Vesuvius Excursion: How to Organize It and Useful Tips

Are you visiting Naples and have you decided to visit the famous volcano that characterizes its panorama? Well, below you will find all the information you need to organize yours excursion on Vesuvius in the best way.

After my second visit I thought I'd write down everything you need to know to make an excursion to Vesuvius, including trails, how to visit it on your own, recommended agencies and the best tours!

In addition, it is easy to organize: the excursion to Vesuvius is the most classic of day trips from Naples.

Ahhh Vesuvius! The famous mountain that dominates the Gulf of Naples is the only active volcano in continental Europe together with the Phlegraean Fields and is one of the most dangerous in the world: his silence, in fact, is only apparent.

You must know that this "giant" is simply in a quiescent phase, that is, it has not erupted for more than 50 years, but it could awaken at any moment.

Reaching its crater today means being able to admire a postcard view of the city, enjoy a nice walk in nature, but also get to know this mysterious mountain and its eruptive phenomenon better and more closely.

The history of Vesuvius, in fact, continues to fascinate and intimidate.

Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplonti and Stabia in 79 AD were completely razed to the ground by a terrible explosion that buried them for centuries.

Just think that, before the famous eruption recounted in his texts by Pliny the Younger, Vesuvius exceeded 2.000 meters in height: today it is about 1.200.

The destructive fury of the volcano, however, did not end that day and over the centuries the eruptions were numerous and often with tragic consequences.

In 472 AD, for example, Vesuvius expelled an enormous quantity of ashes which even reached Constantinople.

The eruptions continued, the most violent occurred in 1631, 1872 and 1906. The last activity in the history of Vesuvius was recorded in 1944 and was widely reported by American newsreels.

Do you know why Vesuvius is so deadly? Far be it from me, who am a geologist and this is my "bread" to give you a lesson here in volcanology, but the fact that this volcano is so fascinating is part of its typology: it is in fact, differently from Stromboli for example, of a volcano explosive.

Today Vesuvius rests, but it is always kept under control because, according to numerous studies and researches, activity could suddenly resume. You don't have to be afraid of this though: Vesuvius is constantly monitored with a series of seismographs and special equipment that keep it "under control" and in addition its "phenomenon" is changing.

Since 1995 the volcano area has been protected under the name of Vesuvius National Park, an institution that has the task of protecting and enhancing the territory and its beauties.


visit Vesuvius it is mandatory to buy tickets online: the high-altitude ticket office has been removed.

Book at least 72 hours in advance (which are also few) or, even better, rely on an agency that organizes everything for you.

If you don't know anyone, I advise you to ask theagenzia locale Here and There which is the one I traveled with and is a new safe, honest and trustworthy agency. You can request information from the following contacts:

Phone:+ 39 081 186 58586

That said, if you don't trust me (there's nothing wrong with that, imagine) you can read their reviews here on TRIPADVISOR!

After these (necessary) premises, we begin to see how to organize the excursion on Vesuvius!

  • Tips for organizing the excursion to Vesuvius
  • Tickets and costs
  • How to organize the excursion to the Vesuvius crater
  • How much time to budget for your visit?
  • Vesuvius excursion from Naples
  • Vesuvius excursion from Pompeii
  • Vesuvius excursion from Herculaneum
  • Vesuvius excursion from Sorrento
  • Hiking on Vesuvius on foot: Trekking paths
  • Vesuvius excursion with children
  • Excursions on Vesuvius by jeep
  • The 5 best tours of Vesuvius
  • Is there danger in the excursion on Vesuvius?

Tips for organizing the excursion to Vesuvius

Here you find some advice which will make your excursion on Vesuvius easier.

The on-site ticket office was removed due to the COVID emergency and, as of September 2021, it has not yet been restored. So it is mandatory to buy tickets online and you can do it from Vivaticket official dealer here.

Book first: the entrances are numbered and the tickets are hard to find, book them at least 72 hours in advance (but even earlier if you can).

The easiest way to get to Vesuvius from Naples is to take the Circumvesuviana up to Ercolano Scavi and from there take the Vesuvio Express shuttle.

The classic excursion to Vesuvius it is that of the Gran Cono, path n ° 5 (that is, unless you want to hike for hours, but I'll tell you about it later) and lasts about 3-4 hours. This is why it is an excellent choice to combine theexcursion to Vesuvius with a visit to Pompeii with a tour like this that includes hotel pick-up.

