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One of the most popular day trips from Rome is visiting Pompeii. The ancient city destroyed by Mount Vesuvius and preserved for centuries by lava and ash that spewed from the volcano is one of the most fascinating historical sites in the world. You could spend hours wandering along the cobbled streets of the city in awe of the way people lived almost 2000 years ago.
If you’re considering a Pompeii day trip from Rome you will need to set aside a full day of your Italy itinerary and unless you take a fully guided tour it takes a little planning.
In this guide, we share the best tours of Pompeii from Rome, how to get from Rome to Pompeii on your own and recommended activities when you get there.
Summary of options for your Pompeii trip from Rome
We’ve provided full instructions on how to DIY your trip to Pompeii and a breakdown of the best tours however if you want your answers fast here is a summary.
- Guided tours from Rome start at €129 per person see table below for details
- DIY trip average costs
- Trains – €50 per adult if purchased in advance / €90 same day travel
- Pompeii tickets – €17 – €19 in advance / €15 per adult same day
- Pompeii tour with archaeologist – €47 per adult
|Pompeii and Sorrento||12 hours|
Daily from 07:00am
|18 max||€189 per person|
|To book the Pompeii and Sorrento tour - click here|
|Pompeii and Vesuvius||13 hours|
Mon, Thurs, Sat & Sun from 07:30am
|24 max||€129 per person|
|Book the Pompeii and Vesuvius tour - click here|
|Pompeii and Amalfi Coast tour||13 hours|
Daily from 07:15am
|18 max||€184 per person|
|Book the Pompeii and Amalfi Coast tour - click here|
Best guided Pompeii tours from rome
The easiest way to see Pompeii on a day trip from Rome is to join a guided tour. This way, you can relax while in transit and listen to your guide explain history and significance of the site before you arrive. Your guide will then help navigate you through the huge site that is Pompeii and show you the main points of interest and the stories behind them.
The site itself is very poorly marked so you need some sort of information with you to fully appreciate what you are seeing. Choose a tour led by a qualified archaeologist and you will be in the best hands to discover the stories and history of Pompeii.
During the peak season from May to October, the site can get very crowded. An expert guide will know how to avoid the congestion and show you the highlights of Pompeii.
We think the best Pompeii tours from Rome offer an additional stop to make the trip down from Rome very worthwhile. This would be harder to manage if you tried to do the trip on your own in a day. And the best thing is you don’t have to worry about logistics getting back to Rome because that is all taken care of.
Pompeii and Amalfi Coast
If your itinerary just could not stretch to spending several days in the south of Italy but you really wanted to see Pompeii and Positano then Take Walks / Walks of Italy Pompeii and Amalfi Coast tour is a good choice.
Leaving early in the morning from Rome, this tour includes a guided experience of the ruins of Pompeii with an archaeologist who has in-depth knowledge of the excavations. You’ll take a peek inside private homes, villas and even an ancient restaurant to discover what life was like before Vesuvius eruption froze the city in time.
After visiting Pompeii, you’ll take a scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast to picturesque Positano. Here you will have time for lunch and exploring before returning to Rome.
Note – many people use this tour as a transfer service to Positano. Simply make a note on your booking if you wish to do this.
This is a full day (13 hour) tour departing from Rome at 07:15 am. From November to March this tour visits Sorrento in place of Positano where many of the shops and restaurants have closed for the season.
Why we like it
If you only have one day to reach the southern part of Italy while visiting Rome, this tour gives you a taste of the salty sea air of Positano and the history of Pompeii. It’s a small group tour so you won’t be part of a big crowd.
- Guided tour of Pompeii with an archaeologist
- Skip the line entry
- Scenic drive along the Amalfi Coast
- Free time for lunch, shopping or swimming in Positano
Pompeii with a stop in Sorrento
This small group tour from Rome to Pompeii includes a full guided tour of Pompeii and free time in Sorrento. Your group will travel to Pompeii by mini coach where you are shown the sights of Pompeii by an archaeologist. After exploring the site, you transfer to Sorrento where you can enjoy the relaxing seaside vibes and views before returning to Rome.
This is a full day (12 hour) tour departing from Rome at 07:00am and there are daily departures.
Why we like it
This is a well designed (but most of all fun) tour delivered by passionate guides who bring the stories and history of Pompeii to life.
- Tour leader plus archaeologist led tour of Pompeii
- Skip the line entry
- Free time in Sorrento with time for lunch and limoncello
- Small group – avoid the crowds
- Departures: Mon, Wed, Sat
CityWonders – Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
Join City Wonders Pompeii day trip (available on GetYourGuide) from Rome and not only are you able to explore Pompeii but in summer you can also climb the volcano that destroyed the city.
This tour combines history and outdoor activity for a full day of fun exploring the destruction of Pompeii. Your small group of 24 people or less will transfer by air-conditioned coach to Pompeii where your guide will walk you through the main sights, explaining the events of that fateful day in 79AD.
