Cheap Transportation to the Pompeii Excavations near Naples

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by Henk Bekker

in Campania, Italy, N24, Naples

Use the cheap Circumvesuviana commuter train to reach Pompeii within half an hour from Naples Garibaldi or Sorrento.

Getting to the archaeological site of Pompeii by public transportation (very cheap trains) or car is easy while many guided day-trip tour buses arrive from Naples, Napoli Airport, Sorrento, and Rome.

Mt Vesuvius Seen from the Forum in Pompeii

Getting to the excavations of Pompeii (Scavi di Pompei) by public transportation is easy, fast, and cheap from Naples or Sorrento. The archaeological site with the excavations of Pompeii is famously at the foot of Mount Vesuvius just to the south of Naples in Italy. This hugely popular historical Roman sight is easily reached by train from Naples downtown and Sorrento, bus and train from Naples Airport, or on day trips from many parts of Italy, including as far away as Rome. Pre-booked airport transfers are sensible but public transportation is also easy if traveling light. The Campania Arte card covers basic transportation from Naples to Pompeii and admission (or discounts) to top sites.

Pompeii is the Latin spelling usually used for the archaeological site in English – Pompei is used in Italian for both the excavations (scavi) and the modern town.

Driving to the Excavations of Pompeii

The archaeological site of the Pompeii excavations is easily reached by car due to its location very close to the E45 (A3) highway. The Porta Marina main entrance to Pompeii is less than a kilometer off the Pompei exit on the E45 highway to the south of Naples. Driving time from Naples Airport or downtown Naples could be as quick as 30 minutes but traffic is likely to slow drivers down.

Camping Zeus, just past the Porta Marina entrance, has a popular parking lot for safe parking. Prices are around €3 per hour, or up to €12 per day – money well spent even for old or fully insured cars.


By Train Public Transportation to the Excavations of Pompeii

Trains are generally the easiest and cheapest way to reach the excavations of Pompeii on public transportation. Buses are available too but are more cumbersome and offer no price or time advantage.

Train Stations in Pompei

Pompei Scavi Station Sign

Pompei has several train stations: for most travelers to the excavations of Pompeii, the most convenient station is Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri station, which is directly at the Porta Marina main entrance to the archaeological site. This is the station used by the Circumvesuviana commuter trains that connect Naples with Sorento via Pompei Scavi.

Pompei-Scavi station is the default first choice but in some cases, the following three stations might also be of value:

  • Villa Regina station is handy for returning to Naples if visiting the Villa Regina and Antiquarium di Boscoreale after seeing the Villa dei Misteri in the main archeological site.
  • Pompei-Santuario station, which is a 5 to 10-minute walk from the Amphitheatre exit of the Pompeii archaeological site, is a handy option to take the L4 Poggiamarino-Napoli train to visit the Herculaneum. (In 2024, the regular Napoli — Pompei-Scavi — Sorrento trains no longer stop at Ercolano-Scavi-Vesuvio station — many guidebooks still have outdated information. See Transportation from Pompeii to Herculaneum for more details.)
  • Pompei’s main train station used by mainline long-distance trains is less convenient. It is around a ten-minute walk from the Piazza Amfiteatro entrance to the Pompeii excavations. Avoid using any other stations with Pompei in the name when visiting the main archaeological park.

Circumvesuviana Commuter Train to Pompeii from Naples or Sorrento

Circumvesuviana Train at Pompei Scavi - Villa dei Misteri Station

The Circumvesuviana train is for most travelers the easiest and cheapest public transportation option to reach the excavations at Pompeii from Naples, Sorrento, or traveling from any other city requiring transfers in either town. These local commuter trains (and the more expensive Campania Express tourist train) connect Naples and Sorrento twice per hour via Pompei Scavi (but no longer stopping at Ercolano Scavi for the Herculaneum).

Traveling from Napoli Garibaldi (at Naples central main station) to Pompei Scavi takes around 30 minutes. Pompei Scavi to Sorrento similarly is around half an hour.

Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri train station is almost directly next to the Porta Marina main entrance to the Pompeii excavations. Using the front wagon in the train gives travelers a head start – walk in the direction of the train travel, ignore the touristy shops, restaurants, and Pompeii ticket sellers, and cross the road directly to the main gate on the left. (The Piazza Esedra entrance is only slightly further downhill and commonly used as an exit later in the day.)

If traveling from Naples, Villa Regina is the station before reaching Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri while Moregine is the last station when approaching from Sorrento.

Tickets for the Circumvesuviana regional trains must be bought before boarding the train. Tap&Go, vending machines, and ticket windows are available – buy return tickets to save queuing time. Most rail passes are not valid on this regional train but the very handy Campania Arte Cards may be used.

The Naples to Pompeii train ticket price is currently €3.30 one-way. A NA3 Tariff ticket (€4.10) is valid for 140 minutes and allows for transfer to other trains, buses, and metros in both Naples and Pompei.

Tap&Go is being introduced on the public transportation system in the Naples region and may be used on the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii in 2024. Tap in and out with the same contactless credit card — maximum one person per card.

The Circumvesuviana commuter trains are without air conditioning and are very busy at times. Pickpockets are known to operate on this train, especially when close to Naples.

Campania Express Train to Pompeii from Naples or Sorrento

An alternative option is the Campania Express train aimed mostly at tourists. This air-conditioned train with seat reservations runs only a few times per day and takes only around 10 minutes from Naples to Ercolano and 30 minutes to Pompeii. The price of a one-way ticket from Napoli to Sorrento is €15 but the journey may be interrupted en route (but no seat is guaranteed on later rides).

Tickets are best bought online in advance but are also available at stations. Two one-way tickets are only slightly more expensive than returns but leave the option to take the cheaper commuter train if return times of the limited express trains are inconvenient. If traveling without luggage, the frequency of the regular commuter trains is a major bonus for independent travel.

Garibaldi Circumvesuviana Train Station at Naples Central

Pompeii Entrance Hall

The Circumvesuviana Garibaldi station is in the basement of Naples central station (Stazione Napoli Centrale FS). Once past the ticket barrier, there is only a small coffee bar in addition to the three railway platforms. Check the train times on the screens before passing through the ticket barrier – it is more pleasant to spend time in the more spacious open station area with several coffee shops and shopping options.

At busy times, it is sensible to go down to the platform a few minutes early before the rush of arriving passengers going up the stairs. Go to the far end of the platform to board the first coach of the train traveling from Garibaldi.

The Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii usually departs from platform 3 but not all trains departing from here stop at Pompeii. Make sure the final destination is Sorrento. If unsure, ask any local – they all know exactly where foreign tourists are heading.

Garibaldi station is the second station on the Circumvesuviana line. The trains depart from Napoli Porta Nolana – a two-minute train ride away. If traveling with luggage or keen on a seat, start the ride from there, or simply take any train from Garibaldi to Porta Nolana and then retrace the route back. However, note that some visitors find Porta Nolana a bit scruffy and may feel unsafe, especially at odd hours.

Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri Circumvesuviana Train Station

Pompei Scavi - Villa dei Misteri Station

The Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri train station is almost directly next to the Porta Marina main entrance to the Pompeii excavations. Although there are no ticket barriers, tickets must be bought from the ticket window before boarding the trains, or use Tap&Go if available.

To return to Naples from this station, board any train heading for Napoli-Porta Nolana station from platform 2. The underpass to platform 2 is from inside the small station building – follow the signs to the WC.

Only small backpacks (30x30x15 cm) are allowed into the Pompeii archaeological site – not always strictly enforced if the bag is slightly bigger but certainly no roll-on bags or suitcases. Free lockers are available at all entrances while standard paid left-luggage services are available at Pompei-Scavi station, or to ensure availability also pre-bookable at private providers.