Although it is easy to make an excursion on Vesuvius alone, having an agency behind you that deals with tickets, transport and organization is much better: it does not cost much more and you do not have to worry about anything, especially about driving in traffic and for those who he is not used to it is really a very stressful thing. These below are some recommended tours:

  • ☞ Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion offer from Naples with hotel pick-up (7 hours)
  • ☞ Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion from Sorrento with hotel pick-up
  • ☞ Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion from Positano with pick-up

The Vesuvius excursion is definitely not the type of activity you need to be equipped in with expensive hiking gear, however, there are a couple of things that will make this “hike” a little easier: what you need to wear and what you take with you. Wear sneakers or, even better, something that supports your ankles like gods hiking boots. The ground is gravelly / earthy, flip flops are not recommended, indeed for me it is definitely a NO!

What else you choose to wear will depend on the time of year you visit. During the summer months, anything is fine, but make sure you also have a hat, much water it's a jacket to wear on top if there is wind.

Also put on sunscreen if it's sunny and bring a pair of glasses.

Tickets and costs

Previously, before the Covid it was possible to buy tickets on the spot, at the on-site ticket office, but the changes introduced due to the pandemic have paid off online ticket booking mandatory for a specific time slot.

In October 2020 it was possible to buy tickets on the same day, however as of today, not only is it not recommended, but it is impossible. 72 hours before the visit there is no more availability and if you hope, by booking at the last minute you will also have a discount (let's dispel the myth of the last minute, the prices are much better much earlier, obviously when, as in the case of admissions to sites, are not fixed) as they say, you get screwed: you can't find the tickets and bye bye excursion to Vesuvius.

Tickets cost € 10 per person, and discounts are available.

You can buy tickets HERE on the official website

How to organize the excursion to the Vesuvius crater

There are various paths and trekking to get to the top of Vesuvius (on the crater so to speak) of which then I'll talk to you later.

Undoubtedly, however, the most famous hike is certainly theexcursion to the crater of Vesuvius (path n ° 5 or Gran Cono) and I think it is the one you are probably looking for.

You can get there easily with your own vehicle (car or camper) and there are two parking lots.

For the use of the parking areas serving the visit to the Vesuvius Crater (800 and 1000 altitude), under the responsibility of the Municipality of Herculaneum, online booking is required on the site . The service is managed by the Municipality of Ercolano. Buy the parking ticket before going up to the top.

The path is not complicated at all and can be traveled by everyone, just to understand, the first time I went there with my dog.

The length of the path is about 4 km and the most complicated part is the first part of the climb (800 m) which, however, continues gently in front of a great view of the Gulf of Naples.

The maximum altitude that can be reached is 1.170 meters above sea level and the difference in height is about 140 meters with an average gradient of 14% during the route.

Find more information on the Gran Cono path Let us know if you have any suggestions

Hours for visits to the Crater
Jan - Feb - Nov - Dec 9:00 - 15:00
Mar - There 9:00 - 16:00
Apr - May - Jun - Sep 9:00 - 17:00
Lug – Ago 9:00 – 18:00

How much time to budget for your visit?

The time required for the visit depends on many factors: first of all on the means by which you will reach the volcano, but also on your walking pace to reach the crater once you are inside the park.

Generally you should allow at least an hour to reach the ticket office both by car and by public transport (except for traffic, which I assure you is incredible, and various hitches).

Once inside the park, the trek to the crater may take around 2 hours, but it will all depend on you, the stops you make and your pace.

From the ticket office to the crater it takes about 30 - 45 minutes.

Once you reach the top, the first part of the visit (about 15 - 20 minutes) is carried out with a guide who will then leave you free to explore the crater's outline.

In general, I would tell you that to visit Vesuvius it takes a total of at least 4 hours.

Vesuvius excursion from Naples

How to get to Vesuvius from Naples

You reach Vesuvius from Naples either by public transport, with your own car, or with an organized tour.

If you go alone, once you arrive at an altitude of 800 m you will find a parking lot where you can leave your car for 5 Euros per day.

From here a shuttle will take you to the ticket office at a cost of 2 Euros (round trip), but at the moment - September 2021 - the on-site ticket office is closed, so you will have to buy the tickets online that you find here.

get to Vesuvius from Naples the best way is to take a short train ride on the Circumvesuviana EAV to Herculaneum, followed by the tourist shuttle bus.

To arrive by train you will need to go to Naples Piazza Garibaldi, which is a separate station within the same building as the Napoli Centrale train station.

