"Can you say Circumvesuviana?" The train Tip by goodfish
The train, Pompeii: 34 reviews and 22 photos
Getting to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum is very easy and inexpensive by train from Sorrento (we did) or Naples. Go to the station and ask for round-trip tickets on the Circumvesuviana: you'll want the Napoli-Sorrento line, trains run frequently (although not 24/7) and the trip will take about 30-40 minutes from either place. You'll want to get off at the POMPEII SCAVI-VILLA DEI MISTERI station (scavi means ruins), which is about 50 yards or so in front of the Porta Marina entrance. The POMPEII stop is for the "modern" city and it's a longer walk, although do-able, to an entrance from there.
If coming from Rome to Naples, you'll want to transfer at Napoli Centrale to the adjoining Napoli Garibaldi station to access the (Napoli - Sorrento) Circumvesuviana line.
The Circumvesuviana is not exactly comfortable, and it's likely to be very crowded with tourists doing exactly what you're doing plus locals commuting around the region. It's also, I understand, a good place to get pickpocketed so watch your back and don't set backpacks or camera bags at your feet. Regardless, the trip isn't long and it's MUCH less expensive than booking a bus tour.
We purchased our tickets from an office on the ground floor of the Sorrento station (just off Corso Italia on Via Marziale) and all we had to say was "Pompeii": they handle thousands of people doing the Scavi Shuffle. Make SURE your ticket is a return (round trip) unless you are traveling on to another location, and remember to validate it before jumping on the train; same goes if you're coming from/returning to Naples. Circumvesuviana trains don't have restrooms so you might want to visit facilities at the station before you board.
Do note that this is a regional train and does not accept Eurail passes.
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