Pompeii is an ancient city said to have been founded in the 6th century BC and was buried under a carpet of volcanic ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius – which is still an active volcano today that last erupted in 1944. The layer of dust and debris preserved the city where its excavation efforts can be visited today despite discoveries still being made over the lost Roman world.
Owed to its location between Naples and Sorrento, many suggest visiting Pompeii when travelling between. We felt this would have been too much with the added travelling with luggage, so we opted for a day tour instead since we had time in our itinerary.
We booked for this Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius tour with lunch that came to £114.89 each.
The meeting place was 8:30 am at the IAMME IA! office located in the Piazza Tasso – the central square in Sorrento, we had pre-booked using Get Your Guide but there’s a chance you could book directly with them too. The office is located next door to the Fauno Bar and opposite Bar Ecolano, which was open for takeaway coffee and pastries.
Once we had checked in and the entire group arrived, we walked for a few minutes to where the coach was parked. They were fine about bringing hot drinks on to the coach, there was plenty of space and it was clean and comfortable, we could also safely leave belongings on the coach too.
During the one-hour drive to Pompeii, our guide Bene gave some local insights into the areas we were passing as well as Pompeii and Vesuvius. Before arriving, we were all fitted with audio guides so we would be able to hear our archaeological guide when walking around the site.
We arrived in Pompeii at 10 am and had a quick 10-minute refresh to use the toilet – you’ll need a 50-cent coin for the toilets – and then we split off into two smaller groups for the Pompeii walking tour. Only trained archaeological guides are permitted to run tours so we left Bene and continued the next part of the tour with Alessio.
Over the course of two hours, Alessio explained the structure and design of the houses, the history behind the streets and the layout of the city, and many more interesting facts. To preserve the site for future generations, there is a part of the site only open on specific days. During our visit on a Wednesday, the thermal baths were open for visitation.
Pompeii can get very hot, fortunately, it was an overcast day during our visit but it’s easy to see how the heat could be unbearable on warmer days – be sure to pack a hat and some water.
The tour ended at 12:15 pm and we were given one hour for lunch, we had pre-booked lunch with the tour to save ourselves the hassle but personally didn’t feel as if the food was the best choice but it filled a hole. It included an appetizer, main course, dessert, and 2 soft drinks – so it did mean we weren’t wasting time trying to find somewhere to eat, since the tables were already reserved for us and paid for.
By 1:30 p.m. we were back on the bus and on our way to Mount Vesuvius, it took around 50 minutes and took as far as the bus could go to the entrance at Route 5. We were handed our entry tickets and given 90 minutes to ascend the volcano to the crater and return to the bus. We arrived at Mt. Vesuvius at 2.20 p.m.
Mt. Vesuvius is one of Europe’s largest volcanoes and is still an active volcano today that Geologists think is overdue for an eruption. Its highest peak reaches 1,277 metres with great views of Naples and the surrounding areas. We knew after visiting Pompeii that we had to take the opportunity to climb Mt. Vesuvius too!
It was around 2km uphill to reach the crater, it was a continuous uphill with light gravel which made it a little more difficult, we did notice wooden walking poles being given out at the entrance but I’m not sure if this was free or not. There were a couple of shops on the way up and at the top serving soft drinks and other souvenirs – don’t be afraid to haggle, we noticed them giving different prices to different people.
After around 30 minutes we reached the crater, nearer to the top of the crater there were signs for free guides every 20 minutes or so which may be worthwhile if you have more time.
We were back on the bus by 3.45 p.m., and arrived back in Sorrento around 4:30 p.m., we headed to Spa Ulysses for some recuperation after an active day of walking.