Spending time in Rome is always a great idea. But to learn everything about Ancient Rome, you will need to get outside the historical walls of the Urbe (“the city”, in Latin) and explore towns and areas in other parts of Italy.
Unmissable is a visit to the archaeological site of Pompeii. With a day trip from Rome to Pompeii, you can walk and linger through the streets, the domus (“houses”), and the gardens to relive what the Romans once felt.
To immerse yourself in the wonder and history of Pompeii’s ruins, you can either plan the excursion yourself or join an organized tour.
In this article, you will learn how to plan a DIY day trip to Pompeii, see a comparison of what an organized tour from Rome to Pompeii offers, plus get practical tips and advice to ensure your visit is a success.
How to Plan a Rome to Pompeii Day Trip
Pompeii is located in Campania, 14 miles south of Naples. Therefore, making a day trip to Pompeii from Rome is quite simple: the two cities are about 150 miles apart and well connected.
The ancient city of Pompeii is one of the most visited archaeological sites in the world and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
The site is exceptional! Pompeii was buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, causing its tragic end. However, the remains of the city are well-preserved thanks to the volcanic ash that covered everything and saved it from the ruins of time.
As you plan a trip to Pompeii from Rome, you’ll have to think about several things: how to get to Pompeii from Rome; if you want to include a visit to other places alongside Pompeii; and many hours you want to spend in Pompeii. Consider that the archeological site is enormous, and its visit can last from 2-6 hours depending on your interests.
So, what’s the best way to plan an extraordinary excursion to Pompeii?
Certainly, the easiest way to take a day trip from Rome to Pompeii is to join an organized Pompeii tour. It’s an all-in-one solution that manages the logistics and includes a guide so can simply enjoy the experience.
However, opting for a DIY day tour from Rome to Pompeii can also be fantastic. You first need to consider the different options to get to Pompeii. Train, bus, or car are possible to make your way out of Rome to explore incredible Pompeii.
Then, you’ll need to decide how to tour the site. I recommend at least using an audio guide, but even better is meeting a pre-booked archaeologist guide when you arrive at Pompeii. Pompeii is a huge site at nearly 170 acres! Plus, the site has very little signage so it’s hard to know the significance of what you’re seeing.
And while planning your own Rome to Pompeii day trip comes with managing all the logistics, you also have the freedom and flexibility to spend the day how you choose. For example, perhaps you’d like a morning at Pompeii and an afternoon in Naples.
Whether you prefer a DIY day tour from Rome to Pompeii or you prefer an organized tour to Pompeii from Rome, everything you need to know to plan each detail is below.
How to Get from Rome to Pompeii by Train
I’ve detailed all the need-to-know information about the transportation you can take to Pompeii so that you can make the best decision.
Plan on the trains from Rome to Pompeii to take about 2 hours in total. There are 2 steps. I’ve explained both below.
The first step of this journey is to take the train from Rome to Napoli (Naples) Centrale.
Leaving from Roma Termini station, Frecciarossa, Frecciabianca or Frecciargento, Italo, Intercity, and Regionale offer variable routes between 70 minutes and 4 hours, depending on the number of changes made and/or if you opt for the high-speed train.
The fastest and easiest route you can choose to reach Pompeii from Roma Termini is on a high-speed, nonstop Frecciarossa or Italo train, getting off at Napoli Centrale. This will generally take between 70-75 minutes. Then, from there, you’ll take the connection for Pompeii. (More on this below.)
Taking the Frecciarossa or Italo high-speed train will help you save precious hours that you can spend visiting Pompeii or other points in southern Italy. Train tickets start around 20€ (one way) if reserved well in advance. Otherwise, the train ticket might cost up to 60€ (one way).
Prices vary on the type of train: Intercity is, with Regionale, the cheapest option (15-25€ one way), but it will also take longer (around 3 1/2 hours) and include stops. In my opinion, this defeats the purpose of a full-day trip to Pompeii and the surrounding area. However, maybe it makes sense for budget travelers on the return journey who don’t mind a late arrival back to Rome.
