02 May Vesuvio on the road
Vesuvio is easily accessible by car.
Departing from Villa Belvedere, turn left at the gate and head to the motorway entrance of Torre Annunziata. Take the motorway heading towards Naples, then exit at Ercolano Scavi. From there, follow the signs for “Osservatorio Vesuviano”.
The road will climb up hill and turn into a country road, so keep going even if you think that you got the wrong way. As long as you are going uphill, you are still on the right track.
There is one parking area located at 800m above the level of the sea, and this is the highest you can reach with your private car. Once you get there, you will be directed to a side street, along which you can park (look for the blue painted stripes on the ground). Cost of parking is a flat daily fee of 5€.
From the parking area you can walk up to the entrance of the park, or you can take a shuttle, which costs 2€ for a round trip. The shuttle will leave from the entrance of the parking area.
The walk is approximately 2km with a 200m elevation gain.
The parking lot located at 800m above the sea might get full in particularly busy days. In that case, you will be stopped before reaching it, at the Volcanology Observatory (Osservatorio Vulcanologico Vesuviano), located at 650m above the sea. It is the oldest volcanology institute in the world, opened in 1841. From there you will be able to take the shuttle up the entrance.
You will have to purchase an entrance ticket for the park, which is 10€ for adults, at the ticket booth located a few meters before the entrance. If you are coming with the shuttle, you will be dropped off there.
Once you enter the park, you will have to climb another 200m to get to the rim of the volcano. You will be able to walk for approximately 2 km, before having to turn back and climb back down. It is a very easy trail, but sneakers are highly recommended, as well as a hat and some sunscreen, since the sun there can be quite strong. There are toilets available at the entrance, and you will be able to buy water and some snacks from some small shops there (but we recommend you bring some water with you and keep hydrated at all times!).
Included in your entrance ticket is a guided tour. After climbing up to the volcano’s rim, you will find a cabin from which the tours start.
Ask there when the next tour will begin. Tours are offered in a variety of languages.
During a sunny day, the view from the top of the Vesuvio will be pretty spectacular, overlooking the whole gulf of Naples till the port of Torre Annunziata. Being the top of a mountain, the weather can change pretty abruptly, and you might instead find a foggy or cloudy day even if it did not look like one.
There is a famous Neapolitan song, called “Comm é bella a muntagna”.
(Luciano Pavarotti – Tu, Ca Nun Chiagne!)
Neapolitans call Vesuvio “a muntagna” (the mountain). Every morning they look at it and if it is covered by clouds, they say “oggi a muntagn tene o cappiell” (this morning the mountain wears a hat).
You will be astonished by surronding walking on the ridge of the ´Mountain´.
On your way back, follow the green signs for the motorway. If you take the wrong turn, you will end up at the exit of Portici instead of the one you came from (Ercolano). Don’t worry, just take the motorway direction Salerno, and then exit at Torre Annunziata.
Unfortunately, the park could use some improvements. The parking area is not very convenient, some areas are still closed to the public due to some forest fires that happened a few years ago, and the shops selling souvenirs could be relocated out of the main park area.
Nonetheless, we hope that you will enjoy your visit and you will bring back with you the feelings we all have towards “a muntagna”.