Last updated on May 10, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Naples and Amalfi Coast

Where to stay to visit Pompeii ruins & Herculaneum | 5 Best Towns & Hotels

This is one of my beloved archaeological parks in the country and possibly the world. A must-visit on any trip to Italy. But where to stay to visit Pompeii? Would I suggest staying in modern Pompeii or maybe Napoli works better?

Naples and Sorrento are my favourite options, but there are another 3 places that may work better for your kind of trip. Positano and Amalfi are also two possibilities, but with a big drawback and I will explain to you what.

But now let’s jump straight away to a table that compares all the towns before jumping to a full description of the options, including a few hotel tips.

Ancient Pompei city
Ancient Pompei city

Best places to stay to visit Pompeii – Key points

DestinationBest forProsConsDistance to PompeiiTime to Pompeii by TrainCharacterRestaurant OptionsGood for FamiliesGood for Couples
SorrentoPicturesque stayStunning views, charming old townExpensive peak season, rare parking25km/16 miles30 minutesTouristic hub, charmingWide choiceExcellentExcellent
NaplesShort stay, easy accessNext to the airport, vibrant streetsNoisy city centre, tricky parking24km/15 miles40 minutesVibrant, historicWide rangeModerateGood
SalernoBudgetAffordable prices, charming old townFarther from sights, less touristy vibe30km/20 milesApprox. 40-50 minutesAuthentic local life, less touristicGood, local cuisineVery goodGood
Castellammare di StabiaConvenience, local vibeSuper close to Pompeii, thermal bathsLacks charm, rough edges7km/5 miles10-20 minutesWorking-class, authenticLimited, local spotsGoodModerate
Next to Pompeii ruins & Mount VesuviusConvenience, overnight stayWalking distance to ruinsTourists feel, lacks characterWalking distance0Tourist-focusedLimited, mostly tourist-orientedVery goodModerate
Capri and the Amalfi CoastLuxurious escape but not ideal for PompeiiBeautiful scenery, exclusive experienceGood for day tours, expensiveVaries significantlyNot practical (1.5+ hours one way)Luxurious, scenicExcellent, mostly upscaleModerateExcellent

My 3 best hotels near Pompeii ruins

Wandering around Pompeii
Wandering around Pompeii

Sorrento – The best place in the Bay of Naples

  • Best place for a picturesque stay, exploring base

Pros

  • stunning views,
  • charming old town,
  • excellent location

Cons

  • expensive peak season,
  • crowded streets,
  • rare parking

Sorrento is the kind of place that makes you say “Is this real life?”. Perched on a clifftop overlooking the Bay of Naples, this colourful town is one of the touristic hubs of the Costiera Amalfitana with plenty of restaurants, bars and hotels which in the low season become a total bargain.

My suggested way to explore the town is just by getting lost in the maze of cobbled lanes and historic alleyways. You even can catch the elevator down to the beach which is a pretty unique thing to do.

Stop for an espresso at a local cafe or browse handmade ceramics and taste the famous limoncello in family-run shops. I love Sorrento, especially in the early springtime when the town gets full of flowers and the entire place becomes so insanely charming.

One of the best things about this town is its direct access to the iconic ruins of Pompeii. Just get to the train station and in half an hour, you’ll be wandering around the famous Amphitheatre, one of the oldest surviving in Roman style, and walking ancient streets that were preserved under layers of volcanic ash.

My tip: After your history trip, you can bliss out on a beach club sunbed taking in views of mighty Vesuvius Volcano. My favourite spot is Bagni Salvatore, with crystal-clear water surrounded by old Roman walls.

In the evening join the local crowd for an aperitivo and tuck into some of the most amazing seafood you’ve ever tasted at a trattoria overlooking the marina.

The only downsides are the summer crowds and prices to match the glam factor. But even budget travellers can find decent digs and cheap eats if they wander off the main drag.

I wrote extensively on where to stay in Sorrento. Here are my top 3 suggestions

Grand Hotel La Favorita ($$$$$) Friendly and helpful staff, excellent location, and comfortable rooms. The views of the bay are stunning, with a rooftop pool and superb dining. Luxury, comfort, and convenience.

Mignon Meublè ($$$$)is one of the best boutique hotels in Sorrento. The entire place has been refurbished with a modern local-style look. The buffet breakfast is to die for, the perfect start to the day! The location can’t be better than that.

Lemon Rooms ($$$) A great guest house with probably the most affordable double rooms in the Historical Center. The location is just perfect, close to the train station, the harbour and Tasso Square.