You can also leave from Roma Tiburtina station. You’ll arrive in Pompeii in approximately the same amount of time that it will take if the train left from Roma Termini. The fastest route to Napoli Centrale is offered by Italo and Frecciarossa, which takes you to Napoli Centrale in about 90 minutes. Tickets start at 22€ one way and go up from there depending on how far in advance you booked and the train’s departure time.
ProTip: I recommend using Omio to book your train tickets. The website is simple to use and streamlines the booking process. Be sure to download the Omio app and store your bookings there. Even with no internet connection, the train conductor will be able to scan your ticket. I always store my tickets in the Omio app and it’s been a seamless way to travel by train in Italy.
The second step of this journey is to take the connecting train from Napoli Centrale to Pompeii Scavi.
Once you arrive in Naples, you need to take another train connecting you from Naples to Pompeii. The Circumvesuviana Railway line you need goes from Napoli-Sorrento and will stop at Pompeii Scavi-Villa di Misteri in about 35 minutes.
From Naples Centrale, head downstairs and follow the signs for Circumvesuviana. It’s also called the Piazza Garibaldi Station. To be clear, this is exactly where you got off the train from Rome at Napoli Centrale, it’s just downstairs followed by a little walk underground.
There’s no need to pre-book this ticket, as this is more of a local train making stops between Naples and Sorrento. The price of the train ticket is 3.20€ (one way). Trains depart about every 30 minutes.
Take this train from the Piazza Garibaldi station in Naples (downstairs from Napoli Centrale) and get off at the Pompeii Scavi stop. The only train that goes to the Pompeii Scavi stop is the one that has Sorrento as the final stop.
The entrance to Pompeii (Scavi di Pompeii) is across the street to the right. But just follow the crowds!
To return to Rome, simply follow these steps in reverse. You’ll get off at Napoli Garibaldi from the Circumvesuviana train and head upstairs to Napoli Centrale for the high-speed trains to Rome.
How to Take the Bus from Rome to Pompeii
If you don’t want to bother with train transfers, you might consider catching a bus to Pompeii from Rome.
Numerous companies offer daily routes from Rome to Pompeii. Flixbus is surely the most budget-friendly, departing from Roma Tiburtina. The ride is about three hours long, and the bus ticket cost is 20€ if reserved in advance.
Flixbus is a no-frills bus line. You’re paying simply for the transportation.
Another long-distance bus company is Marozzi VT, which also departs from Roma Tiburtina. Again, you should reserve your seat in advance to get lower prices. Moreover, consider that in the summer tickets sell out fast, so plan your bus ride on time.
Similarly, remember, you’re only paying for the transportation. You still need to pay the Pompeii entrance fee or book a guided tour.
Both Flixbus and Marozzi buses can be searched and booked on Omio.
You can also choose to take a shuttle bus from Rome to Pompeii. This option is usually more expensive, but it typically includes a Pompeii entry ticket. It’s also handy because the departure points are around the main sites in Rome, like the Colosseum.
How to Get to Pompeii by Car
If you want the maximum freedom to explore Pompeii, renting a car (or a motorbike) is an option. Available for different fares, car rental is always a good idea if you don’t mind driving. Pompeii is located 150 miles south of Rome, and the drive will last for around 2 1/2 hours via the E45 road, south bound.
The drive between the two cities is straightforward on the E45 autostrada (toll motorway). Tolls in Italy are paid as you drive, and the cost is based on the distance traveled: in the case of Rome to Pompeii, the average cost is 15€ (depending on where you enter the autostrada and where you leave it).
You simply take a ticket when getting on the autostrada. Then, when you exit, there are toll booths to reinsert your ticket to assess the fee. Tolls can be paid in cash or with a credit card so the process is convenient.
However, there are several additional things to consider before taking a car to Pompeii. First, as you might imagine, the traffic can get heavy when leaving Rome and around Naples, thus the drive can easily become longer than 2 1/2 hours.
