All you need to know to visit Pompeii with kids: best time to go, tickets vs tours, how to get there, what to bring + essential tips
A visit to Pompeii is often high on kids’ wish lists for a trip to Italy.
The story of the city destroyed by the volcano is fascinating for children and the many books and cinematic renditions of the event often act as a magnet for the curiosity of kids of all ages.
I know this was the case for my children. Of the several archaeological sites in Italy, only the Colosseum made them as excited as Pompeii!
Visiting Pompeii with kids is indeed a unique experience.
Pompeii is beautiful, educational, and shows life in ancient Rome like few other sites in the world.
However, visiting Pompeii with children is not necessarily straightforward.
Transport to the site, its size, the lack of readily available info on site and even the nature of the attraction mean some preparation is necessary.
On this page, you will find all you need to know to plan a visit to Pompeii with children.
This guide is based on my personal experience of the site with my children – we last visited Pompeii in Spring 2023.
You can read here >>> my full Pompeii and Vesuvius with kids trip report
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Why visit Pompeii with kids
There are many reasons to plan a Pompeii visit as a family:
- Pompeii is a unique example of an ancient Roman city, an outstanding opportunity to immerse children in ancient history and allow them to imagine how it was – it is a fantastic place to make history relevant to them.
- Pompeii is beautiful, alone a reason to go!
- Pompeii is a Unesco World Heritage Site, a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of conservation and cultural heritage.
- Pompeii is outdoors, a great way to give the children a meaningful cultural experience while also keeping them active and outdoors.
Why not visit Pompeii with kids
Despite the significance and beauty of Pompeii, there are some situations where a visit may not be advisable.
- Pompeii is huge and very hot in summer, with the sun and heat reaching dangerous levels.
This means that visiting with young children especially can prove too much
- Pompeii can be tiring for kids.
Since Pompeii was a proper city, you need to consider the same amount of walking you’d have on a day trip to a modern town, with the additional challenge of not having shops, buses, or cafes to break up the walking.
- Pompeii can be disturbing.
Before visiting, kids tend to focus on the ‘cinematic’ aspect of the Pompeii story. However, on-site, the reality and scariness of the tragedy can hit.
The casts of the people who died, still preserved in the position they were in their final moment, can be very disturbing.
Good to know: many families decide to skip Pompeii because they heard of the Pompeii red light district, famous for explicit frescoes. The frescoes are indeed not ‘kid-friendly’; however, they are only in parts of Pompeii and you can easily avoid them. So, the frescos alone are not a reason to skip Pompeii with little ones.
Pompeii with kids: the best time to go
The best time to visit Pompeii as a family is the spring (March to early June) and fall (mid-Septemberto early November).
At this time, temperatures are mild and Pompeii is at its best in terms of views of the volcano.
In spring, Pompeii also has wonderful blossoms making the city’s greener parts a delight to the eye.
The worst time to visit Pompeii is the summer.
From mid-June and during July and August, Pompeii gets scorching hot and under relentless sun. The lack of shade is a problem, especially for young children.
For me, the best time of day to visit Pompeii is the early morning.
The morning is the nicest time of the day for the quality of air and you will be able to take your time in the city to explore at leisure without the pressure of closing hours looming.
However, a visit later in the day or in the afternoon is also no problem.
The only time I suggest to intentionally avoid is midday on a summer day, due to the excessive heat (yes, I know I go on about it a lot but Pompeii is a furnace, I cannot stress enough how bad it gets!)
How long to see Pompeii with kids
How long do I need to see Pompeii is one of those questions with no straightforward answer.
Pompeii is a large city and you can easily spend a full day or more exploring it or you may feel ‘done’ after a few hours.
For me, two types of visit worked:
- About 3 hours in Pompeii, with the aid of a guide: this is a good amount of time to cover a lot of ground and the maximum duration I could see my kids keeping attention up
- A day, on your own. A day or most of it is needed to explore Pompeii in your own time, taking also into account the talking involves, the inevitable wrong turns etc.
Pompeii with kids tour vs self-guided
I recommend visiting Pompeii with a child-friendly guide/ however, it is also possible to visit the city on your own.
However, if you go self-guided, some preparation is needed!
I usually prefer to do things on our own and since I am a Roman history graduate, the first time I went to Pompeii, I thought I could understand it on my own.
This was pleasant but not a good idea with kids!
The city is not equipped with info panels; so while you can figure out some places with the aid of the site map (the theater, the forum), you have no idea what it is you are actually looking at!
