I completely understand the appeal of Pompeii: the allure of the legendary destruction, and the desire to see the ruins resting at the foot of the volcano. A lot of people ask me if it is possible to do Rome to Pompeii in a day and the answer is: yes, anything is possible.
But deciding if you want to do a day trip on your own or take a tour of Pompeii from Rome depends a lot of the type of travel you are comfortable with.
From full-service trips to planning to see Pompeii on your own, here is how to get to the ancient ruins of the city at the foot of Vesuvius from Rome.
Bus Tour to Pompeii
Quite frankly, the easiest way to see Pompeii in a day when you are based in Rome is to take a bus tour. These tours leave Rome in the morning, drive to Pompeii in an air-conditioned coach bus with a guide to share facts along the way. The trained guide will also take you through the site.
I personally think that Pompeii is the type of place you want a guide. Much of the site is in ruins and many of the major artifacts have been removed to a museum so having a guide including really helps to bring the place and the story of its downfall to life.
The Walks of Italy tour to Pompeii will also take you to a town in the Amalfi Coast for lunch, so you get to experience to a beautiful area and the nailbiting cliffside drive.
Note: I have heard mixed things about Green Line tours, including that they stop at tourist traps.
If you would prefer to see Vesuvius instead of Amalfi, this day trip from Rome visits Pompeii with a guide, includes a pizza lunch, and then takes you up to the volcano.
If you want to spend a bit less, this package includes the bus trip to Pompeii and the ticket but does not include a guided tour of the site.
Trains to Pompeii from Rome
The cheapest way to get to Pompeii for the day is to take the train. To be precise you need to take two kinds of trains to get from Rome to Pompeii. Rome to Naples, then Naples to Pompeii Scavi.
First, you need a train from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale – the central stations in both cities. You can also sometimes find trains from Roma Tiburtina to Naples.
The Termini and Tiburtina stations are the only ones in Rome that will have a high-speed train to Naples. I highly recommend you take the faster train rather than the cheaper, regional train because you are already in for a long day. Here is a guide to buying train tickets in Italy to help you find the right one.
You will want to leave pretty early to ensure you have enough time but the train from Rome to Naples will only take just over an hour. The price of your train depends on how far in advance you purchase the tickets. Keep in mind that trains sometimes experience delays or strikes, and build some extra time into your schedule.
It is important that you go to Napoli Centrale because you will need to switch to the local train known as the Circumvesuviana – the train that goes around Vesuvius. This is a small commuter train, but it is highly convenient for touring the area because it goes to both Pompeii and Sorrento.
When you get off the train, head down to the lower level under the station and follow the signs to the Cirucumvesuviana. You can buy tickets from a ticket window before you enter the smaller station.
Be sure to validate your ticket as you walk into the station. This should be done at the turnstiles and be straightforward. The ticket is good for 100 minutes, which is enough time to reach Pompeii – but you will need another ticket for the trip back to Naples.
The Circumvesuviana will make multiple stops but you want to get off at Pompeii Scavi – NOT Pompeii. The Pompeii station is in the more modern part of town and you will need to walk at least 20 minutes to get to the ruins.
In terms of tickets for Pompeii itself, you will need to get those yourself, as well. Here is a guide on how to buy them.
After you have explored the site, and maybe gone for lunch and a wine tasting at Bosco de Medici, then you need to take the trains in reverse to get back to Rome.
Buy your tickets at the station in Pompeii to take the Circumvesuviano back to Napoli Centrale. Then, take your (hopefully pre-booked) train from Naples to Rome.
Be sure to watch your stuff at the Naples train station! It is notorious for pickpockets and Rome is not much better.
Hire a Private Driver
If you want to see Pompeii in a day in style, you can book a private driver to take you from your Rome hotel down to the archeological site. After touring the site, you can head to the Amalfi Coast for lunch in Positano and shopping in Amalfi before returning to Rome.
Having a private driver is the most costly but also the most comfortable option. The rate is around €700 – but considering how long you have the car and the personal service, this works out to about €50/hour for up to three people.
It is worth it if you want to avoid driving yourself but you still want the flexibility to plan and customize your mini road trip to see as much as possible.
Ready to go? Enjoy your time and be sure to dress comfortably! Pompeii is full of incredible history so you want to be prepared to walk and explore the full site.
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