Thousands of years ago, Pompeii was a summer holiday destination for the rich and famous of 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 preserved it for eternity.
And like all Shakespearean tragedies, the Pompeii ruins are sad yet beautiful.
Table of contents
- What happened at Pompeii?
- Free tickets to Pompeii
- Pompeii tickets
- Pompeii tickets FAQs
- How to go from Rome to Pompeii
- Pompeii opening hours
- Best time to visit Pompeii
- How long does Pompeii take
- Pompeii tours from Naples
- Sorrento to Pompeii tours
- From Positano to Pompeii
- Pompeii and Herculaneum
- Pompeii ruins map
What happened at Pompeii?
Watch this animated video to understand how Mount Vesuvius volcano destroyed the whole of Pompeii within 24 hours.
There are three ways to explore the fascinating ruins of Pompeii.
The cheapest and most popular Pompeii ticket costs €28 for every adult and comes with an Audio Guide.
The guided tour of Pompeii ruins, where a local guide takes you around for two hours, costs €39.50.
If you prefer VIP treatment, you can book a private tour with an archeologist.
Free tickets to Pompeii
On the first Sunday of every month, visitors can enter Pompeii for free.
If you are a backpacker or a group of friends, the free tickets to Pompeii are worth it.
It gets very crowded, and we don’t recommend visiting on the first Sunday of the month if you are traveling with kids, elders, or large groups.
Disabled visitors from the European Union and their companions qualify for free entry to Pompeii all through the year.
If you are differently abled, we suggest you go from the entrance at Piazza Anfiteatro, which has facilitated access for visitors.
Your experience at Pompeii ruins depends on the type of Pompeii ticket you buy and when you buy.
Where to buy tickets to Pompeii
You can get your Pompeii entry tickets at the venue or buy them online, much in advance.
If you plan to get them at the attraction, you must get in the ticketing window queue at Porta Marina Gate, the main entrance of Pompeii ruins.
Depending on the time of the day (and month), you may have to wait in the ticket counter line for an hour or more to buy your ticket.
The second and better option is to book tickets to Pompeii ruins online.
When you buy Pompeii tickets in advance, you save yourself a lot of waiting time by skipping the ticket counter queue.
That is why these tickets are also known as Pompeii ‘Skip the line’ tickets.
Update: Due to the Covid pandemic, ticket sales at the venue are suspended. Now, all visitors MUST purchase the tickets online before their visit. Same-day ticket purchase is also possible.
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 the email you received at the IBT Information Point near the Porta Marina Inferiore entrance. You can show it on your smartphone – no need to take printouts.
Visitors can pick up their audio guides and ‘illustrated book about Pompeii’ at the IBT Information Point itself.
And then you walk into the Pompeii ruins through the skip-the-line lane.
Pompeii ticket discounts
The Pompeii Fast Track ticket, the cheapest and most popular ticket, costs 20 Euros for all adults 25 years and older.
Kids 17 years and below get an 85% reduction on their Pompeii tickets, and they must pay only 3 Euros for entry.
EU citizens aged 18 to 24 years get almost 75% discount – they only pay 5.50 Euros for their entry.
While availing of these Pompeii ticket discounts, please keep a valid photo ID card ready.
Cheapest Pompeii tickets
These tickets are the cheapest and most popular amongst tourists visiting Pompeii ruins.
You must show this Pompeii ticket on your mobile, at the “Porta Marina Inferiore (Piazza Esedra)” entrance on the day of your visit.
While booking your ticket, you must choose from the morning timeslot starting at 9 am and the afternoon slot beginning at 1 pm.
The morning slot ticket gives you access to Pompeii anytime until 1 pm, and the afternoon slot ticket gives you access from 1 pm until closure.
Adult ticket (25+ years): €20
EU Citizen ticket (18 to 24 years): €5.50
Child ticket (up to 17 years): €3
Pompeii tickets with audio guide
If you prefer an audio guide during your visit to the 2000-year-old Pompeii ruins, you must opt for this ticket.
Visitors who purchase this ticket must show the email voucher they got at IBT Information Point (at Porta Marina Inferiore entrance of Pompeii) and pick up their physical ticket and audio guide.
You don’t need to take printouts – show the voucher on your smartphone itself.
You must bring a valid ID as a deposit for the audio guide. Copies or student IDs are not accepted.
With this ticket, you can reserve a parking space in advance if you plan to come by car.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €28
Child ticket (up to 17 years): €12
VIP Experience at Pompeii
If money isn’t an issue, but you would like to be treated like a VIP at Pompeii, we recommend the Pompeii VIP ticket.
Besides admission to Pompeii ruins, this ticket also gets the audio guide, a water bottle before the visit, orange juice after you finish exploring, and a raincoat in case it rains.