In the summer months, you’ll then be taken to Mount Vesuvius where, after a 30 minute hike, you’ll enjoy views of Pompeii, Naples and the bay before the journey back to Rome. After mid-November the hiking trails on Vesuvius are closed so the tour continues in Naples after a panoramic drive.
This is a full day (12 hour) tour departing from Rome at 07:30 am. This tour runs daily in summer, with a reduced schedule in the winter months.
Why we like it
There’s nothing like getting perspectives from nature and humanity to appreciate the force of Vesuvius. Seeing the preserved city and getting up close with its destroyer are unique experiences you cannot have anywhere else in the world. City Wonders (formerly Dark Rome) are a highly regarded tour operator with expert guides.
- Guided tour of Pompeii
- Skip the line entry
- Free time in Pompeii to explore at leisure
- Climb Mount Vesuvius for views of Pompeii and the bay of Naples
How to do a day trip from Rome to Pompeii on your own
If you’re on a budget or simply like traveling on your own steam, this section explains how to organize your day trip to Pompeii from Rome on your own.
You will need to think about transport, tickets and tours – recommended because the site is poorly marked. We have outlined the options for all of these factors below.
Rome to Pompeii by train
With several departures per hour, the fast frecciarossa trains from Rome to Naples followed by the local train to Pompeii is the best way to do a day trip on your own. Your travel time from Roma Termini to Pompeii is around 2 hours and the station for Pompeii is right outside the main entrance.
Take the fast train to Napoli Centrale from Roma Termini – this takes around 70 minutes and will cost from €13 one way and €27 return if you purchase tickets with a set date and time in advance. You can purchase tickets on your day of travel but you will often pay a higher base fare.
At Naples, you need to transfer to the Circumvesuviana local railway downstairs at Napoli Porta Garibaldi station to get to Pompeii. This is a local metro system train which you will need a separate ticket for. The fare is €3.20 one way and you can buy your ticket at the office next to the platform. There is no need to buy these tickets in advance.
The Circumvesuviana trains start running at 06:10 am with departures every half hour or so. The journey takes around 35 minutes. Please note this local train can be crowded and is not air-conditioned. It is also notorious for pickpockets so keep your belongings safe.
You need the Pompeii Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri stop. It is a bit confusing because there are several Pompeii stations. Please ignore those, this is the one you need.
For timetable and ticketing information visit the Circumsvesuviana site here.
Returning to Rome from Pompeii
When it is time to return to Rome simply take the return Circumvesuviana train from Pompeii Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri stop and get off at Napoli Porta Garibaldi. From there head upstairs to the intercity train station. Services to Rome from Napoli Centrale depart regularly until around 20:15 pm. The last fast train to Rome is at 20:30 pm.
DIRECT SERVICE FROM Rome TO Pompeii (LIMITED)
From August 2023 a new, limited service direct from Rome Termini to Pompeii is available. Running only on Sundays with one return trip available, it leaves Rome in the morning and returns 9 hours later. We recommend including a side trip to Naples or Sorrento as 9 hours is a bit much for even the most enthusiastic Pompeii visitor.
Shuttle bus from Rome to Pompeii
If you don’t want to bother with train transfers and ticketing you could always take a shuttle bus service from Rome. The bus leaves at 07:30 am from a departure point close to Rome Termini station.
Please note – this is simply a shuttle and not a tour so there will be minimal to no commentary.
The bus shuttle service operates daily – > click here for prices
Pompeii opening hours
1st April – 31st October
- 09:00 – 19:00 [last entry at 17:30]
1st November – 31st March
- 09:00 – 17:00 [last entry at 15:30]
The site is open daily except for 1 January, 1 May, 25 December. Exhibit and other closure information can be found here
Pompeii tickets and tours
Like most of the major attractions in Italy, there can often be long lines for entry. While Pompeii is not as crowded as the Vatican Museums or Colosseum, if there are cruise ships in port in Naples you can still wait a long time for tickets. If you want to skip the line at Pompeii it is best to book these tickets in advance.
Here are the best sites to get your tickets for Pompeii:
- Pompeii Scavi official website – ticketing is managed by Ticketone – a booking fee applies
- Pompeii fast track entry on GetYourGuide – authorized ticket partner – a booking fee applies
Note – Adult ticket prices start from €16. The site is free to enter for children of all nationalities under the age of 18 – you will need to show passport or ID for this. Other discounts and offers apply for EU nationals. Check the Pompeii website for details
Do I need to join a tour or can I explore on my own?
We think a tour is a good idea at Pompeii. The various buildings and highlights are poorly marked and described so without a tour you’re basically wandering around not knowing what you are looking at and likely missing some of the most important and interesting aspects of Pompeii.
You will be offered tours when you arrive but you really have no way of knowing if they are any good. If you choose this option be mindful to look for a tour guide with a badge issued by the Region of Campania or book at the information desk at Porta Marina or Piazza Esedra. Note that these tours are private tours as the site itself does not offer tours.
