Rome to Pompeii: Shuttle, tour or train?

Old Sep 7th, 2004, 02:00 PM
  #1  
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Rome to Pompeii: Shuttle, tour or train?

My family of four (including sons, 16 and 17 years old) will be in Rome during Thanksgiving week. We want to visit Pompeii, but are confused as to the best way to get there. I've checked into a British Airways bus tour that goes through Naples, but BA can't tell me how long we actually get in Pompeii. (It's a 14-hour tour, and we really don't care to see Naples) The Enjoy Rome shuttle seems like a good idea. Has anyone else been satisfied with the 3.5 hours they allow at Pompeii? And finally, when I checked into the cost of train tickets, it seems the train costs almost as much as the shuttle when purchasing ES tickets.

Thank you in advance for any help. I've been so impressed with how generous everyone has been with sharing their experiences.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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we went by train.left rome at 9.got back at 19:00.spent around 3hrs in pompeii.the rest is travelling time (3+ hrs each way by train + .5hrs to /from pompeii via local circuvesuviana train).going there we shared a compartment with a noisy italian family.lots of kids screaming and parents swearing. pompeii is huge. by 16:00 we were exhausted and left pompeii.its like seeing a whole city but you cant use metro/bus. the naples train station and its envrions looked a bit creepy. take the tour bus.

Sam
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 02:22 PM
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My 2 teenage kids and I recently visited Pompeii. We took the train from Rome and stayed one night in Naples. We loved the city of Naples and wished we had more time in the city as well as at the ruins. If your only interest is Pompeii, I would suggest doing it as a day excursion from Rome, as you have proposed. Many excursions don't actually spend very much time at the ruins, and "pad out" the visit with a tour of a nearby cameo factory, where the goal is no doubt for you to buy stuff. (I bet your sons would just love to visit a cameo factory...) When we were researching our trip, we came across a tour guide who sounded fantastic, an American woman who runs tours out of Rome, including down to Pompeii. Unfortunately, her schedule and our trip didn't match up too well and we were unable to do any tours with her. But I have read good things about her online, and I was very impressed with the email correspondence I had from her. I would suggest emailing her and seeing if she can set up a tour. She could tailor it to your family's interests, and maximize travel time by providing commentary along the way. Her name is Daniella Hunt, Mirabilia Urbis Tours, [email protected]. Have a great trip, and check out the current thread "NEVER AGAIN" for a few laughs and groans of recognition!
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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I always say take the train and DIY. In this case I woudn't. I'd go with the shuttle bus. You never know when the trains are going to be on strike, as they were this summer, the day we planned to tour Pompeii.
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 03:20 PM
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I would DIY. You might consider staying a night in Sorrento. Your travel time, prior to visiting Pompeii would be greatly reduced. If you do stay in Sorrento, consider taking the bus along the Amalfi coast to Positano. It is a magnificent 1 1/2 drive (sit on the right hand side of the bus). To get there, in any case, simply take the express train to Naples, get off, and then get on the local Circumvesuvia train. It runs from Naples to Sorrento, Pompeii is mid point. If you do this, double check the stations. As I recall there are two stations with the name Pompeii in them. The correct one stops exactly at the ruins. BEWARE of pickpockets at the railway station in Naples and on the Cirumvesuvia train.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 04:13 AM
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Four of us are going to be in Rome the week of Sept. 24th. I researched this trip because we also want to do a day trip. We ended up hiring a private van and driver (with AC!) who will pick us up at our hotel and take us directly to Pompeii and wait for us. It was something around $370 for the day total - unless we want to linger a bit longer in Ponpeii and then we would pay more per hour (reasonable). When we added up train fares, bus fares, tour fares, etc. - this seemed worth it. The bus trips either all seemed to stop in Naples, or shopping along the way - or only gave us 2 or 3 hours in Pompeii. I can report back on Oct 2 how it went if you wish.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 04:57 AM
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ira
 
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Hi az,

Visiting Pompeii from Rome is a looong day.

Have you considered a visit to the ruins at Ostia Antica?