Sorrento - View of the cliff below the town accessible by lift from the main square
Sorrento – View of the cliff below the town accessible by lift from the main square

Naples – Near ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum

  • Best place for a short stay, easy access

Pros

  • next to the airport,
  • quick Pompeii access,
  • vibrant streets

Cons

  • noisy city centre,
  • tricky parking,
  • average pricing

Naples is a city that grabs you from the first “Buongiorno!”. This rowdy, in-your-face kind of place is perfect for a short, high-energy visit.

One of the biggest perks is the convenience factor. Naples Airport is pretty much in the centre, so you can be sipping a strong espresso in a cobblestoned café moments after landing. History buffs will love the easy access to Pompeii and Herculaneum – both are reachable by a quick, cheap train ride, the Circumvesuviana line, in under an hour.

But let’s be real, a huge draw of the city is diving headfirst into its chaotic, vibrant street life. Explore labyrinthine alleys where nonnas hang their washing between balconies and enjoy the best pizza from a hole-in-the-wall joint. Haggle with boisterous vendors at markets brimming with fresh produce and views of laundry-topped apartments.

At night, the city only amps up the energy. Join the chic aperitivo crowd sipping Spritzes at trendy bars before feasting on pasta dishes at a centuries-old trattoria. You’ll work off those carbs just trying to cross hectic streets dodging whizzing Vespa drivers!

The downside is that this city can feel grittier than places like Sorrento. Noise, traffic, and finding parking are definite challenges in the centre. Prices for decent hotels are average. But for an authentic slice of Italian city life on a short schedule then this city has to be.

I wrote extensively on where to stay in Naples. Here are my top 3 suggestions

Palà Suites ($$$): tucked away in the heart of the Historic Centre and offers great access not only to the attractions but also to numerous shops and restaurants around. This is a lovely boutique stay with a unique interior design and plenty of space.

Dimora Spaccanapoli ($$): fantastic 1BR place, very clean and spacious that can host up to 4 people. Fantastic value for money, especially if you are travelling with kids or with friends.

Centro Antico ($$) Bed and Breakfast just 5-10 from the central station. The hotel itself is warmly decorated for a home away from home kind of feeling.

Lovely view to Naples from the hills of Vomero
Lovely view of Naples from the hills of Vomero

Salerno – Budget access to Pompeii

  • Best place for budget, exploring base

Pros

  • affordable prices,
  • charming old town,
  • great seafood

Cons

  • farther from sights,
  • less touristy vibe,
  • transit required

Salerno is a great place to stay if you’re looking to experience more of the authentic local life, the southern Italian life. This city is still a hidden gem, where tourism has still not developed as much and you will be sharing your time and space with the Salernitani and not mostly travellers.

It certainly does not have the glamour of Positano or Sorrento, and the energy of Naples but it’s still a great destination especially if travelling on a budget.

Start your day wandering the charming maze of the historic centre. Grab a brioche and a cappuccino from a local cafe which, most probably, will not speak any English. At lunchtime follow the scent of sizzling seafood to a family-run trattoria serving up the catch of the day.

One of the major advantages of staying in this city is that you will be close to major sights like the Greek ruins of Paestum and the iconic Amalfi Coast towns. However, you will be about an hour by train to Pompeii, or 40-50 minutes driving, which is not the best if you are planning just a short stay to visit uniquely the ancient ruins

While a bit farther than Naples or Sorrento, you’ll be saving big on accommodation, allowing you to splurge on experiences.

The tradeoff is that the city is definitely less globally touristy feeling than places like Sorrento. You’ll encounter more locals going about their daily lives versus being surrounded by English-speaking travellers. Getting around also requires using trains, buses or having a rental car.

But for an off-the-beaten-path introduction to authentic Campanian living at an affordable price point, this city offers incredibly good value. Between the budget-friendly eats, cozy squares for people-watching over Aperol spritzes, and easy day-tripping, it’s the perfect low-key hub.

I wrote extensively on where to stay in Salerno. Here are my top 3 suggestions

B&B Resto al Sud ($): Midnight check-in option, cleanliness, spacious, and on-site grocery. Prime location. Fantastic value for money

B&B Santa Rosa ($$): Clean and comfortable rooms with excellent location, a stone away from the train station.

Conte di Morelia ($$) Superb opposite the pier and near the station. Offers convenient access to ferries for exploring Amalfi, Positano and other destinations along the coast.

Salerno city
Salerno city

Castellammare di Stabia – Near Pompeii ruins

  • Best place for convenience, local vibe

Pros

  • super close to Pompeii,
  • easy transit,
  • thermal baths

Cons

  • lacks charm,
  • mixed architecture,
  • rough edges

If your main goal is maximizing time at the ancient ruins of Pompeii without overpaying for accommodation, then consider basing yourself in the gritty local hub of Castellammare di Stabia.

