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. Ironically, in the process, it also preserved the city for eternity.
And like all Shakespearean tragedies, the Pompeii ruins are sad yet beautiful.
1. How to reach
2. Opening hours
3. Best time to visit
4. Tour duration
5. Free tickets
6. Ticket discount
7. Buy Pompeii tickets
8. Guided tours
9. Rome to Pompeii
10. Naples to Pompeii
11. Sorrento to Pompeii
12. Positano to Pompeii
13. Pompeii and Herculaneum
14. What to see in Pompeii?
15. Pompeii map
16. Pompeii FAQs
Where is Pompeii located?
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.
Its address is: Porta Marina Superiore (Via Villa dei Misteri) | Piazza Immacolata, Piazza Porta Marina inf., 80045 Pompeii, Italy.
How to reach Pompeii
There are four ways to get to Pompeii – take a train, a bus, or buy a Pompeii tour, which includes transportation.
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.
Rome to Pompeii 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.
Once you get down, you need to get onto a Circumvesuviana train going towards Pompeii.
Circumvesuviana trains depart from a station adjacent to the station for inter-city trains.
The frequency of Circumvesuviana trains is one every half hour.
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.
If you would instead buy a package tour to Pompeii, check out –
Pompeii opening hours
Pompeii opening times are different during different times of the year.
Some tourists combine nearby archaeological sites such as Herculaneum, Oplontis, Boscoreale, and Stabia when they visit Pompeii ruins.
Along with the Pompeii ruins hours, we have also provided the timings of the other ruins.
From 1 April to 31 October
Pompeii ruins open at 9 am and close at 7.20 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays Pompeii ruins opens half an hour early – at 8.30 am.
On all days, the last entrance into Pompeii ruins is at 6 pm.
During these months, the ruins at Oplontis, Boscoreale, and Stabia also follow the same opening times.
However, Herculaneum ruins open a bit early at 8:30 am and closes at 7:30 pm.
From 1 November to 31 March
Pompeii ruins open at 9 am and closes at 5 pm.
During weekends, the opening time is advanced by half an hour to 8.30 am.
On all days, the last entrance into Pompeii is at 3.30 pm.
During these months, the ruins at Oplontis and Stabia also follow the opening times as mentioned above.
However, during these months Boscoreale ruins have different timings.
They open at 8.30 am and close at 6.30 pm. The last entrance into the Boscoreale ruins is at 5 pm.
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
Fridays and Saturdays are quite crowded at Pompeii.
If you plan your trip to Pompeii on a weekday, you are sure to encounter fewer tourists.
Whatever be the day, 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 won’t be possible to reach Pompeii by 10 am.
In such a scenario, the next best time to visit Pompeii is 1 pm.
By lunchtime, the massive crowd has started to leave or has already gone.
However, be aware that if you are going to start your exploration of Pompeii at 1 pm during summer, it won’t be easy.
During summer months, the peak temperatures range around 27 degree Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degree Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).
Avoiding the crowd inside Pompeii ruins
There is a trick to avoid the crowd inside the ruins.
Since the ruins are crowded from 10.30 t0 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 have a fixed time to get to back to their coaches.
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, but it can be quite taxing. More about it later in the article.
Free tickets to Pompeii
Did you know that you can enter Pompeii for free?
On the first Sunday of every month, there is no entrance fee at Pompeii. All visitors can enter for free.
If you are a handicapped person from the European Union, you and your companion can gain free entry tickets 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.
Pompeii ticket discounts
Some of the visitors qualify for Pompeii ticket discounts.
Kids who are 17 years and below get an 85% discount on their Pompeii tickets. Their discounted ticket costs only 3 Euros.
EU citizens between the ages of 18 to 24 qualify for a Pompeii ticket discount of 30%.
The cost of their Pompeii ruins ticket is only 14 Euros.
While opting for these Pompeii ticket discounts, please keep valid photo ID cards.
The cost of a ‘Skip the Line’ ticket for an adult is 20 Euros.
There are two ways to book Pompeii tickets.
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, you may even have to wait in line for an hour or more to buy your ticket.
Buy tickets online
The second and smarter option is to book tickets to Pompeii ruins, online.
These tickets are also known as Pompeii ‘Skip the line’ tickets because you don’t have to stand in the line to buy the tickets or enter the ruins.
The moment you purchase the tickets, they are emailed to you.
On the day of your visit, just show the tickets in your email, on your smartphone and walk in. No need to take printouts!
Note: You must enter the ruins from the Porta Marina entrance.
Pompeii guided tour
Pompeii ruins are spread over a large area, and there is a lot to see.
And in front of the Pompeii attractions, you will find no or very little info being provided.
If you want to make sense of what you are viewing, it makes a lot of sense to book a guided tour of Pompeii.
Hiring an archaeologist guide helps is 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
There are various kinds of Pompeii guided tours.
For instance, if you are travelling with kids, you can opt for the guided tour of Pompeii customised for kids.
Or you can book a small group tour with an English speaking archaeologist guide.
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 trip
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 plan day trips to Pompeii.
Both the transport to Pompeii and back, and the entrance tickets to Pompeii ruins are part of the package.