You have to take the blue line 'Sorrento'; when purchasing the ticket, ask for “Ercolano Scavi” as the arrival station.

The cost is € 2,80 per person one way (cash is preferred but you can pay by card) and the journey time is about 20 minutes. A one way ticket is fine.

Please note that as this is not a Trenitalia train service, you will not find tickets online or on their website. There are no seat reservations.

Once you have purchased your tickets, go down the stairs to the platforms. There are displays with information on departures / arrivals, and just make sure you get on the train with 'Sorrento' as your final destination, as there will be other Circumvesuviana lines.

Get off at the Ercolano Scavi station and go to the office Vesuvio Express (located on the left, just outside the station) from which you can buy shuttle tickets ma you can also buy them in advance at this link.

The return ticket costs € 10 per person.

The first shuttle leaves at 9:40 am, the last at 16 pm. Departures should be every 40 minutes, however it is important to know that although there is a timetable, the company does not always strictly respect it and will probably wait for the bus to fill up before leaving.

If you decide to reach Vesuvius by car you will have to take the A3 Napoli - Salerno to the Torre del Greco or Ercolano exit and then follow the signs for Vesuvius.

Vesuvius excursion from Naples with a tour

I have personally visited both Pompeii and Vesuvius twice:

  • the first independently with your car
  • the second with a organized tour Pompeii + Vesuvius with a fantastic guide (hello Dino!) via theagenzia Here and There -> super RECOMMENDED, they are really great) but if you don't trust them you can see their Tripadvisor reviews here.

I could indefinitely list the pros and cons of each of the two options, but I'll just tell you that both are beautiful, but if I have to be really honest an excursion on Vesuvius with the visit to Pompeii and a guide, it gives you so much more in the way of knowledge.

Ok, if you are only interested in trekking and seeing the views, going alone is ok.

But hey you are on Vesuvius, a volcano that made history, a guide can tell you everything, including the volcanic phenomenon, how it works, differences between effusive and explosive eruption (remember, I'm a geologist!).

So what you will get with a guided hike is a completely different experience.

Also, buy for example this combo tour of Pompeii and Vesuvius from Naples will allow you to do not drive in Neapolitan traffic (trust me, it's deadly), not to have to buy tickets first and study your way. Plus you'll save time, a lot of time.

If you'd rather visit Vesuvius alone, consider this excellent half-day guided tour from Naples, which includes skip-the-line tickets and lunch.

Obviously, most Vesuvius tours start from Naples.

Among the tours that you can find there are both Vesuvius only tours and combined tours.

Taking into account the fact that the excursion to Vesuvius will not take you for more than half a day, the best choice is to buy a combined tour Vesuvius and Pompeii, Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius or others.

Below you will find the best tours on Vesuvius from Naples which also include other tourist attractions.

Vesuvius excursion only with pick-up and lunch (pizza and beer) included (duration 5 hours): you will walk up to the top of the VESUVIO and you will enjoy the impressive panoramic views over the gulf of Naples offered by the summit of the volcano.

Vesuvius + Pompeii excursion from Naples with hotel pick-up (duration 7 hours): you will be picked up at your hotel, from the port or from the station (whichever you prefer) and you will visit Pompeii with its forum, the baths, the theater and other buildings including the Lupanar (the brothel) with its original frescoes. After a pizza lunch you will go on a beautiful excursion on Vesuvius.

Excursion to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius (duration 8 hours): you will discover the secrets of Pompeii and you will scour the archaeological site of Herculaneum, in this excursion departing from Naples. Plus, you can climb to the top of Vesuvius!

Vesuvius excursion from Pompeii

How to get to Vesuvius from Pompeii

reach Vesuvius from Pompeiiinstead, you can use the EAV bus that leaves from Piazza Anfiteatro and at the station of Villa dei Misteri.

The best and most convenient way is with the EAV bus; the only difficulty is locating the stop (bus stop), which is easy to miss if you don't know where to look.

During normal times, the bus schedule from Pompeii to Vesuvius is as follows:

8:00 / 8:50 * / 9:40 / 10:30 / 11:20 / 12:10 / 13 / 13:50 * / 14:40 / 15:30 *

* Some departure times are not operational in the low season months (October to April).

Update 28 September 2021 | I found the new timetable from Pompeii to Vesuvius! You can see it here.

