How to Hike Mount Vesuvius: All You Need To Know For Climbing Volcano


Vesuvius is one of the most famous volcanoes in Europe, and it’s a must-see attraction in Campania. If you plan to visit Naples, Pompeii, or the Amalfi coast, don’t miss the opportunity to hike Mount Vesuvius.

The volcano is known for the eruption in 79 AD when the volcanic ashes covered Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other towns. The name of the volcano probably comes from the Greek language and means “unquenchable.” Vesuvius, which is about 1,281 m (4,203 ft) tall, is only one of Mount Somma’s peaks – the remnant of an older volcano. On some pictures discovered in Pompeii and Herculaneum, we can see that the mount was much higher and had only one peak.

During my trip to the Amalfi coast, I decided to dedicate one day to Vesuvius and Pompeii. Sincerely, I wouldn’t recommend visiting both places on the same day, but I did so. First of all, it was a low season in June 2020 with almost no tourists, no queues, and crowds. Secondly, I rent a car, so my schedule didn’t depend on public transportation, which is not reliable in Italy.

How to Get to Mount Vesuvius

By car

If you decide to go by car, come as early as possible and park your car at the side road Strada per belvedere Vesuvio at 800m. Even if it doesn’t look like a proper parking area, and you have to park just along the road, this is the official parking, and it costs 5 euro no matter how long you stay. From the parking office at the intersection to the beginning of the trail, you can either walk up 2 km (~1.2 miles) or take a shuttle which leaves regularly and costs 2 euro per person.

From Naples

There is no direct way to get from Naples to Mount Vesuvius by public transportation. But you have two option to choose from:

A train Naples – Ercolano Scavi + Vesuvio Express shuttle
A train Naples – Pompeii-Villa dei Misteri + EAV public bus

A train for both Ercolano and Pompeii-Villa dei Misteri departs from Napoli Porta Nolana. It also passes by the central station Napoli Centrale so that you can start your trip from any of the stations. You can check the schedule on the official EAV website. This line does not belong to the TrainItalia system, so you can’t purchase the tickets online. But you can do so right on the station. One way ticket Naples – Ercolano Scavi is 2,20 euro, and Naples – Pompeii-Villa dei Misteri is 2,80 euro.

View from Mount Vesuvius to Naples bay

Of course, if you have enough budget, you can always book a tour that provides all the transfers, tickets, and guides. I would have chosen this tour from Naples that includes Pompeii and Vesuvius.

From Herculaneum (Ercolano)

Right in front of the Ercolano Scavi train station, there is a Vesuvio Express ticket office. You can also buy shuttle tickets online. It is advertised that a bus leaves every 40 minutes, drops you off at the beginning of the trail, and goes back in about 1,5-2 hours. That’s how it’s supposed to work, but…

Recent reviews say that the agency raised the price up to 15 euro or even 25 euro due to Covid-19, and you have to pay cash. They also say that the bus doesn’t leave as frequently, has enormous delays, and lacks service quality. The official website of Vesuvio Express doesn’t give any information regarding the shuttle service. I will try to update as soon as any reliable information is available.

From Pompeii

From Pompeii to Mount Vesuvius you can go by bus. There are two options: private shuttles or EAV public bus.

You will find a lot of companies selling direct shuttles to Mount Vesuvius on every corner of Pompeii. You need to be very careful with them because they try to sell as much as possible, giving misleading or just wrong information. They can tell you that a public EAV bus takes much more than 50 min, that it doesn’t take you to the very beginning of the trail, or that it’s canceled today. Also, their shuttles may not depart as soon as they tell you, or it’s not just a transfer but also a guided tour included in the price, so it’s much higher at the end. I’m not saying that you should avoid private shuttles, but be aware of such tricks.

Part of a crater of Pompeii volcano

EAV public bus costs 2,70 euro (the official website says) or 3,20 euro (resent reviews say). You can purchase the tickets directly on board. One-way only and cash only. The trip takes about 50 min.