You might also look into www.enjoyrome.com for a visit to Pompeii.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 06:11 AM
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I was about to post a similar question, but azgirl beat me to it. Please do report back on your Pompeii trip, Dorgal. I'm eager to hear how it goes. Who are you using for your tour? My family of five, with three teenage sons, will be in Rome the same week. We also want to visit Pompeii, and have been debating whether to take a day trip or spend the night. If we do spend the night, can anyone recommend lodgings? With more time on our hands, we would have time to see more than just Pompeii. What would y'all recommend? Naples? Herculaneum? Something else? As azgirl said, thank you in advance for any help. You've all been great.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 08:56 AM
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Everyone, thank you for all your kind advice.

lesliec1, I appreciate the info on Daniella Hunt. I will e-mail her to get prices.

ira, thanks for the suggestion on Ostia Antica. However, the main reason for this trip is both my sons want to see Pompeii (initially Herculaneum too, but it doesn't seem feasible to do both in a single day).

Dorgal, I anxiously await Oct. 2nd to hear about your experience with the private van w/AC. Since I live in Arizona, A/C is a must, even in Rome in November. And the price sounds great too.

Thanks again, guys. Any additional experiences would be greatly appreciated!!

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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 09:18 AM
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OK, here are my subjective comments:

1. There is so much to see and do in Rome and the nearby (less than an hour) areas that if you are only in Rome for 5 days or less, a trip all the way down to Pompeii does not seem to be a good use of time.

2. I love Pompeii, have been three times, and think it is a great site. However, I am with ira that a day trip to Pompeii from Rome is really not the best way to try to see Pompeii. It is indeed a very long day, 7 hours in a bus/car at the very least, more if you take public transportation. Also, in November it could be cool to cold and could very well be raining. It is hard to appreciate a huge outdoor site like Pompeii in the rain (and you wont' be able to see Vesuvius). By Thanksgiving it will be dark by 5 pm or so, so this will cut into the day and most likely the trip home will be in darkness, not the best way to see the countryside.. . .

3. The ruins of Pompeii are vast. All the paths are paved with the original stones and are uneven which makes walking difficult and tiring after a while. I think you will not have the time or energy to see nearly enough to justify that long a trip. I have a feeling you will only see the main square and bits nearest the Porta Marina entrance (where most people enter, including bus tours and people getting in by train). That means you will miss the amphitheatre and the Villa dei Misteri (both of which entail longish walks, and unless you have arranged for your transport to meet you at the other gates, a longish walk back.) However, these two areas are some of the most interesting, esp the frescos in the Villa dei Mister.

4. As ira noted, Osita Antica is a hugely better choice for a day trip from Rome. It is just as interesting as Pompeii, and just as well preserved, but just not as famous, because it is not on the way to the Amalfi coast which means lots of Americans are able to make a quick run into Pompeii on their way down or back. You could spend a half day at Ostia and see a lot, as the ruins are not as spread out. It is close to Rome, you can take a train in less than an hour, and a car would be even faster. If it is a nice day and you have a car or car/driver, you could go along the coast and/or go to the little village of Fuimicino which is on the sea and has some good seafood restaurants. All in all a better way to spend a day on a day trip from Rome. Save Pompeii for your next trip to Italy when you go to spend a few days on the glorious Amalfi coast.

5. The catacombs outside Rome also make a great half day or day trip and I think your kids would find them more interesting than Pompeii (or even Ostia). You can do a walking biking tour of the countryside around the catacombs, take a look at www.enjoyrome.com Enjoy Rome also does a 3.5 hour bicycle tour of Rome which I think would be great for young people. They might be able to organize a bike tour of the countryside around the catacombs or other areas of Rome.