Secondly, Italy also has restricted traffic zones, or Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL), which affects how closely you can get to the site anyway, as these zones are usually put in place to protect historical locations and Centro Storico areas.
Lastly, parking can be a real nightmare, especially in the summer when archaeological sites such as Pompeii are packed with tourists. There are several parking areas around Pompeii, and the average cost is 1,50€ per hour.
ProTip: If you do decide to drive to Pompeii (or have plans to rent a car at any point in Italy), be sure to get an International Driver’s License before leaving home. In the U.S, AAA can set you up with one. While definitely hit or miss, if you get pulled over and the officer decides to ask for it, the fines are high for not having one. I have mine for every trip I take to Italy and internationally.
DIY Day Tour from Rome to Pompeii
After deciding how to get to Pompeii, it is beyond important to reserve Pompeii entry tickets in advance to not waste precious time in long lines. The archaeological park of Pompeii sees 2.5 million visitors every year. It’s one of the most popular sites to visit in all of Italy. And during the summer months and other peak times, ticket lines are long.
From April 1st to October 31st, the Pompeii ruins are open from 9 AM – 7 PM, with the last entrance at 5:30 PM.
From November 1st to March 31st, the last allowed entrance is at 3:30 PM, and the site closes at 5 PM.
On the first Sunday of every month, the ticket to enter Pompeii is free. However, you must reserve the free ticket well in advance. In fact, you might find the ticket office closed if the number of tickets sold exceeds 15,000 (it is done to preserve the site and avoid dangerous overcrowding).
Even better than advance entry tickets (and by far the best-case scenario) is visiting Pompeii with a pre-booked archaeological tour guide. Otherwise, you’ll likely wander randomly through the site and miss some of the most beautiful houses, as well as important context. The site itself is not well marked, so you need some sort of information to fully appreciate what you are seeing.
There are guides outside Pompeii offering their services but you’ll be rolling the dice hoping to get an expert guide versus one who is not. If you do go with a guide once you arrive, be sure to check their credentials. They should be certified by the region of Campania.
There are also apps you can download before arrival to have information and interactive maps at the site. Some entry tickets like this one, even include an audioguide. These are better than visiting the site with nothing, however, they pale in comparison to what a trained local guide can offer as far as historical context.
Regardless of how you arrive at Pompeii, I can’t recommend enough that you at least pre-arrange a tour guide to take you through the Pompeii ruins.
Exploring Pompeii can be overwhelming. The archeological site is huge, and although the path is paved, there are many stones and even uneven slabs. Moreover, except for some areas, the streets are almost exclusively in the sun. Therefore, to be prepared at your best, wear comfortable shoes and a sunhat, and pack a reusable water bottle so you have water to drink.
Other Places to Visit Near Pompeii
With the freedom of traveling independently comes the ability to explore the region as you wish. Now, in only a day trip from Rome, it’s impossible to see everything. But after a few hours at Pompeii, there’s no need to rush back to Rome.
You could make an early start to spend the morning at Pompeii. Then, take the Circumvesuviana train back to Napoli Garibaldi and spend the afternoon eating all the pizza your body will allow(!) and discovering Naples.
The Duomo and the Piazza del Plebiscito are must-sees in Naples. You could also join a local guide to explore places like the Catacombs of San Gennaro or the city’s history by touring the Naples Underground.
The Circumvesuviana train you used to reach Pompeii continues on to Sorrento. It’s the last stop on that train line. You could buy a ticket to continue from Pompeii Scavi to Sorrento and be there in about 30 minutes. (Remember to validate your ticket.)
When you get to Sorrento, breathe in the salty air and enjoy the views looking out over the Gulf of Naples. Piazza Tasso is the main square and from there you can get lost in the town’s narrow streets. Depending on how much time you have, you could head to the harbor at Marina Grande for a fresh seafood lunch.
Limoncello is to Sorrento what Naples is to pizza and Liguria is to pesto. Be sure to taste some!
