View Map

Overview

The names still resonate from school history lessons, and the reality, when you visit the ancient sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, is no less memorable. Submerged and preserved by ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, they are among the greatest must-see attractions of the world. Both sites are these days more or less thoroughly encased by the city’s urban sprawl, but the upside of this is that they are easily accessible by train from Naples or Sorrento, and as such you can stay in the city and see them on a day-trip. Doing them both in the same day would be pushing it; better to combine the smaller sight of Herculaneum with a climb up ...

The names still resonate from school history lessons, and the reality, when you visit the ancient sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, is no less memorable. Submerged and preserved by ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, they are among the greatest must-see attractions of the world. Both sites are these days more or less thoroughly encased by the city’s urban sprawl, but the upside of this is that they are easily accessible by train from Naples or Sorrento, and as such you can stay in the city and see them on a day-trip. Doing them both in the same day would be pushing it; better to combine the smaller sight of Herculaneum with a climb up to the summit of Vesuvius on one day, and to cover the larger site of Pompeii on another. Many people in fact prefer the more low-key charms of Herculaneum’s compact site, which was discovered in 1709 but not excavated until the last century. Its simple grid of streets lined with houses and shops gives a fantastic glimpse into life in a seaside resort from the Imperial Roman era. Pompeii was a large city by comparison and is spread over a large area, with a forum on one side of the site and an amphitheater and gladiatorial barracks on the other. In between you can spend a very happy day going from villa to villa, peeking into courtyards and gardens, some of them still adorned with imperial era paintings and stucco work. Finish up at the Villa dei Misteri, just outside the main site, whose amazing wall paintings will perhaps be the highlight of your entire day.

Martin Dunford
About the Expert

Martin Dunford is the author or coauthor of eight Rough Guides: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Brussels, Belgium & Luxembourg, Italy, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi Coast, and New York City.

view full overview

Martin Dunford for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April, May, June, September, October