You’ve seen it from the bay, now see this iconic volcano up close and personal. Mt. Vesuvius is a National Park and open to visitors. In fact, there are nine nature trails (i sentieri) you can explore (pick up a map at the ticket office), although most visitors do Nature Trail #5 – The Great Cono (Sentiero #5, Il Gran Cono), the hike to the crater. This 800 meter, uphill trek starts at 1000 meters and takes about 30 minutes or so along a wide, dusty, gravel trail. Pick up a free walking stick (it’s nice to leave a small tip when you return it) to help you along the way. At the top, you can walk around the rim and even peek inside, but don’t expect to see any bubbling lava. Vesuvius may be the only active volcano on mainland Europe but it’s not that kind of Volcano.
On your way back down, stop in at the Vesuvius Observatory at 608 meters. Now a museum, it’s the oldest observatory of its kind in the world.
Visiting Mt. Vesuvius
Download the Vesuvius Guide in English.
By car, take the A3 Napoli-Salerno autostrada, exit at Ercolano and follow the signs for “Vesuvio” from there. Alternatively, take the Circumvesuviana train (Sorrento line) to either Herculaneum or Pompeii. EAV runs a bus from Pompeii and Herculaneum and you can find other excursions to Vesuvius at these sites as well. EAV also runs a bus from downtown Naples to Vesuvius.