Rome to Pompeii: Book a Tour or Plan Your Own Day Trip to Pompeii from Rome

Pompeii ruins
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Is it possible to plan your own day trip to Pompeii from Rome?

Of course it is!

But many travelers would prefer to book a tour and have all the logistics planned for them.

This post will help you decide if you want to book a guided tour of Pompeii or do it yourself.

Best Day Tours to Pompeii from Rome

There are several tour companies that will organize (almost) everything for you, including transportation and expert-guided tours of the Pompeii excavations.

  • Pompeii Tour from Rome with Amalfi Coast Drive. Walks of Italy offers a full-day small group trip to Pompeii plus a stop in Positano. Not only is this a great tour of Pompeii, complete with an expert guide and express entry tickets, it also gives you a chance to see the nearby Amalfi Coast and the town of Positano. Lunch is not included in the price, but there is free time to get your own meal in Positano and to go shopping.
  • Tour of Pompeii and Naples with Archeological Museum. If you want to go the exclusive route, then look no further than Context Travel. Context offers a private trip with a PhD-level guide to Pompeii in the morning with an afternoon visit to Naples and the Naples Archeological Museum (where many of Pompeii’s most famous artistic treasures live). In sum, they put the whole tour into context. I have taken several very smart tours with Context Travel and highly recommend them.
  • Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius Full-Day Archeology Tour. Another Context option is a full-day tour of the ruins at Pompeii and a hike up Mt. Vesuvius. This private tour can be tailored to your interests, including a stop at the other famous excavation site in the area Herculaneum.
  • Full-Day Pompeii and Sorrento. This tour from The Tour Guy has a fun package that pairs Pompeii with a side trip to beautiful Sorrento.
  • Pompeii Round-Trip Shuttle Bus from Rome. Enjoy Rome offers a 12-hour day trip from Rome to Pompeii that includes door-to-door bus service from a meeting point in Rome. This budget option takes care of the transportation logistics and gives you four hours to visit the archeological site on your own.

Plan Your Own Day Trip from Rome to Pompeii

A crowded piazza in Pompeii in March. On a clearer day, you can see Mount Vesuvius.

The most practical way to go to Pompeii from Rome is by train.

Thanks to high speed train travel between Rome and Naples, planning your own day trip to Pompeii from Rome is a lot easier than it used to be.

It takes about an hour to zip down to Naples on one of Trenitalia’s Freccia trains or with Italo Treno. Book your ticket to Napoli Centrale, where you will have to change trains.

You’ll need about another hour to get to the ruins of Pompeii (aka Pompei Scavi) via the Circumvesuviana line. This narrow-gauge train line goes from Napoli to Sorrento, making stops at all of the archeological sites in between: Pompeii, Herculaneum, etc.

You can also skip busy Napoli Centrale and instead book your ticket to Napoli Afragola, a suburban station outside of Naples. Napoli Afragola station, designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid, opened in 2017, and has train and bus service to Pompeii. If you’re a huge architecture buff, then tack on some extra time if you’re choosing the Italotreno/Afragola itinerary.

Visiting the Excavations at Pompeii

A preserved body lies on a slab in a warehouse of relics found in the ruins of Pompeii
A preserved body lies on a slab in a warehouse of relics found in the ruins of Pompeii

The Pompeii archeological park covers more than 160 acres/65 hectares–about the size of 160 connecting football fields–and is divided into nine sections (Regio I-IX).

The cultural heritage arm of the Italian government has done a lot to help visitors prepare for a visit to this UNESCO Heritage Site, offering downloadable maps, and providing guidance to visitors with special needs.

There is also online ticketing should you wish to get that step out of the way, but buying advanced tickets isn’t necessary.

  • Pro tip: Admission to state-owned museums and archeological areas like Pompeii is often free on the first Sunday of the month.

The Pompeii archeological park also provides audioguides for a small fee.

Pompeii ruins

Visiting the Pompeii excavations on your own is doable. But it can be stressful. The site is huge, so you may miss seeing some frescoes or ruins or relics that you had hoped to see.

In this case, you’ll want to consider booking a guided tour.

There are many reputable local and international tour guide companies that are credentialed to lead tours inside the ruins. One option is Campania Guide, which offers a 3-hour expert-led tour of the ruins.

You can also book tours with licensed guides from the information desk at the entrance.

Drawbacks of DIY Travel to Pompeii

They say the joy of traveling is the journey itself. But that time can be stressful, especially when you throw in a potentially stressful transfer time between Naples and Pompeii. Train station transfers can often feel chaotic, even for seasoned travelers who speak Italian.

The cost of the train can also be a drawback. The base cost of a round trip from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale is approximately 100 euros for one adult. Although the Freccia and Italo usually have discounts for traveling couples and families.

So, when it comes down to it, you may not save much money when compared to booking a tour. Add to that the time that you have spent planning everything and well…you know what they say: time is money.

Want to do an overnight visit of Pompeii? I recommend Villa Diomede, which is just steps from the archeological park. Accommodations are clean and comfortable.

Pompeii Alternative: Ostia Antica

Ostia Antica, an Ancient Roman site much closer to Rome than Pompeii

Another idea. If you really want to see Pompeii but just can’t figure out a way to fit it into your visit to Rome, consider a day trip to Ostia Antica.

Located about 30 minutes by local train outside of Rome, Ostia Antica has some of the best-preserved ancient ruins in Italy. 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. But it is still a beautiful, awe-inspiring, tour-worthy site with well-preserved Ancient Roman ruins.

Ostia is also near the beach, so you could swim in the morning and tour ruins in the afternoon or vice versa. Catch the train to Ostia and Ostia Lido at the Piramide station in Rome.

Last updated on May 17th, 2023

Post first published on March 27, 2019

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