Tourists from all over visit Pompeii for its well-preserved ruins.
Thousands of years ago Pompeii was a summer holiday destination for the rich and famous in the Roman Empire.
However, a deadly volcanic eruption in 79 AD converted Pompeii into a heart-breaking historical showpiece.
In less than 24 hours, Mount Vesuvius volcano reduced Pompeii to ashes but in the process preserved it for eternity.
And like all Shakespearean tragedies, the Pompeii ruins are sad yet beautiful.
1. Free tickets
2. Ticket discount
3. Buy Pompeii tickets
4. Guided tours
5. Pompeii tickets FAQs
6. How to reach
7. Opening hours
8. Best time to visit
9. Tour duration
10. Rome to Pompeii
11. Naples to Pompeii
12. Sorrento to Pompeii
13. Positano to Pompeii
14. Pompeii and Herculaneum
15. What to see in Pompeii?
16. Pompeii map
COVID-19 UPDATE: Pompeii ruins are now open, but as a safety precaution, the ticket counters at the venue are suspended. This means everyone must buy their tickets online, before visiting.
>> Cheapest Pompeii entry tickets
>> Pompeii VIP Experience
>> Guided tour of Pompeii
>> Guided tour customized for kids
While visiting Pompeii, wearing of a mask in open spaces is advised, but it is mandatory indoors, in crowded areas, and where social distancing of at least one meter cannot be guaranteed.
What happened at Pompeii?
Watch this animated video to understand how Mount Vesuvius volcano destroyed the whole of Pompeii within 24 hours.
Free tickets to Pompeii
Did you know that you can enter Pompeii for free?
On the first Sunday of every month, it is free to enter Pompeii.
If you are a backpacker or a group of friends, the free tickets to Pompeii are worth it.
However, it gets very crowded and we don’t recommended if you are travelling with kids, elders or in large groups.
If you are a handicapped person from the European Union, you and your companion qualify for free entry tickets to Pompeii all through the year.
Update: ‘Domenica al Museo’, which provided free ticket every first Sunday of the month, is suspended because of Covid-19.
If you are differently abled, we suggest you go from the entrance at Piazza Anfiteatro, which has facilitated access for visitors.
Pompeii ticket discounts
The Pompeii Fast Track ticket price for an adult is 20 Euros.
Some of the visitors qualify for discounts on this ticket cost.
Kids 17 years and below get an 85% discount on their Pompeii tickets. Their discounted ticket costs only 3 Euros.
EU Citizens aged 18 to 24 years get a 65% discount – they only pay 7 Euros for their entry.
While availing these Pompeii ticket discounts, please keep valid photo ID card ready. Buy ‘Fast Track’ tickets
There are two ways to book Pompeii entrance tickets.
1. Buy tickets at Pompeii
Reach the Porta Marina Gate, which is the main entrance of Pompeii ruins and get in the queue at the ticketing window.
Depending on the time of the day (and month), you may have to wait in the ticketing counter line for an hour or more to buy your ticket.
Update: Due to Covid-19 situation, ticket sales at the venue have been suspended. Now, all visitors MUST purchase the tickets online before their visit. Same day ticket purchase is also possible.
2. Buy Pompeii tickets online
The second and smarter option is to book tickets to Pompeii ruins online.
When you buy Pompeii tickets in advance, you save yourself a lot of waiting time – you skip the ticketing line.
This is why these tickets are also known as Pompeii ‘Skip the line’ tickets.
How online Pompeii tickets work
When you buy Pompeii entry tickets online, they get emailed to you within minutes of the purchase.
On the day of your visit, show your smartphone voucher at the IBT Information Point just outside of the Pompeii entrance and get your entry ticket.
No need to take printouts!
If you buy this ticket, you must enter the ruins from the Porta Marina entrance and walk in through the skip-the-line lane.
Pompeii tickets price
Adult ticket (18+ years): 20 Euros
EU Citizen ticket (18 to 24 years, with ID): 7 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 17 years): 3 Euros
Visit like a VIP: If budget isn’t an issue, check out the Pompeii VIP Experience
Pompeii guided tour
Pompeii ruins are spread over a large area, and there is a lot to see.
But there isn’t a lot of information you can see or read when you are standing in front of the Pompeii attractions.
If you want to make sense of the magnitude of what you witnessing, it makes a lot of sense to book a guided tour of Pompeii.
