Are you planning to visit Mount Vesuvius but can’t find enough reliable information? Let us take care of it! Here is everything you need to know if you want to climb Mount Vesuvius to the crater’s top: travel tips, information, how to reach it and the most frequently asked questions all contained in a single article!
The Mount Vesuvius was the first volcano ever described in History during the eruption “of Pompeii” on 79 AD. It is “The Volcano”. Not only: the Mt Vesuvius is considered the most dangerous volcano on planet earth due to hundreds of thousands living on it. It must be in your bucket list if you like Outdoors and Scenery! The views from the lips of the crater to the Bay of Naples, Capri and the peninsula of Sorrento are unforgettable. On a clear day, it is hard to say whether is better to look inside the crater or stare out to the infinity.
“The secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius!” F. Nietzsche
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IS IT SAFE TO VISIT MOUNT VESUVIUS?
In a word – yes. The last eruption took place in 1944. The volcano is technically speaking active, but there are usually warning such as earthquakes in the case of a volcanic event. It is really unlikely that Mount Vesuvius would wake up all of the sudden during your hike up the crater. Would I want to buy property on the side of this volcano? No!
HOW LONG DO I NEED?
Any time from 3 hours up. It will depend on your choice of transport. Essentially: the driving part from the town of Torre del Greco to the beginning of the trail takes about 45 minutes each way. The hiking part takes 90 minutes, including walking up and down and wondering at the top to enjoy the great views of the main crater “Gran Cono” and the Bay of Naples.
TICKET OFFICE OPENING TIME:
From March to October from 9 am to 6 pm
April, May, June and September from 9 am to 5 pm
July and August from 9 am to 6 pm
From November to February from 9 am to 3 pm
You must buy tickets at least 90 minutes before closing time. This is how long you generally need to walk to the top of the crater and back. Bring cash!
IS IT A HARD WALK?
You can only reach the top of the crater by hiking. The trail to reach the top of Mount Vesuvius has a moderate-high difficulty. It is steep and quite uneven. There are no benches to sit nor there is any shade. Would any member of the group suffer from a medical condition there is a café at the “Piazzale” before the entrance to the trail where one can have a drink and wait.
WHEN IS BEST TO VISIT MOUNT VESUVIUS?
Traveling off-season in Italy has several advantages. But Mt Vesuvius during the winter can inaccessible due to bad weather or even snow. Leisure Italy recommends to avoid the extremes: it would be ideal to visit Mt Vesuvius either from the beginning of April until mid-June or from the end of August until the end of October. Especially during springtime, the yellow and the purple of the Brooms and the Valerian is a joy for the senses. To stay away from the crowd, we recommend being there at the opening time: there hardly is any visitor at the ticket office before 9.30 am. Another factor is the visibility from the top of the crater: the weather can shift quickly up there, so be prepared. Unfortunately this is unpredictable. The rule is: if you cannot see the crater from the bottom, do not climb up there!
WHAT TO BRING?
The height of the cone of Mt Vesuvius is 1,281 meters (over 4000 feet). Wear walking shoes, bring water, a wind-jacket, sunglasses and a hat. Sandals are OK but your feet will be dirty with ashes and lots of little pebbles will end under your feet. Toilet paper can be very useful given the conditions of the chemical toilets up there. By the way, use the toilet before you go! Also, be aware that at the beginning of the trail you will be offered some wooden sticks to help you visit Mount Vesuvius. It seems complimentary but you will be asked for money on the way back.
IS THERE FOOD AND WATER UP THERE?
There is a small coffee/gift shop before the trail starts. It works if you need a snack or a drink. It can also be a good spot to rest would any member of the group not feel to climb to the top. Do not expect to find any real meal up there.
DO I NEED TO HIRE A GUIDE TO VISIT MOUNT VESUVIUS?
The admission fee includes a short commentary by a local guide. That takes place once you reach on foot the top of the crater. Official guides will offer complimentary shared tours in multiple languages. This introduction takes about 5/10 minutes and it takes place every few minutes. Then you are free to discover on own. It is possible to walk half the way around the lips of the volcano. You cannot walk all the way around. You do not need to have your private guide.
