Places to visit near Pompeii

Go beyond the archaeological site of Pompeii and see what else this area of Italy has to offer. Once you’re done exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site, why not take a trip to the coast? Or to nearby Naples? Southern Italy is a treasure chest of sights, just waiting to be found!

After seeing all that the ancient city of Pompeii has to offer, instead of heading directly back to your base city, why not explore the area? With the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast just a short drive away, you can transform your trip from decent to unforgettable. Check out our list below to see the best sites surrounding Pompeii:

  • Herculaneum

    Pompeii’s little sister, although not as famous, Herculaneum is bursting with iconic sites to see. The town is nestled northwest of Pompeii, once known for its small size but wealthy reputation. As it sat further away from the erupting Mount Vesuvius, the citizens had more time to escape the tragic fate that most Pompeii’s people faced. As the town was once quite rich, many luxury artefacts still remain today. With brightly coloured frescos and stunning ruins that give us a better understanding of these ancient people. Furthermore, the site of Herculaneum is much easier to visit than Pompeii and offers different insights into the Roman World. Being much smaller and often overlooked for its neighbour, you’ll find that a visit to Herculaneum is easier to get around and much less crowded than the infamous Pompeii. Even still, we recommend taking a guided tour of the ancient site as many of the artefacts, although interesting, are hard to interpret without an expert explaining what you’re looking at. 

  • Naples

    Being only 16.6 miles away from Pompeii, the city of Naples is the perfect half- or full-day trip from Pompeii. To get there, take the train from Pompeii to Circumvesuviana, or if you’ve got your own transport it’s a 30-minute drive via the A3 road. Saying this, we recommend taking the train rather than driving yourself as Italy has some restricted driving zones ‘zona a traffico limitato‘ (ZTL), especially near historical sites/historic city centres as a way of protecting them from excessive traffic. Don’t let this put you off however, as Naples is worth the trip for its intimate elegance, impressive architecture, seaside views, glorious food and shopping scene. If you find yourself still in a history mood try your luck at the National Archaeological Museum. With a large display of Pompeii’s plaster casts and professional guides on hand to offer knowledge and details for each one. History and legend don’t stop here. Naples itself was built on soft volcanic stone, which the ancient Greeks utilised when they dug chambers and passageways beneath the city in the 4th century BC to build what the Neopolis called the “New City”. Today you can take a tour of these catacombs and explore the 280-mile subterranean network for yourself. Or, if you’re a foodie rather than a history geek, you might prefer the tastes of Naples over its artefacts. The first place to invent pizza, Naples is the holy grail of this rounded, hand-food cuisine. Find a local hot spot, order a traditional Margherita and dig in. 

  • Salerno

    Although usually overshadowed by bigger and more well-known cities nearby, Salerno is still a fantastic stop on your journey. Here you can avoid the tourist foot traffic, never having to wait long for a meal or line up at an attraction. Charming for its medieval ruins the city has a vast amount of history and culture, home to stunning cathedrals, gardens, and ancient buildings. It has recently undergone a redevelopment programme which centres on its historic neighbourhood, featuring a tree-lined seafront promenade, considered one of the cheeriest and most attractive in Italy.  There are many benefits to a visit to Salerno, a few we’ve mentioned above, and apart from its more local, lived-in feel made possible from receiving fewer tourists, Salerno also has a great nightlife, amazing food and lower price tags. Start your day by admiring beautiful panoramic views of the city from the Castle of Arechi, before visiting the Duomo, a medieval cathedral opened in 1085, and then wander over to the ‘Giardino della Minerva’ (The Garden of Minerva), a beautiful botanic garden in the heart of the old town, a short walk from the Duomo. 

  • Mount Vesuvius

    After Pompeii and Herculaneum, why not visit the volcano which is to blame for these frozen cities? Yes, this site may have a reputation for destroying cities and causing catastrophic harm, but it is still on our list due to its breathtaking view on top. Although still active today, scientists monitor the volcano 24/7, making the climb up the mountain safe from any surprise eruptions. So, lace-up your best walking shoes and set off! There are nine separate paths you can take up the mountain, along with an edge around the crater, only to be accessed with a certified guide.  Although not an excruciatingly tough journey, the hike does require a bit of effort in parts. But all that sweat and exertion will be worth it when you catch sight of the 360-views stretching out to both Italy and the Mediterranean sea. The entire area is extremely beautiful and boasts breathtaking views of the Gulf of Naples, so make sure you bring your camera to snap some unforgettable travel photos!

  • Sorrento

    17 miles from Pompeii is the coastal town of Sorrento. Perched atop cliffs that separate the town from its busy docks and marinas, Sorrento is known for its sweeping water views, narrow alleyways, colourful villas and cafe-lined squares. If you’re looking for some fresh sea air, Sorrento might just be the day trip you need. Although small in size, the activities on offer are chock-a-block. With water activities, shopping sprees, local lunches, and stunning scenery promising you an enchanting time in the famous Sorrento. Visit this colourful wonderland, with bright blue skies and seas, colourful flowers and buildings, and vivid greenery bursting from the area. A gateway to the Amalfi Coast, just some of the attractions up for grabs in Sorrento include: the Museo Correale; Piazza Tasso; Villa Comunale; Via Marina Grande and more! 

That’s it for our list of nearby places to visit whilst in Pompeii. 

Related article: Top Things to do in Pompeii

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