Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius, located in the Gulf of Naples in Campania, southern Italy, is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. When compared to other earth crust vents that spew molten lava and heated gases from time to time, the dense population near Vesuvius and thousands of tourists visiting its upper slopes each year is an intriguing element of the volcano.

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Vesuvius is the only active volcano on Europe's mainland. If the volcano erupted today, experts say it might throw flaming ash and pumice up to 20 kilometers / 12 miles away, putting people's lives in danger. Given its potential, Vesuvius could endanger more than 3 million people and wipe out the whole city of Naples.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the volcano's height in 2013 was 1,281 meters / 4,203 feet, but after each major eruption, it varies considerably. A massive crater about 305 meters / 1,000 feet deep and 610 meters / 2,000 feet across sits on its summit.

"To see Naples as we saw it, in the early dawn from far up on the side of Vesuvius, is to see a picture of wonderful beauty." – Mark Twain, an American writer.

Mount Somma, spread around the north and northeast of Vesuvius, is also worth mentioning as it represents the remnants of an older volcanic cone. It is a 1,132-meter / 3,714-foot semicircular ridge. The southern slope is steep enough, whereas the northern part is less steep and furrowed by several deep valleys that run radially up the slopes.

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A Bit of History

Mount Vesuvius dates back to 200,000 years. It has experienced several violent eruptions in the last 17,000 years.

Its first famous eruption was on August 24, 79, spewing a cloud of stones, ash, and fumes 33 kilometers / 20.5 miles into the air. The two wealthy Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum disappeared from history until the 18th century in nineteen hours. The eruption buried Herculaneum in over 20 meters / 65 feet of ash, while Pompeii remained under almost 3 meters / 10 feet. 

Another violent eruption was in 1631 devastated many settlements on the volcano's slopes and killed 3,000 people. It heralded a new era of the volcano's persistent activity, marked by other eruptions, many of which were effusive.

The last time Vesuvius erupted was in 1944, causing minor damage and killing nearly three dozen people. 

Mount Vesuvius in Pictures

Hiking Vesuvius

Hiking Vesuvius

Volcano crater

Volcano crater

Vesuvius crater


Vesuvius trail

Vesuvius hike

How to Get to Mount Vesuvius

You can discover incredible natural landscapes in the Vesuvius National Park and breathtaking panoramas of the Gulf of Naples on a spectacular hike to the top of the volcano and around its crater.

Mount Vesuvius is only 9 kilometers / 5 miles east of Naples. To reach Vesuvius National Park, you want to take the blue 'Sorrento' line from Naples Central train station and get off at the Ercolano Scavi stop. The journey time is 15 minutes. From there, Vesuvio Express shuttles run, stopping at the park ticket office at 1,050 meters / 1.6 miles above sea level. The trail begins here. 

If traveling by car, leave the A3 Napoli-Salerno highway at Torre del Greco or Herculaneum and follow the directions to Vesuvio. The paid parking lot is 800 meters / 0.5 miles above sea level. It is worth noting that the lot is 1.5 kilometers / 0.9 miles from the ticket office; you may either walk or take the small bus there.

Renting a Car 

If you do not have your own vehicle in Naples, renting a car will save time and allow you to travel comfortably from one fascinating place to another. The best site to book a car in Italy is Discover Cars, a leader in online car rental reservations. They compare car rental deals from many companies to find the best one for your trip.

Hiking Mount Vesuvius

The hiking trail is wide and relatively safe. You can see a procession of people of all ages and sizes on the way. From the ticket's gates, it takes almost 30 minutes to walk the whole hike. Of course, you will need a moderate degree of fitness, and it may take you longer if you are not used to hiking uphill.

Once you reach the top of Mount Vesuvius, you can take a walk around the crater, admiring its multicolored rocks and debris and watching volcanic fumes.

Vesuvius Opening Hours

January, February, November, December: 9 am–3 pm (daily)
March, October: 9 am–4 pm (daily)
April, May, June, September: 9 am–5 pm (daily)
July, August: 9 am–6 pm (daily)

Vesuvius Tickets & Prices

Except for safety reasons during adverse weather conditions, the park ticket office you can find at Piazzale di Quota 1000 is open all year, including Sundays and public holidays. 

Adults: €10
Students: €8
Persons with disabilities and companions: free
Children shorter than 120 centimeters: free

You can skip the wait by booking your Vesuvius tour online. In case of bad weather, the experience will be on a different date or a full refund.

The Best Tours and Activities to Experience Mt. Vesuvius

Accommodation in Naples

On, you can book over 3,000 homes, apartments, and other unique places to stay in Naples.

According to this online travel agency for lodging reservations, Relais Della Porta, Hotel Cristina, and Hotel Piazza Bellini & Apartments are some of the best hotels in Catalonia's capital city.

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  1. When we stayed on the Amalfi Coast, we had a view of Mt Vesuvius every day. So we could not miss on a visit. We enjoyed our hike up. And the great views from the top. We found it amazing how many people lived right below the volcano. Linda (LD Holland)

  2. I've been to Naples a couple of times yet never found the time to actually hike on Mount Vesuvius. But it's definitely on my bucket list since it's such a historic mountain. I got the most fascinating views from Capodimonte right in the heart of Naples.

  3. Mount Vesuvius has an interesting history, I was unaware that Pompeii disappeared due to volcanic eruption.This looks like an interesting hike and is not much tiring too. I am bookmarking your article for fututre reference.

  4. I have seen the dormant volcanoes but have never seen active volcano. Visiting one will be amazing. The trail of Mount Vesuvius looks stunning and I definitely want to visit it. I have never been to Italy till date but have it on my list.

  5. I have always wanted to see a volcano in person. Sadly I missed the chance while in Hawaii years ago. I am not sure if I will get to see Mt. Vesuvius, but my husband and I are planning to visit Mt. Etna when in Sicily in a few years.

  6. Oh my gosh this trip looks incredible! A few years back some family friends took a trip here and said it was absolutely gorgeous! I enjoy hiking, but get a bit nervous when it comes to heights so some of those pictures looked a little daunting, but totally worth it.