Written by Soph
After booking our trip with tour company (the guys that wear blue tops with ‘FREE Map’ on the front), just before our visit to Pompeii Scavi , we immediately arrived at the tour building and awaited out bus that would take us to the 1000m high mark up the Volcano.
You can actually drive there yourself, but you do get as far us as the buses do, I think this is to reduce traffic and provide further safety on the narrow and winding roads. There would also be a good massive trek to walk the rest of the way to the crater! So we would actually advise if possible to get a tour (you can barter them down on price also!).
Once boarding the bus, I was filled with excitement to climb the Volcano that had wrecked havoc on the City of Pompeii. The bus journey was a little bit hairy, climbing high up around the winding paths up the Volcano. However, the views were absolutely insane, looking at the dry molten walk throughout the woods dotted up the side of the Volcano.
It was a boiling hot day, we would recommend not to do this trip to people with health issues. We arrived at the car park where you are asked to then go an purchase your tickets (very strange place – just one man in a kiosk up a Volcano) NOTE – you will need cash for this, as there are no card machine facilities. You then enter the entrance to the Volcano where you are offered a guided tour (if you wish to do so) but we declined this offer ourselves. I would strongly suggest buying a few bottles of water which are sold at the entrance and a couple of stop off points along the way to the top.
You begin the accent winding up the VERY steep gravel paths. There are hand rails to assist you if required. The heat was brutal, as was the walk, however you are rewarded along the way with stunning vies of Naples and surrounding Italian coastlines and other Cities, offering fantastic photo opportunities.
Me being me, chose to power walk the entire path – which left Si in a state of frustration and anger (he did even actually say at the beginning “I wonder how many couples have arguments along this route”) I would say if you are having marriage troubles, do not look on this as a bonding activity to do together – you may ascend as a couple, but descend as separated!
Along the way there are stop points that sell gifts, drinks and food at reasonable prices, and are like a mirage in a dessert! When you reach the crater, you will be absolutely blown away by the enormity of it and the views all around in a 360 degree fashion – in fact I felt like a warrior who had just conquered a massive challenge. This will probably be one of the most mind-blowing experiences of your life – well worth the trek and any marital issues along the route.
You can make the decision on whether to continue around the edge of the crate to the finish point (half way around the crater) or you can decide to bow out at this point and start your descent back down towards where your bus dropped you off. This however was not an option for Si and I, we carried on to the very end. Well worth the extra trek!
It is very hard to describe the feeling of climbing a real Volcano – this is really an experience you should try and the walk back down, albeit steep, seems like a walk in the park vs the ascent up!
Absolutely loved this experience, we would definitely do this again, but perhaps not on such a hot day!