Day Trip to Pompeii from Rome

My friend Tom recently asked me if I knew of any good day trips to Pompeii from Rome. When I last visited Pompeii, I did it myself: taking the morning train to Naples then Pompeii and doing the reverse in the evening. My tour of Pompeii was solo and without a guide; quite frankly, being alone added an extra eerie element to the ruins around me.

Nevertheless, I know that there’s a better way to “do” Pompeii because I am sure that I missed a lot in my quest to be self-sufficient.

Tom’s question put me in research mode. Unfortunately, what I found were fairly expensive tours, the lowest of which started at $173 for a one-day trip or €115 (about $176) for a guided tour of Naples and Pompeii. The In Italy website had trips starting at a ridiculous €728 for a two-person tour. I’m sure that their guide is quite knowledgeable, but their trip still has travelers riding the same train that they could book for themselves.

I took a look to see what it costs today to ride the train from Rome to Pompeii. Currently, a train trip to Pompeii (transferring at Napoli Centrale) on the Ferrovie dello Stato costs €37.90 (or about $58) each way. The earliest trains depart from Rome’s Termini station to Napoli Centrale is 6:45 a.m.; total travel time is about 2 1/2 hours.

Once in Pompeii, travelers will no doubt come upon authorized and non-authorized Pompeii tour guides, whose expertise could cost about €50 for a two-hour tour of the archeological site. Alternatively, once inside the entrance, visitors can purchase an audioguide for €6.50 and pick up free maps of the excavations from the Information Point. To ask about additional services offered by the Pompeii Archeological Site, send an e-mail to [email protected].

In sum, a self-guided trip to Pompeii – taking the train, €11 admission, and using an audioguide – will cost a traveler about $142.50 a day, not including breakfast, lunch, and other knick-knacks. Add in those extras, and you may as well book one of the above trips. That, or find a friendly Italian guide who can drive you there and give you a tour for less. Good luck with that one.

So, Tom, I hope that this little bit of research comes in handy for your travel planning. I wish I could have found a better deal for you. Perhaps someone else has a tip? If so, please comment below!

One other idea that I write about in the Unofficial Guide (and that I was reminded of when reading about In Italy’s Pompeii tour) is to consider a daytrip to Ostia Antica. Located about 30 minutes by local train outside of Rome, this ancient ruined city is Pompeii in miniature. Sure, Ostia Antica didn’t die the dramatic death that Pompeii did (the silting up of its outlet to the sea and rampant malaria drove its populace out), it is still a beautiful, awe-inspiring, tour-worthy site.

Photo © Paul Vlaar

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6 Responses to Day Trip to Pompeii from Rome

  1. Tom O'Connor March 23, 2008 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Melanie,
    I just returned from Rome yesterday. I spent the entire 8-9 days in Rome and never got bored. I did not go to Pompeii because, as you suggested, I went to Ostia Antica instead. I’ve never been to Pompeii but you and another commentator said OA is a good alternative to Pompeii. It certainly was cheaper and more time effective to avoid the train ride to Naples. I was happy with that decision and really enjoyed my time there. I did not go witha tour and agree with you that walking the ruins alone provides an eerie sense of many things. But in the end, I think the main thing I missed from Pompeii is the preserved bodies (or just the bodies in the shape in which they died of ash smothering). Of course, I also missed the madness of Pompeii, but Rome certainly had enough of that (which I loved). Thank you so much for looking into all of this though.

  2. Marie March 18, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    I do have a tip. There is a new alternative to the huge bus tours or private tours. Here is a link for a small group bus trip running once a week from Rome. http://www.wheninrometours.com/Tours/Bus-Tours/Semi-private-Day-trip-to-Pompeii.html
    Hope to see you there :)

  3. Jeff April 21, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    Hi MariI was wondering what you mean when you say \”Alternative\”. I went to their website and it is the same bus tour that all the other groups offer. Please explain as I will be there next month and want to book a tour to Pompee.
    Thanks,Jeff

  4. Ricardo Freire June 11, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Hi! You quoted the most expensive Italian train, the new ES AV (EuroStar Alta Velocità), that does the journey to Naples em 1 hour 20 min. and sells tickets at 36 euros one way on Promo 15 fare.

    Anyone willing to spend an extra 40 minutes inside a quite older train (the IC, InterCity) can ride to Naples one way for 15 euros (Amica fare).

    Promo 15 and Amica fares are available up to 48 hours prior to departure.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Italy Itinerary: The Perfect Two Weeks | Italy Travel Guide - February 16, 2010

    [...] Naples or even Sorrento, but you can do a day trip to Pompeii from Rome. Melanie at Italofile has written up a great post about how to do Pompeii as a day trip – she lists both a few of the guided tours available as well as the options and cost of making the [...]

  2. Itinerary for 5 Days in Rome | Italy Travel Guide - March 29, 2010

    [...] As Melanie of Italofile notes in this helpful article, it’s possible to do a DIY tour of Pompeii from Rome – taking the train to Naples, then to Pompeii, buying an entry ticket and renting the audio guide, and then taking the trains back to Rome in the evening. But she also says that the cost difference between going the DIY route and booking a guided trip with a company based in Rome is small enough that if you can spare the extra money you might be better off going with a guided tour. [...]

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