Sidetrips from Naples

Top day trips from Naples and other nearby sights in Campania

Naples is perhaps unique in Italy for being a major city that more people travel to in order to visit the surrounding sights than the city itself.

Not that Naples isn't a worthy destination in its own right, but it pales in comparison to the popularity of nearby sights like the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, buried by the wrath of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, or the resort towns lining the Amalfi Coast, the offshore vacation island of Capri.

Then there are the royal palace at Caserta, the Greek ruins and mozzarella farms at Paestum, and the weird volcanic landscapes and ancient sites of the Phlegrean Fields...

Naples Day Trips - Around the Bay of Naples

Tours to Pompeii

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

Private tours to Pompeii

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Duration: Full day
Private: From $1,022 per group 
Book: Reserve it

Amalfi Coast & Pompeii - Private Chauffeured Road Trip

This tour offers you a chance to experience the best of Campania, from archaeological excavations to fresh air and seaside vistas. Starting from and returning to anywhere along the Amalfi Coast, this tour is a full day of exploration. You can choose to take your private, 3-hour guided tour of Pompeii in the morning or in the afternoon. Either way you'll drive along the scenic Amalfi Coast and visit many of the charming towns that dot this lovely area. There is flexibility in your time, so that you can pick the stops as you go, or rely on your driver for suggestions. Possible stops along the way are Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. You'll have some free time for lunch (cost of meal not included)...

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Duration: 8 hours
Private: $820 per group 
Book: Reserve it

Pompeii Excursion (from Naples)

The riveting ruins of Pompeii are an undoubtedly emotional and complex snapshot of a Roman colony and, perhaps, the best archaeological space in the world in terms of understanding the everyday realities and hierarchies of its people. We approach our full day tour of the history and culture of Pompeii in a comprehensive manner, pairing a visit to the archaeological site of Pompeii with an exploration of the Naples Archaeological Museum. Taking cues from our surroundings, we will delve into aspects of religion, gender roles and commerce. We will pay special attention to the construction and decoration of private homes, most notably the magnificent frescoes of the Villa of the Mysteries. Leaving the site by the early afternoon, we will return to Naples by car where we will have a quick lunch in a small, non-touristy restaurant in the city center, followed by a short stroll through the center, poking our head into a few churches and providing a short synopsis of the history of the city...

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Duration: 8 hours
Private: $820 per group 
Book: Reserve it

Full-Day Archaeology Around Mt. Vesuvius

Depending on the interests and desires of the group, we will take in visits to two of the archaeological sites located on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. For example:

  • Pompeii in the morning and Herculaneum in the afternoon, with lunch in between.
  • Coupling Herculaneum and Oplontis, or considering Stabia.
  • For active types, you can spend the morning at an archaeological site of your choice and then hike up Mt. Vesuvius in the afternoon...

Tours to Capri

Leave the public transport hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

 

Tours to Ercolano

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

 

Tours to Mt. Vesuvius

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

 

Tours to the Campi Flegrei

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

 

Naples Day Trips - South of Naples

Tours to the Amalfi Coast

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

 

Tours to Sorrento

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

Tours to Paestum

Leave the public transport (or driving) hassles to the pros and take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

Naples Day Trips - North of Naples and inland

Tours to Caserta

Take an escorted tour with a professional guide:

The amphitheater at Santa Maria Capua VetereCapua - At the edge of the little town of Santa Maria Capua Vetere in the Campanian interior lie the hulking remains of the largest amphitheater in Italy after Rome's Colosseum... » more

TOURS OF CAMPANIA FROM ROME:

Tours of Naples FROM ROME

Tours including Pompeii & Vesuvius FROM ROME:

Tours to the Amalfi Coast or Capri FROM ROME:

Getting around the Bay of Naples on your own

Mt. Vesuvius and the ancient Roman cities it buried in AD 79 (most famously Pompeii and Herculaneum) lie on the southern curve of the Bay of Naples, south of the city. At the end of the bay is the resort city of Sorrento, gateway to the Amalfi Coast. The best way to get to them all is by using the private commuter rail line Circumvesuviana (tel. 081-772-2444, www.vesuviana.it).

It services Herculaneum (Ercolano-Scavi" in Italian; 10–17 min), Vesuvius (same stop), Pompei (36 min. from Naples), and Sorrento (50–70 min. from Naples), with trains roughly every 20 minutes.

Should I get the Campania Express ticket instead?

No.

You can opt for the new Campania Express service (summers only) for an assigned seat on a slightly faster, air-conditioned train that only stops at the popular tourist stations: Ecolano-Scavi (11 min), Pompeii Scavi (29 min.), and Sorrento (50 min).

However, it is only marginally faster, costs a lot more, and has far, far fewer departures times than the regular train.

The Campania Express costs €15 round-trip (€10 if you have hte Campania Artecard sightseeing pass), you can use the return portion on a different day, and you can get on and off as often as you like going either direction—though you have to finish your trip in a given direction in a single day (and you give up your assigned seat if you get on a later run).

In other words, you could use it to go from Naples to Ercalano, then Pompeii, then Sorrento in one long day, then use the return ticket to go back a few days later (after having used Sorrento as your base for touring the Amalfi Coast and Capri). Or perhaps see Pompeii on the way to Sorrento, then Herculaneum on the way back.

The big drawback (aside from the seasonality): There are only three daily departures: From Naples (8:40am, 12:09pm, 6:39pm from Piazza Garibaldi station) and from Sorrento (9:57am, 1:50pm, 7:53pm).

But does it save me money?

Yes, it is more comfortable—and marginally faster—however it actually costs more.

To do that first trip—stopping at Herculaneum and Pompeii en route to Sorrento, then direct back from Sorento to Naples—would cost €8.20 were you to buy a series of regular corso semplice tickets.

The second version (Pomepii on the way to Sorrento, Herculaneum on the way back) would €9.50.

Add to that the fact that you have far more departures on the regular train, and I am unclear why this tourist train exists in the first place, unless it is to bilk tourists out of more money.tip
You will note a spelling variation in this section that is not a typo. "Pompeii" (with two "i"s) refers to the ancient city and archaeological site. "Pompei" (with one "i") is the official name of the modern town that surrounds the ancient site. Apparently, the second "i" got buried by Vesuvius along with everything else in AD 79.

Where to find the Circumvesuviana station in Naples

Follow signs for the Circumvesuviana underneath Naples' train station
Follow signs for the "Circumvesuviana" regional commuter line, which runs underneath Naples' train station.
Circumvesuviana trains leave from a special station underneath Naples' main "Stazione Centrale" train station on Piazza Garibaldi, though finding it is a bit tricky.

If you're arriving by train, head toward the station's main exit, but just before you get there, look to the left for stairs leading down.

(Already in Naples: when you arrive at the station—fist firmly clenched around your wallet, as this is Italy's pickpocket central—enter the main doors and walk toward the tracks, but look for the stairs down to the Circumvesuviana about halfway before you get there.)

Follow "Circumvesuviana" signs, but partway along the hall stop at the ticket windows on your left. Several different commuter lines use the same platform, so ask around to be sure the train is bound for Sorrento (or Ercolano, or Pompei, or wherever it is you are going) before stepping on board. (Over the years, I've probably stopped at least 50 fellow tourists from getting on the wrong train—and those were just the people standing next to me on the platform.)

I can't stress this enough: Beware of pickpockets every step of the way (the Naples train station is the black hole of Italian pickpockets, and they love to work the tourist-packed Circumvesuviana train cars as well).

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