Cost € 3,10 per person for the Pompeii Vesuvius bus, one-way tickets only.

You have to pay the driver on board: you will pay at some point before reaching the top, and strictly cash only.

Several private shuttles or shuttles also depart from Pompeii, which is actually the best way to get to Vesuvius from Pompeii: in fact this is the fastest and least traumatic way to reach Vesuvius.

If you are with your car, just follow the directions for Vesuvius.

Vesuvius excursion from Pompeii

Among all the tours and organized tours, that of Pompeii + Vesuvius is the most popular. After all, it is easy to understand why since both visits take about half a day each and, put together, they are there perfect day trip from Naples.

I took part in this excursion: Vesuvius + Pompeii excursion from Naples with hotel pick-up but if you have your own hotel in Pompeii and you want to start from there I suggest you take a look at this trekking excursion on Vesuvius that starts from Pompeii.

Horseback excursion to the Vesuvius National Park + wine tasting: this tour is particularly suitable if you want to live a very special experience. Explore Vesuvius on horseback it will surely remain a great memory to take home!

Vesuvius excursion from Herculaneum

How to get to Vesuvius from Herculaneum

Getting to Vesuvius from Herculaneum is very easy.

Get to the office Vesuvio Express (located on the left, just outside the station) from which you can buy shuttle tickets ma you can also buy them in advance at this link.

The return ticket costs € 10 per person.

The first shuttle leaves at 9:40 am, the last at 16 pm. Departures should be every 40 minutes, however it is important to know that although there is a timetable, the company does not always strictly respect it and will probably wait for the bus to fill up before leaving.

Vesuvius excursion from Sorrento

How to get to Vesuvius from Sorrento

go from Sorrento to Vesuvius by public transport you will have to take the Circumvesuviana to Pompeii - Villa dei Misteri or Ercolano Scavi and then continue with the Eav buses, with private shuttles or with a taxi.

If you have a car, you will have to drive on the A3 and exit at Torre del Greco or Ercolano and then follow the signs for Vesuvius.

Vesuvius excursion from Sorrento: organized tours

If you are staying in Sorrento and want to take part in an organized tour to Vesuvius, below you will find two different alternatives:

  • ☞ Vesuvius and Pompeii excursion from Sorrento with hotel pick-up -
  • ☞ Tour of Herculaneum and Vesuvius- in English

Excursion to Vesuvius on foot: Trekking paths

Inside the Vesuvius National Park, in addition to the exciting path on the Vesuvius crater, there are several other paths to follow for trekking lovers.

La path network of Vesuvius it is made up of various paths for a total length of approx 54 km long.

Among the walkways you will find 6 circular nature trails (n ° 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8), an educational path (n ° 9), a panoramic path (n ° 6) and an agricultural path (n ° 7 ).

You will find trails suitable for anyone and other more complex ones recommended only for trained people.

1 - Hell Valley

it is one of the most evocative and least traveled walks of Vesuvius. The access is located 4 km from the center of Ottaviano, on the road that climbs from the town towards Monte Somma.

If you want to cover it all, it will take you about 7 hours (we are talking about a path of about 12 km), but you can decide to stop in the intermediate stage when the path rejoins the Strada Matrone.

2 - Along the Cognoli

This is a very scenic itinerary that will allow you to enjoy the splendid scenery of the Somma - Vesuvius. The route is just over 8 km long and it will take you about 8 hours to complete it. One section is common to path n ° 1.

3 - Monte Somma

Il path of Monte Somma it is a circular itinerary of just under 8 km that leads up to Punta Nasone, the highest peak of the mountain. Journey times are around 5 hours.

4 - Path through the Tirone Reserve

Through the Tirone Reserve: it is a mostly flat 11 km track that you can cover in about 6 hours.

5 - Big Cone

This is the most popular and famous path of Vesuvius and it is also the only one with a fee.

Basically this is what everyone does: you will see the path called "Nature Trail No. 5" and starts from the square at an altitude of 1000 meters (Vesuvius, today it is just above 1200 meters).

the path develops for 170 meters in altitude and 2 km, but it is easy, if you don't stop a thousand times to take pictures, you will be able to walk it in about 20/25 minutes.

To these 20 minutes you have to add about 15 to walk the path around the volcanic crater. The walk is easy, safe, there are wooden bulkheads and the bottom is gravel, so if you have adequate shoes you will have no difficulty.

