A guide to visit the Crater of the Vesuvius

The nature trail n.5 “Il Gran Cono” starts from Piazzale di Quota 1000, a parking area which is 1,000 metres above sea level in the municipality of Herculaneum, at the end of the Strada Provinciale (provincial road) Ercolano-Vesuvio. In the Piazzale, which is managed by the Vesuvius National Park, parking is not allowed, and public toilets are not available at the moment. Please bear this in mind when planning your hiking trip. For those who are driving, the parking and rest areas along the provincial road are managed by the municipality of Herculaneum. (www.parkingsuvio.it)

From the Piazzale you can already enjoy a splendid view of the northern side of Mount Somma with the Cognoli di Sant'Anastasia and Punta Nasone, the top of the ancient volcano which is 1,132 metres high, opposite the Cognoli of Ottaviano and Levante. While looking upwards, you can hold your breath and see from below what will be the ascent to the bottom edge of Sterminator Vesevo.

Have you already downloaded the new app of the Vesuvius National Park?

The app is free to download for both Android and IOS. Not only will you have all the information about the park’s paths and points of interest at hand, but you’ll also get to use the interactive mode when visiting the Crater of the Vesuvius or path n.5 of the National Park.

The main functions of the app include monitoring your position along path n.5, getting notifications when approaching the various points of interest, listening to audio guides, and receiving information on the other attractions of the area you can admire from the different viewpoints along the route.

Opening times to visit the Crater

Jan - Feb - Nov - Dec 9:00 - 15:00
Mar - Oct 9:00 - 16:00
Apr - May - Jun - Sept 9:00 - 17:00
Jul - Ago 9:00 - 18:00

