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Tips for Pompeii day trip - guide?

Hi
12 of us (aged 20s to 50s) are planning a day trip from Rome to Pompeii for a Tuesday in July. We are thinking of doing the high speed early in the morning but are not sure after that.

Private van to the site or the train?
Prearrange a guide or pick one up when we get there?

Prebook the train back to Rome or get tickets that day?

We are wondering if we don’t book a van or guide if that will give us more freedom to be there as long or as short as we want. We’d also like to see the museum in Naples and grab a pizza.

But are we in danger of not finding a guide or not getting tickets back to Rome?

Any tips are much appreciated.
Thanks for the help.

Posted by
4675 posts

Going to Pompeii from Rome is at least three hours each way by car. It's a very long day, plus the heat, so I can't imagine doing the Archaeology Museum the same day. How about an overnight in the area?

After the train from Rome to Naples, you have the chaotic Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii. We rode this last week, and it's packed like a NYC subway, no air conditioning, probably standing room only, and the "schedule" is more like a suggestion. In addition, the train can have delays en route, so that it takes even longer than anticipated.

Private transportation is an option, but I was amazed by the congestion in the Naples/Pompeii area. The roads are small and the demand for the roads great. You spend a lot of time sitting in traffic. There is no efficient, fast way to travel thru the area.

Mondo tours offer shared tours at 11:00am. With the size of your group, you'd probably need two guides, as their groups are usually 6-10 people. RS recommends Mondo in the guide book. Mondo also has shared transportation; look on their website to see if they could meet your needs getting to Pompeii.

I didn't answer all your questions, but attempted to explain some of the basics in the area. It's hard to imagine, until you're been there.

Pompeii is amazing! Be prepared for uneven " sidewalks", wear sturdy shoes, and food and refreshments are only in limited areas.
Have a great trip.

Posted by
4078 posts

My experience with the Circumvesuviana train is significantly different than Pat's, but she was there after me this Spring and it appears things got even more crowded and hot. I'm a big fan of the train, but the closer we get to summer, the more crowded and hot it will be.

I'm a big fan of signing up for a guide that meets you there. The tour will likely last 2 hours and then give you plenty of time afterwards to explore more. Pompeii is huge and the tour will only touch on the highlights. We used Mondo as well and were pleased.

https://www.througheternity.com/en/search.html has tours from Rome to Pompeii. We've used them several times in Rome and they are awesome, but I can't vouch for the Pompeii tour.

We spent 2.5 hours at the museum in Naples and that was about 2.5 hours less than we needed, but it was all the time we had. It's spectacular and a great addition after you've seen Pompeii, but you may run out of time if you're coming from Rome.

We had no problem buying high-speed tickets to Naples and back to Rome on the spot, but again, we were there in April. I'd probably pre-book to be safe.

Posted by
2362 posts

We also had better experience with the local.train and that was on a Tuesday last July about ten AM maybe because we missed commuters ?? Don't know but we were lucky maybe. I seem to remember we had to validate train. Tickets in Rome or risk paying a fine. Be sure you get off at the correct Pompeii train station. I can't remember the name but someone else will help with that. Be sure to have sturdy walking shoes. I also wore a hat (a cheap dollar store straw hat I used in Rome also) and we took water and we put face cloth In small plastic bags and wet them in the fountain and then wiped it on our neck and wrists it was so boiling hot that day. Even with all that we would do it again. We felt.it was really worth it. we did the tour on our own and probably should have hired a guide.

Posted by
951 posts

With 12 people, I would consider getting a private guide. You can consider a couple of options (1) take the train from Rome to Naples. It takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and then arrange for a driver to pick you up at the train station and take you to Pompeii for a tour and drop you back in Naples at your desired location (pizzeria or the museum) or (2) you can look at a driver to take you from Rome to Pompeii directly, take you to your desired location in Naples and back.

We used Mondo Tours to arrange a private driver to pick us up in Naples, take us to Pompeii for a tour. They arranged the guide as well and then in our case took us along to our hotel in Positano.

