Crater of Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy - 28.3.2022: hiking trail view

Mt Vesuvius

Mt Vesuvius

Since exploding into history in AD 79, Vesuvius has blown its top more than 30 times. What redeems this slumbering menace is the spectacular panorama from its crater, which takes in Naples, its world-famous bay, and part of the Apennine Mountains. Vesuvius is the focal point of the Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio, with nine nature walks around the volcano – download a simple map from the park’s website. Horse Riding Tour Naples also runs daily horse-riding tours.

The mountain is widely believed to have been higher than it currently stands, claiming a single summit rising to about 3000m rather than the 1281m of today. Its violent outburst in AD 79 not only drowned Pompeii in pumice and pushed the coastline back several kilometres but also destroyed much of the mountain top, creating a huge caldera and two new peaks. The most destructive explosion after that of AD 79 was in 1631, while the most recent was in 1944.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mt Vesuvius attractions

3. MAV

4.26 MILES

Using computer-generated recreations, this 'virtual archaeological museum' brings ruins such as Pompeii's forum and Capri's Villa Jovis back to virtual…

4. Oplontis


Buried beneath the unappealing streets of Torre Annunziata, Oplontis was once a blue-ribbon seafront suburb under the administrative control of Pompeii…

5. Mercato di Pugliano

4.32 MILES

Straddling Via Pugliano in the heart of Ercolano, Italy's largest pre-loved clothing market sells everything from stock-standard junk to fabulous offbeat…

6. Decumano Massimo

4.39 MILES

Herculaneum's ancient high street is lined with shops, and fragments of advertisements; look for the wall fresco advertising wines by colour code and…

7. Casa del Bel Cortile


The Casa del Bel Cortile is home to three of the 300 skeletons discovered on the ancient shore by archaeologists in 1980. Almost two millennia after the…

8. Boscoreale


Some 3km north of Pompeii, the archaeological site of Boscoreale consists of a rustic country villa dating back to the 1st century BC, and a fascinating…