Hiring an expert who knows about the ruins helps in multiple ways:
– You don’t waste your time trying to find the exhibits
– You don’t miss out on any of the highlights of Pompeii ruins
– Guides share more in-depth knowledge, exciting stories etc. about the ruins
The Pompeii guided tour we have recommended below starts at 10.30 am and lasts for two hours.
Guided tour price
Adult ticket (18+ years): 38 Euros
Youth ticket (6 to 17 years): 21 Euros
Child ticket (up to 5 years): 2 Euros
*If you have children, check out this guided Pompeii tour customised for kids.
**Prefer an archeology expert to take you around the Pompeii ruins? Check out this small group guided tour with an archeologist
***If you don’t mind spending extra for an exclusive archaeologist guide, you can book your own ‘Skip the Line’ 2-hour private tour of Pompeii.
Pompeii tickets FAQs
Before planning their Pompeii visit, tourists have a lot of questions about Pompeii entry tickets.
We try and answer them here –
How to reach Pompeii
Pompeii ruins are in Campania, Italy, 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Naples.
Pompeii’s location is at the southeastern base of Mount Vesuvius, which didn’t go in its favour when the volcano erupted.
The ancient Roman city had been strategically built at the mouth of the Sarnus (modern Sarno) River.
There are three ways to get to Pompeii – take a train, a bus, or book a Pompeii tour, which includes transportation.
Distance between Rome and Pompeii
Pompeii is 250 Kms (155 Miles) by road, from Rome.
If you opt to travel by road, this distance can be covered in a little more than two and a half hours.
When you take a train the railway distance is only 212 Kms (132 Miles).
But the trains also end up taking the same time to reach Pompeii (because of the waiting in Naples).
Pompeii by bus
A bus is a recommended option only if you are already in Naples.
SITA local buses leave from Nuova Marina port in Naples to Pompeii every half hour.
The bus ticket, which costs a little less than 3 Euros, can be bought from the SITA office at Nuova Marina port.
The journey time is approximately 35 minutes.
Train from Rome to Pompeii
Rome to Pompeii day trip by train is the best option if you are based out of the Italian Capital.
This trip to Pompeii has two legs –
Rome to Naples by train
Every day there are 16 trains which leave Roma Termini station in Rome for Naples Central station.
If you buy a Rome to Naples ticket on a high-speed train (Frecciarossa or Frecciabianca), you can save travel time.
Your train from Rome will arrive at the main Naples Centrale station which is meant for inter-city trains.
Important: Book Rome to Naples high-speed train tickets at least a week to ten days in advance to get cheap rates. If you book a day or two before your Pompeii visit, the return tickets can cost you 60+ Euros per person. In such a case, it is much wiser to book a Rome to Pompeii day trip which includes transportation.
Naples to Pompeii by train
Once you reach Naples, you need to get onto a Circumvesuviana train going towards Pompeii.
From the Naples station for inter-city trains you must get to the adjacent station from where Circumvesuviana trains depart.
The frequency of Circumvesuviana trains is one every half hour.
Need help with the transfer at Naples station? Watch this video –
You must get off the Circumvesuviana train at Pompei Scavi station, which is located 50 meters from the entrance to Pompeii.
The journey time from Naples central to Pompei Scavi (also known as Pompeii train station) is approximately 45 minutes.
Important: Some tourists don’t want the hassle of finding the Rome to Pompeii train timings, booking tickets etc. So, they opt for either Pompeii day trips from Rome or Pompeii coach tours from Naples
Pompeii opening hours
In the peak months of April to October, Pompeii ruins open at 9 am and close at 7 pm and rest of the year, the ruins continue to open at 9 am but close early at 5 pm.
On all Saturdays and Sundays, Pompeii ruins open half an hour early – at 8.30 am.
The last entry is 90 minutes before closing time.
Since tourists combine nearby archaeological sites such as Herculaneum, Oplontis, Boscoreale, and Stabia when they visit Pompeii ruins, their timing is similar.
When is Pompeii ruins closed?
Pompeii’s archaeological area is closed on three days – 1 January, 1 May, and for Christmas on 25 December.
Best time to visit Pompeii
The best time to visit Pompeii is before 10 am.
Coaches start bringing in large tour groups by 10.30 am and end up crowding the ticketing counters, the lines to enter the ruins, and its famous attractions.
However, if you are staying in Rome or Naples, it is almost impossible to reach Pompeii by 10 am.
This is why it is better to book Pompeii tickets in advance, so that you can enter the ruins the moment you reach the spot.
The next best time to visit Pompeii ruins is 3 pm.
By lunchtime, the massive crowd has started to leave or has already left.