The biggest advantage here is the crazy convenient location – you can quite literally walk to the Pompeii Park entrance from certain hotels, or take the 10-minute Circumvesuviana Train. Getting to Sorrento for a day trip is just as easy, only 10-15 minutes by rail.

But Castellammare offers more than just an ideal home base. This working-class city has a totally authentic, off-the-beaten-path feeling where you’ll rub shoulders with locals, not groups of tourists. Relax at the thermal baths or beach clubs, take the cable car up Mount Faito, or explore impressive Roman villas like Villa San Marco.

The tradeoffs are that Castellammare is a little rough around the edges, with a variety of concrete apartments butting up against charming historic districts. You won’t find the same polished, fairytale vibes as Sorrento or Positano here. The city’s grit can be a pro or con depending on your travel style.

That said, the convenience can’t be beaten if your priority is just having a super central home base for exploring Pompeii and the surrounding areas without paying resort prices. After spending all day tramping through ancient ruins, it’s nice to retreat to a relatively affordable hotel and rub elbows with Italian locals at a neighbourhood trattoria.

Here are my top 2 suggestions

Casa Milù ($): 1BR in an exceptional location with modern, clean facilities. Free WiFi, air conditioning, and a fully equipped kitchen. Ideal for both short and long stays. 5 minutes walk to the station

Irto B&B ($): Immaculate clean, and modern amenities. Central location, proximity to beaches, and thoughtful touches like free coffee/tea and water.

Ancient Pompeii - Thermopolium of Asellina with old food serving counter
Ancient Pompeii – Thermopolium of Asellina with old food serving counter

Next to Pompeii ruins & Mount Vesuvius

  • Best place for convenience, short stay

Pros

  • walking distance to ruins,
  • easy access,
  • budget options

Cons

  • tourist feel,
  • lacks character,

If your main aim is to devote maximum time to exploring the incredibly preserved ancient city of Pompeii, it makes total sense to just park yourself as close to the ruins as possible.

The key advantage of staying in one of the basic hotels or Airbnbs next to the ruins entrance is the supreme convenience factor. You can literally roll out of bed and be standing amid Roman temples, villas, and streets in a matter of minutes. No messing about with trains or buses!

Moreover, if you are renting a car in Italy you will find this area to be the easiest for parking, usually included in the accommodation. And in a 30-40 minutes drive you can be at the gate of Mount Vesuvius, so hand.

It’s also an affordable option for those on a tight budget or schedule who just want a pure base to see Pompeii. Many of the accommodations cater specifically to tourists with bare-bones rooms at hostels or family-run hotels. You’ll have easy access to restaurants in the modern town centre catering to travellers.

Just keep in mind that there are two entrances to the archeological site:

  • Porta Marina (next to the Pompeii Scavi train station): very handy with the train but it’s a noisy area to sleep with the Highway, the main road and the train line nearby
  • Piazza Immacolata: much quieter and closer to restaurants and cafes. You will be also 5-10 minutes from the Pompeii station (modern town)

The big tradeoff of a stay in Pompeii Modern Centre is the complete lack of authentic Italian atmosphere or character. This immediate area has a distinct tourist feel, with tacky souvenir shops and subpar dining options. Don’t expect to be exploring charming historic lanes or stumbling upon hidden local gems.

But if you’re willing to forgo picturesque surroundings for utmost practicality and ease of access to the archaeological site, basing yourself right next door can be ideal – especially for just a short 1-2 night stint. You’ll be first through the gates each morning to beat the crowds and tour groups!

Here are my top 2 suggestions

Palazzo Archeo ($$): 1BR and 2BR apartments ideal for families wanting to stay next to the entrance. Great value with comfortable beds, free WiFi and private parking. You can get to Pompeii gate in no time

Domus Balcante b&b ($$): One of the best hotels in Pompei when you are down to value for money. Just steps from Pompeii’s Archaeological Park.

Paved street at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed and buried during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD
Paved street at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed and buried during the eruption of the Vesuvius Volcano in 79 AD

Capri and the Amalfi Coast

Very shortly. In my most honest opinion, both Capri and the Amalfi Coast are not great options to visit Pompeii.

They are certainly amazing destinations and you can organise a day trip tour of Pompeii but the visit should not be the focus of your holiday but just one of the many activities you are planning to do on your Amalfi Coast itinerary, because the trip is not as direct.

Budget 1.5 hours drive one way if you stay in one of the towns on the Amalfi Coast, more if you stay in Capri (boat and car)

How to get around the Amalfi Coast with ferries, train and buses
How to get around with ferries, trains and buses
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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