We couldn’t go to Sorrento/ Amalfi region of Italy without a visit to Mount Vesuvius.
We spent a total of 5 days in the region and yes, we did all the typical and expected sights for a first trip. The big beats and the norm. As it’s all new to the family, no need to deviate off the proven hits this time around!
We set out with the intention of seeing both Vesuvius and Pompeii in one day. This quickly became clear that both in one day was a stretch so we opted to cover 2 days for these sights (although Pompeii could do with longer than a day!).
For Vesuvius, there are plenty of tours that can be booked through the independent agents. Either transporting you directly from Sorrento or from the local train station Pompei Scavi. We opted to take public transportation (Circumvensia train) from Sorrento to Pompei Scavi. Its a direct train and easy to to do. Tickets are reasonable (apologies but I forget the price – just a few Euros each) ad easily bought from the news stand outside the station or machines inside the station. Be warned, the morning trains will be busy. You wont be the only folks trying to get to Pompei Scavi. The train was packed and hot. Despite it being ‘off season’ it was still pretty warm. Standing room only for this trip!
Arriving at the station we opted for a quick drink and sit down in the local cafe. In this time, we decided to split our day and focus only on Vesuvius. Its easy to book a guided tour up to the top of Vesuvius. The local travel agency is located right next door to the station. On this day though there were experiencing issues with their route – apparently a tree down blocking their private road. Delays were happening and we lacked some confidence with them so we again opted for public transport to the top. The public bus stop is opposite the train station. Buses are about one an hour but my advice is to keep an eye on the return bus times. They do end early from the top of Vesuvius.
The price was reasonable and we calculated a saving of around 50 Euros by managing the day ourselves.
The bus journey was about an hour and gets more picturesque the higher you go. At times its not for the faint of heart….a number of hairpin bends and road edges. Hats off to the public bus drivers!
Couple of points to mention for arrival. The bus will drop you off and you must walk BACK DOWN a section to the ticket office. Don’t walk up to then have to walk down! They wont let you through without a ticket. As we didn’t opt for a travel agency, we were just touring ourselves on foot…like many others! The path is long and winding up to the top of the crater. Views are spectacular for the entire walk. It s a strenuous walk. Sensible shoes and bottled water is recommended. The day was sunny but not hot like in peak season. I dread to think of how hot it would be in the summer. No shade or shelter. Plan to do this trip on a cooler cloudier day.
At the top we peaked into the crater. Honestly, a little disappointing but it was as we should have expected for a large dormant volcano. We did spot on small area with steam rising out that was a highlight.
View of Crater……look closely and you can see a line of folks on the other side. These are from the tour that can be booked by the station
All in all, the day out to the volcano was a great one. We caught the bus back down again no problem and then hopped on the train back to Sorrento. Naturally, we headed straight to our favorite Bar Fauno for pre dinner drinks 🙂