During the peak season, the ruins are open till 7 pm, so you get four hours to explore. During the non-peak months they close at 5 pm.
Fridays and Saturdays are crowded at Pompeii, so it is better to plan a visit during the weekday.
Note: During summer months, the peak temperatures range around 27 degree Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degree Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
How to avoid the crowd at Pompeii
There are two places where you may want to avoid the crowd:
At the ticketing lines
According to the management at Pompeii ruins, during the peak months one may end up waiting in the ticket counter lines for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of an hour (pic below).
The only way to avoid the long lines at the ticketing counters of Pompeii is by buying Pompeii tickets online, in advance.
Inside the ruins
There is a trick to avoid the crowd inside the ruins.
Since the ruins are crowded from 10.30 to 12.30 noon – it is best to avoid the star attractions during this period.
Use the Pompeii map, and avoid the crowd-pullers.
Tourists visiting as part of group tours get back to their coaches by 12.30 pm to 1 pm.
Once they all leave, you can get back to exploring the must-sees in Pompeii.
Low season: November to March
High season: April to October
Busiest months: May and August
How long does Pompeii take
If you aren’t travelling with kids and seniors, and if you only want to check out the highlights of Pompeii you need three hours.
With kids or seniors, a similar highlights-only tour will last four hours.
However, if you are love history, art or architecture you are likely to spend more than five hours exploring the Pompeii ruins.
Note: Many tourists want to know if it is possible to combine the Pompeii visit with Herculaneum ruins. Yes, it is possible.
Rome to Pompeii day trips
Pompeii tours from Rome are quite popular.
After the tourists in Rome are done with the Colosseum, St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums etc., they usually plan day trips to Pompeii.
This is why there are many bus tours from Rome to Pompeii.
We present three of the best Rome to Pompeii tours –
From Rome: Pompeii + Mt Vesuvius
This highly rated and most popular tour includes the following:
- Transport to Pompeii and back
- An archeologist guide
- ‘Skip The Line’ entry to Pompeii
- A half-mile hike to see Mt. Vesuvius’ crater*
- Authentic Italian pizza lunch
*In winter months (late Nov to Mar end) the Mt Vesuvius hike is replaced by a visit to Naples.
The trip begins at 7.30 am from Rome and by 7.30 pm your air conditioned coach will be back in Rome.
This tour is available on Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Adult ticket (15+ years): 129 Euros
Child ticket (2 to 14 years): 119 Euros
Here are three more Rome to Pompeii coach tours –
If you want to visit Italy’s two of the most interesting tourist attractions in a single day, check out the Pompeii + Amalfi Coast tour.
Pompeii tours from Naples
Many tourists decide to visit Pompeii while they are staying in Naples.
Since there are many convenient ways to get to Pompeii from Naples, Pompeii tours from here are quite popular.
Naples to Pompeii is a half hour journey – around 24 Kms (15 Miles).
From Naples: Half day visit to Pompeii
This tour starts at 10 am in the morning and lasts four hours.
This popular Pompeii tour includes:
- Transport from Naples to Pompeii and back
- An archeologist guide
- ‘Skip The Line’ entry to Pompeii
Adult ticket (18+ years): 64 Euros
Youth ticket (4 to 17 years): 48 Euros
Infant ticket (0 to 3 years): Free entry
If you want to make it a whole day affair, there are two other Naples to Pompeii tours you can opt for –
If you fancy a half-a-mile trek to see the Volcano which killed everyone in Pompeii, opt for the Pompeii entry + Mt Vesuvius tour.
If you want a day long tour, look no further than the Pompeii and Amalfi Coast day-long tour from Naples.
Sorrento to Pompeii tours
If you are in Sorrento and want to visit Pompeii, you have two options – you can either take the train or the bus.
Sorrento to Pompeii by train
The cheapest way to do this is to book your Pompeii ticket in advance, and on the day of the visit take the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii.
Circumvesuviana trains run between Sorrento and Naples and in 20 minutes can drop you at Pompeii. Train schedule
Entry to the Pompeii ruins is very close to the Circumvesuviana station.
The train times between Sorrento to Pompeii are very convenient – one every 30 minutes all day long.
If you don’t want the hassle of buying the train tickets, you can book this guided tour of Pompeii which includes Circumvesuviana tickets.
Sorrento to Pompeii by bus
If you don’t want to take the train from Sorrento, you can opt for the below given coach tour.
Since Sorrento is a small town, you will be picked up from your hotel at 10 am.