I would recommend you connect with Dario at Mondo tours. He can give you recommendations on your best options that balance price and convenience. If you go to Pompeii, Gianluca is a wonderful guide and works with Mondo tours.

Posted by
10176 posts

Mondo and many other companies have private guides and drivers that can meet you at the train and drive you directly to Pompeii. The Rome/ Naples train is an hour. With bad traffic, the drive to Pompeii might add up to an hour. I wouldn't do it any other way.
Edit: SandyO and I were on the same wavelength at the same time many time zones apart.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks for all the replies.
Having a guide meet us and give us a ride sounds best. The ones we looked at were very set in their times though. I’ll see if I can find someone through Mondo that can be flexible.
What would be a fair price for a guide and a ride for all of us?

Posted by
7514 posts

What would be a fair price for a guide and a ride for all of us?

I have no idea, but likely you will need two vehicles, though one guide. I would try to get a guide for right at opening of the site. Temps will be a bit cooler, and I would target a tour that covers 2-3 hours, getting you out at about noon. Keep in mind, for a group of 12, you should be able to get a decent per person rate, maybe less than $50 per person, basically you are offering to fill up a tour for someone neat and easy. Yeah, many on here spends hours and hours at Pompeii, but you can get a great overview, and as much as you realistically want to see for the typical person, in July, in 2-3 hours.

That would leave time for a pizza, then the museum in the heat of the afternoon.

You could get back to Rome by late afternoon.

Posted by
7269 posts

Note that you cannot fit 12 passengers, a driver, and a guide in most glass- vans. Will everyone have a daypack? You should book a mini-bus and have a strategy for dealing with cheapskate group members. You need every advantage for a challenging day. Money aside, you don't want a car service from Rome, because the Frecciarossa train is order-of-magnitude faster.

Ask them if they want open returns or discount advance rail, non-changeable departure time. Will you allow tired members to leave Naples early?

We waited an hour for a deuce table for pizza in Naples, last week May.

Pompeii will be BRUTALLY SUNNY AND HOT by 10 AM in July. Anyone with the slightest mobility challenge in the group?

Edit: The Circumvesuviana is dirt cheap, but jammed to the rafters and usually very hot inside the cars. Do you understand that southern Italy is not like Northern Italy, which is not like Northern Europe? I mean precision of daily life and quality of infrastructure.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/pompeii-day-trip-from-rome-2c38f926-9036-480d-95fd-403dd7694e4a

Posted by
15800 posts

Mondo publishes the rates for a private driver. From their website (the link is for a 4-hour tour but can be changed to full day; obviously price will change)

https://mondoguide.it/shore-excursion-from-napoli/pompeii

Looks like 1000,00€ for the driver for your group of 12 (Mercedes minibus) plus 130,00 € for a guide (2 hours at Pompeii) plus 18€ pp entry tickets (260.00€). Add the price of your train tickets from Rome to Naples.

If willing to get your group all the way to Pompeii yourselves via inexpensive Circumvesuviana, a shared 2-hour tour would run you €240.00 + 16€ pp entry tickets (not sure why a diff. price than the other tour) for 192.00 €. Circ. tickets run 3-4 euro or so, each way. I will warn you that the train promises to be packed, and it'll be hot (no air conditioning). An option, if you can make the timing work, would be the Campania Express. It costs a bit more but has air conditioning The downside is that it only has 4 daily runs.

https://www.sharedtours.com (group size up to 16 max. as long as there's room available )

Circumvesuviana schedule: you'd get off at Pompei Scavi - Villa dei Misteri:
https://www.naplesinsider.com/en/naples-to-sorrento-train-schedule

Campania Express:
https://www.sorrentoinsider.com/en/campania-express-train-schedule?route=napoli_sorrento#section-schedule-result
Not sure of pricing to Pompeii but even if it's the same as to Sorrento (8 euro) figure 16€ pp for round trip = 192.00€. Again, if it works, that a pretty large cost saving compared to Mondo's estimate of 1000,00€ for a driver, if budget is a factor.

Posted by
47 posts

No mobility issues in our group.

