Things to do in Ercolano

About Ercolano

The Herculaneum Archaeological Park is an indisputable must-see, offering an exceptional glimpse into the ancient world preserved by volcanic ash. Other essential attractions include the MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum and the grand Villa Campolieto with its historical splendor and gardens.
Visiting the Herculaneum Archaeological Park is a fantastic educational opportunity for kids. The MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum also offers interactive exhibits perfect for young explorers, and walking along the Ercolano's scenic waterfront provides a delightful and relaxing experience for the whole family.
Taking part in Ercolano excursions like exploring the ruins of Herculaneum, enjoying a picnic at Villa Favorita, or hiking in the scenic areas around Mount Vesuvius provides invigorating outdoor experiences.
Indoor enthusiasts will find the MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum an intriguing destination, while a visit to the Ercolano Antiquarium to see artifacts from ancient Herculaneum is another engaging indoor activity.
The best Ercolano tours include guided visits to the Herculaneum Archaeological Park, the MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum's technology-driven exhibits, and themed walking tours of historic sites and piazzas, offering rich insight into the city's past and present.
The MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum and the Ercolano Antiquarium are among the most visited as they showcase the city’s illustrious history and archaeological finds.
On a rainy day, the MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum offers a dry escape with immersive historical encounters, while various historical sites like palaces and churches provide sheltered environments full of interest.
Short tours in Ercolano typically include a quick stroll through the city's main historical points, a concise guided tour around the Herculaneum Archaeological Park, or a brief visit to any of the local museums, perfect for travelers tight on time.

Best Things to Do In Ercolano

Embark on a journey of discovery with the array of attractions that Ercolano offers to culture and history enthusiasts.

Ercolano: Papyri Library (Biblioteca dei Papyri)

What is it?
A unique collection of ancient papyrus scrolls carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Why you should go?
The Papyri Library is a highlight for literary enthusiasts and history buffs exploring Ercolano. It preserves the intellectual legacy of Herculaneum, housing an invaluable collection of ancient texts that were once part of a wealthy villa's library. These scrolls, although charred by the volcanic heat, have been painstakingly restored and deciphered, offering a rare glimpse into the literary world of antiquity. This attraction is key for understanding the cultural wealth of the past and is a standout among the educational opportunities in Ercolano.

Ercolano: Street of the Tombs

What is it?
The ancient necropolis lining the road leading out of Herculaneum.
Why you should go?
For those pondering what to see in Ercolano, the Street of the Tombs offers a solemn journey back in time. This preserved Roman burial site provides context to the city's customs and beliefs surrounding death and remembrance. The elaborate tombs and memorials offer a narrative on the social status and familial pride during the era. This path bears eloquent testament to the ancient city's last rites and serves as a compelling destination for visitors seeking a complete historical perspective.

Ercolano: Central Thermae

What is it?
The well-preserved remnants of an ancient Roman public bath complex.
Why you should go?
The Central Thermae is a fascinating site that should be included on any tour itinerary when deciding what to do in Ercolano. The baths are an impressive testament to Roman engineering and culture, offering insights into the social and leisure activities of the time. Visitors can admire the intricate mosaics and the sophisticated heating systems that once provided relaxation and comfort to Herculaneum's inhabitants. Exploring this site instills appreciation for the innovation and affluence of ancient Roman society.

Ercolano: Casa dei Cervi

What is it?
The House of the Deer is a grand residential property unearthed in the archaeological park.
Why you should go?
The Casa dei Cervi represents the domestic elegance of ancient Herculaneum. Its extensive frescoes and artful mosaics capture the affluence and artistic taste of its former residents. As a significant point of interest in the array of things to do in Ercolano, this opulent house also features a panoramic garden overlooking the ancient shoreline. Visitors will marvel at the grandeur and be enchanted by the stories encapsulated within these time-honored walls.

Ercolano: Skull of Herculaneum

What is it?
A poignant archaeological discovery depicting the human impact of Vesuvius' eruption.
Why you should go?
Known as one of the most stirring things to see in Ercolano, the Skull of Herculaneum is a somber reminder of the tragic end that befell the city's inhabitants. This skeletal remain was found alongside others seeking refuge in the boathouses, embodying the human side of natural disasters. The display is part of a larger narrative that delves deeply into the life and abrupt cessation of a once-thriving community, making it a profoundly moving experience for all visitors.

