Travelling to the crater is relatively simple if you have a car. Just take the exit to the south of Naples (off the A3 to Sorrento/Salerno) and follow the signs to 'Vesuvio'...alternatively set your satnav to the Vesuvio Osservatorio which gets you most of the way there.
The road up the mountain features many hairpin bends, however the sheer terror of facing a coach coming in the opposite direction is mitigated by the fascination of driving through the middle of lava flows from earlier eruptions. If you haven't quite got the bottle to do the Amalfi Drive then this is a shorter substitute that will scare the kids just as much.
The road stops at a car park which costs about 2 euros and is very safe. There's a bar and shops there. From there you pay 6 euros per person to walk up the path to the crater. This is a long walk which takes about 20 minutes on rough ground..so stout shoes or trainers are required, not flip-flops.
The crater is somewhat awe-inspiring, and even more awe-inspiring is the two shops that are perched on the lip of the crater. How did they get there and what happens to them when the volcano does eventually go pop? You can walk virtually all the way around the crater but it does get a bit narrow three quarters of the way round with sheer drops either side.
Take plenty of water.
The summit of Vesuvius is open to visitors and there is a small network of paths around the mountain.
There is access by road to within 200 metres of the summit, but thereafter access is on foot only. There is a spiral walkway around the mountain from the road to the crater.
It is unmatched experience climb to the summit of Vesuvius in time, when you know, that this volcano is actually active.
The climbing to the summit of Vesuvius wasn't too difficult. There was very different ages people, who step on the mountain ...
In july 2005 the price of ticket was 6.50 EUR
The entrance of the park must be paid. I do not remember the price but it was not cheap.
The visitors have to follow the path.
It needs 45 min to reach the crater (less in the opposite direction, of course).
The road winds it ways up to Vesuvius - look out for deposits of volcanic stone as you go.
From the car park you then have to walk up the last 1.5km - takes about 30 mins in you are fit - bit longer for me :-S
It is possible to climb up to the crater of Vesuvius - there are various routes up through the colourful broom and black volcanic rock. However most people will opt for a drive up the hairpin bend road. The road does not go all the way to the crater though and the last section has to be walked.
I think this was where the path used to go down into the crater. Its now chained off , for safety reasons, and flowers are blooming in the dusty soil here, adding a splash of colour to the otherwise grey landscape.
Once at the top you can easily spend a fair bit of time walking around the crater and enjoying the views - unless you have a coach waiting for you at a certain time:-S
It takes me longer to walk up in the heat so I didn't quite manage it all the way around but apparently the views are pretty similar. Its impossible to get a whole view, even with a wide angle - guess you'd need a helicopter ride over for that.
Apparently half way up the mountain is the Vesuvian Observatory, the oldest of its type in the world (1841-45). Here its possible to see an impressive simulation of the eruption which destroyed Pompeii. The old seismographs are said to be worth a look and the electromagnetic model designed by Luigi Palmieri is particularly interesting.
Unfortunately we didn't get to see this - coach tours are more interested in taking you to a nearby Coral and Cameo factory :-S
So if you are self driving this might be of interest to you. Would love to hear from anyone who has been here and has pics.
Ok so you can't drive all this way and not walk up to the crater. From the car and coach parks walk over to the shop, pass through it ignoring the tacky souvenirs and you will be a the bottom of the path. The 1.5km path winds up, fairly steep in places to the top of the crater. You only have to pay the entrance fee of 6 euros (2003 prices) if you make it up here - but you can't see the crater without paying - so put your hand in your pocket.
See on this pic how the path looks wider and has a fence for the sides.
Vesuvius is the most famous volcano and one of the most 5 dangerous in the world - due to urban developement. It is dormant at the moment - its last erruption being in 1944 shortly after the allied troops landed in Italy. It took the unexpecting Americans by surprise nearly causing another "Pearl Harbour". Can you believe though that people are still building luxury villas on the slopes of Vesuvius!! Even so its worth the drive up here and they reckon they can tell when its safe!
This is a satellite picture of vesuvio. You can see the road that leads to the parking lot, and thene the footpath for the longer trip up lol
95 % of the outer rim of vesuvio is not very safe there is no gardrail on the outerside so be very carfull with children . It is very step and if you fall you will only stop at the bottom .
Do not believe those who say there is no drink after the park entrance : they want to sell you food and beverage.
There is a small snack bar close to the crater.
Base camp 1 lol . This is where you start. don't forget to get your walking stik on the right side where the old man is with the umbrella
This is as far up the volcano you can go and from here you can see pompeii this day was a bit foggy but on a good day you can see very well