How to Get to the Ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town, famous for being buried by almost 20 feet of ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

The ancient town, along with others nearby such as Ercolano (Herculaneum), were devastated and remarkably preserved by ash for centuries. Tourists flock, especially to Pompeii, earning to see these towns as they once were.

Getting to the Ruins and Back

Which Train to Take - Frecciarossa or InterCity: Pompeii is 150 miles south of Rome and to get there as a day trip, the first train of choice will be either the InterCity or the high Speed Frecciarossa. Both trains can be scheduled in advice which means you do not have to validate your ticket before boarding.

Besides the price difference, in which the high speed will cost you more than the slower, the duration of the trip can be a huge difference between both trains. With the InterCity, it took us around two hours to arrive in Napoli (Naples), however, that same trip with Frecciarossa, took us 70 minutes when we returned back to Rome - we took the slow train south and then the fast train back. 

Your Route to Pompeii: No matter which train you decide to take, your route to Pompeii will be: Roma Termini (Rome’s main railway) to Napoli Centrale (Naples’ main railway).

Once you arrive in Naples, you will have to switch trains to the privately owned and inexpensive Circumvesuviana which will take you to Pompeii. These local trains are located in Napoli Garibaldi station, which are underground, just below Napoli Centrale. You must buy your ticket at the station and validate it in one of the machines near the train platform before boarding. The trains run every half an hour and should take around 35 minutes to get you to Pompeii since it stops many times.  

Correct Train Stop to Pompeii: Catch the train direction Sorrento and once on your way to Pompeii, your stop will be Pompei Scavi-Villa dei Misteri.

When you arrive, the archiological site should be only a five minute walk from the station.

How to Arrive in Herculaneum: If you are interested in stopping at this smaller, yet well preserved archeological site after visiting Pompeii, it should take you a 15 minute train ride.

Take the Circumvesuviana, towards Napoli P. Nolana, and leave the train at the Ercolano Scavi stop. Exit the station and walk through the small town downhill for almost 10 minutes and you will reach the Herculaneum entrance.

By stopping at Herculaneum you will have already completed half of your train journey back to Naples.

Be Careful with Train Delays: Time yourself well, especially after you have purchased your two-way tickets, Roma/Napoli Centrale.  The local Circumvesuviana trains are sometimes late and you do not want to miss your return train back to Rome.


The Wrap-Up: Try to leave Rome early to avoid the long lines at the entrance of Pompeii. Keep in mind that the archaeological site is vast and having a map in hand made it easier for us to navigate its maze of ruins - It took us three hours to feel satisfied with our visit. The Herculaneum is much smaller, but it houses more preserved buildings and offers visitors an overall impression of the amount of volcanic debris that was excavated from the area. 

- Want to see the full trip and plan your next? Check out our Italy Two Week Itinerary!