Ercolano: Herculaneum Archaeological Park

What is it?
An ancient Roman town preserved under volcanic ash from the eruption of Vesuvius.
Why you should go?
A visit to the Herculaneum Archaeological Park is undeniably one of the best things to do in Ercolano. These impeccably preserved ruins offer a snapshot of life in 79 AD, providing an immersive experience as visitors walk through ancient houses, baths, and streets. Unlike its famous neighbor Pompeii, Herculaneum is less crowded, thus offering a more intimate encounter with the past. It's an enlightening excursion that marvelously contrasts the fragility of human civilizations with the timeless narratives they leave behind.

Ercolano: MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum

What is it?
A state-of-the-art museum offering a virtual reality experience of ancient times.
Why you should go?
The MAV provides a captivating twist on traditional museums by using technology to resurrect the past, making it one of the most intriguing places to visit in Ercolano. Visitors are transported back to the Roman era through high-tech simulations and interactive exhibits that recreate ancient Herculaneum before the devastating eruption. This fusion of history and technology appeals to both the young and the old, making it a perfect addition to Ercolano activities for families seeking an engaging educational experience.

Ercolano: Villa Campolieto

What is it?
A stunning Vesuvian villa representing the architectural grandeur of the 18th century.
Why you should go?
Villa Campolieto, one of the famed Vesuvian villas, epitomizes the grandiose lifestyle of the Bourbon aristocracy. Its halls have been graced by nobility, serving as a venue for sumptuous events. Today, visitors can explore the lavish interiors and manicured gardens, often accompanied by classical music events that echo the villa's rich history. The visit offers a unique glimpse into the opulence of Ercolano's golden age, making it a top destination on any list of things to do in Ercolano.

Ercolano: The Boat Sheds

What is it?
Historic preservation sites where the skeletal remains and relics of ancient boat houses are on display.
Why you should go?
The Boat Sheds present a somber yet significantly historical aspect of Ercolano's archaeological landscape. This waterfront section of the ancient city provides moving insight into the final moments of those who attempted to flee the catastrophic eruption. The eerie but important site allows for personal reflection and a deeper understanding of the magnitude of the event, positioning it among the most meaningful Ercolano excursions for visitors drawn to the human stories of heritage destinations.

Ercolano: The Antiquarium

What is it?
A museum dedicated to displaying the everyday items from the inhabitants of ancient Herculaneum.
Why you should go?
The Antiquarium is an absolute must-see for visitors interested in the details of daily life in antiquity. As part of the broader Ercolano tours, the museum showcases organic materials such as textiles and wooden objects that reveal the textures of historic domestic life. These artifacts deliver profound insights into the ancient society that once thrived until Vesuvius reshaped its destiny. It stands as a testament to the extraordinary preservation conditions of Ercolano and is a cornerstone of the cultural journey through the city.

TOP-5 tours in Ercolano for first time visitors

  • Uncover the secrets of the ancient city with a comprehensive audio guide exploring the top things to see in Ercolano, including its renowned archeological sites.
  • Engage in fun things to do in Ercolano with a family-friendly tour that combines interactivity and learning, perfect for visitors of all ages.
  • Experience the best Ercolano tours through a curated selection of Ercolano activities, to delve into the city's vibrant culture and hidden gems.
  • Find out what to do in Ercolano by following an expertly narrated excursion that highlights the magnificent villas and frescoes of this ancient Roman town.
  • Join one of the premium Ercolano excursions tailored to showcase the breathtaking landscapes and archaeological wonders, a must-do for history aficionados.

Fun things to do in Ercolano with kids

Exploring Ercolano presents an adventurous outing for families, melding historical exploration with interactive learning that sparks the curiosity of young minds. The Herculaneum Archaeological Park, ranked high on the list of places to visit in Ercolano, offers children a captivating glimpse into the daily life of an ancient Roman city. The relatively compact size of the ruins makes it manageable for little legs, and the site often captivates children with its storied past. For a splash of innovation, the MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum brings history to life through interactive exhibits and virtual reality stations where kids can witness the ancient world in an immersive and engaging way. Lastly, the open spaces and surviving frescoes at Villa Campolieto provide ample opportunities for kids to learn and play amongst the echoes of history, making Ercolano activities diversified and educational. Whether participating in Ercolano tours or leisurely exploring, there's no shortage of experiences to enthuse the entire family.

