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A day in Pompeii: Everything you need to know

23 Mar, 2024

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Eva Mitchell

Walk in the steps of the ancient Romans at Pompeii! 

If you are planning to spend a day trip from Naples to Pompeii this summer, we have got you covered! I will go over everything you need to know to have an enjoyable day in Pompeii. 

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Tim & I were lucky enough to spend a day in Pompeii exploring the unbelievably well-preserved city ruins in June 2023. We booked accommodation in Naples and took the Naples to Pompeii train out to explore the ruins for the day. This was the perfect way to see this impressive ancient city. 

Is Pompeii worth visiting?

Yes! A Naples to Pompeii day trip should be on everyone’s Italian bucketlist! Spending a day in Pompeii was one of our all-time favourite experiences during our one year of travel.  

We were amazed at how well preserved the Pompeii ruins were. You can really get a sense of how the Romans used to live over 2000 years ago. It was particularly fascinating to see the similarities between the ancient Romans lives and how we live our lives in the 21st century. 


Easiest way to get from Naples to Pompeii 

Most travellers visiting Pompeii will base themselves in the chaotic city of Naples. The Naples to Pompeii train is easy to catch and extremely affordable at only €3 per person (June 2023) each way. You can catch the train from the Naples train station, head downstairs and to your right. You will see an area that is dedicated to the train that goes to Pompeii. Purchase your tickets from the teller and scan them through the gates opposite the teller to access the train platform.  

I would suggest catching the Naples to Pompeii train sometime between 8am to 9am, so you can make the most of your day in Pompeii, and get some walking in before the real heat of the day! 


The Naples to Pompeii train ride is a lovely trip through rural villages and along the stunning Italian coastline.


How to Buy tickets for Pompeii

You have two options. You can either buy tickets at any of the entrances to Pompeii or online. 

We arrived at around 9am and brought our tickets at the entrance without having to wait in line.  

If you would prefer to purchase your tickets online, you can check out the TicketOne website, which is the recommended ticket seller by the Official Pompeii website.  

📍 This is the best entrance to start your tour and to purchase your Pompeii tickets. 

couple running in Sahara Desert

How long to visit Pompeii

It is best to allocate an entire day to exploring the Pompeii ruins. We underestimated how big the area is and how many interesting historical features there are to see.  

We spent the first three hours following along to our free audioguide for Pompeii thanks to Rick Steves and then another few hours exploring other sections of the city at our own pace, including the impressive amphitheatre of Pompeii.  

Make sure you allow at least 30 minutes at the end to wander through the Antiquarium where many ancient artifacts and Pompeii casts are kept on display.  

We were going to try fit in Herculeum on the same day but are so glad we didn’t. We just wouldn’t have had enough time (or energy!) to fully appreciate both sights had we attempted to visit both in one day. 

What to see in Pompeii


Amphitheatre of Pompeii  

This impressive amphitheatre was built in 70BC and could fit a crowd of up to 20,000 people. The use of the Amphitheatre in Pompeii was banned after a bloody fight broke out between the audience in 59AD.  

Civil Forum 

The civil forum is where the residents of Pompeii would gather for markets, to do business and to worship. It would have been a bustling square back in the day. There are some interesting sights that are just off the forum to see such as the Temple of Jupiter with Mt Vesuvius towering overhead.



Casts of the Pompeii victims  

The casts of the Pompeii victims are quite shocking to view. The way that the victims’ final moments were able to be preserved frozen in time, is fascinating, all while being absolutely heartbreaking. When you see the casts of the bodies, you can just imagine the fear that would have rippled through them before they met their unfortunate fate.  

There are a few different locations you can see the casts of the Pompeii victims. The first place to look is at the Garden of the Fugitives. There is a glass case in the garden that holds 13 casts. The majority of the casts of the Pompeii victims can be found in the Antiquarium of Pompeii.

