdoor complex of bldgs containing the ticket windows (10e), ATM, gift & guidebook/map shop and an info booth. You might want to check at the info booth and see if they have any special sites open, there will be limited entry requiring a free ticket for a certain time (in '02 & '04 there were 3 limited access sites opened).   In the middle of this outdoor complex is a small round bldg that rents the audioguide tours. A CC or any type of photo ID is required for security.   It was my 4th visit to Pompeii and I'm a bit of a history buff, I thought the audioguide was very good. But you might want to have a guidebook with decent map though. I've read a few posts where people couldn't find some of the audioguide sites and I believe I might have had to check my other map also for 1 or 2 sites.  
 Also at the ticket turnstiles (not the ticket sales window) there is a secured "Luggage Storage" room on the right.  After you enter the site you come across the Forum, look to the left at the far end, that is the Temple of Jupiter and behind that temple is a building with a restaurant, snack bar, giftshop, and w.c.   If you wish [I highly recommend it] to visit the Villa dei Misteri in the NW corner of Pompeii, do so at the end of your visit (you *cannot* re-enter the site afterwards). You must exit here and walk back (500m) to the same CV station (also at this exit there are restaurants).

 HERCULANEUM: To visit Herculaneum (Ercolano CV station is halfway between Naples and Pompeii on the *same* CV train line-The stop will say "Ercolano" (NOT 'Ercolano Miglio d'oro') also some signs will read 'Ercolano-Scavi' on the platform), exit the station (only one-way out) into the *small* parking lot and the *only* street there (45deg to your right), takes you *right* to the Herculaneum entrance after a 5 min downhill walk towards the Bay of Naples. Impossible to get lost or miss you can see the entrance at the end of the street from just outside the parking lot. There is a unmanned 'Left Luggage' room directly across from the ticket window.
  Walk ~300m down the ramp. At the end is an audioguide rental booth (takes ~2hrs at a slow pace), w.c./bathrooms, a snackbar/cafe and a bookstore/giftshop.
  Just before you get to these bldgs on the left is a newer and better entrance. It is a tunnel-ramp cut thru the stone, you then enter the site from where Herculaneum's seashore once was.   The other entrance is a bridge to the right of those bldgs.

 BUS TO MT. VESUVIUS: This is the same Circumvesuviana station as in the Herculaneum directions above.
  I've never taken this bus, I have a phobia about mountain roads esp with someone else driving.
  Exit the Ercolano Station into the small parking lot and walk over towards the right corner of the lot.
You will see a small white sign 'riservato bus-BUS VESUVIO' and a yellow outlined parking space for it. You buy the tickets from the bus driver [That is what the schedule at the Tourist Info Office said in Mar'04]. The only street out of the parking lot leads straight downhill to the Herculaneum entrance (~400m).
And ~50m down that street is a round-about intersection and 20m after that on the right is the tourist info office (green sign/gold letters 'UFFICIO TURISTICO'.
They will have the schedule printed-out on their desk. The bus schedule is on the official City of Ercolano website http://www.comune.ercolano.na.it/cme....asp?dwid=1133   Also you can walk the 70m to the 'Tourist Info Office' and look at their schedule on the desk.    Or call 081-5592582 that is the number listed on the *Italian* page of this official Mt. Vesuvius website www.guidevesuvio.it/information.html 
 Or if you are pressed for time the taxi drivers outside the station are always pitching this trip as tourists walk by. I assume negotiate and agree on a price.     Also I've heard that the taxi drivers sometimes claim that this bus doesn't run anymore to tourists waiting for the bus.
  A bus also leaves from Pompeii to Mt. Vesuvius but I don't know from where. If interested ask at either the Info Booth in the Naples Train Station or at Pompeii.