There are two bus stops in Pompeii. The first one is Piazza Anfiteatro, which is right at the entrance/exit of Pompeii ruins, about 20 min walk from Pompei Scavi – Villa Dei Misteri train station. The second stop is Villa dei Misteri, and it’s right in front of the train station. There might be no more seats available on the bus during the high season if you choose to catch it at the second stop.

If you choose EAV public bus, you need to know that the bus can depart 10 min earlier or 1 hour later. The timetable can also be changed without any notice. Check the schedule on the bus stop AND online. Come at least 10 min before departure, as the bus can leave earlier.

Don’t forget to check the time of the last bus leaving from Mount Vesuvius to be sure you have enough time for a hike. Also, ask the bus driver to double-check. Come at least 15 min before departure, so you won’t be left behind. Otherwise, it’s a long walk down from the mount to the city.


The most important thing about the tickets is that you should purchase them online on VivaTicket, the official reseller. If you travel during the summer months, do as earlier before the hike as possible to reserve the desired date and time. There is no possibility to buy the tickets at the entrance, and there is a slow internet connection up there. The confusing and multi-step process of buying thickets doesn’t help.

The full-fare ticket price is 10 euro, and 8 euro for a reduced one – for people under 25 years old. The price includes the entrance fee and a guide service at the top of the mount. Even if on the website and your ticket it’s written “Visita guidata,” meaning a guided tour, it’s not. In reality, no one will accompany you throughout the hike. You can go up as fast as you want and take your time enjoying the view.

How long is the walk up Vesuvius?

From the entrance gate on Piazzale di Quota 1000, you will walk about 30 min to reach the first point with refreshments and souvenirs to find the guides. We joined the group in Italian, but there was also an English-speaking guide. When we came to the point from which we could see the crater, the guide told us all the necessary info about the history and the current conditions of Mount Vesuvius. Then we continued to walk on our own for another 30 min until we reached the final point. The route is not circular, so you have to go all the same way back. Give yourself at least two hours for the hike up and back.

How hard is it to climb Vesuvius?

The trail has low to medium difficulty because of its 14% grade slope and uneven surface. The total length is 4 km (~2,5 miles), with the highest point at 1 175 meters (3 855 ft) above sea level and an elevation gain of 170 meters (557 ft). You will need hiking shoes or good sneakers and a windbreaker for windy days, even during the hottest summer months. Don’t forget to take a warm sweater for spring and fall hikes. And put some SPF on your face and neck on a sunny day.

Can you see lava in Mount Vesuvius?

During your hike to Mount Vesuvius, you won’t see any steams of lava. Still, you will be able to see the lava flow of 1944 and small fumaroles in the crater.

Is Vesuvius still active?

Yes, it’s is a very active volcano, even if today Vesuvius is in a dormant phase. The last eruption happened in March 1944, and it will erupt again. We don’t know when. Vesuvius is considered the most dangerous volcano globally, so scientists keep it under constant observation.

Can you hike Mount Vesuvius for free?

If you want to climb to the highest point and see the crater, then no, you can’t do this for free. But if you wish to spend some hours hiking around Vesuvius and Mount Somma (that is the remnant of a volcano, and Vesuvius is one of its peaks), feel free to do so. You can find the information about different trails on the official website of Vesuvius and download the map.

Can you do Pompeii and Vesuvius in one day?

Yes, you can. But it will be a long day. Buy all the tickets in advance and come as early as possible. I would recommend taking a guided tour in Pompeii to make most of your visit and not miss anything. Or, if you have enough budget, take an organized tour that includes both sites.

To sum up, it was an unforgettable experience for me. If you are on a trip to Naples, Pompeii, or the Amalfi coast, you should hike Mount Vesuvius. Plan everything, buy the tickets in advance. Do not worry if you come earlier or a bit later. They will probably let you in any way. On Mount Vesuvius, the system is not as strict as in Pompeii. So relax, and enjoy the trip.

Jana J.
Italy Travel Expert
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