Ticket Office

The following categories are entitled to a reduced ticket, which costs €8:
  • Citizens residing in one of the 13 municipalities of the park, provided they have a valid ID certifying their actual residence;
  • Young people under the age of 25, provided they have a valid ID certifying their actual age.
For any other visitor.
The following categories are entitled to free entry:
  1. Police officers and security staff;
  2. The members of the bodies and staff of the Vesuvius National Park;
  3. The staff of the Vesuvius Observatory – INGV, who deal with monitoring, study and research;
  4. Researchers and the staff of universities and research institutions, for scientific and cultural reasons, upon presentation of written consent from the Park and a valid ID;
  5. Journalists, radio and television operators with the right to report, upon presentation of written consent from the Park;
  6. All those who have written consent from the Park issued for institutional, cultural, representation and public interest reasons;
  7. All those who work exclusively as tour guides of the Vesuvius National Park;
  8. Disabled visitors and their carers, provided they have a certificate attesting their condition;
  9. Children under the age of 6, if accompanied by their parents or legal guardians, with a valid ID certifying their actual age – this exemption does not apply to school visits;
  10. Residents in the 13 municipalities of the park with a valid ID on the European Day of Parks and in the six following days, or any other event of national importance established by the Park.
Protocol for the tourist use of Path n. 5 of the Vesuvius National Park (Crater of Vesuvius), following the current regulations for the health emergency caused by Covid-19. 20th September 2021 update - Annex to the Resolution of the President of the Vesuvius National Park n.12 of 20/09/2021.
In consideration of the contingent situation related to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), all those who work on behalf of the Vesuvius National Park at the Crater of Vesuvius must strictly adhere to this Protocol, aimed at satisfying the indications prescribed in the DPCM 6/02/2020, in the DPCM 26/04/2020 and subsequent amendments, by the Law Decree n. 105 of 2021, converted with the Law of 16th September 2021, n. 126 “Urgent measures to deal with the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19 and for the safe operation of social and economic activities”, and the related ordinances of the Health Ministry in order to prevent or reduce the risk of infection.
These provisions also apply to visitors who go on an excursion. This document may be subject to changes depending on the evolution of the epidemiological emergency, in line with the measures taken to reduce the risk of infection based on the provisions issued at national and regional level, until further notice.
This document is approved by the Vesuvius National Park Board of Directors.
Art. 1 – Ticket service
  1. Tickets are provided by Consorzio Arte’m net and can be booked online only. Access to the Crater is permitted only by booking.
  2. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card. At the time of booking, the card holder must provide their first and last name, address, date and time of their excursion.
  3. The purchase by the user can only be completed after filling in a declaration to confirm all the information provided and accept the rules in relation to health and environmental protection, as well as a correct excursion in the mountains.
  4. To facilitate online booking, an assistance service is available at the infopoint of Rifugio Imbò.
Art. 2 – Limited number of people based on social distancing
  1. Access to the Crater of Vesuvius takes place exclusively at the automatic gate located at Piazzale di Quota 1000 in Herculaneum. The ticket is stamped both on entry and exit.
  2. Access is allowed only to Covid–19 green certificate holders (“green pass”) pursuant to Law 126/2021.
  3. In order to guarantee modalities of limited use and avoid crowds, a limited number of people are allowed to access the site.
  4. Access is allowed only to groups of 25 visitors, accompanied by a guide from the Presidio Permanente Vulcano Vesuvio (PPVV) for the entire duration of the excursion.
  5. The groups, each of which is accompanied by a guide from the PPVV, can access the Crater area at 5-minute intervals. The maximum number of hikers cannot exceed 300 units per hour.
  6. The total number of visitors admitted per day is based on the opening hours as follows:
  7. - 2,700 visitors per day, for the months of July and August from 09:00 to 18:00 - 2,400 visitors per day, for the months of April, May, June and September from 09:00 to 17:00 - 2,100 visitors per day, for the months of March and October from 09:00 to 16:00 - 1,800 visitors per day, for the months of January, February, November and December from 09:00 to 15:00.
  8. Access through the automatic gate is allowed from 30 minutes before up to 60 minutes after the time indicated on your ticket.
Art. 3 – Duration and route of the excursion
  1. The total duration of the excursion cannot exceed 2 hours.
  2. The excursion takes place along a linear return route.
Art. 4 - Obligations to be respected by visitors
As the main measure to reduce the risk of infection, visitors must possess personal protective equipment.
In particular:
  1. they must hold the Covid–19 green certificate (“green pass”) pursuant to Law 126/2021
  2. they must wear a face mask on the premises indoors
  3. handwashing: upon entering the automatic gate and the other facilities, hikers must wash their hands with the hand sanitizer provided by the Park Authority and / or by the dealers
  4. social distancing must be kept during the excursion to avoid crowds
Adoption of the protocols for the tourist use of Path n. 5 of the Vesuvius National Park (Crater of Vesuvius) following the current regulations for the health emergency caused by Covid-19.
How to get a refund in case the site is closed due to adverse weather conditions or other force majeure causes.
  1. Send a refund request email to info.vesuviuspark@arte-m.net and include “Request for a refund for the tickets on dd/mm/yy at _ _: _ _” in your subject line;
  2. Attach a copy of your tickets which show the transaction code (VIVATK), date of purchase and name of the buyer;
  3. Include the transaction code (VIVATK), date of purchase and name of the buyer in the email body;
  4. The refund request must be made no later than 30 days from the date of the guided tour. The requests that are sent after this deadline will not be taken into account;
  5. If your request is accepted, the refund will be issued back to the credit card with which you made your purchase;
  6. The refund is issued only if the Vesuvius Crater is closed due to adverse weather conditions or other force majeure causes. Those who arrive after the time indicated on the ticket at the time of purchase are not entitled to a refund.

How to get to the Crater

At the Torre del Greco exit, take the second exit from the roundabout and follow the signs for "Vesuvio". Continue onto via Enrico De Nicola and then onto via Vesuvio.
At the end of via Vesuvio, take the first exit from the roundabout towards Contrada Osservatorio and take the SP144 up to the car park located 800 metres above sea level (15 min, 7.3 km).
To get from the car park at 800 metres to the car park at 1,000 metres (entrance of the nature trail n°5 "The great Cono of Vesuvius"), you have two options:
- On foot, along the SP144 for about 30 minutes (1.8 km)
- With the shuttle service managed by the Municipality of Herculaneum at a cost of € 1.00 each way (about 4 min)
GPS coordinates at 800 metres above sea level:
40.828248, 14.414986
Map
If you're landing at Capodichino Airport, take the bus bound for Stazione Centrale - Piazza Garibaldi (Naples Central Station). If you're travelling by train, get off at Stazione Centrale - Piazza Garibaldi.
From Stazione Centrale - Piazza Garibaldi, take one of the Circumvesuviana trains bound for Sorrento or Poggiomarino - via Pompei (for train times and ticket prices, visit www.eavsrl.it) and get to Ercolano Scavi station, from which taxis and private shuttles depart for the Vesuvius.
Alternatively, from Stazione Centrale - Piazza Garibaldi take one of the Circumvesuviana trains bound for Sorrento or Poggiomarino - via Pompei and get off at Pompei - Villa dei Misteri train station, from which you can hop on one of the local EAV buses bound for the Vesuvius.
If you're departing from Sorrento, you can still reach Pompei - Villa dei Misteri station and take one of the local EAV buses. The bus connection from Pompeii to the Vesuvius is provided by EAV local services. Check out their bus times page for more information.
(An intermediate stop is available at the Observatory, near "Il fiume di lava", path n.9 of the Vesuvius National Park).