This tour starts at 8 am and lasts around 10-11 hours.
The distance from Rome to Pompeii is approximately 250 KMs (155 Miles), and it takes the air-conditioned coach a little more than three hours.
In between the bus stops at many places for coffee and bathroom breaks.
By 3.30 pm you are expected to be back on your bus for the return journey to Rome, Italy.
Adult ticket (7+ years): 78 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 6 years): 65 Euros
*Kids below 3 years of age accompany for free.
Pompeii tours from Naples
Many tourists decide to visit Pompeii while they are staying in Naples.
That’s why Pompeii tours from Naples are quite popular.
These tours start at 8 am in the morning and last approximately six hours.
Pompeii is a half hours drive from Naples – around 24 KMs (15 Miles).
The good thing about Pompeii tours from Naples is that you can enter the ruins as early as 9 am.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 42 Euros
EU Citizen ticket (18 to 24 years, ID card): 34 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 17 years): 27 Euros
Tours of Pompeii from Sorrento
If you are in Sorrento and want to visit Pompeii, you have two options.
Just contact your hotel reception, any tour agency or operator, and they will quickly hook you up with a tour bus that’s on its way to Pompeii.
However, we don’t recommend that.
The second option is to buy Pompeii ruins tickets online and reach Pompeii yourself.
It will work out much cheaper, and you will decide your pace.
Getting to Pompeii from Sorrento is quite easy.
Take the Circumvesuviana train which runs from Sorrento to Naples, and in 20 minutes you’ll arrive at Pompeii. Check Train schedule
Entry to Pompeii ruins is very close to the Circumvesuviana station.
The frequency of trains between Sorrento and Pompeii is excellent – one every 30 minutes all day long.
Of course, once you reach Pompeii, you will need tickets to enter.
Positano to Pompeii tour
Positano is about 35 Kms (22 Miles) from Pompeii ruins.
There are a few Positano to Pompeii tour options, but they are usually costly.
Besides, you won’t get any direct transport from Positano to Pompeii.
That leaves you with two options –
Take public transport
Take a bus from Positano to Sorrento (Check Bus schedule).
From Sorrento take the Circumvesuviana to Pompeii Scavi station.
This is a 20 minutes journey and brings you right to the entrance of the Pompeii ruins. Check Train schedule
Take private transport
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.
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, the tourists’ favourite is a combination tour of Herculaneum and Pompeii.
The fact that the distance between these two ruins site is only 16 KMs (or 10 Miles) makes these Herculaneum and Pompeii tours popular.
Pompeii is 10 KMs (6 Miles), and Herculaneum is 7 KMs (4.2 Miles) from Mt Vesuvius.
Herculaneum or Pompeii?
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.
Going to both the ruin sites on the same day can be a bit tiring. If you don’t mind stretching, we would suggest visiting both.
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
You have two 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 won’t last more than 20 minutes.
Pompeii and Herculaneum tour tickets
The best way to tour both Pompeii and Herculaneum in a single day is by buying ‘Skip the line’ tickets for Pompeii.
It helps you save yourself at least a total of 90 minutes of waiting in the line at the ticketing counters.
Besides time, buying the combination ticket also helps you save money – 5 Euros per ticket.
But when you buy the combination ticket for both the ruins, access to both the ruins only costs 30 Euros per adult.
This 30 Euros per ticket pricing is for 18+ adults.
If you are an 18 to 24-year-old European Union citizen, your ticket will only cost you 19 Euros.
Kids up to 17 years of age get a massive discount and only pay 4 Euros per head.
*While availing an age-related discount, keep a valid photo ID card with you.
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, you must not miss –
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.
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.
If you have booked a guided tour of Pompeii, a map of Pompeii isn’t a necessity.
However, if you don’t have a guide to take you around the huge archaeological area of Pompeii, you must get a map.
With the help of a map, you won’t waste your time trying to find what you want to see.
A map will also help you find the other tourist facilities such as washrooms, shops etc. More on Pompeii map
Pompeii ruins FAQs
If you are visiting Pompeii ruins, we are sure you have a lot of questions.
What happened in Pompeii?
Mount Vesuvius erupted in the summer of 79 AD destroying Pompeii.
Mount Vesuvius spewed thousands of tonnes of molten lava and ash for close to 24 hours to completely bury the city.
Since Pompeii was only 10 KMs (6 Miles) from the volcanic mountain, it suffered the most.
Ironically, in the process of covering the city with molten lava, the volcanic eruption ended up preserving the town for eternity.
When was Pompeii discovered?
In 1748, more than 1500 years after the volcanic eruption, Pompeii was discovered, and excavations started.
Along with Pompeii a lot of other ruins such as Herculaneum, Oplontis, Boscoreale, and Stabia were also found.
Ever since the discovery, only two-thirds of the buried city has been unearthed.
What is Pompeii Volcano?
Pompeii Volcano is the nickname given to Mount Vesuvius, for its role in the destruction of Pompeii.
It is believed that on that fateful day, Pompeii volcano had ejected molten rock, pulverised pumice and hot ash to a height of 33 Kms (21 Miles).