How to visit Mount Vesuvius on a day trip from Naples or Pompei
Mount Vesuvius is famous for destroying the ancient town of Pompeii. Here are some Mount Vesuvius facts;
- Altitude of 1281 meters
- Erupted and destroyed ancient Pompeii in 79 AD
- 2,000 were killed in the 79 AD eruption
- It took 25 hours to completely destroy Pompeii
- It last erupted in 1944 (World War II eruption)
- Vesuvius is active and will erupt again
- Is one of the deadly 16 Decade volcanoes of the world
- It’s so dangerous because of its proximity to Naples (and modern Pompei)
- Vesuvius is due to erupt again – anytime now!
Although the eruption of Vesuvius was deadly, the most devastating volcanic eruption on earth happened in Indonesia. The Toba Caldera eruption nearly wiped out mankind. Another notable volcano is Paricutin, which is the worlds youngest volcano and located in Mexico. Paricutin is a perfect cone volcano, as is Izalco Volcano in El Salvador. Other dangerous decade volcanoes include Mt Rainier in Washington and Mt Merapi in Java, Indonesia.
I stayed in Hotel Forum in Pompei which meant I could walk to the local bus which takes you to Vesuvius Volcano. If you’re coming from Naples then you must first take the Circumvesuviana train from Porto Nolana in direction Sorrento to Pompei Scavi.
Mount Vesuvius is located on the Gulf of Naples, in between Naples and Pompei. It’s huge and you can see it from everywhere on the Gulf of Naples. When the sun sets on Naples, Vesuvius can glow in the low light. This is quite eerie as one day it could be glowing for a more serious reason.
How to get to Mount Vesuvius from Naples or Pompei
To get to Mount Vesuvius from Pompei you must take the local bus. The local bus leaves regularly from outside the Pompei Scavi train station. To get to Mount Vesuvius from Naples you must first travel to Pompei Scavi. You take the Circumvesuviana train from Porto Nolana. Make sure you take the train in the direction of Sorrento. This service takes around 30 minutes and costs just a few coins.
Bus Timetable to Mount Vesuvius
It’s helpful to know the bus schedule to Mount Vesuvius so you can plan your day. I took the 9.50 am bus which took me to the top for 10.30 am. I then took the 12.20 pm bus back to Pompei. This gave me 1 hour 50 minutes at the summit. The bus will stop midway for you to buy your entrance ticket which is €10. You also need to consider the walk from the bus stop to the crater. This walk takes around 15 – 25 minutes up and 10-15 minutes back down, depending on your fitness.
The view of Naples from the bus ride
As you ascend Mount Vesuvius on the bus you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Naples. I don’t recommend sitting on the right over the left of the bus. This is because the road is winding and there are amazing views from both sides. As Vesuvius Volcano has it’s own micro climate, the weather can be quite different. It may be hot and sweaty in Naples or Pompei but cold and windy on Vesuvius. You must bring warm clothes!
The Short Walk to Vesuvius Volcano
I was told the walk takes 30 minutes from the parking area to the crater. It took me less than 15 minutes. What you do need to take into account is that it’s quite a steep walk. For those who struggle with hills it could be a 45 minute walk. The good news is when you stop for a rest, you can enjoy the views of Naples (weather permitting).
The Crater of Mount Vesuvius
When you reach the summit you’ll be able to view the crater. You are looking into the crater of a deadly decade volcano – one of the most dangerous in the world. In addition it’s due to erupt anytime now! If it does erupt, you are in the worst possible place! However, it’s likely to give a warning before erupting. You can follow the trail around the crater and take beautiful photos. As well as photographing the volcano you’ll be able to photograph the panoramic views. You can photograph the panoramic of Naples, Pompei and the Gulf of Naples.
The Steaming Crater of Vesuvius Volcano
As I mentioned before, Vesuvius is a very active volcano. Don’t be alarmed when you see steam rising from the crater. With all the fertile ash, colors, steam and sky, you can make some very unique photos. As you walk around the designated and apparently safe path, just at the other side of the fence is the volatile crater (above).
Souvenir Stores on Vesuvius
You’ll find quite a few souvenir stores on Vesuvius. They sell jewelry with semi precious stones formed in previous eruptions. In addition you can purchase photographs of the previous eruptions. You can buy a geode with a purple crystal interior for around €10. Remember, all prices are negotiable. The store owners would rather have money than a piece of rock they can find somewhere on the mountain. If you need a cold beverage after walking up the hill, you can buy one here.
Hiking down Mount Vesuvius
The walk back down is much quicker and easier than the ascent. If you timed your visit well you won’t have long to wait for the bus back to Pompei. There are plenty of souvenir stores located in the parking lot. Additionally there are public toilets (for a small fee).
Enjoy your visit to Mount Vesuvius Volcano
Remember it will be significantly colder on the summit than at sea level. At least bring a coat. If you get tired easily climbing a small hill then bring water and a snack. As you’d expect, food and drink are a little on the expensive side at the top. Don’t be alarmed when you see steam rising from the crater, this is normal. If there was an eruption due imminently they wouldn’t allow visitors. Enjoy your visit and take lots of Instagram worthy Mount Vesuvius photos!
Watch a Napoli football match in Naples. A visit to Paricutin Volcano in Mexico and Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala.