Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii in One Day

Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii in One Day?!

Before going on my last trip to Italy, one thing was for certain: I wanted to see Mount Vesuvius. Not just see it from the distance as we drove by, but actually hike to the top. Everyone had told me that I should go to Pompeii though. While I wasn’t too thrilled by the idea, I figured I’d give it a go, who knows when I’ll have the chance again. We were driving from Rome to Praiano and the only problem was: could we see them in the same day? The short answer: kind of. The long answer? Well, it depends…

After renting the car we finally got to the base of Mount Vesuvius. Our GPS took us on some scary narrow roads that could barely fit our car so I was never happier than when we parked. We paid the fee for the bus to take us to the top, except it didn’t take us to where you actually start the hike, but to the ticket desk. Yes, there are tickets to go to the top of the mountain. Anyway, we started the hike and it was around noon – NOT the best time to go there as the sun is directly above you and there’s absolutely nowhere to get some shade. It was very hot and with jeans and a black t-shirt, I was definitely not dressed for the hike. But I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying it, the views along the way were breathtaking and reaching the top to see Vesuvius was impressive.

Before visiting, I read an article about dos and don’ts on the mountain and I found it amusing how one of them was saying to run if you feel the earth shaking. But once we got to the top we saw there was a smoldering part, so maybe that tip wasn’t so crazy. After getting a few souvenirs and some very much needed bottles of water, it was time to make our way back to the car.

Tip: If you have the option, try to go either in the morning or in the afternoon. Also, dark clothes aren’t a good idea, it is super dusty and you will come back with them all white anyway.

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

Hiking on Mount Vesuvius

We were lucky our Praiano check in was late in the evening so we still had some time left to visit Pompeii. Let me get one thing straight: Pompeii is huge and you would need an entire day to see it all at a slow pace. We only had a couple of hours so we didn’t even try to see everything and just wandered around, imagining what that society was like before the volcano eruption. We’ve all see the movie with Jon Snow falling in love with Babydoll (here’s a weird sentence), so it was something like that, right? The good thing about it being so huge was that it didn’t feel so crowded, we had a few streets all to ourselves.

Tip: if you’re coming by car and see a free parking spot nearby, take it! Don’t think you’ll find one closer to the entrance because you won’t, there are very few parking lots and if you miss one, turning the car around can prove to be tricky.

The ancient city of Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii

Poppies at Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii

The ancient city of Pompeii

While it is possible to see them both in one day, if I had the choice, I wouldn’t do it again. I’d rather take my time and visit them both properly, rather than feel I have to rush. To be honest though, if I had to do it again, I’d at least wear some appropriate clothing 😉

The good news is that you can visit at least one of them as a day trip from your base on the Amalfi Coast. We were excited when we finally reached the coast and had views like the one below.

Driving on the Amalfi Coast

Have you ever visited Mount Vesuvius or Pompeii? What did you think of them?

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  • We didn’t do both in one day – I don’t think I could have managed it! Well done you though. Pompeii when we went was soooo busy. It kind of hampered the experience. But next time I think I would like a proper guide, as I felt I missed things going round. Fab photos Vlad.

    • Thank you! I went in the afternoon and it wasn’t as crowded as I was expecting, we even found some streets completely empty 🙂

  • Anisa Alhilali

    I visited Pompeii and I really enjoyed it. I am impressed that you were able to do both in one day!

    • I wouldn’t recommend it though, it’s best to take your time and enjoy Pompeii properly.

  • This was a “tour de force” Vlad. It took us an entire day just to visit Pompeii. Such a great site! We didn’t make it to the Mount Vesuvius.

    • It definitely was, Anda! Though I’m glad I got to see them both 🙂

  • I am with you. I wouldn’t try to do both in a single day. Vesuvius is fabulous and Pompeii is pretty good but both need to be savoured and not rushed. Maybe you can go back one day and do them both slowly – lol.

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t go back, I feel like I got everything I wanted from the hike on Vesuvius and Pompeii was more like something I felt I -had to- see. I’d rather go and see Herculaneum next 😉

  • We booked a private tour that was supposed to bring us to both Pompeii and Vesuvius in a day. Sadly, we couldn’t hike up Vesuvius because of bad weather, so it was great to see your pictures! Were you able to walk around the crater and look in? I’ve heard that they allow people to do that!

    We spent the morning in Pompeii and only got to see the “highlights”, but I think it was a good amount of time for me. I learned a lot in those few hours, and was a little tired and hungry by the time lunchtime rolled around. All in all, given the amount of time we had, I found it alright. You can definitely spend days there though, it’s that big!

    • Yes, you were able to go around it – but sadly I haven’t done that. We stopped to take pictures at the top, bought some water and souvenirs, rested for a bit, then left to see Pompeii.

  • Lyn – A Hole in my Shoe

    Great post Vlad, loved your photos. We didn’t get to Vesuvius when we visited Pompeii and glad that wasn’t our plan. We had such a great time at Pompeii and we also included an Amalfi Coast drive and that is something we didn’t want to cut short.

    • Driving on the Amalfi Coast definitely beats everything else 🙂

  • I almost felt the heat myself, reading about your hike! I can imagine how hot it must have been, in the middle of the day: I have often noticed, in Italy, that even spring months that are supposedly mild, at about lunchtime can get scorching hot. But your photos are stunning and you made me want to visit – I have seen Pompei but never thought of going up the mountain. About google maps, what can I say… after they pretty much got me driving into a ditch, I do not trust them in Italy!

    • Thank you, hiking on Vesuvius is definitely an amazing experience. I bet the views at sunset are breathtaking!

  • Clare Thomson

    I hiked up the volcano at Santorini and remember it being really hot and sticky too! Think I’d go for Pompeii over Vesuvius. I’m really keen to go around the site.

    • You should visit Herculaneum too, I hear it’s better preserved than Pompeii.

  • Megan Claire

    Great tips, and I’m impressed you managed to get them both done in a day! I did Pompeii while I was there, and agree that I think you need a whole day. It’s a touristy site but I thought it was so fascinating to see. Would love to get back and take in Vesuvius too – only had enough time to choose one or the other when I was there 🙂

    • If I had to choose one, it would have been Vesuvius for sure, but since we had some time left, I couldn’t pass the chance of seeing Pompeii as well 🙂

  • Ahila Thillainathan

    I’d like to go to Pompeii one day. Not too keen about the Vesuvius hike so it’s nice that I was able to have a glimpse through your photos.

    • It’s funny, I was the other way around. You should also visit Herculaneum if you’re ever in the region. 🙂

  • Carol

    We went to Pompeii but just took photos of Mt. Vesuvius from afar. I am not really one for hikes.

    • It definitely wasn’t the easiest hike, especially with the sun directly above us.

  • World Journeys

    what a superb place! Love it! Must go one day. Love hiking on volcanic rock – did in New Zealand last year. Very special type of place

    • Hiking in New Zealand – on my bucket list. What it was like? 😀

  • Great post!! We are headed to the Almafi Coast for our honeymoon next June!! We might try to squeeze in seeing Pompeii and (a view from a distance) of Mt. Vesuvius… I read a blog a while ago which really turned me off about seeing Pompeii as it was overcrowded and expensive. Plus I’d rather lay on the beach! #TheWeeklyPostcard

    • You’re going to love the Amalfi Coast, it’s so beautiful! Do you have any plans on where you’ll be staying?

  • Nice pictures! Really makes me want to go!!! Hopefully I’ll get there someday. 🙂 And I’ll keep the tip in mind — to run if you feel the earth shaking. 😀

    • Hope you get to go some day. And you won’t have any unexpected surprises, haha

  • What a beautiful place. Great tips on driving your car in this area and what not to wear. The views here look amazing!

    • The view from Vesuvius is incredible! 🙂

  • The views from the hike are TOTALLY worth it. Plus the road seems so civilized! It makes me think to my Crimea hikes, during half of which my train of thought was “WTHell did I get myself into???”

    • The view is always worth it! Maybe not during the midday sun though, haha

  • When I read your article title, I thought about the weather. Then, I read you started the climb around noon and I muttered “oh oh.” I have been to Pompeii a couple of times, in the morning, and it was super hot anyway. We had a tour so he kind of gave us the highlights in two hours. But, like you mentioned, I think it would have been better to do our own thing and take the time to explore. If I am in the area again, I will go to Mount Vesuvius.

    • I definitely recommend hiking on Mount Vesuvius, maybe in the morning or at sunset though, the view would be breathtaking. Not to mention it won’t be as hot, haha

  • Wanderlust Marriage

    We’ve never had the chance to visit either… But wow I they both look amazing. We often try to squish things into a short amount of time, handy tips though on how to visit both of you don’t have the choice to have longer in the region.

    • I’m always guilty of trying to see more in a short amount of time, but at the end of the day, I never regret it 🙂

  • We spent practically an entire day exploring Pompeii but didn’t try to squeeze in Vesuvius on the same trip. If we’d had an extra day, I may have given it a go. Those views you showed us are great. I didn’t realize that it was still smoldering up there. If the ground started shaking, I would have probably just assumed I was doomed. I remember reading how it was cone shaped before the top blew off in the eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.

    • I could have easily spent an entire day at Pompeii too, but I’m glad i got to see it in the little time I had 🙂

  • Very nice! 🙂 These places are definitely on my list!
    I know the dilemma of picking one site or choosing both and do them in a rush all too well..
    We just gotta understand that it isn’t possible to see everything at our own pace if we want to see (nearly) everything, and we should try not to feel so guilty about this.
    PS You really got to work on your gear, though :)) But I am proud that you’ve finally started to be interested in mountains 😀 Baby steps, more to come, I hope!

    • Well it’s not like I’m a complete stranger to mountains, as a kid and teenager, I’ve been up and down a lot of Romania’s mountains. But adulthood has turned me into a city-boy :))) Besides, it’s really hard to get to different places without a car. Our infrastructure sucks a lot…