Distance from Sorrento to Pompeii is 26 Kms (16 Miles), and travel by road takes approximately 45 minutes.
At Pompeii, your guide will be waiting for you.
After a two hour guided tour of the ruins of Pompeii, you will get back to your vehicle and get back to your hotel.
Regular ticket (4+ years): 74 Euros
Infant ticket (0 to 3 years): Free entry
If you are starting from Sorrento and would prefer a 8-hour day tour, check out this Pompeii ruins + Mt Vesuvius trek.
From Positano to Pompeii
The distance from Positano to Pompeii is about 35 Kms (22 Miles).
You have three options –
You can use public transport to reach Pompeii ruins.
After the 40-minutes bus journey and 20-minutes on the train, you will be right at the entrance of the Pompeii ruins.
For approximately 200 Euros you can get a private driver to pick you up from your hotel in Positano and drop you at Pompeii.
They then wait for you while you enjoy the ruins and then drive you back.
Whatever be your mode of transport from Positano to Pompeii, you will still need a ticket to enter the ruins.
Book a coach tour
The best and most convenient way is to book a coach tour from Positano to Pompeii.
This tour which starts at 8 am, includes:
- Transportation both ways
- Entry tickets to Pompeii
- Entrance fee to Mt Vesuvius
- English speaking guide
Adult ticket (13+ years): 109 Euros
Child ticket (2 to 12 years): 87 Euros
If you want something more adventurous, check out this Pompeii and Vesuvius boat tour.
Pompeii and Herculaneum
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, every village, town, city within a 15-kilometre radius of the volcano was destroyed. More such Pompeii facts
That’s why there are numerous ruins such as Pompeii, Herculaneum (also known as Ercolano), Oplonti, Stabia etc. in the region.
However, because of their size and extent of preservation, Pompeii and Herculaneum get the maximum visitors.
Herculaneum or Pompeii?
Some tourists do have this dilmena.
The city of Herculaneum is better preserved than Pompeii.
The houses, thermal baths, temples, and statues are not as damaged as they are in Pompeii.
When it came to riches, the Romans living in Herculaneum were much more lavish.
That’s why the houses and other attractions in Herculaneum are bigger and better.
In fact, even the Frescos and artwork found in Herculaneum is said to be better than that found in Pompeii.
However, the site is much smaller in size when compared to Pompeii.
While Herculaneum housed approximately 5,000 people, Pompeii was known to have 20,000 people living.
As for the question “Herculaneum or Pompeii?” our answer is: “It depends.”
If you don’t mind taking a short public transport to move between Herculaneum and Pompeii, we suggest you explore both the ruins.
Since these two ruins are only 16 KMs (or 10 Miles) apart, tourist with extra time, money and energy prefer Herculaneum and Pompeii combo tours.
If you don’t have a lot of time, or if you believe in exploring one site thoroughly we recommend you spend all your time in Pompeii.
And save Herculaneum for your next visit (or the next day!).
Transport between Pompeii and Herculaneum
If you have decided to visit both the sites, you have two travel options – private transport and public.
If you have lots of money to spare, getting a private car with a driver is the best option.
The second option is to take the Circumvesuviana train.
In the city of Naples, look for the terminal railway station called Porta Nolana.
The Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii and Herculaneum starts from here.
The final destination of this train is Sorrento.
On its way, it passes through Ercolano Scavi (station to get down for Herculaneum ruins) and Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri (station to get down for Pompeii ruins).
You can decide, which ruins to see first and plan accordingly.
After boarding the train at Naples, get down at Pompei Scavi station first.
The train ride from Naples to Pompei Scavi station is just 30 minutes.
Entrance to Pompeii ruins is just 25 meters outside the station.
Once you are done with Pompeii, come back to the station and board Circumvesuviana train towards Naples.
After 18 minutes travel time, get down at Ercolano Scavi and just outside it is the entrance to the Herculaneum ruins.
Once you are done visiting the Herculaneum ruins, come back to the station and board the Naples bound Circumvesuviana train.
Your trip from Herculaneum to Naples will last less than 20 minutes.
Pompeii and Herculaneum tour tickets
Many visitors don’t want to manage their own travel, which is understandable because sometimes it can get confusing.
For such tourists we recommend the below-given 8-hour tour of Pompeii and Herculaneum, starting from Naples.
The inclusions of the tour package are:
- Hotel pick-up
- Entry tickets to Pompeii
- Local guide to help explore Pompeii ruins
- Transportation from Pompeii to Herculaneum
- Entrance fee to Herculaneum
- Drop back to hotel
Tour price: All 3+ tourists pay 125 Euros / person
If you prefer your own private transport and private guide for exploring both the ruins on the same day, check out this amazing private tour.