For just €6, you can book your car parking slot in advance.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €32
Youth ticket (8 to 17 years): €16
Child ticket (up to 7 years): €10
Pompeii guided tour
Pompeii ruins are spread over a large area, and there isn’t a lot of information you can see or read when you are standing in front of the 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.
You will meet your guide next to the Pompeii Ticket Office on Piazza Porta Marina Inferiore (in front of the Hotel Vittoria)
The guided tour of Pompeii is available in English, Italian, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish, and German.
You can choose your preferred language on the tour booking page.
Guided tour price
Adult ticket (18+ years): €39.50
Youth ticket (6 to 17 years): €24.50
Child ticket (up to 5 years): €3.50
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.
Rome to Pompeii day trips
Pompeii is 150 miles south of Rome, well within a long day trip from the city.
Tourists who don’t want to handle the hassles of transport prefer to book day tours to Pompeii.
These roundtrips to Pompeii start from the city around 8 am and lasts around 11 hours.
As part of the package, visitors get free WiFi on the bus, skip-the-line access to Pompeii ruins, an audio guide, and assistance at all points from Touristation staff.
The most popular tour from Rome to Pompeii also includes a half-mile hike to see Mt. Vesuvius’ crater.
When the hike isn’t possible during winter, you get a quick tour of nearby Naples city.
If you want to keep it simple and only see Pompeii ruins, check out this roundtrip from Rome.
If you want to visit Italy’s two of the most exciting tourist attractions in a single day, check out the Pompeii + Amalfi Coast tour.
Pompeii tickets FAQs
Before planning their Pompeii visit, tourists have a lot of questions about Pompeii entry tickets.
We try and answer them here –
- Can I purchase tickets to Pompeii online?
Visitors can buy Pompeii tickets online.
You can get the cheapest Pompeii tickets, the tickets with an audio guide, or opt for the guided tour.
When you buy them in advance, you don’t have to wait in the long ticket counter lines and save yourself a lot of time and energy.
- Do I need advance tickets for Pompeii?
Even though it is not a must to buy Pompeii tickets in advance, we recommend you buy them before visiting the attraction.
If you already have the tickets when you reach Pompeii, you can avoid standing in the long lines at the ticketing counter.
- Regular or ‘Skip the Line’ tickets for Pompeii?
All Pompeii tickets, when purchased online, are ‘skip the line’ tickets because they help you skip the queue at the ticket counter.
- Where is the ticket office at Pompeii?
Pompeii has three ticket offices – in Porta Marina, in Piazza Anfiteatro, and in Piazza Esedra.
Ticket sellers outside the main entrances are just vendors trying to make a quick buck – do not buy from them.
We highly recommend you buy your Pompeii tickets online.
- If I buy an online ticket, which entrance should I use?
When you buy Pompeii tickets online, you can access Pompeii via the dedicated online ticket desk at the Porta Marina Superiore or Porta Marina Inferiore.
Just show your smartphone ticket, exchange it for a physical ticket and take the skip-the-line lane to enter the ruins.
If you go to the Piazza Anfiteatro entrance, you won’t be able to skip the line.
- Can I re-enter the Pompeii ruins with my ticket?
Each ticket only allows one entry into the Pompeii ruins.
- Can we buy same-day Pompeii tickets?
Yes, you can purchase same-day (or next day’s) Pompeii tickets.
You can do this from the ticket counters at the venue, or if you want to save yourself waiting time, you can buy them online.
During peak hours, this waiting time at the ticket counter lines can even go up to an hour, and that’s why we recommend buying them online.
- With a Pompeii ticket purchased online, can I enter the ruins straight away?
If you have bought your Pompeii tickets online, you must show the voucher you have received in your email at the dedicated online ticket desk at the ‘Porta Marina Superiore’ or ‘Porta Marina Inferiore.’
They will give you a physical ticket, with which you can take the skip-the-line lane and enter the ruins.
- Are Pompeii ruins tickets timed?
Before Covid-19, Pompeii tickets were not timed.
Now, everyone must select an entry time slot while purchasing tickets.
The time slots are scheduled every 15 minutes, with a maximum of 150 people per slot.
A delay of 10 to 15 minutes from the time mentioned on your ticket is tolerated.
- How much discount do kids get on Pompeii tickets?
The Pompeii tickets for adults costs 20 Euros.
The reduced price for kids 17 years and below is only 3 Euros – a discount of 75 percent.
- How much discount do European Union citizens get on Pompeii tickets?
EU citizens who are between 18 to 24 years qualify for a discount of more than 70%.
The cost of their Pompeii ruins ticket is only 5.50 Euros per person.
- Can kids visit Pompeii ruins?
Some of the exhibits at Pompeii are not suitable for kids – some are too graphic, and some are sexual.
