Before my recent Mediterranean cruise aboard the Carnival Breeze, I did a fair amount of research on all of the ports and what we wanted to do at each. I found a ton of info for all of the stops in Italy … except for one … Salerno.
Salerno is not a traditional stop for the major cruise lines, and it’s usually only on the itinerary when the port of Naples is booked. The good news is there are less crowds and the scenery is still beautiful. The bad news is we didn’t get to try Naples’ famous pizza, and excursions filled up quickly. As they did in our case with Pompeii.
My daughter decided at the last minute that she must visit Pompeii, and our only option was public transportation. I decided to wing it, and thankfully we made it from the Port of Salerno to Pompeii, on our own via the train — DIY.
Carnival Cruise Lines offers shuttle service from the ship to town (a short distance from the train station) for €5 per person roundtrip — children under 12 are free. If your cruise line offers a shuttle, this is your best bet and you can use the info below from the shuttle stop. If not, take a cab directly to the train station and follow the directions below from the train station to Pompeii.
Salerno to Pompeii by Train
Directions from Cruise Shuttle stop in Salerno to Train Station
The shuttles drop off is at a bus stop across the street from a parking lot. You want to get off and head towards the pizzeria on the right of the photo with the red awning (Pizzicorio) — stay on that sidewalk to the left of the restaurant.
Contiune to walk, with the parking lot on your left, about two blocks. You will cross another main street, and head towards a cream colored building, where you will make a right (with the blue awning) — this is a little square with shopping and restaurants.
Once you make a right you will head a little further until you see the train/bus station on your left — you can’t miss it!
Directions from the Train Station in Salerno to Pompeii
Now here’s where things got a little more tricky for us, and where you need to do you research in advance on which routes have which stops. Purchasing the tickets was easy. I went to the attendant and bought two round-trip train tickets (4 tickets total for 2 people) to Pompei. The cost was €2.10 per ticket, each way. The ticket is standard for travel 100 minutes or less.
The attendant, who spoke little English, told me to get on the train to Napoli, as it was the next train with a stop in Pompei — Seems easy enough? Unfortunately, he also directed me to the wrong platform, and my inexperience with trains in Italy could have landed me in Milan. Luckily, the train to Naples was late and another family from the same cruise pointed me in the right direction.
Don’t forget to validate your tickets in the yellow box! — this puts a time stamp on them.
The train to Naples from Salerno is not the fast train to Pompei. The trip took around 40 minutes with multiple stops. The scenery is beautiful if you sit on the left side of the train going towards Pompeii. I had no idea how many stops there would be, and just got off when we saw the sign for Pompei.
Here on out it was very easy to get to the back entrance of the Pompeii excavation site.
When we exited the train station in Pompei, there were taxis readily available for €3 per person to the entrance of the Pompeii site. I knew it wouldn’t be far to walk on our own, and I was right.
This is the train station in Pompei — you will exit to the left of this photo, and cross the street to Via Sacra, staying on the sidewalk.
You will keep walking until you see the church below, where you will cross the street and make a right onto a large sidewalk, heading towards the tower.
It’s all very easy once you get there. When you make your right, this is what you will see ahead.
You will then make a left at the restaurant on the corner — the sidewalk will become scalloped — the street is Via Roma.
You will follow the sidewalk for a little while longer until you come to the back entrance of Pompeii — Piazza Anfiteatro — which will be on the right of this street. As you near, you will begin to see street vendors. This is a good place to buy bottled water if you need some.
The entrance fee to Pompeii is currently €11, per person.
To get back to Salerno, just backtrack the same way you came.
A Note About Trains in Italy
It’s true what they say, they’re never on time.
I can’t stress enough how important is to know which trains stop where. Our train back to Salerno never arrived — When you look at the Trenitalia site in advance, there seems to be a ton of trains coming and going from Pompei and Salerno. The thing is, when you arrive at the station, the stops aren’t listed the same and for example, to get to Pompei, we needed to take the “Napoli” train, which happens to stop in Pompei — you need to know the major cities in the direction you are going and their stops. A little confusing for a first-timer.
The Salerno train never arrived and we waited an hour for the next train going in the same direction, which turned out to be a fast train with the destination as “Formia”. I would never have known this train stopped in Salerno if it hadn’t been for others from the cruise (more prepared than I) to direct me. Also, Partenze means departures — make sure you are looking at this board.
The whole experience was an adventure for my daughter and I, and I felt very safe the whole time — looking back, this is probably one of the easiest DIY ports. We did save a fair amount of money, round-trip to and from the ship with tickets to Pompeii cost me €35.40. I would recommend having a plan B (and possibly a plan C) for getting back to the ship in the event there’s an issue with the train. And whatever you do … don’t take the last train back to Salerno!
If you have any questions, ask away! — Happy & safe travels