Heading away from Rome today, had me the most excited. I wanted to leave as early as possible, and head to what we were doing. We slept in as long as “possible”, had our hotel breakfast (which wasn’t that great btw…) and into the car. I felt like a child Christmas morning!
We were heading to Mount Vesuvius – the one and only! The volcano that took out Pompeii in the year 79. Not only were we going to see it, we were going to climb it! All the way to the top! Didn’t matter how long it would take three boys with little legs, this was something we were going to do!
It took about two and a half hours from Rome. The drive on the highway was easy – no traffic and we saved time. We get into the city and oh man this is not what we expected. We put in our GPS “Mount Vesuvius”, and it came up with “Mount Vesuvius National Park”, so we plugged it in. After driving around up and down a mountain for thirty minutes, we were lost. Not only lost, but drivers are NOT what we expected. Drivers not stopping at stop signs, drivers going right through round-abouts. We heard from colleagues driving in Naples was difficult, but this was just insane. I felt so scared I bit all my nails right now… We pulled over, found the parking through Google Maps, and punched it in. Finally, my after being lost for an hour, we found where we wanted to be!
You pretty much drive right into the parking area. It’s only on the street, but it was 2.50€. The entire walk to the top from this point was about two kilometers. We were able to get on a shuttle that brings you halfway, and from there the walk to the top is less. The cost for all five of us for the shuttle was something like 7€. Once you see how steep it is, taking the shuttle part way was a very good investment. The ticket to do the hike was 8€ an adult, and the three kids were free.
You walk about 100m from the ticket office to the front of the hike – and you can already tell the type of walk this would be… The walk to the top may only be a kilometer, but it would certainly be intense! The steepness you can read about all you want, but until you experience it yourself, you don’t know how bad it actually is. My calves were feeling it very quickly!
The five of us started off walking together, ended up with me and the twins. Very quickly that dwindled to myself and one twin – very far behind. ( He just came downstairs while I’m writing this and saw the below photo. He said “mom, we were slow walking the volcano weren’t we?” – you can only walk as fast as your slowest walker 😉 ).
But the views. Holy cow the views! Absolutely incredible! These are views I will not anytime soon forget!! A friend of mine told me when he went, it was cloudy and he couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of him. I am grateful to have a beautiful, clear, sunny day!
In total, the walk to the top is about twenty minutes. Once you get to the crater, it is pretty flat. It is probably half a kilometer to just walk around the crater itself.
Seeing the crater was a weird feeling. This is a real volcano! It may be dormant for now, but it’s not a dead volcano! How can you tell it is still “active”? If you look at the photos below, you can see steam coming out! The heat underneath the rock is still so hot that there is real smoke! I read that you could see it, but didn’t quite believe that. Once you see it for yourself though, it’s a real thing!!
There was a souvenir shop along the crater, so we bought some souvenirs and decided to slowly take the stroll back down. As we were leaving the souvenir shop, there was a small little vendor, selling glasses of Mount Vesuvius wine – either red or white. No question, I had to have a glass of the volcano’s wine – ON the volcano! It was delicious! I do regret not buying a bottle to have at home though..
We found someone to take a family picture at the top; which was great! It’s a memory I am grateful to have!
From the top, you can see Pompeii off in the distance; and Naples, and a part of the Amalfi Coast. From seeing how close it is, you can see how Pompeii got destroyed when Mt. Vesuvius erupted!
The hike back down to the bottom, was much easier than the hike up! During the hike up, the higher up you go, the more clothes you put on.. You start off wearing a small t-shirt, end up wearing a windbreaker jacket. Heading down as the opposite. Start with the jacket on, you end up in a sweater by the bottom.
I’m not quite sure climbing the volcano isn’t more of a popular trip people take. If I have an opportunity to ever come back, I would. This was seriously one of those “once in a lifetime” kind of moments! I can honestly say, up until this point of our Italy trip, Mount Vesuvius was my absolute favorite moment!