Skip-the-line tickets, guided tours, and combination offers are good ways to avoid the queues and save money when visiting the excavations of Pompeii near Naples in Italy.
The Pompeii archeological site near Naples is one of the top sights to see in Italy. The excavations of Pompeii are a popular day-trip destination from Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi coast but may also be seen on long day trips from Rome or even Florence. Tickets are the cheapest when bought directly at Pompeii and although time-slot reservations are no longer possible, visitors with online tickets skip the queues. The Campania Arte Card is a fantastic savings deal valid at Pompeii, several other major cultural sites as well as on public transportation. Guided tours are also an easy way to ensure timely admission to the archaeological site.
Cheapest Pompeii Excavation Tickets
The cheapest admission tickets to visit the excavations of Pompeii are sold at the ticket windows at the archaeological site. The basic price is €16 for adults, €3.50 for EU nationals 18 to 24, and free for children under 18 (but must still queue up to get a ticket!)
Time-slot reservation tickets are no longer sold but for weekends, it may be necessary to buy tickets at least a day in advance. (This requirement is likely to be lifted during 2022 but on the whole, weekend visits are best avoided.)
Almost everybody visiting the ruins of Pompeii needs a paper ticket from the ticket window – most online vouchers and mobile tickets must be exchanged at the fast lane before proceeding to the ticket checkpoints. Such tickets usually specify which of the three admission gates must be used.
See Tips on Visiting the Pompeii Excavations for tips, ideas, and strategies to make a visit to the archaeological site cheaper and more enjoyable.
Save with the Campania Arte Card at Pompeii
Possibly the best discount ticket offer for individual travelers interested in Pompeii and other major cultural sights in the Naples region is the Campania Arte Card. It comes in several versions but for most, the three-day regional card is the more interesting: it includes free admission to the first two sites visited and then up to 50% discount on further sites (or free if the machine doesn’t work) plus free transportation on most buses, funiculars and regional trains in Naples and the Campania region.
The Campania Arte ticket more than pays for itself with a visit to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the National Archaeological Museum in Naples with the additional benefit of never having to queue up to buy train tickets.
The Campania Arte card must still be presented at the museum ticket counter – fast lanes may be used, or simply go to the front of the queue (embarrassing but legitimately) if no specific fast lane is set up.
Note: it is highly advisable, and sometimes essential, that time-slot reservations are made at major museum or venue websites when using the Campania Arte Card. Either a special option is available, or select any free ticket to gain the time slot.
See Saving with the Campania Arte Card for more details on this highly recommended special deal, which is now also conveniently available as an app.
Save with Combination Tickets at Pompeii
It is possible to save on Pompeii admission by buying combination tickets with other sites but the number of options has been reduced recently. Pompeii and Herculaneum combination tickets are popular and available online but this is not an official ticket currently offered at either site. It still requires the bearer to exchange the voucher for a physical ticket via the fast lane at the two sites.
Combination tickets for some of the smaller sights near Pompeii are usually available, e.g. for Oplontis Villa of Poppea and Boscoreale. The Campania Arte card is probably a better savings deal for most.
Advance Purchase Skip-the-Line Tickets for Pompeii
Online advance purchase tickets are strongly recommended, as all admissions now require a timeslot reservation. Any advance purchase skip-the-line ticket for Pompeii comes with a surcharge. This is fair value at very busy times but not on quiet days, or when arriving early morning or later in the afternoon outside the high season. Most skip-the-line tickets still need to pick up a paper ticket at the fast-lane ticket window but timeslot reservations are not only not necessary but not longer possible either. At busy times, even skip-the-line tickets will not guarantee timely admissions if too many people are still inside the park.
Advance purchase skip-the-line admission tickets to Pompeii with an audio guide are also offered — note where to pick up the guide, it is often before the ticket barriers.
Book Guided Tours to Pompeii
Guided tours to Pompeii make a lot of sense even to individual travelers who usually prefer to go it alone. A guide could sort out tickets in advance and give visitors a good overview of the site and which sights are the most interesting to see.
When booking tours, pay careful attention to whether the admission tickets are included or need to be purchased separately at Pompeii and other sites. Tours are good at mentioning what is included – assume anything not mentioned is excluded.
Guided tours usually spend two hours at Pompeii, if meeting in Pompei. Half-day tours from Naples including transportation could be as quick as three hours. After shorter tours, visitors are free to remain inside the site at the end of the tour to explore further. Even if transportation was included in the tour, returning to Naples or Sorrento by train is easy and cheap (less than €3).
For families and small groups, a private tour or family-orientated tour may be worth the extra expense – it allows a more personal program and no waiting for other group members more interested in taking selfies, going to the shops, etc.
If a private tour is too expensive, consider a small group tour – these are often hardly more expensive than a larger bus group tour.
Guided tours that include transportation from Naples often combine further sights with Pompeii such as Herculaneum, Mount Vesuvius, Positano, the Amalfi Coast, and the Isle of Capri.
Pompeii works best as a day trip from Naples or Sorrento but it is also possible to see Pompeii on a long day-trip from Rome – for small groups, a private tour may be a better choice (and for groups of six often a cheaper option too) than a standard bus group tour. Rome to Pompeii and back to may also be done in an express tour – back in Rome after lunch! From Rome, the better value may be to combine Pompeii with further sights in the region such as Herculaneum, Vesuvius, the Amalfi Coast, or Naples.
Round-trip shuttle services are also available from Rome for travelers preferring to make their own arrangements at Pompeii without having to deal with trains.
For More on Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Naples:
- Save with the Campania Arte Card on Sightseeing Ticket and Transportation – now also available as an app.
- Pompeii Excavations Archaeological Site: Top Tips on Visiting and Shortcuts, Buying Tickets and Booking Tours & Cheap Transportation to Pompeii
- Herculaneum Archaeological Site (Ercolano): Tips on Buying Tickets and When to Visit & Cheap Transportation to Herculaneum
- Visit the National Museum of Archaeology in Naples – home to the Farnese sculptures and the best artworks, mosaics, and frescoes from the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
- Book Tours to Pompeii, Herculaneum, or both at Get Your Guide.
- Buy Italian train tickets in English at Trainline — however, not possible for the commuter train to Ercolano or Pompeii.