We aren’t “cheap” but our group is a mix of some who would definitely appreciate being as frugal as possible. I think we’d all stick together for the whole day.

Prearranged transport to Pompeii and a guide sounds great but the cost seems to be adding up.

Would “Uber” be an option to the hot crowded train?

Are there guides that you can just pick up at Pompeii? Would this be cheaper than prearranged?

Posted by
15800 posts

€240.00 total for 12 people for a 2-hour guided tour is very reasonable, IMHO: only €20 apiece.

Your larger expense would be "fast" train tickets from Rome to Naples and back, especially if purchasing day-of tickets at base price versus any Super Economy tickets you might be able to get in advance. Not sure about being able to land those for 12 but never say never.

No Uber as you know it in Naples. We're also hearing that the cost of private drivers has increased a lot due to rising fuel prices and some other factors.

Museum tickets in Naples will run you € 22.00 per person. It's closed on Tuesdays so don't go on that day. :O)
Advance tickets are timed-entry.
https://mann-napoli.it/en/timetables-and-fares/
https://www.coopculture.it/en/products/ticket-for-mann-national-archaeological-museum-of-naples/

Posted by
15800 posts

You could ask for a Naples>Pompeii>Naples quote from this car service. It has been recommended by some posters who have used it although I'm not sure they have a van that can handle the size of your group; you'd have to ask.

https://www.topexcursionsorrento.com

Posted by
47 posts

240 for a guide plus a fee to get in would definitely work. The Campania with its guaranteed seats and A/C sounds like a good option for us - especially compared to the 1000 Euro min bus.
I'll look at our options.

Posted by
47 posts

I guess I need to factor in getting from the train station in Naples to the Museum. How do most do this?

Posted by
47 posts

Taxis might work. I'm hearing our group has shrunk to 9 - that might make transport a bit easier. Thanks for letting me know the museum is closed on Tuesdays - I guess it's Monday for us.

Any suggestions on where to get some Pizza?

Posted by
4675 posts

The Campania train isn't as good as it sounds. Based on reports here, it's not marked any differently and there's no staff checking tickets. According to Allan here, if the Campania is the next Naples/ Sorrento train that arrives, the crowds jump on. There's no supervision. So if you bought seats, not sure how you would get to them, as you can't move thru the crowds. Based on Allan's reports, I actually think our hot, crowded afternoon train was such, as it was slightly less beat up, and there were air conditioning vents, which didn't seem to do anything.
The morning train was much better, we had seats, but subsequent folks who got on at later stops didn't.
Not trying to be negative, but just objectively reporting our experiences. I wish I knew then what I know now. I think it's important what to expect, especially with a group your size. Kudos for planning for so many folks!

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks - the reviews for that train definitely seem mixed. Hopefully I can find an affordable private option.

I looked at high speed train tickets. If we do the first and the last of the day it's only $29 Canadian each way. It would be a long day but it should give us enough time for all we want to try to do.

Posted by
557 posts

An Italian friend of mine advised me to never book the last train of the day. I failed to heed that advice and the result was an unplanned overnight. Just saying.

Posted by
47 posts

I'm assuming that there would be taxis waiting both at the train station and in Pompeii? Are prices fixed?

Posted by
47 posts

Good to know about the last train - although I'm sure there are worse things than a night in Naples.

I read about "skip the line tickets" for Pompeii - If I pre buy "regular" tickets from an official site is this the same thing? - just no need to line up at the site to buy tickets?

Are there places to grab a quick bite/drink/gelato where the train lets you off in Pompeei?

Thanks again for all your kind advice.

Posted by
117 posts

Another option might be to take the high speed train to Naples Centrale and then a regional train to the city of Pompei (only one "i"). You'll avoid the hot, crowded, somewhat sketchy Circumvesuviana altogether. From the city train station, you can take taxis or walk to the ruins--it's about 10-15 minutes. You’ll arrive at the Amphitheatre Gate (Piazza Anfiteatro), which is usually less crowded. If you decide on this option, be careful when you book your tickets to make sure you are going to "Pompei" and not "Pompeii Scavi."