Protocol for the tourist use of Path n. 5 of the Vesuvius National Park (Crater of Vesuvius), following the current regulations for the health emergency caused by Covid-19. 20th September 2021 update - Annex to the Resolution of the President of the Vesuvius National Park n.12 of 20/09/2021.

In consideration of the contingent situation related to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), all those who work on behalf of the Vesuvius National Park at the Crater of Vesuvius must strictly adhere to this Protocol, aimed at satisfying the indications prescribed in the DPCM 6/02/2020, in the DPCM 26/04/2020 and subsequent amendments, by the Law Decree n. 105 of 2021, converted with the Law of 16th September 2021, n. 126 “Urgent measures to deal with the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19 and for the safe operation of social and economic activities”, and the related ordinances of the Health Ministry in order to prevent or reduce the risk of infection.

These provisions also apply to visitors who go on an excursion. This document may be subject to changes depending on the evolution of the epidemiological emergency, in line with the measures taken to reduce the risk of infection based on the provisions issued at national and regional level, until further notice.

This document is approved by the Vesuvius National Park Board of Directors.

Art. 1 – Ticket service

1. Tickets are provided by Consorzio Arte’m net and can be booked online only. Access to the Crater is permitted only by booking.
2. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card. At the time of booking, the card holder must provide their first and last name, address, date and time of their excursion.
3. The purchase by the user can only be completed after filling in a declaration to confirm all the information provided and accept the rules in relation to health and environmental protection, as well as a correct excursion in the mountains.
4. To facilitate online booking, an assistance service is available at the infopoint of Rifugio Imbò.

Art. 2 – Limited number of people based on social distancing

1. Access to the Crater of Vesuvius takes place exclusively at the automatic gate located at Piazzale di Quota 1000 in Herculaneum. The ticket is stamped both on entry and exit.
2. Access is allowed only to Covid–19 green certificate holders (“green pass”) pursuant to Law 126/2021.
3. In order to guarantee modalities of limited use and avoid crowds, a limited number of people are allowed to access the site.
4. Access is allowed only to groups of 25 visitors, accompanied by a guide from the Presidio Permanente Vulcano Vesuvio (PPVV) for the entire duration of the excursion.
5. The groups, each of which is accompanied by a guide from the PPVV, can access the Crater area at 5-minute intervals. The maximum number of hikers cannot exceed 300 units per hour.
6. The total number of visitors admitted per day is based on the opening hours as follows:
- 2,700 visitors per day, for the months of July and August from 09:00 to 18:00
- 2,400 visitors per day, for the months of April, May, June and September from 09:00 to 17:00
- 2,100 visitors per day, for the months of March and October from 09:00 to 16:00
- 1,800 visitors per day, for the months of January, February, November and December from 09:00 to 15:00.
7. Access through the automatic gate is allowed from 30 minutes before up to 60 minutes after the time indicated on your ticket.

Art. 3 – Duration and route of the excursion

1. The total duration of the excursion cannot exceed 2 hours.
2. The excursion takes place along a linear return route.

Art. 4 - Obligations to be respected by visitors

As the main measure to reduce the risk of infection, visitors must possess personal protective equipment.

