Touring Mount Vesuvius

A visit to Mount Vesuvius, which sits frighteningly (given historical precedent) close to Naples, is a powerful experience. The volcano is world renowned: its eruption destroyed the famous city of Pompeii in 79 CE and it’s soil is responsible for some of the most delicious foods in Italy, such as San Marzano tomatoes and grapes for local wines such as Aglianico, Fiano and Falanghina.

Picture of Mount Vesuvius seen from Naples (Napoli), Italy

Mount Vesuvius seen from Naples (Napoli), Italy

A tour of Mount Vesuvius, also known as the Vesuvius Crater Trek, is less a hiking experience than a light walk up to the crater, but is an impressive experience nevertheless. You (and what seems like every family in the Naples area) begin the trek by parking your car at an elevation of 1000 meters and then ascend on a path about 150 meters to the crater. There are great views of the crater if there is good weather, however, a mix of clouds and vapor give the mountain an ominous appearance that serves its historical myth.

Where is Mt. Vesuvius

Mt. Vesuvius is one of the most famous volcanoes in the world and looms over Naples and the Bay of Napoli in the south of Italy. It is a short drive from the city and makes for a pleasant stop along the way to Pompeii.

Map of Mount Vesuvius (near Naples, Italy)

Map of Mount Vesuvius (near Naples, Italy)

Best routes for hiking up Mount Vesuvius

  • Route 5: Gran Cono (The Big Cone – Mount Vesuvius proper). This is a circular trail that offers breathtaking views of Mount Vesuvius and its crater. Total walking time is about 1 hour.
  • Route 6: Strada Matrone (Matrone brother’s trail). This hike up Mount Vesuvius offers spectacular views of the surrounding area and connects in to the Gran Cono route. Total walking time is about 1.5 hours.

Do you need a guide?

You do not have to have a guide to tour Mount Vesuvius. If you are comfortable driving an manual transmission car (stick shift), have a good map, and are not on a super-tight time schedule (like a cruise!), we recommend renting a car and exploring Mount Vesuvius and the surrounding areas on your own.

Driving directions: getting to Mount Vesuvius by car

Take the A3 Napoli-Salerno motorway and exit at Torre del Greco or Ercolano. After the motorway toll station, turn left under the motorway bridge and continue along Via Boscocatene. Go straight on at the crossroads in Via B. Cozzolino. Continue for about 2 km up the hairpin road and go straight on at the junction, following directions for Vesuvio. About 300 m after the junction there is a Vesuvius National Park Info Point. Continue up the hairpin road for about 7 km and proceed left at the junction. After about 2 km you arrive at the 1,000 m altitude terrace where you can park and begin your walk up the trail to the crater.

The official website

The official website for Vesuvius treks is tough to find, but offers some good information for your trip.

Explore More: Campania’s Food & Wine

Download today! The ultimate quick-reference food guide to Italy – perfect for travelers that want to know (and try!) each region’s unique specialties and distinct culinary traditions. The area that surrounds Mount Vesuvius in Campania is particularly known for it’s fresh local ingredients, like mozzarella made from buffalo milk, tomatoes from San Marzano, and seafood such as alici (anchovies), calamari (squid), cozze (mussels), and vongole (clams). Don’t miss a must-try dish!

Get our Italian food guide for Kindle or on iTunes.

Download today! Campania is also a top area for good wines and a recent resurgence in quality winemaking is making the region a highlight for wine lovers. Its wines — both red and white — are some of the best in all of Italy and can be purchased at attractive price points. This concise guide will make it easy when confronted by a wine list full of things you’ve never tried.

Get our Italian wine guide for your Kindle or on iTunes.