With regard to staying overnight in the Pompeii area, that is possible, but the logistics of dragging a famiiy and all your baggage down for one day seems like more trouble than it is worth. (Unless your Rome hotel will hold some of it which entails more logsitaicds of pakcing carefully.) There are some hotels in the immediate area (run a search here, others have posted). Othwise you would need to stay in Naples, not really a nice city and parts are very unsafe, or Sorrento, but that might be a longish trip back.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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My husband and I were in Rome in March and took the train down to Pompeii. I know a lot of people don't recommend it, and it is a long day, but it really wasn't that bad. We took the ES and then hopped on the CV. We had plenty of time to explore Pompeii and were back in Rome by early evening. Everything went very smoothly and the ride to and from Rome was fairly quiet (granted, we were there in March, not July).
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Traveling with teens sometimes requires suspending logic in your planning. Everything everyone says about concentrating on the Rome area makes perfect sense, except kids like changes of scenery. They also like seeing places they read about in their history textbooks. We went to Naples for one overnight, just to see Pompeii. Ended up loving Naples and wishing we had more time there, and by the time we got lost, ate, bought stuff, stowed bags, waited in lines, messed around on trains, etc. only had 3 hours at Pompeii after all. Not enough time, and the Naples hotel was expensive. You could add a day to Naples and take one day off Rome, or just do Pompeii as a day trip. There's lots to do in Naples, including the Archaeological Museum (where lots of the best stuff from Pompeii is housed), castles, incredible architecture, a lovely port area, etc. We had only 2 jam-packed days in Rome and felt we saw a lot, though obviously not nearly everything! My teens liked the variety of seeing a little bit of a lot of places, and for them long train rides were a great opportunity to nap, since Mean Mom wouldn't let them sleep late in the mornings and we were out late every night. Definitely check on the weather conditions at that time of year. It would be miserable to spend a cold, rainy day at Pompeii where it is totally outdoors.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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Azgirl - We are using www.airportshuttle.it for our hired van to Pompeii. It is 370 EURO for 10 hours with an additional charge if we are gone longer. Will report back on Oct. 2 or 3.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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azgirl: If you decide on the train.
With the ES train and the Circumvesuiana you will be in Pompeii in 3:02.
A minute before the ES train arrives in Naples the Circumvesuviana Train leaves, so you have 29min to the next one which is plenty of time.
It is a long daytrip but the ES train ride is just sitting back and watching the countryside roll by . And that's 3.5hr of the 6hr R/T journey. And even the Circumvesuviana ride is somewhat scenic (Mt. Vesuvius, Bay of Naples, Capri).
R/T 2nd Class ES and the Circumvesuviana for 4 will cost ~190e.
I've only spent 1 November (1st half) in Rome and Naples and didn't need AC, and I hate the heat (it's on now and it's only 77F .
I've been to Pompeii 4x and it is worth a long daytrip to see it no matter how you get there.
If you go by train leave early and have b'fast at the train's snackbar. Regards, Walter
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 02:29 PM
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I have been to Pompeii twice on daytrips from Rome. The first time my 20 year old daughter and I took the Enjoy Rome shuttle bus. This was a great, relaxing way to get to Pompeii. No extra stops for shopping or dropping off other tourists in Naples, just a short break on the way there to use restrooms and buy snacks.

We found we had plenty of time to see the ruins, picnic near the theater complex, walk down to the amphitheater and back. It was truly fascinating, my daughter and I both loved it. We went in March, when the weather was just perfect. I have spoken to people who went in the summer, and their experiences were much less pleasant with the heat. We were back in Rome in time for dinner.

The second time I went in February with my 17 year old daughter and my husband. The shuttle bus wasn't running, so we took the train. This wasn't terribly difficult, although we did have a pickpocketing experience when a guy got my husband's wallet as he got on the Circumvesuviana at the Naples train station. Other than that, I enjoyed the train ride, spoke to some nice folks from London on the way to Naples, relaxed on the way back.

We didn't spend any more time at the ruins the time we took the train; everybody was ready to leave before three hours were up. My preference would be to take the shuttle bus if it were running in November, but if it isn't running, the train is a fine substitute. Just watch for pickpockets, and if a crowd of people are blocking your way onto the train, don't get on at that door.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 12:13 AM
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If you want to spend the time, you could either sleep in Naples or Sorrento. Pompeii is amazing & if you spend the night, Herculaneum & some of the other nearby sites are amazing & easily accessible by Circumvesuviana. I enjoyed Ostia but I really don't think it compares, they are not the same. Pompeii & Herculaneum both truly make you feel as though you can envision the ancient city as it was.
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Old Sep 13th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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I took a tour group in May to Pompeii. It was the only time I've done this and was the most dissappointing part of my trip, which was quite tragic as I've wanted to see Pompeii since I was a little kid. We were picked up at our hotel and brought to a mass bus pick up. We staretd our journey and stopped about an hour in for a stop at an Auto Grille where it seemed every tour bus on the planet had also stopped. We then made our way to Naples. We only drove through but I can say it was nothing that I could have done without seeing. We then stopped at a "cameo factory". This was an absolute tourist trap and then brought to lunch. It was just adjacent to the "factory" in the base of a hotel. Everyone got the same terrible food. It was our worst meal in Italy. By the time we finally got to Pompeii, it was pouring! I did still enjoy the ruins and alot of the group didn't want to be in the rain so that made it somewhat better but photography was difficult. It is absolutely worth going to but do it on your own. I know I won't make this mistake twice.
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