Also, Pompeii is very much a place of detail: the grooves on the ground that tell archaeologists which building was a house and which was a shop; the graffiti on the walls; the special acoustic of the theater…
With a lot of work on your side, it is possible to gather info from the web and the audioguides and rework them in kids’ words but honestly: a guide here will make everything a lot easier!
You can find at rhe bottom of this post our recommendations for great ones.
What to wear to visit Pompeii with children
When visiting Pompeii, there are three things to consider when planning outfits.
- Pompeii is huge and there is little space for sitting. Comfortable shoes are a must. You can find here >>> my favorite shoes for Italy travel (spoiler: for Pompeii I recommend runners or teva sandals depending on the season!)
- Pompeii is exposed to sun and wind, so you will be at your most comfortable in outdoor gear and weather-appropriate clothing.
- Pompeii’s roads and uneven and made of stone in most parts. Nonslip, comfortable shoes are paramount.
In winter, in Pompeii, you want to wrap up: think sweater, coat, scarf, hat, potentially raingear
In spring and autumn, you want layers: think t-shirt, sweater, light jacket, potentially raingear
In summer in Pompeii, you want to wear shorts, t-shirts, sun hat, sunglasses and tons of sunscreen. Opt for breathable clothing and dress for extreme heat
Pompeii with a baby or toddler
If visiting Pompeii with a baby of a toddler, these tips can be useful:
Pompeii is not stoller friendly in most parts. While an accessible part of Pompeii exists, if you want the freedom to explore Pompeii at leisure, I recommend you opt for a baby carrier on this day.
Good to know! If you have your stroller with you, because it was handy to get to Pompeii, you can leave it at the luggage deposit at the entrance.
A baby carrier is your best friend! You can find here >> my favorite baby carriers for Italy
There is tons of food outside of Pompeii: while some food is also available inside, the largest choice of food and drinks it at the sire entrance, just before ticket control.
The entrance is also where you find the restrooms. Like in the rest of Italy, don’t expect them to be well-equipped for babies – they do the job but they are nothing fancy!
Pompeii roads are mostly made of large stones: if visiting with toddlers, make sure they have good shoes and consider the stones more like an opportunity to develop dexterity than an easy walking surface!
They can be fun for a toddler but you won’t move around Pomepii fast, with little legs in tow!
Bags and luggage in Pompeii
Pompeii only allows small bags inside but has bag storage at its entrance.
If you’re coming to Pompeii while on the way somewhere else, you can leave your luggage there – car transfer services to Pompeii also often offer to bring you, wait for you and then bring you to your destination: in that case, they are usually able to keep the bags.
Food and water in Pompeii
Drinking water fountains are readily available inside Pompeii archaeological site.
Food establishments are at the site entrance and offer food and drinks. The pizza from Suisse here is legendary!
How to get to Pompeii with kids
The two best ways to get t Pompeii with children in tow are car and train.
By car: Pompeii is served by several parking lots. They are just across the street from the excavation site and a handy place to leave your vehicle.
By train: Pompeii is connected to Naples and Sorrento by train. You can choose between the Circumvesuviana train, which is the local commuter train, and the Campania Express, the tourist train.
They are both good options: the Circumvesuviana is cheaper, more basic and often unreliable and while the Campania Express is more user-friendly, albeit less frequent.
Both options, however, do the job. In both cases, I recommend you leave quite a generous buffer of time in case of delay if you need to be at Pompeii at a specific time (for instance, to meet your guide).
Best Pompeii tours for kids
My favorite Pompeii tours are:
Pompeii tour for kids with transport by Pinocchio Tours (part of Kids’ Raphael Tours): this is an excellent tour of Pompei for kids, led by a local guide and with the additional options of offering transport from Naples, The Alafi coat of even Rome
Highlights of Pompeii Tour by LIvTours TOP PICK for families with babies of toddlers! This is an excellent private tour by one of my favorite providers in Italy/ the guides are super knowledgeable and they are fantastic with families with your kids as they can adapt the pace to your needs. Option to add transport from local areas and even Rome available.
Pompeii tour for kids by Mariaclaudia Tours: this is an excellent kid-friendly tour with a local guide. The tour starts at the Pompeii site entrance (no transport option offered), it is led by a knowledgeable and engaging guide and is fantastic for kids age 6 to 11 especially.
I hope you enjoyed this practical travel guide Pompeii with kids, and it helped you plan your visit. Safe travels!
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