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The Essential Guide to Visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mt. Vesuvius

Schedules, prices, skip-the-line tickets, guided tours, and top itineraries

Hours for Pompeii and Herculaneum


April to October: 9 am - 7 pm (last entry at 5:30 pm)
November to March: 9 am - 5 pm (last entry at 3:30 pm)
Closed: January 1, December 25


March 16 to May 4: 9:30 am - 7:30 pm (last entry at 6 pm)
May 5 to October 14: 8:30 am - 7:30 pm (last entry 6 pm)
October 15 to March 15: 8:30 am - 5 pm (last entry 3:30 pm)
Closed: January 1, December 25

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket offices at the entrance to each site or through the online ticket office. Do not purchase tours or tickets from street vendors who may approach you at the Circumvesuviana train station!

Skip-the-line tickets to Pompeii

Skip-the-line tickets to Herculaneum

Prices / tickets

Pompeii ticket: Full price €18; discounted €2
Herculaneum ticket: Full price €13; discounted €2

Mastercard and Visa are accepted

Discounted tickets

Entrance is free to all EU citizens under 18.
EU citizens under 24 have a special discount.

Luggage deposit

Backpacks or bags larger than 30x30x15 cm cannot be brought into either Herculaneum or Pompeii. The sites offer free baggage storage at the entrance, next to the ticket office.

Should I visit Pompeii or Herculaneum?

The biggest difference between Pompeii and Herculaneum is size: the ruins of Pompeii cover about 44 square hectares, while Herculaneum covers just four.

Pompeii was an important city and trade center, while Herculaneum was a small resort town without the large public buildings (forum, amphitheater, theaters, gym) found in Pompeii.

However, Herculaneum is in a much better state of preservation due to the deep layer of ash and dust that covered the site, which filled the buildings without damaging them. Pompeii was heavily battered by falling rocks and hot air that knocked down the upper floors of buildings and incinerated wood, both of which are still intact at Herculaneum.

All things considered, if you only have time to see one site, choose Pompeii. Herculaneum is a good alternative if you don't want to do too much walking or if the temperatures are particularly scorching, as it has more shade than Pompeii.

We do not recommend visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum in one day, as it is simply too tiring.

The ruins of Pompeii

Recommended because:
  • It's a unique example of a perfectly preserved Roman city with temples, theaters, homes, restaurants, and public buildings.

  • It has more sites open to the public and a greater variety of architectural structures to visit.

  • You can experience first hand the majesty of a Roman forum, theater, and amphitheater.

Not recommended if:
  • You only have an hour or two, as it takes a significant amount of time and energy to visit.

  • It's a particularly hot day, as there is little shade.

Visit Pompeii

The ruins of Herculaneum

Recommended because:
  • It's a small town that was a resort destination in ancient times, and can be visited in less that two hours.

  • There are multi-story houses, wooden furnishings and decorations, and perfectly preserved mosaics and sculptures to admire.

Not recommended if:
  • You only have time to visit either Pompeii or Herculaneum; we do not recommend attempting both in one day.

  • You want to explore it all, as many of the houses and buildings are not open to the public.

Visit Herculaneum

Visiting the crater on Mt. Vesuvius

Combine a visit to Pompeii or Herculaneum with the Mt. Vesuvius National Park!

Instead of attempting to see both Pompeii and Herculaneum in one day, we suggest a trip up to the crater at the peak of Mt. Vesuvius either before or after visiting one of the archaeological ruins. Wear sturdy shoes and clothes suitable for a short hike up the trail.

Visiting Mt. Vesuvius

Getting from Pompeii to Mt. Vesuvius

EAV bus: You can catch the local EAV bus from Piazza Anfiteatro and the Circumvesuviana station 'Pompei Villa dei Misteri.' The bus will drop you off at the upper bus parking lot on Mt. Vesuvius, where you can purchase tickets to the national park and take part in a guided mountain hike. Buses depart every 50 minutes; the ride takes about 55 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on board for €2.70.

Getting from Herculaneum to Mt. Vesuvius

Vesuvio Express bus: This bus departs from the Circumvesuviana station 'Ercolano' and reaches 1,050 meters above sea level. From here you proceed on foot with a mountain guide, walking for about 20 minutes.
Departures every 40 minutes, starting at 9:30 am.
Tickets: €20 (includes bus + entrance to Mt. Vesuvius National Park)

Getting to Pompeii from Sorrento or Naples

The easiest way to reach the Pompeii ruins from Sorrento or Naples is via the Circumvesuviana train that runs between Sorrento and Naples.
The train leaves from Piazza Garibaldi in Naples from the underground platforms of the Napoli Centrale station. From the ground-level platforms where high-speed trains arrive and depart, follow the signs downstairs to platform 3 where trains to Pompeii depart. Note the displays that list the next departing train for Sorrento - Pompei so you don't end up in Sarno!

Guide to visiting Pompeii

Guide to visiting Herculaneum

Guide to visiting Mt. Vesuvius

Download the PDF Guide (PDF 278 KB)

Getting to Pompeii and Herculaneum

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