Photo of Mount Vesuvius

Visit Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius is the volcano famous throughout the world for its destruction and burial of the town of Pompeii. Mount Vesuvius is 9km east of Naples on the gulf of Naples on the south-west coast of Italy.

Explore Mount Vesuvius

Italy This Way review: The sight of the crater is impressive and there are excellent views over the Bay of Naples. Worth a trip especially if combined with a trip to Pompeii or Herculaneum.

Mount Vesuvius is an iconic site on the Bay of Naples and looms over the city of Naples, the Bay of Naples and is a backdrop to other towns including, of course, Pompeii.

crater of Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius has erupted many times and is the only volcano on mainland Europe to have erupted in the last century. Because the city of Naples lies at its feet a new eruption of Vesuvius could affect more than three million people and more than 600 000 are in the danger zone.

This makes Vesuvius potentially the most dangerous volcano in the world. And to make matters worse it has a history of explosive 'Plinian type' eruptions which throw columns of hot gas and volcanic debris high into the air. They can be very destructive.

Mount Vesuvius is famous for its eruption in 79 AD which covered the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum (amongst others) in a cloud of ash, volcanic gas, pulverised pumice and molten rock.

The eruption was 100 000 times more powerful than the atomic bombs that destroyed Nagasaki and Hiroshima!

Mount Vesuvius has two cones. The large cone, called Gran Cono is partially surrounded by the rim of a caldera caused by the collapse of a previous much larger cone called Mont Somma. The Gran Cono was formed during the 79 AD eruption.

Mont Somma is now the smaller cone and is about 100 meters shorter. It is separated from Gran Cono by the valley of Atrio di Cavallo.

Vesuvius is still an active volcano though recent activity is limited to sulphurous steam escaping from vents at the bottom and in the sides of the crater.

 
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The area around the volcano is a National Park and it is possible to visit the crater and walk the various trails through the park. There are 11 different paths with a total of 54 kilometers of walks.

Of course the main walk is the one to the Gran Como crater. The trail begins at Piazzale di Quota 1000 which is 1000 meters above sea level. From here you have some great views over the northern side of Mount Somma and the ancient crater.

Look directly upwards and you can see the walk you are about to embalk on. During the walk you will see the Valle del Gigante which seperates Gran Como from the ancient crater and in spring is full of yellow broom flowers.

At the top you get incredible views of the bay of Naples and of the mountains behind the volcano. You also of course get to see the awe inspiring size of the crater. You can see also see the fumeroles in the side of the crater.

There is a cafe at the top and so you can have a cup of coffee and relax after the hike up.

The ascent takes about 30 minutes. Longer if you came by car as the car park is further down the road than the bus stop. Tickets have to be bought online and cost about 10 euros (extra for parking).

The park is open all year round with longer opening hours in the summer.

view from Mount vesuvius

Attractions nearby

Of course if you are visiting Mount Vesuvius you must visit Pompeii and/or Herculaneum to see at first hand the destruction wreaked on these towns by the volcano.

Naples is not a top tourist destination but does have some interesting sights to see if you have time while you are here.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Campania guide.

See also: 

Photos of Mount Vesuvius

Click any picture to start the gallery

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Map of Mount Vesuvius and places to visit

 
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Mount Vesuvius places to visit

Villa Poppaea

Villa Poppaea

The Villa Poppaea is a sumptuous Roman Villa that was buried in the volcanic eruption that covered Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Villa Poppaea guide
Herculaneum

Herculaneum

Herculaneum near Naples was a town buried by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD

Herculaneum guide
Pompeii

Pompeii

Pompeii was a bustling Ancient Roman trade town, completely submerged when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD

Pompeii guide
Naples

Naples

A large and busy city, Naples also has many important historic monuments

Naples guide
Positano

Positano

Positano is a very scenic (and very steep!) village at the west of the Amalfi coast

Positano guide
Sorrento

Sorrento

Sorrento is a popular resort and base for exploring the Amalfi coast

Sorrento guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Campania

 
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