The typical tourist-oriented restaurants, cafes, and bars line the roads near the entrances to the Pompeii excavations. These are fine for a drink while waiting for a train but for serious eating, few would regret holding off until back in Naples (or Sorrento).

Many ticket sellers operate here and many look very official. However, these add a service charge that is worth paying when booking online but at this stage of the trip, there is little reason to not simply buy the cheapest tickets from the main ticket window at the main gate.

Transportation from Naples Airport to Pompeii

Pompeii Dog Mosaic

Getting to the excavations of Pompeii from Naples Airport is fastest by car (taxi or airport shuttles) but cheapest by bus and train.

Traveling time from Naples Airport to Pompeii by car can be as fast as 20 minutes. Prebooked transfers should be around €80 for a car or €120 for a van. Many airport shuttle services are available to Sorrento, Positano, or other resorts on the beautiful Amalfi coast and are best booked in advance – compare rates as prices vary widely. Some offer deals that allow travelers to visit Pompeii en route – these transfers are not cheap but convenient, especially when traveling on a tight schedule.

The cheapest option for getting from Naples Airport to Pompeii is to take the Alibus from the airport to Garibaldi Station and continue from there on the Circumvesuviana train, as described above. The Alibus is €5 – buy tickets in advance or use tap&go contactless credit card payments when entering the bus, no passes are valid. Traveling time is around 20 minutes to the station.


Transportation from Naples Port to Pompeii

Pompeii is also easily reached by public transportation from Naples ports. Depending on the port of arrival, use the bus, metro, or tram to reach Garibaldi station (Naples Central) or Naples Porta Nolana and from there the Circumvesuviana train as described above.

Naples is a hugely popular stop for Mediterranean cruise boats and arranging own excursions to Pompeii is relatively easy using public transportation. However small groups could easily arrange excursion tours from operators specializing in shore transfers to Pompeii or Mt Vesuvius or full-day trips to Pompeii and Sorrento.

Transportation from Rome to Pompeii

Pompeii Bronze

Travelers from Rome to Pompeii have three basic choices in addition to self-driving: day-trip tours, trains, or buses.

TIP: When booking tours, make sure what is included in the price and what is not. Some tours do not include the admission ticket for Pompeii — a saving for travelers with children who enter for free, a Campania Arte Card, or similar but an extra cost (and potential hassle) for travelers without.

A variety of day trips are available from Rome to Pompeii that usually last up to 12 hours. Travel is usually by bus or van but a few day-trip tours use the more relaxing trains too.

For small groups and families, a private tour is a good option – for groups as small as six private tours may even work out cheaper than booking a standard bus tour, even without factoring in the convenience. Even for single travelers, paying a bit extra for a small group tour might be more pleasant than a full bus.

By train, different routings (and prices) are available. However, to avoid nonsensical or unpractical options, use only direct trains to Naples Central Station (Garibaldi). The fastest routes take just over two hours from Rome to Pompei Scavi via Naples – avoid journeys taking more than three hours or requiring more than one transfer.

Buying tickets to Naples only is usually the best option, as mainline trains use the less convenient Pompei station. At Naples, transfer to the Circumvesuviana trains (buy the cheap ticket at the vending machine / window) and arrive at the more convenient Pompei Scavi station, as described above.

Inter-city buses are generally the cheapest way to travel between cities in Italy but the stops and times may not necessarily be optimal for day trips and sightseeing. Flixbus sometimes has Rome to Pompei fares for as low as €12. The fastest traveling times on direct (but not non-stop) buses are just over 3 hours but commonly a bit longer. Shuttle services are also available that take travelers directly to Pompeii but the return times are fixed with fewer options.

Multiple day trips are also easily arranged from Rome to include Pompeii and other sights in the region that could also be seen on a rushed day trip such as Naples, Herculaneum, Mt Vesuvius, Sorrento, and the beautiful Amalfi coast, and the Island of Capri.

For More on Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Naples:

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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