6 - Strada Matrone

The route of "Strada Matrone" retraces the ancient road that was signaled by the Matrone brothers to go up to the Gran Cono. Access is from the gate of the Forestry Barracks.

The length of the path is about 15 km and the travel time is 7 hours.

7 - Deep valley of the Profica

The itinerary winds along the slopes of the eastern slope of Monte Somma, a little known and popular area. The route starts at the height of the Church of Santa Maria alla Scala and is just over 4 km long. It will take you about 3 hours to complete it.

8 - Cogwheel train

This particular itinerary traces the historical path that connected Vesuvius to the town of San Sebastiano and retraces, in part, the ancient journey of the cogwheel train that since 1903 transported tourists from Pugliano to the lower station of the funicular. Journey times are approximately 2 hours.

9 - River of lava

This short itinerary of about 1 km will give you the thrill of walking on a lava flow. Access is near the Vesuvian Observatory.

10 - Olivella

The path climbs through the countryside of Sant'Anastasia and leads to the Olivella springs. The length is about 4 km that can be covered in 2 hours.

11 - Pine forest of Terzigno

This flat path inside a pine forest is suitable for everyone and can be covered in about 30 minutes.

Vesuvius excursion with children

If you decide to organize an excursion to Vesuvius with children, the best path is certainly that of the Gran Cono.

This is not only because the experience of walking on the edge of a crater will certainly be a lot of fun for them too, but also because the path is well marked, it is flat and not tiring.

Also along the way there are several refreshment points where you can stop in the shade and cool off.

There are, however, a few things you should keep in mind:

Pushchairs are not allowed.

It is essential that children also wear suitable shoes: no sandals or slippers because they would risk tripping or getting hurt with the gravelly ground.
Hat and sunglasses are essential especially in summer when temperatures can be very high.

Bring supplies of water and some snacks with you.

If, on the other hand, you want to take other excursions on Vesuvius with the children, I can suggest the path n ° 7 (Il Vallone della Profica) about 4 km long and the path n ° 9 (The lava river) which is about 1 km long.

Excursions on Vesuvius by jeep

Instead, to experience a different adventure than usual, you could take part in an excursion on Vesuvius by jeep: aboard a 4 × 4 you will reach the crater in a fun way, definitely not tiring and certainly unforgettable.

The off-road trips on Vesuvius are organized by local agencies and can also be booked online.

The 5 best tours of Vesuvius

If you are looking for a good guided excursion on Vesuvius, check out these 5 tours:

Full day trip to Vesuvius with wine tasting: a beautiful trip departing from Naples that will keep you busy all day and that will allow you to explore the Vesuvius National Park in all its features. You will have two hours to admire the crater and then together with an expert guide you will visit a vineyard and enjoy an interesting wine tasting.

OFFER Naples + Pompeii + Vesuvius: a perfect tour if you are short on time. This visit, in fact, begins with a panoramic tour of Naples with a bus that will allow some stops to take souvenir photos. It then continues with a guided tour of the archaeological site of Pompeii and ends with a trekking on the crater of Vesuvius.

Excursion to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Vesuvius: if you are an archeology lover with this tour you will have the opportunity to visit two of the most beautiful archaeological sites in Italy. Visits are free and the visit to Pompeii is carried out with an audio guide. The last stage of the trip is the ascent to the crater of Vesuvius.

OFFER Excursion to Pompeii + Vesuvius: a great classic is the combination of a visit to the archaeological site of Pompeii with a trekking on the volcano. This tour also includes a delicious pizza stop.

Horseback excursion to the Vesuvius National Park + wine tasting: this tour is particularly suitable if you want to live a very special experience. Exploring Vesuvius on horseback will surely remain a great memory to take home!

Is there danger in the excursion on Vesuvius?

Climbing Vesuvius is a fairly standard tourist activity, and if you are in relatively good shape and heed the warning signs, you have a better chance of being hit by a moped on the streets of Naples than something bad happens to you at the top of the mountain. volcano.

In fact, a 2017 study of volcano-related deaths over the past 500 years found that on average, only one tourist, climber, camper, student, pilgrim, or park keeper died atop a volcano - the simple fact is that the vast majority of deaths in and around these often sleeping monsters occur among people living within the area, not visitors.

Having said that, however, despite its years of relative silence, Vesuvius is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world; it is not a question of whether it will erupt again, rather than when it will. It is enough to see what is happening in the Canary Islands today (September 2021) to understand that when they want volcanoes can do damage, big damage.

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