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 but advance purchase tickets allow visitors to skip the queues somewhat by using a fast lane ticket window. The Campania Arte Card is a fantastic savings deal valid at Pompeii, several other major cultural sites as well as on public transportation.
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 €15 for adults, €9 for EU nationals 18 to 24, and free for children under 18 (but must still queue up to get a ticket!)
Everybody visiting the ruins of Pompeii needs a paper ticket from the ticket window – 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 include 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.
The official three-sites ticket combines Pompeii, Oplontis and Boscoreale for €18 and is valid for three days. Although the latter two sites are often not that high on the priority list of the average tourist this ticket does save around €7 over buying tickets separately. (The five-sites ticket that included Herculaneum is not currently available.)
Advance Purchase Skip-the-Line Tickets for Pompeii
Any advance purchase skip-the-line ticket for Pompeii comes with a surcharge – usually around €4 per ticket. 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. Skip-the-line tickets still need to pick up a paper ticket at the fast-lane ticket window.
Advance purchase skip-the-line admission tickets to Pompeii with an audio guide are also offered but these generally add little benefit over using the official audio guides, which use the same numbering as the official maps and signs inside the archaeological site. These alternative audio guides commonly have less information and use different number systems than on the official maps and site signs.
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 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 to three hours at Pompeii. 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 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!
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
- Pompeii: Buying Tickets and Visiting the Excavations on Tours
- Cheap Transportation to Pompeii
- Tips on Buying Tickets and Visiting the Herculaneum Excavations
- 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.