What to see in Pompeii?
Visiting Pompeii is like being in a Shakespearean tragedy. It is sad, yet beautiful.
There is a lot to see during your Pompeii tour.
Besides Pompeii ruins is 60+ hectares (170 acres) big. That’s a lot to cover during a single day.
Therefore, most tourists ask the question “What are the must-sees in Pompeii?”
Here is our list of the Pompeii highlights –
1. Villa of the Mysteries
Also known as Villa dei Misteri, this is a Roman villa from the 2nd century BCE. It is richly decorated with frescoes, whose meaning archaeologists are still trying to figure out.
2. House of the Faun
Also known as Casa del Fauno, this is the ruin of a luxury Roman 2nd-century dwelling. It has a replica bronze faun statue welcoming the tourists, and hence the name.
This was the most extensive and most expensive residence in ancient Pompeii.
3. Amphitheatre of Pompeii
This is an ancient Roman arena for gladiator fights. It has a seating capacity of 20,000. This is the oldest stadium built with stone, still in existence – much older than the Colosseum in Rome.
Lupanar is Latin for ‘brothel.’ Needless to say, this was the grandest of all brothels in Pompeii, and the city was known to have more than 50 of them.
This brothel interests the tourists more because of the erotic paintings on its walls.
Graffiti in Pompeii included jokes, comments on girlfriends, announcements about the writer’s sex life, etc. Check out some of the most funniest Pompeii graffiti
5. Pompeii Thermal Baths
Pompeii ruins have five public thermal baths. Each of the thermal bath building is divided into two sections – for women and for men.
Tourists love to see the ingenious way these baths rooms were heated; by running heated water through the cavities in the wall.
6. Garden of the Fugitives
The largest number of victims of Vesuvius’ eruption were found at this site.
This spot was once an ancient orchard. Now 13 bodies of Pompeii residents who couldn’t flee the deadly volcanic dust and rocks remain there as a stark reminder of nature’s fury.
Garden of the Fugitives is a frozen glimpse of Pompeii’s appalling last hours.
7. House of Vetti
The House of the Vettii is one of the many Domus in Pompeii. A Domus is a massive house occupied by the Roman upper classes.
During your Pompeii tour, you must definitely visit this attraction for its richly coloured frescos.
8. House of the Tragic Poet
The House of Tragic Poet is a Pompeiian home dating back to the 2nd century BC. It features sufficient ornamental detail, depicting scenes from Greek mythology.
The interior decoration in this house is of the best quality in the whole of Pompeii.
9. House of the surgeon
This house in the Pompeii ruins belonged to a surgeon. It has ancient surgical instruments displayed inside and is quite popular with tourists on Pompeii visit.
10. Temple of Apollo
Temple of Apollo is 6th century BC temple dedicated to the Greek and Roman God Apollo.
11. Temple of Jupiter
Temple of Jupiter was built around 2nd century BC. This ancient stone temple has columns in ruins and a statue of Jupiter God for all to see.
12. House of Sallust
The House of Sallust is the second Domus you must visit. The oldest parts of this house have been dated to the 4th century BC.
This house gets its name from the election notice which was also excavated with the house. The election notice recommended a gentleman called Gaius Sallustius for office.
Must read: Heard of the masturbating man of Pompeii?
Pompeii ruins map
COVID-19 UPDATE: As part of the safety measures, Pompeii authorities mandate two routes inside the ruins which all visitors must follow.
Route one starts from Piazza Anfiteatro entrance (download map), and route two starts from Porta Marina entrance (download map). We suggest you start your tour from Porta Marina entrance.
These mandatory paths are one-way itineraries, indicated by colored arrows, and allow you to explore Pompeii while ensuring health precautions.
After you have explored Pompeii, you can exit from any of the three gates – Porta Marina, Piazza Anfiteatro, or Piazza Esedra.
If you have booked a guided tour of Pompeii, you don’t need a map of Pompeii.
However, if you don’t have a guide to take you around the huge archaeological area of Pompeii, you must get a map.
A Pompeii map will help you save time, and will also ensure you don’t miss the important exhibits.
A map will also help you find tourist facilities such as washrooms, rest areas, picnic spots, smoking areas, souvenir shops etc.
To download the PDF version of the best Pompeii map, click here.
We also recommend this Pompeii Guide (booklet).