In 2020, skip-the-line time-slot 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 but admission is by time-slot reservations, which places online ticket buyers at an advantage to 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.
As part of social-distancing measures, admission to Pompeii is by time-slot and visitors must follow one-way routes. Not all buildings and attractions are open — see Tips on Visiting Pompeii for more details.
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, €2 for EU nationals 18 to 24, and free for children under 18 (but must still queue up to get a ticket!) (Admission during the final two hours of the day is €10.)
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.
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.
See Saving with the Campania Arte Card for more details on this highly recommended special deal.
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. It is currently only €7 as not all of the sights are open.
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 and often need a timeslot reservation too. At busy times, even time-slots 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 purchase 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.
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 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
- Tips on Visiting the Pompeii Excavations near Naples in 2020 — previous Tips and Shortcuts are not useful while social-distancing rules are in place.
- Pompeii: Buying Tickets and Visiting the Excavations on Tours
- Cheap Transportation to Pompeii
- Tips on Buying Tickets to Visit Herculaneum near Pompeii and Naples in 2020 — the previous system is unlikely to return before the end of 2021.
- Transportation to the Herculaneum Archaeological Site
- 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.