FAQ about Visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius

FAQ - Pompeii Archaeological Park

How long does it take to tour the ruins at Pompeii?

The ruins of Pompeii cover 44 square hectares, and it would take at least two full days to tour the entire park. Realistically, you can see most of the highlights in 4 hours and longer visits can be very tiring, especially on a hot day. You can also spend a full day exploring the park with a lunch break at one of the picnic areas in the park.

Should I book a guided tour?

We strongly recommend visiting the ruins with a guide, as the park is very large and it can be tricky to find the important sites. In addition, guides can explain interesting details and show you little-known corners of the park that make the experience more engaging and help you understand what daily life was like in the Roman city before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. A guide will also make sure you make the best use of your time in the park, and don't waste time and energy getting lost!

How can I book a guide?

There are authorized guides at the park entrance who offer two-hour guided tours for about EUR 11/person. Authorized guides can be recognized by the wooden badges from the region of Campania worn around the neck that has a white shied with a red bar. You can join a group tour, or book a private guide in advance if you are a small group of family or friends, of if you are particularly interested in an in-depth look at the history of Pompeii.

Can tickets be purchased online? Do I need to book them in advance?

Especially during summer and at the weekends you are likely to face with long queues to enter the site. For this reason we recommend buying in advance online tickets to avoid the line. Skip-the-line tickets for Pompeii.

Where can I leave by bags?

Large bags and backpacks are not allowed inside the park for security reasons (maximum size is 30x30x15). There are free baggage checks at the entrance to the ruins, and at the Porta Marina Superiore entrance there is an automated system that prints a receipt with a code to claim your bags when you leave.

Can I visit Pompeii with a small child?

It is hard to get around Pompeii with a stroller or pushchair and, unless you choose to limit the visit to the accessible route (see below), we suggest opting for a baby carrier or backpack. There are Baby Points in Pompeii where you can stop to change or feed your infant in privacy.

Are there special routes for the disabled?

From the Piazza Anfiteatro entrance at Pompeii, you can take the three-kilometer trail specifically for wheelchairs or strollers that includes the amphitheater, gym, and a few houses.

Can I bring my pet inside the park?

Large dogs are not allowed inside the archaeological park, but small dogs on a leash and picked up while inside the homes can be brought inside the park.

Can I have a picnic?

Yes, there are a number of picnic areas inside the park where you can eat a packed lunch or food purchased from the cafeteria near the forum area.

Where can I see what has been unearthed inside the homes excavated in Pompeii and Herculaneum?

Most of the artifacts found at the archaeological sites are now displayed at the Naples Archaeological Museum, where there is also the "gabinetto segreto" holding the erotic artifacts found in Pompeii, which is closed to minors.

Guide to visiting the ruins of Pompeii
Getting to Pompeii Ruins
Day trips and tours at Pompeii

FAQ - Herculaneum Archaeological Park

How long does it take to visit the ruins at Herculaneum?

To visit Herculaneum, you should consider about half a day. You can see the entire archaeological park in about two to three hours. Herculaneum vs Pompeii.

Do I need a guide to visit the ruins?

It's always a good idea to book a private guide or join a group tour at the entrance to the park to fully understand the ruins and the history of this ancient city. That said, there is a good audio guide at Herculaneum that is helpful for touring the small park without a guide.

Can I buy tickets online? Is it necessary to buy them in advance?

Herculaneum is smaller and definitely less crowded than Pompeii. Anyway, in case you got just a few hours for visiting the site, we suggest saving your time and purchase tickets to Herculaneum in advance to skip the line. Skip-the-line tickets for Herculaneum.

Is there a bag check at the park?

Yes, you can leave your bags at the free bag check at the park entrance.

Can I visit Herculaneum with a small child?

The Roman roads and sidewalks are hard to navigate with a stroller or pushchair, so we recommend using an infant carrier or backpack.

Can I eat inside the park?

No, there are no picnic areas inside the Herculaneum park, or snack bars and caf├ęs. We suggest stopping at one of the restaurants or bars just outside the park for a meal.

Are there special routes for the disabled?

Unfortunately, there are no special routes for the disabled inside the Herculaneum archaeological park, but you can easily navigate the walkway that encircles the ruins with a wheelchair and view the excavated sites from above.

Can I take photos and videos?

You can take photos and videos inside both Pompeii and Herculaneum for private use and without a flash. The use of tripods must be approved by the park supervisor.

Guide to visiting Herculaneum
Getting to Herculaneum Ruins
Day trips and tours at Herculaneum

FAQ - Mount Vesuvius National Park

How long does it take to visit Mount Vesuvius?

It takes about three hours to visit Mount Vesuvius, considering departing from the ticket office on foot up the trail to the crater rim. We suggest putting aside at least half a day, including transportation to the ticket office and the hike. If you combine your visit with a stop at Pompeii or Herculaneum, hike up Mount Vesuvius first thing in the morning and visit the archaeological sites in the afternoon.

How do I reach the crater on the peak of Mount Vesuvius?

You can take a bus or shuttle up Mount Vesuvius from the Circumvesuviana Villa dei Misteri or Ercolano Scavi stops. Buses stop at the trail head up to the crater, and from there you can continue with a mountain guide.

Can anyone hike up to the crater rim?

Yes, even children, the elderly, or those with limited mobility. The hike is not recommended for those with serious health issues, however.
When is the best time of year to visit Mount Vesuvius?
The best times are spring and fall. In the winter months, the trail may be closed for inclement weather and in the summer the high temperatures can make the hike up unpleasant.

Are there snack bars along the trail?

There are snack bars at the entrance and along the trail that sell beverages and food at reasonable prices. They also offer restrooms (there are no public restrooms in the park). There are also picnic areas along the trail where you can stop and eat your packed lunch.

What should I wear to hike up Mount Vesuvius?

We suggest comfortable clothing and dressing in layers, sturdy hiking or athletic shoes, sunscreen and a hat... especially in the summer months when temperatures can soar. A walking stick and a windbreaker can also be handy.

Guide to visiting Mount Vesuvius
Getting to Mount Vesuvius
Day trips and tours at Mount Vesuvius National Park

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

Is the Vesuvius Crater accessible to people with disabilities?

The climb to the Gran Cono is not recommended for people with walking problems and general motor difficulties. The track is uphill, and the terrain is rough.

Path 11 of the Vesuvius National Park, which does not reach the crater but is immersed in a pine forest and surrounded by the scents of the Mediterranean scrub, was designed specifically for the needs of visitors with motor or visual disabilities.

Further information on the Park's trail map.