Things to do in Ercolano with family

The historic allure of Ercolano is accentuated by attractions that are ideal for family outings. The Herculaneum Archaeological Park tops the charts as a must-visit, where both adults and children are transported back in time within a well-preserved Roman city, making it one of the most educational things to do in Ercolano. The MAV - Virtual Archaeological Museum then takes learning to the next level by putting a technological spin on ancient history. Families can interact with virtual reconstructions of Ercolano pre-eruption, combining fun with a rich educational experience. For a relaxing day, visiting Villa Campolieto offers a chance to stroll through elegant gardens and admire the Neoclassical architecture. This villa introduces a sense of tranquility and beauty that is enjoyable for every family member. Each of these Ercolano activities provides a perfect blend of entertainment, learning, and appreciation of cultural heritage, ensuring a memorable family vacation.

Free things to do in Ercolano

Ercolano harbors a wealth of activities that don't require a ticket, offering priceless experiences for budget-savvy travelers. Strolling along the picturesque streets provides an authentic feel of this historic town, with the Gulf of Naples providing a stunning backdrop. It's an excellent kickoff for ‘things to do in Ercolano’ that doesn't cost a dime. The Parco Acheologico di Ercolano opens its gates several times a year for free, allowing visitors to explore ancient Roman ruins; checking the park's schedule in advance can help plan a visit on these special days. Additionally, Ercolano is dotted with public art and historical plaques, turning a simple walk into an informative journey through the city's storied past. Lastly, for a serene escape, the public park, Villa Favorita offers a verdant retreat with panoramic views of Mount Vesuvius, making it one of the most picturesque places to visit in Ercolano without spending a euro.

Cheap things to do in Ercolano

Visitors to Ercolano can enjoy an array of budget-friendly experiences rich in history and culture. The Ercolano Antiquarium offers a low-cost opportunity to see a collection of ancient artifacts excavated from the nearby ruins, enhancing the understanding of local heritage. It stands out as an affordable Ercolano activity. Roaming the historical centers and piazzas of Ercolano, where vibrant local life unfolds, is not only free but an authentic way to absorb the town's atmosphere. Another worthwhile, inexpensive experience is to indulge in the local cuisine at small trattorias or street food vendors, where visitors can savor traditional dishes at a fraction of the price found in tourist hotspots. Last but not least, visiting the Piazza Vesuvio with its sweeping views of the volcano provides a memorable and cost-free way to appreciate the area's natural beauty, solidifying its position in the list of things to do in Ercolano.

Things to do in Ercolano for couples

Romance flourishes in Ercolano with plenty of activities for couples. Begin at the Herculaneum Archaeological Park where lovers can walk hand in hand among ancient ruins, delving into history and imagining life in a bygone era, making for a unique and romantic stroll. This is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Ercolano for history enthusiast couples. For a tranquil retreat, the Villa Campolieto, with its lush gardens and stunning views of the Bay of Naples, provides the perfect ambiance for a serene and intimate picnic. It's an idyllic spot that combines relaxation with opulent surroundings. As the sun sets, a visit to the scenic Ercolano waterfront allows couples to take in the breathtaking views of the coastline and Vesuvius, offering a picturesque setting to capture their love. To complete the perfect evening, dining al fresco at a cozy local eatery, indulging in delectable Neapolitan dishes, seals the day as an experience to cherish.

Things to do in Ercolano at night

Ercolano's charm doesn't fade as the sun sets; instead, it offers a whole new array of experiences perfect for nocturnal exploration. A popular evening activity in Ercolano is to visit the vibrant local piazzas, where street performers and lively bars create a festive atmosphere, offering a genuine slice of Italian nightlife. Couples and friends can enjoy an aperitivo here while soaking up the town's after-dark ambiance. Another attractive option for night owls is indulging in authentic Neapolitan cuisine at one of Ercolano’s quaint restaurants or trattorias, where the flavors come to life in a cozy, romantic setting—this is a must for any culinary enthusiast. For those with a taste for drama, the occasional night tour of Herculaneum Archaeological Park allows visitors to explore the ruins under the stars, adding an eerie and mystical layer to the ancient stones and streets. These tours provide a unique and memorable nocturnal experience—one of the best things to do in Ercolano at night.