Hike to the top of Mt. Vesuvius
Edited by Maria Quinney, Nlangster, Eng
Vesuvius last erupted in 1944. It is still active and is considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet. However, despite the threat of another eruption, visitors can still make their way right to the rim of the crater and look down into it!
- 1Understanding the Area -- With Naples just 9 kilometres away and the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum nearby, the visit to Vesuvius is very much on the tourist circuit.Advertisement
- 2The Summit is a National Park -- The area around the summit has been declared a national park in order to protect it from the more garish aspects of tourism.Advertisement
- 3Tours or Independent Adventure -- It is possible to get a conducted bus tour from any of the major resorts but an independent traveler can take a train to Pompeii, then take the Busvia Del Vesuvio which can be pre-booked. This bus transfers to a 4 wheel drive for the bumpy, serpentine ride up through the forests to a little 'base station' 600 meters from the top.
- 4Use the Washroom Here! -- This is where the only restroom is located by the way. You have to use the port-a-johns and pay a maintenance fee to the attendant just as you do everywhere in Europe. There are free washrooms in the restaurant/shop right at the base station, but only if you buy something. The owner of this shop is VERY particular about this. I found out the hard way :(
- 5Use a Guide or Not? -- Guides are often waiting to be hired to take you to the top but if you are fit and have done a bit of research about what you are seeing it is not really worth it. Guides do make it interesting though, by distracting you with little interesting facts and background on previous eruptions while on your long walk up to the summit.
- 6Walk to the Summit -- You do have to purchase a ticket to walk to the summit. The walk up is not too tough for anyone who is reasonably in shape but remember to take a sweater or jacket because it can be cool at the top. Take care to check the times of the buses back down before you head up.
- 7Take Pictures on the Way Up -- This is not a race like some younger kids will have you think as they pass you along the way. Don't worry their enthusiasm will soon catch up to them. You will soon pass them along the way when you see them sitting by the side of the path, out of energy. Take pictures! Lots of them. Take your time and enjoy every moment. Don't just rush to the top. The view as you ascend is every bit as breathtaking as the views from the summit. The path up affords different viewpoints you won't see from the summit as well. So stop and take some pictures and relax and really take in the experience.
- 8Once at the top, remember to return by the path that brought you up. There is another path going down but the bus won't be waiting there! Don't expect to see lava. You won't, but some days, depending on the temperature and the winds, the crater emits jets of steam from cracks and crevices around its interior - a reminder of the earth's power just waiting to be unleashed.
- Accept the walking stick option -- When I saw a native to the area selling walking sticks I thought "scam the tourist" was the game at play. I was going to skip this option but my kids wanted a walking stick so I paid the few Euro charge. This turned out to be a great decision. Besides a cheap memento, I found the walking stick very useful when walking through the rough terrain. There are plenty of stones to trip on. This is not a paved walkway!! I witnessed a bloody scraped up knee personally on my way back down.
- And try to go on a clear but not too hot day when the fabulous views across the Bay of Naples aren't lost in the heat haze.
- Heart Conditions -- Don't climb to summit if you have a heart condition. It will be hard for someone to get help to you if a cardiac event were to happen. The walk up is physically exhausting unless your in shape.
- Stop and take a break -- Stop and take breaks on your way up. Many people rush up then are so exhausted by the taxing hike they have no energy to enjoy the view once they have arrived at the spectacular summit.
Categories : Italy
Recent edits by: Nlangster, Maria Quinney