WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN NAPLES?
Let’s be honest: Naples is a quite dirty city, with a lot of pollution and poverty. However, it’s also a very lively and interesting place to discover because it contains many architectural, historical and culinary treasures. The center of Naples is very compact and can be explored on foot, but make sure you have good walking shoes! ok it’s a bit messy and there is a lot of noise but it’s not that bad. When it comes to safety, avoid dark alleys if you go out at night and always keep an eye on your belongings as you would anywhere else. Napolitans are very friendly and will help you without problem.
Naples is also a good central base if you want to see the ruins of Pompeii located about twenty kilometers away, or if you want to go to the surrounding islands (Capri for example), as well as the seaside resorts of the Amalfi Coast.
Some practical information before going to Naples:
- From the airport, you can either take a bus or a taxi (between 16 and 23 € to reach the center).
- Naples Airport Bus: It takes approximately 25 minutes. The name of the bus is Alibus (red color), and it makes three stops: airport – port – Naples station. You have to buy the tickets at the tobacconists, it costs 3 €. If you pay directly by getting on the bus, the price is 4 €. There is a tobacconist right next to the harbor bus stop, to the Kimbo cafe on the left of the ticket offices for the ferry.
- Bus Naples – Pompeii: 40 minutes. The bus stop is at the port, there is a large bus parking east of the ticket offices for ferries. Price: € 2.60.
- From the harbor, you can take the ferry to Capri, Ischia, Sorrento…
- Please leave a comment if some infos must be updated!
Here are 12 things to do and see absolutely in Naples:
1 – Walk on the seaside
A very nice walk along the sea: start from Castel Nuovo to Castel Dell’Ovo. You have to pay to go inside Castel Nuovo: 6 €, not very very interesting if you want my opinion, but it is pretty from the outside and you can have a glimpse of the courtyard through the front door. The entrance to Castel Dell’Ovo is free and you can see a beautiful view at the top.
2 – The Galleria Umberto I
A very tall glass gallery built in 1887, which was rebuilt after its destruction during the Second World War. Its glass dome can be seen from Castel Nuovo and is not far away. Admission is free and there are some shops and restaurants inside the gallery.
3 – Visit the historic center of Naples
The historic center of Naples is very compact and easy to explore on foot, through narrow streets typical of the city to admire the beautiful churches. Do not miss the Duomo and the statue of the dead Christ in the cappella Sansevero.
4 – Visit the archaeological museum
One of the most important collections of art objects in the world can be found at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, which houses mosaics and monumental sculptures from the site of Pompei and the surrounding area.
- Entrance costs 8 € but is free on the first Sunday of the month (just like Herculaneum).
5 – The Piazza del Plebiscito
The largest square in Naples that gives the impression of having plenty of room for oneself after strolling through the narrow streets of Naples, and where you can see the huge Basilica of San Francesco di Paola (interesting to visit – free admission).
6 – Admire the view from Parco Virgiliano
A park located at the western tip of the city where you can admire the panorama of the Bay of Naples and the islands. A quiet and peaceful place compared to the center of Naples.
7 – Visit the underground
Located just beneath the historic center of Naples are underground galleries dating back several centuries and forming a network of about 80 km long. It is possible to visit them and discover the historical origins of the city of Naples.
8 – Eat pizzas
In Naples you will find the best pizzeria in the world! I found it on my way back from Pompeii when I was looking for a restaurant where to eat, we see a crowd queuing in front of a pizzeria so I asked the people what was going on and they told me it’s the best pizzeria in Naples (the name is Da Michele). I did not want to queue, so I went to eat in another place and it was great, but I would have liked to taste their pizza! Some other pizzerias you should try: Sorbillo, 50 Kalò or La Notizia.
When you go to the restaurant, don’t be surprised if you see on the bill that they add 2 € of ‘coperti‘ (tax) per person. If you take a beer, expect to pay on average around 15 € per person. If you’re on a tight budget, take pizzas to go (around 5/6 €).
9 – Pompei and Herculanum
Easily accessible from Naples, the archaeological sites of Pompei and Herculaneum will make you discover the ruins of an ancient Roman city that was buried by layers of ashes during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79. This allowed this state of conservation, even after 2000 years. It’s very interesting to visit but make sure you go with a guide! The bus ride from Naples costs 2.60 € per person (same price for the return by train).
- Entrance to Pompeii: 11 €
10 – Take an excursion to Mount Vesuvius
From Naples you can go to discover Vesuvius, the only active volcano in continental Europe. Climb to the smoking summit of Vesuvius to enjoy a panoramic view of the Gulfs of Naples and Sorrento.
Once at the top, you can see the chasm 600 m in diameter and 200 m deep.
The crater is open all year, except on days when weather conditions make it impossible to visit. To be done very early in the morning to avoid hordes of tourists!
11 – Visit the islands
Several islands are easily accessible by ferry from the port of Naples and allow to make a nice excursion for a day or two: the famous Capri and the neighboring island Ischia, and Procida which is the least touristy.
I really fell in love with Capri which is a very beautiful island and has some amazing landscapes. Do not miss the villa Jovis which offers a superb panorama. Better to stay one or two nights in the island to visit. You will find accomodations on Booking.com.
12 – The Amalfi Coast
It is also possible to take a ferry to admire the panorama of the Amalfi Coast and reach the picturesque village of Positano clinging to a cliff, as well as the seaside resort of Sorrento. If you want to spend more time there, you will find many hostel in Positano on Booking.com.
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