If you are interested in learning more about the casts of the Pompeii victims, you can find more information on the official Pompeii website


Antiquarium of Pompeii 

This is where you will find the most casts of Pompeii victims and a whole lot of interesting historical artifacts that have been excavated from the Pompeii site. The Antiquarium of Pompeii is located just before the exit, so it is best to visit here just before you leave. 

Homes of the wealthy  

Our favourite home to visit was The House of Menander. You won’t believe how gorgeous the frescoes are that still adorn the walls to this day! The garden in the centre of the house is elaborate with a peaceful feel. You can tell that the Romans who owned these extravagant houses were extremely wealthy compared to the middle & lower class families who would live beside or above their shops.

The bakeries 

There are over 30 bakeries dotted around Pompeii. I found these bakeries really interesting because the milling machines and large ovens for bread making are still present today. It’s crazy to think that over 2000 years ago there were people standing in the exact spot we were making bread with this ancient equipment. 


Fast food shops 

These ‘fast-food’ shops were called thermopoliums. The lower class would purchase hot food for dinner from the thermopolium as most homes didn’t have their own kitchen.  

Other must sees

Some of the other must see Pompeii sights are the:  House of The Tragic Poet (where you'll see the oldest beware of the dog sign), The Lupanar (Pompeii's brothel), Stabian Baths, Forum Baths, the small and large theatres, and also just the road with carved out tracks from chariot wheels - amazing! 


Top Tips for visiting Pompeii 

  • The best time to visit Pompeii is in the morning, when the doors opens at 9am. You will want to spend a day in Pompeii to be able to see the majority of the sights, so starting early is the way to go.  
  • WARNING: There are A LOT of scammers around Pompeii! Do NOT listen to anyone trying to tell you it’s the wrong gate, or sell you a tour or anything else. It’s best just to ignore the scammers and keep walking with conviction so it doesn’t look like you are lost, even if you are.
  • Bring sun protection! There is little shade at the Pompeii ruins so make sure to wear a sunhat and bring plenty of sunscreen to reapply
  • Pack lunch and snacks so you can stop anywhere for a bite to eat. 
  • Bring a water bottle or two! It is thirsty work walking for km’s around the ruins! There are a few places around the ruins to fill your water bottle up. 
  • If you are doing a self-guided tour of Pompeii, make sure to pre-download a free audio guide for Pompeii to listen to during you visit and remember to bring earbuds to listen in.  


Best Free Audio Guide for Pompeii visit

If you are travelling on a budget, you will want to download Rick Steve’s Europe Audioguide app before your Pompeii visit. Rick has an excellent free audio guide for Pompeii that covers some interesting points that you can see as you follow the audio guide around the ancient city.  

We have used Rick’s free audioguides all across Europe to save us money while still learning a wealth of information about these amazing places we visit. 


Our 3 month Europe trip budget breakdown

If you consider yourself a bit of a history buff and would appreciate more detailed explanations of the Pompeii ruins, you could consider booking a tour with an archaeologist

Pompeii is an incredible place to visit where you truly feel like you have taken a step back in time. We absolutely loved our day trip from Naples to Pompeii and hope that you enjoy your day in Pompeii just as much as we did!  


Good luck with your travel planning, feel free to drop a question in the comments below. I am always more than happy to help!

Safe travels 😊  

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A word from the authors

Eva and Tim are the creators behind this world-class travel finance blog.

In 2021 they decided to travel the world for an entire year and begun implementing savings strategies to achieve their goal of long-term travel. By May 2023, they quit their jobs to embark on their year-long adventure, sharing their invaluable practical and achievable savings, planning and travel tips they learnt along the way/with the aim to help others Make Cents of Travel.

You can find Eva & Tim on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram as Make Cents of Travel.

About Us

Hello, Hola, Ciao! We are Tim & Eva, a couple of kiwis who have spent the last few years saving for and planning our epic year-long adventure around the world. Our goal is to inspire fellow wanderlust souls (just like you!) to Make Cents Of Travel by sharing our experiences and strategies we used to turn our dream of long-term travel into a reality.


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