Try finding the *official* timetables/schedules yourself either on a google search or at www.vesuviana.it/
I've totally given up, they keep changing it!!! They used to be posted on www.circumvesuviana.it which makes alot of sense but they are no longer there.
  Then they were at www.vesuviana.it/ where you can find out all kinds of info about the Circumvesuviana Trains except that minor detail like the Schedules/Timetables!
  I've been posting these directions and adding to them and changing them for a few years. And I have always had to search out a new timetable URL once or twice a year for the schedules and then in a few months that link would either go dead or just not work.   So try it on your own and remember the schedules/timetables in Italian will be 'Orari'. Or use this unofficial timetable which is somewhat accurate www.massalubrense.it/circum.htm
The Circumvesuviana Station at the Naples train station is called 'NAPOLI Collegamento FS' (aka Napoli Garibaldi). For Pompeii you want the 'Pompeii (or Pompei) Scavi Villa Dei Misteri' station and for Herculaneum the 'Ercolano Scavi' station.  Remember these trains run basically every 30min, so you either make it or wait a half-hour at the most.
  You can also pick-up a timetable pamphlet at that Tourist Info Office I mentioned above between the Circumvesuviana ticket turnstiles and the Platforms.
NOTE: Today as I repost this, you can *again* find the timetables at
Use Napoli Garibaldi and Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri. Set the Date and Time, then click-on CERCA (notice only one 'i' in Pompei.
ParadiseLost is offline  
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Jun 4th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Walter - We didn't have to exit after visiting Villa dei Misteri in June 2003. Is this something new? The exit we saw was past the villa and we were allowed to go out to the WC and come back in.
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Jun 4th, 2005, 05:49 PM
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We are not usually tour people at all but when we were in Sorrento about 4 years ago we did do a one day tour which was Pompeii in the AM and Versuvius in the afternoon and it was great.

We had a very knowledgeable and informative guide and the group was not so huge as to be overwhelming. Like you we were a little concerned that combining the two was too much but it worked out quite well. And when we returned to our hotel at the end of the day and sat on our terrace looking at Versuvius it was pretty cool to think that a few hours before we had been at the top. Pompeii was beyond words----truly an experience.

Our hotel (Bellevue Syrene) booked the tour for us and we were very happy. Just an alternative for you to consider. By the way, we loved Sorrento as a base--hope you have the same experience.
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Jun 4th, 2005, 06:28 PM
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Thanks ParadiseLost - great information, exactly the kind of details I couldnt find elsewhere !

Maggie - you wouldnt happen to remember the name of the tour company, would you ?

Also, any thoughts on whether we should do Vesuvius first and then Pompeii, or vice versa ? I am leaning towards doing Vesuvius done early in the day (so that it doesnt get too hot for the trek), and then do Pompeii in the afternoon (hopefully the crowd has thinned by then). Comments anyone ?
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Jun 4th, 2005, 06:34 PM
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Didn't do Vesuvius but did do the Sorrento-Pompeii-Sorrento thing, in the afternoon. Two comments: keep track of strikes as the Circumvesuviana does seem to be affected by municipal train strikes; and it did seem that Pompeii crowds thinned out at midday, but there was another another surge of cruise-ship groups ca. 3 pm. If it's hot on Vesuvius, it'll be hot at Pompeii (shadeless, oven-like), so be prepared. "Paradise's" advice re: water and food is good.

Other reminder -- it's worth getting a return ticket so you don't have to worry about it at the Pompeii stop, but don't forget to validate the ticket.
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Jun 4th, 2005, 06:39 PM
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Good point about the return ticket ! So how\where would we validate it ? Is it something we have to do on the return trip ?
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Jun 4th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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For all but Eurostar/reserved trains, you have to stick your ticket into a yellow machine located strategically in the station, and it's stamped, not unlike a timeclock stamp. You do that shortly before you board your train because most such tickets are good for boarding within a specified period of time after validation. It's sort of a semi-pointless exercise, but I guess it keeps people from reusing tickets. Not that I saw anyone checking tickets too terribly often except on reserved trains.
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Jun 4th, 2005, 08:11 PM
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Just a reminder....once you enter the ruins of Pompeii, you may not leave and reenter.

Therefore, buy your water before you enter.
Dick is offline  
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Jun 5th, 2005, 03:47 AM
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kybourbon: You're right, I've got to change that.
I don't recall exactly but on my '98 or '99 visit when I wrote the tripreport there was something just before the Villa on the wooden planked & fenced sidewalk leading to it. I think it was sign or an exit turnstile.
I remember because I didn't know this at the time and wanted to go back into Pompeii. And I kind-of eased, well actually sneaked my way back into the site .
But neither 'exit only' was there in '04 or last March.
Still it is better to exit from there at the end of your visit, rather than backtrack those few 100m back into the site.
Regards, Walter
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Jun 5th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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topping so that maybe Maggie will see this...

>Maggie - you wouldnt happen to remember the name of the tour company, would you ?<
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Jun 5th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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I am so sorry but I do not remember the name of the tour company and my notes have no mention of it. But I would think any reputable hotel would help you. And frankly, although we are usually comitted "do-it-yourselfers" this was one time we were happy to have someone else do it.

It's a lot to pull off in one day and it was nice not to have to figure out how to do it. Also, I think having a guide in Pompeii was very important. He gave us time on our own but really set the stage.

Sorry that my memory doesn't include a tour name. But we didn't arrange it til we arrived so depending on where you are staying I'm sure they can help you. Good luck---it is a great part of the world!!!
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