How to Visit the Pompeii Ruins: The Perfect Amalfi Coast Day Trip

December 27, 2019

I’ve had a fascination with Pompeii after seeing an artifact exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota in my grade school days. This preserved Italian mountain town was always somewhere I wanted to see. Embarrassingly, I never quite put two and two together that you could actually walk around it until planning for this Italy trip. Just one exit off of the drive from Tuscany to the Amalfi, going to Pompeii was one of the best decisions of the trip. After entering the main gate and getting into the city, I felt like Alice lost in history Wonderland. I was able to spend about two hours there, but I easily could’ve spent four or five, taking in all of the architecture and stunning views of Mount Vesuvius. Here’s what you need to know before making the trip:

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HOW TO GET TO POMPEII

Pompeii is located only about an hour from Positano and Amalfi, making it the perfect option for a day trip if you’re vacationing on the Amalfi Coast. Getting from Positano to Pompeii or Amalfi to Pompeii, there’s a few options:

PRIVATE DRIVER

In all honesty, I think private driver is the best way to get to and from all of the Amalfi Coast. Public transporation on the Amalfi has a reputation for being lengthy and cumbersome. Some private car companies along the Amalfi Coast also offer private tours of Pompeii as well. Private car service between Positano and Pompeii is roughly 200 Euros round trip, and ranges based upon the length of your stay in Pompeii. If you’re traveling as a group of friends or family, this is sometimes just as cost effective as taking public transportation.

mount vesuvius pompeii italy

DRIVING TO POMPEII

If you have a car, the drive between the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii is about an hour long. There is parking at Pompeii. The only downside are the winding, mountain roads it takes to get there. This is exactly why I’d strongly recommend getting protection on your rental car. Although driving is difficult along the Amalfi, it is the easiest and a relatively cost effective way to reach Pompeii. I went to Pompeii during off season, and luckily we were able to avoid a lot of traffic due to our timing.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Pompeii by public transportation is doable, it can just be lengthy depending on where you’re staying on the coast. Take the bus from the Amalfi Coast to Sorrento, then transfer to the Circumvesuviana train, getting off at Pompeii Scavi station. Buses can get very crowded, especially during peak season. An alternative to the bus is taking a boat from Positano to Sorrento.

PARKING AT POMPEII

There are several parking lots and garages outside of the main park entrance that will try to usher you in. There is parking within the main gates, and at 3 Euro an hour, it’s relatively reasonable for a tourist attraction. Every tree in the lot is an orange tree, making it one of the prettiest parking lots I’ve been in.

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POMPEII PARK ADMISSION

Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and as a result, companies have taken advantage of tourists coming to see it. You will be greeted by various ticket vendors and there’s also several websites offering various tours, expedited entry, etc. however the only official ticket offices are inside the main entrance to the park. When I arrived at the park there was absolutely no admission line, so I’m glad that I didn’t pay extra for expedited entry! I’d imagine that during peak tourism months the couple extra dollars could be worth it, depending on how long the line is. Admission is 15 Euros for non-EU residents. EU residents may be eligible for a reduced rate. Pompeii’s hours and last admission vary by season, so be sure to check before going.

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Pompeii Ruins UNESCO World Heritage Site landmark golden hour italy

TOURS

There are both audio and walking tours of Pompeii. Several of the walking tour companies offer tours that include day trip transportation. For solely a walking tour, allow roughly three hours, for day trip tours, allow seven to twelve. The tourism office where admission tickets are purchased also offers a guided tour for an additional fee. The audio tour on the whole has mixed reviews, however I didn’t do it myself. Reviews of it have a general theme that it’s outdated and poor audio quality. Tours typically include skip the line admission. You also are free to wander the park yourself, which is what I prefer to do. I would like to mention that the park did have less description signs than I would’ve imagined, so if you are someone who would like that information, a tour could be the best option.

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civil forum pompeii foro civile ruins ancient neoclassicism architecture columns town square

The civil forum, or foro civile, ruins in Pompeii. Located at the core of the city. The civil forum was the main point of traffic in the city and the main square.

THE PARK

Pompeii absolutely floored me. It is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been, and probably anywhere I ever will be. It’s absolutely incredible how the city was preserved, down to the pottery and the statues. I was absolutely shocked at just how expansive the city was. That was definitely something that my history textbooks never fully illustrated. I got lost in Pompeii to the point that I needed Google Maps to bring me back to the right exit {there’s a few in the park}, and I could’ve stayed for hours longer than I did.

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I was shocked by how Google Maps had the ruins labeled within the app — more so than the park actually did. After getting myself un-lost, I used Google Maps to help me find the theater in the city. Not only is the city itself beautiful, the views of the mountains and Mount Vesuvius are absolutely breathtaking. Even if you’re not a history nerd like me, going to the park is worth it for the views. Going in the off season was great for being able to avoid crowds. There were points in which I couldn’t see anyone else around me. The weather was 70 degrees, sunny, and perfect for exploring the city.

PLEASE NOTE: The park opens and closes different areas and buildings to tourist traffic. If you’re looking to explore one particular house or building, it may be closed to anything other that a peek in.

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Above: Casa del Chirurgo, or the House of the Surgeon. This house was discovered in Pompeii with several medical tools.

Below: Daedalus sculpture

Above: Casa del Fauno, or the House of the Faun, the largest house in Pompeii. Casa del Fauno is notable for its mosaics and art.

Below: Casa di Romolo e Remo, or House of Romulus and Remus. This house features Pomepian fresco painting of Romulus and Remus, the mythological founders of Rome.

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Above: Teatro Grande, or the Great Theatre of Pompeii. This horseshoe shaped theater seated up to 5000 people.

Below: Casa del Cryptoportico, or the House of the Cryptoporticus. A Cryptoporticus is a large covered corridor or passageway in Ancient Roman architecture. This lavish, multi-level house also served as a passage to the House of the Lararium of Achilles. It was used for several complicated events, and features a triclinium, which was used for banquets. The cryptoporticus has frescoes of Satyrs and Maenads and a frieze which depicts scenes of the Trojan War.

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THE BOTTOM LINE

If history or architecture aren’t your thing, Sorrento may make the better day trip. However, stunning views of Mount Vesuvius and amazingly preserved ruins make Pompeii an enjoyable day trip overall.

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pompeii ruins ancient city italy neoclassicism neoclassical roman architecture UNESCO world heritage site how to visit pompeii from the amalfi coast mount vesuvius

Considering a trip to the Amalfi Coast? Read six reasons you should travel to the Amalfi in the off season here.

xx,
E

MY ITALY WARDROBE

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Eva Phan of Eva Darling little havana miami florida instagrammable hibiscus floral staircase where to go miami travel guide calle ocho

Hi, I'm Eva! I'm best described as an aspiring Blair Waldorf with a case of the travel blog that can't be cured. I'm a lover of witty words, pink peonies, and slight sarcasm. Originally from the Minneapple {Minneapolis, Minnesota}, and now living in the Big Apple, you can probably find me most often on a plane, running down Park Avenue stressed out in 4" heels, or planning my next getaway. Click on the photo to learn more.

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