Mount Vesuvius is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Naples region. It also has a 3.4-kilometre trekking route that is extremely popular with tourists due to its picturesque views, beautiful flowers, and the unique opportunity to observe the only active volcano in Europe with the most recent eruption dating back to 1944. However, popular review websites contain multiple dissatisfied reports from the travellers who did not enjoy their trips to the fullest due to various problems, ranging from weather conditions to a poor choice of clothes and footwear. So, we’ve rounded up 10 things you need to consider before trekking to Mount Vesuvius.
1. Check the Weather
One of the best things about visiting the summit of Vesuvius, is the panoramic views opening from the crater edge at the top. As a result, clouds and fog can ruin this experience. To avoid this problem, check the weather in advance and choose the day for your visit in line with more favourable forecasts.
2. Wear Sunscreen and Eye Protection
Most of the trail has zero shade, which makes trekking Mount Vesuvius a tiresome activity during the summer months. Sunglasses and sun-safe clothing will come in handy to minimise your discomfort. Also, wear a hat to protect your head from direct sunbeams and take plenty of water with you. The climb itself is easily completed by most visitors of all ages and physical complexion. However, there is no need to make it more difficult than necessary.
3. Take Warm Clothes
Any volcano is effectively a small mountain, which means that it can get extremely windy and cold even in the middle of a summer’s day. To avoid catching a cold, take a light jacket with you during your climb. If you are visiting Vesuvius during the spring months, make sure to take even warmer clothes, just to be on the safe side.
4. Bring a Trekking Pole
The steep slope of Vesuvius makes climbing difficult at times. Having a trekking pole with you can help tremendously. The locals sometimes offer you the option to rent a wooden stick instead, for a small fee. This may be a viable alternative if you do not want to carry extra equipment with you all the way to the site.
5. Don’t Take a Taxi
To save some money for a glass of quality wine at the mountain top, you can get to Vesuvius by train through Orcelano or Pompei and take a 3-euro bus from there. There is also a car park by the mountain base, which is more convenient if you can travel there by car. Some taxi drivers charge up to 40 euro for a ride from Naples or Pompei if you get a taxi on the spot.
6. Choose a Knowledgeable Guide
A 40-minute trek by yourself is fine if you want to enjoy the wonderful panoramic views of Ercolano, Naples, and Torre del Greco in perfect solitude. However, a knowledgeable guide can really contribute to your experience by showing you the most interesting geological lava formations and narrating the history of the volcano. This option may be especially lucrative if you are only visiting the area for several hours and want to make the most of your trip.
7. Find Company
To cut the costs of a quality guided tour, you could find a group of fellow visitors in advance and book a tour from a local third-party agency. This usually results in cheaper overall prices as well as higher quality in comparison with ‘on the spot’ guides. Usually, you can find good offers by reading reviews and recommendations in online communities.
8. Consider Combination Tours
The nearby ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompei are just as impressive as the sleeping volcano itself. A combined tour can be a good idea for making the most of your visit, especially if you are travelling by car, or go to the location with a guided group tour. However, it is recommended to start with Vesuvius in the morning, to minimise the risks of cloudy skies. Keep in mind that this will be a really long walk. Therefore, dress for the weather, take your trekking poles with you, and carry plenty of food and water.
9. Avoid Weekends
Vesuvius attracts lots of people during popular months such as July or August. If you want to avoid the crowds, going on a trekking trip on Saturday or Sunday may not be a good idea. Trekking Mount Vesuvius during the week or off-peak seasons makes your experience more enjoyable, due to smaller crowds. Alternatively, you can choose to visit the mountain during the second half of the day if the weather is fine, as most guided tours take place in the mornings or in the afternoon.
10. Get a Combined Ticket and a Tourist Card
A combined ticket usually costs between 20 and 30 Euros and grants you free access to Herculaneum, Pompei, Vesuvius, and several other locations in the area. As well as the cost savings, it also allows you to avoid queues and go straight into these sites, saving you time. Additionally, the Naples tourist office issues a special tourist card called Campania Artecard. With this document, you get a free entrance to Herculaneum and Pompei, a 50% discount for other nearby sites, and free travel via all public buses and trains in the area.
Vesuvius is a magnificent site to visit, so make sure that you have plenty of battery and storage on your camera. If you want to get the most of your visit, we would recommend staying in Naples for 2-3 days to visit the local archaeological museum as well as the mountain itself and nearby cities. This gives you substantially more trekking opportunities due to the sheer size of Herculaneum and Pompei. You will also enjoy greater convenience due to the ability to dress for the weather and choose the boots, poles, and other hiking equipment, depending on the specific route you are going to explore.