In particular:
a) they must hold the Covid–19 green certificate (“green pass”) pursuant to Law 126/2021
b) they must wear a face mask on the premises indoors
c) handwashing: upon entering the automatic gate and the other facilities, hikers must wash their hands with the hand sanitizer provided by the Park Authority and / or by the dealers
d) social distancing must be kept during the excursion to avoid crowds

Adoption of the protocols for the tourist use of Path n. 5 of the Vesuvius National Park (Crater of Vesuvius) following the current regulations for the health emergency caused by Covid-19.

Please be extremely careful on the trails, always check weather conditions and wear appropriate shoes.

The Park Authority has no competence for safety and so it is not responsible for any damage to people and things that may occur during the use of the Park territory.

Length 4.010 metres in total
Maximum altitude 1.175 metres above sea level
Duration 2 hours and a half in total
Difficulty Low (easy and short)
Departure/arrival San Vito (Ercolano)

The route is marked on the volcanic products of more recent production consisting of ashes and lapilli and some small flows produced in the effusive phases of the eruption of 1944. Arriving at the top of the volcano, you can see the Gulf of Naples and the whole city, and on particularly clear days you can enjoy the view of the entire plain of Campania and further north the plain of Garigliano up to the promontory of Circeo. On the right side of the view, the mountains of Partenio, Taburno and Matese are the background of the cognoli.

Several views along the way allow you to admire inside the crater, which after the countless changes made by the various eruptions, currently has an elliptical shape with a maximum diameter of 580 meters. Along the inner walls, some fumaroles give us the feeling of a still active volcano, despite being in a quiescent stage.

The crater and its particular substratum allow the nesting of different species of birds belonging to rocky environments of altitude and great conservation value, such as the common rock thrush, the black redstart, widespread in winter but rare as a breeder, the northern wheatear and the black-eared wheatear. Continuing along the path, you can see the southern coast of the gulf up to Sorrento and the island of Capri. After the structure of the Capannuccia, which is the close destination, the path becomes rougher; it descends along the cone, whereby the view of the crater gradually disappears, while the vegetation gradually becomes more luxuriant. Here you can meet another species that is typical of rock environments, the common raven, whose metallic croak accompanies the visitor to the terminal part of the path.

When you arrive in the square, you can stop and take in a breath-taking view dominated by the cognoli of Ottaviano, at the intermediate destination.

The itinerary continues on the right downhill for a stretch overlapping with path n.6. After about 600 metres, the path goes on the left to skirt Valle dell'Inferno and is in common with the homonymous path (n.1). Having reached an access gate, you continue to the left for a short stretch of asphalt, until you get to the destination route, the square of altitude 1000 of Erodano, which coincides with the beginning of the path.

The vegetation is characterized by the broom (mainly that of Etna), which is accompanied by other herbaceous species that are pioneer of the lava, such as the red valerian and the docks and sorrels. The amazing scent of the broom announces the arrival of the hot season and reaches the visitor even before starting the climb.

After passing the entrance, the ascent to the Gran Cono begins along a very wide path that is characterized by a series of extremely scenic hairpin turns.
The climb allows you to admire from above the view of Mount Somma even better and to expand your vision towards the valley that separates the two volcanoes, Valle del Gigante, which in its western side takes the name of Atrio del Cavallo. The lava dates back to the last eruption of 1944 covered by the grey-silver lichen Stereocaulon vesuvianum.

Still climbing along the hairpin turns, the view widens more and more on the Gulf of Naples, on the pinewood of the Tirone Alto-Vesuvio nature reserve and on the Umberto Hill.
You reach a height of 1,118 metres, where you find the ticket office and from which the guided tour begins. Once the toll is paid, you continue on a fairly wide path, along which there are a series of views over the crater of Vesuvius and on the upper edge, which can only be reached by scholars.

The arrival at Capannuccia at 1,170 metres of altitude is the close destination of the trail.
At the moment, it is not possible to cover the entire ring (intermediate destination and itinerary destination) as some interventions are being carried out to make the route safe with naturalistic engineering techniques.

Visit the other paths

The trail network is in overall redevelopment and maintenance and some paths may not be equipped with signs. Contact the Park Authority for more information.

Nature trail towards Somma Vesuviana temporarily closed

Nature trail from Somma Vesuviana temporarily closed

Nature trail under maintenance

Closed nature trail where maintenance interventions will be introduced

Closed nature trail where maintenance interventions will be introduced