We recommend booking your tours in advance and meeting the guide when you get to Pompeii. That way you can read reviews and find one that suits you and your plans for the day. We suggest:
- 2 hour walking tour of Pompeii – departs at various intervals from 9.30 am, including the afternoon until to 3.00 pm, so you don’t need to be up too early in Rome. Prices from €43 per person
- Archaeologist-led Pompeii tour – tour starting at 9:00 am, into the afternoon until 3.30 pm giving you time to explore Naples before returning to Rome – from €53
- Small group tour of the Pompeii ruins – tour running at various times from 9.30 am through to 3.30 pm, guided by a professional archaeologist with no more than 20 people. Prices from €53. Spanish, German and French tours also available.
Another option is to download an audio guide. We suggest Rick Steves audio tour of Pompeii – more info but you can also rent an audioguide when you get there.
What else can we do before returning to Rome?
As mentioned above, many group tours offer an extra stop in Naples, Sorrento, or even a climb up Mount Vesuvius. If you wanted to do this yourself, that is possible too however it does make for a long day. Here are some options:
Pizza and sightseeing in Naples
Take the Circumvesuviana train back to Piazza Garibaldi. Then head straight for Antica Pizzeria da Michele [Via Cesare Sersale, 1, Naples] where your Margherita pizza is made to perfection by the Condurro family – 5th generation pizza makers.
After a delicious lunch, you can explore Naples on foot before returning to Rome. Don’t miss – the grand sweeping Piazza del Plebiscito, the National Archaeological Museum, Palazzo Reale and the Duomo (Cathedral). Luckily if you need another slice of the delicious pizza before you go, your lunch stop is right near the train station.
Buses to Vesuvius depart from outside the Pompei Scavi Circumvesuviana station. Buses run every hour from 08:00 am to 15:00pm. It takes about 50 minutes to reach the Vesuvius ticket office and costs €2.70 each way. You can buy tickets from the bus driver.
Once you reach the ticket office it is a 30 minute hike to the crater. There is an entrance fee of €10 to access the park which includes a guided tour. You can read more about the hiking trails and visitor information here.
Make sure to bring sturdy shoes, a hat and a jacket in the cooler months as winds can make it quite cold at the crater. The last bus departs Vesuvius for Pompeii at 17:40 pm
Continue along the Circumvesuviana line from Pompeii to Sorrento. The journey takes around 30 minutes. In Sorrento, you can wander the town and enjoy views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius rising above Pompeii. Or, if you’re hungry, take the elevator down to Marina Grande and enjoy a seafood feast by the sea.
Famous for the delicious liqueur limoncello, in Sorrento, you can visit a secluded lemon grove where you can try and buy some to take back with you to Rome.
FAQ and Tips for visiting Pompeii
How long should we spend at Pompeii?
The minimum amount of time to spend at the site is 2 hours. This is enough to quickly see the highlights but not much more. Remember that Pompeii was a city home to over 17,000 people and the site itself covers 64 to 67 hectares (170 acres). You can easily spend 4-5 hours here if you are a history buff.
What are some of the must see highlights of Pompeii?
The amphitheatre, Villa of the Mysteries where you can see one of Pompeii’s famous wall paintings, Stabian Baths – richly decorated Roman bathing house, Temple of Isis – an incredibly well preserved temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess, House of the Small Fountain with gorgeous frescoes and paintings. I really enjoyed the reconstructed vineyard which actually produces wine.
What should we wear and take?
The site at Pompeii is exposed with very little shade and cover. Check the weather before you go and make sure you are prepared. In summer you should take a hat, sunscreen and wear light, loose clothing. When it is cooler bring a rain coat and umbrella.
No matter the season you will need sturdy shoes suitable for walking, plenty of water and snacks. There are minimal facilities at the site to purchase food and drinks.
Please note – bags, backpacks, luggage, or cases with dimensions exceeding 30x30x15cm are not allowed. You can leave large bags (but not your luggage) at the cloakroom services provided at the entrances.
Is the site suitable for children?
Yes, it is. We took our then 4 year old twins to Pompeii and enjoyed our time there. The site is great for exploring and safe for little ones as there are no cars. We were there in Spring and the weather was perfect. I’d probably reconsider with little ones during summer when it gets very hot.
You can bring your stroller and there are specially marked routes suitable for prams as well as three baby change facilities – Via dell’Abbondanza, Via di Nola, and at the corner of Via Stabiana and Via della Fortuna.
Older children will no doubt be fascinated by the history of the volcano and city. If you think you need some help firing their imaginations, you could join a family friendly tour of Pompeii with guides who know just how to bring the site to life for little minds.
Your Pompeii day trip will no doubt be one of the highlights of your trip to Italy. One of the most unique historic sites in the world, it is such a treat to see this city frozen in time.
We are sure your visit to Pompeii will stir in you a curiosity to find out more about the cities and culture of Ancient Rome. There are many Roman sites to visit throughout Italy however Pompeii is no doubt the most famous and intriguing.