However, there is so much exciting stuff for kids that it would be criminal to keep them away from Pompeii.
If you are visiting Pompeii with kids, we recommend this guided tour customized for kids.
How to go from Rome to 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 favor when the volcano erupted.
The ancient Roman city had been strategically built at the mouth of the Sarnus (modern Sarno) River. Get directions
There are three ways to get to Pompeii – take a train, a bus, or book a Pompeii tour, including transportation.
Distance between Rome and Pompeii
Pompeii is 250 Kms (155 Miles) by road, from Rome.
If you opt to travel by road, you can cover this distance in a little more than two and a half hours.
The railway distance is only 212 Kms (132 Miles), but because you have to change trains in Naples, the train journey also takes two and a half hours.
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
Pompeii day trip by train is the best option if you are holidaying in 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 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 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
On weekdays, Pompeii ruins open at 9 am, and on weekends they open at 8.30 am.
In the peak months of April to October, Pompeii closes at 7 pm, and the attraction closes early at 5 pm.
The last entry is 90 minutes before closing time.
Note: Since tourists combine nearby archaeological sites such as Herculaneum, Oplontis, Boscoreale, and Stabia, they visit Pompeii ruins. Their timing is similar.
Pompeii’s archaeological area is closed on three days – 1 January, 1 May, and 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.
The next best time to visit Pompeii ruins is 3 pm because, after lunchtime, the massive crowd has started to leave or has already left.
During the peak season, the ruins are open till 7 pm, so even if you start at 3 pm, you get four hours to explore.
During the non-peak months, the ruins close at 5 pm.
Note: If you stay in Rome or Naples, it is almost impossible to reach Pompeii by 10 am. All the more reason for you to book your Pompeii tickets in advance so that you can enter the ruins the moment you arrive.
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
Pompeii is crowded from 10.30 to 12.30 noon and it is best to avoid star attractions of Pompeii ruins 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
Pompeii is 44 square hectares and will take more than two days to explore.
However, if you were to focus only on the highlights of Pompeii, you need three hours.
If you are traveling with kids and seniors, a similar highlights-only tour will last four hours.
Note: Many tourists want to know if it is possible to combine the Pompeii visit with Herculaneum ruins. Yes, it is possible.
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 are pretty popular.
Naples to Pompeii is a half-hour journey – around 24 Kms (15 Miles).
From Naples: Half day visit to Pompeii
This tour from Naples to Pompeii starts at 10 am and lasts four hours.
The package 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 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 prefer an 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).
To get to Pompeii ruins, you have three options – public transport, your car, or a coach tour.
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-kilometer radius of the volcano got 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.
Because of their size and extent of preservation, Pompeii and Herculaneum get the maximum visitors.
Herculaneum or Pompeii?
Some tourists wonder if they must visit Pompeii or Herculaneum.
The city of Herculaneum is better preserved than Pompeii.
The houses, thermal baths, temples, and statues are not as damaged as in Pompeii.
The Romans living in Herculaneum were much more lavish because of which their houses and other attractions amongst the ruins are bigger and better.
Even the Frescos and artwork found in Herculaneum are better than those found in Pompeii.
However, Herculaneum is much smaller in size when compared to Pompeii – while the former 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 km (10 miles) apart, tourists with extra time, money, and energy prefer Herculaneum and Pompeii combo tours.
If you don’t have a lot of time or 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 money isn’t an issue, getting a private car with a driver is the best option.
The second option is to take the Circumvesuviana train, which starts from Porta Nolana station in Naples.
The final destination of this train is Sorrento.
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, and the entrance to Pompeii ruins is just 25 meters outside the station.
Once you have explored Pompeii, come back to the station and board the Circumvesuviana train towards Naples.
After 18 minutes of travel time, get down at Ercolano Scavi, and just outside the train station, you will spot the entrance to the Herculaneum ruins.
Once you have explored the Herculaneum ruins, come back to Ercolano Scavi station and board the Naples-bound Circumvesuviana train.
Your trip from Herculaneum to Naples will last less than 20 minutes.
To enter both the ruins, you will need tickets –
Pompeii and Herculaneum tour tickets
Many visitors don’t want to manage their 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.
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 the Piazza Anfiteatro entrance (download map), and route two starts from the Porta Marina entrance (download map). We suggest you start your tour from the 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 exploring 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 vast archaeological area of Pompeii, you must get a map.
A Pompeii map will help you save time and ensure you don’t miss the important exhibits.
A map will also help you find tourist facilities such as washrooms, cafes, smoking areas, souvenir shops, etc.
To download the PDF version of the best Pompeii map, click here.
We also recommend this Pompeii Guide (booklet).
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
Must read: Heard of the masturbating man of Pompeii?