Can you do Pompeii and Herculaneum in one day?

One was two beautiful cities that were both destroyed after a volcanic explosion in 79 A.D.

It is possible to see both ancient cities in one day, but it’s not recommended because it can get extremely tiring.

If you’re staying nearby both towns, it’s best to try to visit them on separate days. If you’re further away or don’t have a lot of time, you can either just visit Pompeii as it is a larger town with more to see. Or if you do want to see both towns you can spend around four hours at Pompeii and about three hours in Herculaneum.

What are the closest cities to Pompeii and Herculaneum?

The most popular cities closest to Pompeii and Herculaneum are Sorrento, Naples, and Capri. You will be able to get from these cities to Pompeii and Herculaneum in about half an hour to an hour via public transport.

If you’re driving or booking a tour, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. This depends on what city you’re coming from and what ancient city ruins you’re seeing.

What’s the difference between Pompeii and Herculaneum?

Even though both cities were destroyed by the same Mount Vesuvius eruption, there are differences between the two.

Size difference

Pompeii is a lot bigger being about 44 square hectares while Herculaneum is only 4 square hectares.


Because of the size of Pompeii, it had all the main public buildings like a forum, theatres, and an amphitheatre. Herculaneum was a smaller town so it didn’t have any of these large buildings.

Preservation difference

During the eruption, Pompeii got hit with rocks, damaging more buildings and even knocking some down. But Herculaneum is in far better condition due to having a much deeper layer of ash. The ash filled up all the buildings and keep them in good condition.

What should I see at Pompeii?

Pompeii has a lot of buildings to go see given the size of the town.

Villa Dei Misteri

Villa of Mysteries has some of the best frescoes you can see in Pompeii. No one really knows what the fresco is, hence where it got the name from.


This basilica wasn’t used for a church like they are these days. Instead, it was the administration of justice. The basilica is in the Forum and is one of the bigger buildings in the town.

Amphitheatre of Pompeii

One of the oldest Roman amphitheatres, this one held around 20,000 people. They would come and watch anything from chariot racing which was a sport, to gladiator fights, and animal hunting.

What should I see at Herculaneum?

Herculaneum is much smaller and easier to walk around to see the town.

Collegio degli Augustali

The Hall of the Augustals has arched walls, columns, and frescoes. It was once a gathering place for freed slaves who worshipped Emperor Augustus.

Cucumus Shop

This was a shop or maybe even a bar. You can still see the signs with four coloured pitchers, and prices.

Casa del Relievo di Telefo

The House of the Relief of Telephus was three levels high and is one of the largest houses in the town.

Some buildings in the towns are open during certain hours. If you’re wanting to see one with opening hours, ensure you check it out first to avoid disappointment. Even though you can see both towns on the same day, we still recommend going on separate days to avoid exhaustion. Both towns are just fascinating to see frozen in time.

Language »