CAN I VISIT MOUNT VESUVIUS AND POMPEII ON THE SAME DAY?
The answer is yes, but it is quite ambitious. Especially if you are not using the services of a tour company the time factor is against you: Pompeii is larger than you expect, reaching the top of Mount Vesuvius can take longer than you expect. You may want to consider the visit to Mt Vesuvius and Herculaneum on the same day, this latter being much smaller than Pompeii. You can check the difference between Pompeii and Herculaneum in this article. The other factor you shall keep on mind is the weather. The visit to Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii (or Herculaneum) is going to be smooth during Spring and Fall, it can be challenging during the Summer. If you are planning to visit Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii on the same day here is our recommended tour.
HOW DO I REACH THE TOP OF MT VESUVIUS?
If you are planning to visit Pompeii or Herculaneum on the same day our recommendation is to hire a private tour to make the best of your time. If you are not concerned by time here are several solutions:
If you come from Naples:
- by car, you can drive the A3 toll highways toward Salerno, exit at Torre del Greco and follow the brown sign “Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio” – about 1 hour to the top
- by bus, take the EAV bus service from Piazzale Piedigrotta in Naples – about 1 hour to the top
If you come from Pompeii:
- take the A3 toll highway toward Naples, exit at Torre del Greco and follow the brown sign “Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio” – about one hour;
- by bus: you can either use the public EAV bus service or one of several private bus tours offered immediately outside the train station – about one hour to the top. Private bus-tours are more slightly more expensive but it normally includes the admission fee to the crater
If you come from Sorrento:
- by car, take the SS 145 toward Naples, then take the A3 toll highway, exit at Torre del Greco and follow the brown sign “Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio” – about 90 minutes;
- by public transport: take the train “Circumvesuviana” from Sorrento to Pompeii Villa Dei Misteri – 30 minutes train ride, a train every half hour. From here follow the instructions above from Pompeii
If you come from Positano:
- by car, take the SS 145 toward Naples, take the A3 toll highway, exit at Torre del Greco and follow the brown sign “Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio” – about 90 minutes;
by public transport: take the SITASUD bus from Positano to Sorrento and then follow the information above from Sorrento
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INDEPENDENT TRAVELERS
There only is one road to visit Mount Vesuvius to the crater’s edge. If you are driving yourself you are obliged to park about 2 miles away from the ticket office. From this parking you can either walk (not recommended) or take the shuttle taxi service (small individual fee to pay on board) from the parking to the ticket office. Once you have your ticket the shuttle will bring you further up where walking trail starts, this area is called the “Piazzale”. If you are part of an organized excursion or you are using any bus service you are not going to need the shuttle taxi service. More information about the access can be found on the Mt Vesuvius National Park official web site.
OTHER VOLCANOES IN THE AREA?
Absolutely yes! The Phlegraean Fields is a supervolcano a few miles west of Naples. It consists of 24 craters with plenty of hydrothermal activity. This area was also used as a thermal resort by the Roman Imperial family: marvel at the outstanding archaeological remains visible everywhere in this area. Visiting the Phlegraean Fields can be a relaxing off-the-beaten-track stop during your Italian journey. The volcanic island of Ischia is a lovely place to stay and enjoy natural springs. On the mainland you can see spectacular geysers at La Solfatara, but at present (April 2020) this small volcano with a camping-ground inside is not open to the public.
Did you know that? The famous Neapolitan song “Funiculì Funiculà” was written to celebrate the opening in 1880 of the first funicular cable car that reached the top of Mount Vesuvius. Unfortunately this cable car was destroyed during the last eruption in 1944 and never reopened to the public.
The visit to Mount Vesuvius can be the perfect excursion from Naples or Sorrento or Positano, and it combines with a tour to Pompeii or Herculaneum on the same day. Another great idea could be that of visiting Mount Vesuvius pairing a relaxing lunch at one of the wineries in the National Park of Mt Vesuvius. Please check our favorite wine tasting here.
We hope this article will be useful for your unique travel experience: have fun! Please share this article if you believe it was of helpful and interesting!