The 1,281-meter-high Mount Vesuvius is one of the world's best-known volcanoes. The currently active stratovolcano gained its fame from burying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79. The terrifying giant and its surroundings belong to the 135 square kilometre Mount Vesuvius National Park, which landscape is characterized by its volcanic topography. Today it is one of the most iconic sights in Italy. There are organized day trips from Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Rome.
It is part of the Campania volcanic arc, including volcanoes such as Etna or Stromboli. Its slopes are covered with rich vegetation, including vineyards that produce the famous Lacryma Christi wine.
Map - Where is Vesuvius?
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- Naples distance: 25 km
- Pompeii distance: 25 km
- Sorrento distance: 50 km
- Amalfi distance: 65 km
- Rome distance: 240 km
There is a paid parking lot near the entrance. You will need to pay approx. 5 euros.
More about Mount Vesuvius
- Dimensions: It is approximately 1,281 meters high and has a base diameter of 48 kilometres.
- Topography: The topography of the mountain is dominated by a large central crater known as the "Somma", formed by an older collapsed volcano. Inside the crater is the smaller, active cone called the "AD 79 Cone," named after the infamous eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum.
- Type: Stratovolcano, which consists of different layers of lava and ash.
- Activity Status: Not considered dormant or extinct. Scientists and authorities are actively monitoring it for signs of potential volcanic activity. Although the volcano is relatively calm, it has erupted several times and may still pose a threat.
Hiking - Grand Cono Trail
The 2-km-long hiking trail called Grand Cono Trail leads up from the bottom of the volcano to the top. Each direction should take 40-45 minutes (with an average fitness level). This is the easiest and fastest option; the other routes are longer and more difficult. At the top, you can look into the "stomach" of this terrifying giant.
- Hiking distance: 4 km
- Duration: 2 x 45 minutes (plus breaks)
- Difficulty: Easy, but a bit steep here and there
The tour is not particularly difficult. It can be completed with an average physique but with some footwork. The hiking trail is well-maintained and wide, but no benches have been laid out, so you cannot rest anywhere. Here and there, you will also find information boards during our journey.
- You will start your journey at the ticket office, where you can buy a bottle of refreshment and a snack, then head for the gravel path.
- Expect a steeper section after 800 meters.
- After 20-30 minutes, you stumble upon a gift shop, where the guide office is also a good find. (You can pay for an organized tour here.)
- The rest of the tour is significantly easier, with gentle ascents.
Knowing that the tour does not lead in a circle is important. You will return to the same place where you came from. The path does not go around the top of Mount Vesuvius either, so you cannot walk around it.
If you want to hike more, there are also longer routes that cover 10 to 12 kilometres. You can also start from Ottaviano to see as much of the national park's treasures as possible.
You can take part in guided tours, where knowledgeable guides explain the history and structure of the volcano. In this case, the route is the same, but the program may be longer. The kiosk will be halfway on the hiking trail (you can't miss it).
The entrance fee to Vesuvius National Park typically ranges between 10-15 euros per person. You can buy your tickets from various service providers online or in person. In this case, expect to have to stand in line.
Season and opening hours
The season lasts all year round (this may change on public holidays), but the daily opening hours may vary from season to season. Please note that the volcano cannot be visited in bad weather.
- November - February: 9:00 - 15:00
- March and October: 9:00 - 16:00
- April, May, June, September: 9:00 - 17:00
- July and August: 9:00 - 18:00
No, unfortunately the volcano can only be reached by hiking, so you cannot approach it with strollers or wheelchairs.
We have no information.
The formation of Vesuvius began millions of years ago, in the late Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. The geological history of the region is closely related to the zone where the African plate came under the Eurasian plate.
- The heavier African plate moved northward, then collided with the Eurasian plate and got stuck under it.
- As the African plate descended into the Earth's mantle, it partially melted and magma was formed.
- Molten magma (which is less dense than the surrounding rocks) accumulated in magma chambers in the Earth's crust.
- At times, the pressure of the accumulating magma became too great, leading to volcanic eruptions.
Given the dangers posed by Vesuvius, the Italian authorities and various scientific institutions are constantly monitoring its activity.
- Efforts include seismic activity detection, gas measurement, ground deformation analysis, and satellite observations. These monitoring systems help detect changes in volcanic activity, providing valuable information for risk assessment and early warning systems.
- Emergency plans are in place to evacuate residents in the event of an imminent eruption.
- In addition, education and awareness campaigns help inform the public about the potential dangers and the appropriate measures to be taken in the event of an outbreak.
- The area is equipped with monitoring and communication systems to transmit warnings and information.
The volcano has a long history of eruptions, some of which have had significant impacts. Here's a timeline of the most significant eruptions:
- 1800 BC (approximate date): The Avellino Eruption - This eruption is one of the most powerful eruptions in the history of the volcano. It generated a flow that destroyed the prehistoric settlement of Avellino, which lay on the eastern side of the volcano.
- AD 79: The famous eruption that buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. This eruption is one of the most famous volcanic events in history. It caused pyroclastic waves and ash falls that engulfed cities.
- 1631: A major eruption that caused widespread destruction in the surrounding areas. It was accompanied by lava flow and ash fall, which killed thousands. It also caused incalculable damage to nearby towns and villages.
- 1794: Another major eruption, during which Vesuvius caused enormous destruction in nearby communities. It was closely monitored by scientists, making it one of the first eruptions to be studied scientifically.
- 1906: This eruption caused significant damage to surrounding cities, including Naples. Flows and ashfall affected the densely populated region, leading to significant loss of life and destruction of property.
- 1944: The year of its last significant eruption. It produced lava flows and ash columns that led to evacuations and also affected the city of Naples.
Sights in the area
To the south, approximately 25 kilometers away, is the ancient Roman city of Pompeii (or Pompeii). The city was destroyed and buried by the eruption of AD 79. The archaeological site attracts millions of visitors every year.
A little further south, about 10 kilometres away, is the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum. Like Pompeii, the same eruption swallowed and preserved it, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past.
To the southwest, about 40 kilometres, lies the city of Sorrento. Perched on top of the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naples, it is a popular tourist destination with stunning views of the volcano.
Known for its cities built into huge rocks, seaside atmosphere, colourful buildings and historical heritage, Amalfi is one of the most popular places in Italy. In addition to its beaches, the once-huge maritime empire is also famous for its natural beauty.
Vesuvius rises like a queen from the ashes of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The "sleeping" giant sometimes stirs beneath the surface, demanding our respect and vigilance. This volcano, a symbol of the eternal dance between chaos and harmony, remains a daily mystery.
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