Hiking Mt Tourist- I mean, Vesuvius!

“What did you do last weekend?” “Oh you know, the usual, watched TV, went down the pub, hiked up a volcano.”

walking up view

If you’re heading to Naples or around Campania, a great excursion is hiking up Mt Vesuvius. It makes a change from sunbathing on the beach or getting sweaty looking at old ruins. However, be prepared to be completely surrounded by like-minded tourists. The summit is even equipped with several cafes and tacky souvenir shops.

tourism shopssss

To start of P and I headed to Ercolano using the circumvesuviana. From Naples take the blue line in the direction of Sorrento. (Or take the super fast new train which I’ve heard is coming soon but will cost like 10x the price).

map

Outside the station in Ercolano there’s a massive poster and floods of people everywhere so it’s not at all difficult. We actually went in April so I can’t imagine how crowded it must get in the summer. To the left is a company called Vesuvio Express, who for the not-so-reasonable price of €20 (€10 for travel, €10 for entry) will collect you about an hour and a half after the time stamped on your ticket and after a ten or so minute bus trip you’ll be at the car park. The good thing is you don’t have to spend an age queuing for your entrance ticket as the guy from the company quickly goes and gets them. Then they wait about 90 minutes while you hike, which we found was only just enough time. P and I were the last ones back to the bus after racing back down the volcano. If you’re late, I guess they just leave without you and you have to walk all the way down and back into town.

view of mt somma

As for the hike from the car park to the summit, it wasn’t really a hike. It was slightly up hill but not exhaustingly. Some people actually had hiking sticks with them!! The only thing was the weather, it was so windy and bitterly cold up there, despite it being a beautiful, sunny day. Still, P and I had a lovely time wandering around and chatting. You can walk almost around the entire crater, but then for some reason they make you go back on yourself instead of just looping round. I’m taking a guess here but I’m sure it’s so if the cafes and souvenir shops didn’t get you the first time, maybe they’ll get you the second. At the last shop on the trail you can even buy a plastic cup of wine on tap! Though to be fair the price was pretty good, maybe €2 a cup. Pack your own food though because sandwiches etc will set you back €6-€10.

hiking up

The views were great, I’d definitely recommend the excursion although it might be better if you drive yourself (save yourself an hour an half or more waiting around for the bus driver to finish his espresso or whatever he was doing). When we returned to Erolano we had a little walk around the town, which was much better equipped with restaurants etc than our tiny little Somma Vesuviana. We stopped for a pizza but I was pretty appalled that the entire restaurant didn’t have any basil. What’s a margherita without any basil?! Still went down great with a beer though.

view top

smokey crater

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The fantastic ruins of Herculaneum are also situated in Ercolano, about a 5 minute walk from the station down one straight road, so if you’re short for time it makes sense to do both in one day. The ruins there aren’t of the same magnitude as Pompei, but in April the weather was sunny and cool and there were hardly any tourists there.

Hi! I'm Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I'm an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I'm using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

35 Comments

  1. I regret not doing this epic climb up to Mt. Vesuvius, we went till Pompeii ruins and returned. Really glad to see the pics here. I just hope it never goes live again! Great captures.

  2. I love trekking and hiking! The views from some of these volcano summits are truly gorgeous and breathtaking. I love the feeling of conquering the volcano when you are on the summit.

    1. Oh wow! That’s cool, we never learnt about Italian history or geography in my school. I even managed to sneak a bit of sparkly rock I found on the ground, which the souvenir shop tries to sell for 5 bucks!

  3. Dear Sarah,

    Hiking a volcano is such a great adventure during weekends! I remember during my college days wherein me and my classmates will hike the Mayon Volcano (located in Albay, Philippines) and it is such an awesome and liberating experience! Though we have to deal with the heat, it doesn’t matter. Sunscreen lotion is our bestfriend, and lots of water.

    Thank you for sharing us your adventure, and we will wait for more stories!

    Best regards,
    Blair

  4. I think that I am so fascinated by the ruins that I never thought there could be a trek or a climb up this historic mountain. And an interesting one that is. Definitely a good break from all that heritage. 😀

    1. Oh I loved the ruins of Pompei and Herculaneum, but there was something so interesting about seeing the volcano which caused all of the destruction. Plus, absolutely- a great break in the fresh air.

  5. I missed out on this one when I was in Italy. Lovely pictures though, but I’d have imagined it was an actual trek. Wonder if there is a way for that. Next year I’m going to Italy and other countries around so I might go for this one too

    1. Oh I’m sure you can trek the entire way- we did see people walking while we were driving- but it’s just the roads are so long and bendy. Then once at the sort of ‘entrance’, you hike up the top part of the volcano, which wasn’t too strenuous.

  6. I regret for not having more time when I visited Napoli, to hike the Vesuvius. I did hike Etna, while I was in Sicily and absolutely loved it. You seem to have had a really nice day and the views are superb.

  7. Definitely hiking & trekking is a different experience than any routine heritage walks and usual sunbath on any beach. Fascinated from the amazing views that you have captured from your summit.

  8. Beautiful views, but I couldn’t help but notice the lack of lava, smoke, or other indicators of an active volcano. Do I just not have a clear definition of what makes for an active volcano, or are hikers not able to get close enough to see those things? Great post!

    1. Ah yes, it’s weird because it doesn’t seem active at all- and in most senses it isn’t! It last erupted in 1944 however is still regarded as an active volcano, believed to erupt at any time.

What do you think? Let me know!

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