ProTip: If you drove to Pompeii, I recommend leaving your car parked in the lot and continuing on to Sorrento by train. There’s no free parking in Sorrento and, in general, finding a place to park can be a headache like in the Cinque Terre and Portovenere area further north. If you visit Naples instead, look for an ANM parking lot near Piazza Garibaldi & the train station. Beware of ZTLs (traffic limitation zones)!
Guided Day Trips to Pompeii from Rome
If you want to save time and avoid the hassle of navigating public transportation, the best way is to rely on a guided Rome to Pompeii tour.
The prices of organized tours vary depending on factors like how far in advance you reserve your spot; how many other people will be on tour; if there is a personalized option for pick up and drop off; and if on the way to Pompeii or back to Rome the bus makes stops at other locations (such as Sorrento, in the Amalfi Coast) to make your experience even more memorable.
Guided tours try to maximize your time so expect a full day to accommodate for travel and sightseeing time.
Below are some fantastic Rome day trips to Pompeii for you to consider.
This Pompeii & Vesuvius tour combines history and the opportunity to climb Mount Vesuvius for a full day of outdoor fun exploring the ruins of Pompeii and the volcano responsible for the city’s demise. The group is small-ish (of around 25 people), and the transfer to Pompeii will be on an air-conditioned coach
Once you’ve arrived in Pompeii, the archaeologist guide will walk you through the main sights. After, the bus will drive up the slope of Mt. Vesuvius. Following a short hike, you’ll arrive at the crater of the volcano with views of Capri, Sorrento, and the Bay of Naples.
Important to know: The option to climb Mt. Vesuvius is available from April to mid-November. If you visit from mid-November to March, you’ll instead have free time to explore Naples by yourself before traveling back to Rome.
If you’re hoping to combine a visit to Pompeii with some time at the Amalfi Coast, there are 2 options to consider.
This tour by City Wonders and this tour by Walks of Italy both offer air-conditioned bus travel to and from Rome. The tours include a skip-the-line Pompeii admission ticket and an expert local guide to take you through the Pompeii ruins.
Afterward, you’ll spend free time in Positano (or during the winter months in Amalfi or Sorrento where more will be open).
Both companies are well-reviewed and offer fantastic tours to Pompeii from Rome. Walks of Italy is recommended by Rick Steves and the New York Times. I personally have done some of their “walks” in other locations and have always had a super knowledgeable guide.
This more leisurely Pompeii tour focuses on the ruins themselves. This full day tour offers you pick-up service at centrally located hotels, an authentic Neapolitan pizza for lunch (with one drink included), and, if chosen at the time of booking, a certified guide that will walk you through the streets of Pompeii. The trip there and back to Rome will lead you through the Roman countryside and the famous Castelli Romani.
This Pompeii tour includes lunch and a wine tasting. Unlike the other full day tours from Rome to Pompeii recommended above which use private buses, the transport for this tour is the Trenitalia Freccia train, which you will board at Roma Termini. The train ticket is included in the final price of the tour.
Once in Naples, you will be met by the tour leader and use a shuttle bus to move around the region. After seeing Pompeii, your group will head to a nearby vineyard to enjoy a wine tasting experience and a three-course lunch with local specialties.
This tour also includes skip-the-line tickets to Pompeii and an archaeological guide to tour the ruins. At the end of the day, the shuttle returns you to Napoli Centrale where you take the high-speed train back to Rome. This tour tends to be a small group tour, making it feel more personal than larger group tours.
Doing a Rome to Pompeii day trip with an organized tour is a great stress-free way to enjoy your trip to Italy.
Planning a Day Trip from Rome to Pompeii
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pompeii is simply marvelous, and a day trip from Rome to explore the ancient ruins at the base of Mount Vesuvius is a great addition to your time in Italy.
Whether you take the train from Rome to Pompeii or you join one of the many Pompeii day trips from Rome, both are great options. If you travel independently, take my advice and pre-arrange an expert guide! It’s so worth it!
Once you choose the best option for yourself and book your trip, all that’s left to do is enjoy visiting an unforgettable city forever suspended in time.
So, what are your questions about planning a Rome to Pompeii day trip?
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