As a professional travel advisor, I often get asked for tips on what to do in Naples, Italy. With its rich history, delicious cuisine, and stunning views of the Bay of Naples, it’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to this vibrant city. In this itinerary, I’ll highlight some of the must-see sights and share my recommendations for where to eat and sleep. Let’s get started!
Day 1: Explore the Historic Center
Start your day in Naples by exploring the city’s historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the most important landmarks in this area include:
- Piazza del Plebiscito: This is the main square of Naples and is surrounded by important buildings like the Royal Palace and the Church of San Francesco di Paola.
- Castel dell’Ovo: This seaside castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Naples and offers amazing views of the Bay of Naples.
- Naples Cathedral: Also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, this impressive church dates back to the 13th century and houses the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro.
- Spaccanapoli: This is a famous street that runs through the heart of Naples’ historic center and is lined with shops, restaurants, and stunning architecture.
After a morning of sightseeing, head to Pizzeria da Michele for lunch. This restaurant has been serving up delicious Neapolitan pizza since 1870 and was even featured in the movie «Eat Pray Love.»
In the afternoon, take a stroll down Via Toledo, which is one of Naples’ main shopping streets. Here you’ll find a mix of local shops and international brands, as well as cafes and gelaterias where you can stop for a sweet treat. End your day by enjoying the sunset from Piazza del Plebiscito, which is especially beautiful in the evening.
Day 2: Visit Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius
No trip to Naples is complete without a visit to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. Start your day early by taking a train from Naples to Pompeii, where you can explore the ancient ruins of this once-thriving city. Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, and the preserved buildings and artifacts offer a fascinating glimpse into life in ancient Rome.
After a few hours in Pompeii, take a bus or taxi to Mount Vesuvius, which is just a short drive away. Mount Vesuvius is still an active volcano, but it’s safe to visit as long as you stick to the designated trails. The hike to the summit takes about an hour, but the views from the top are absolutely breathtaking.
After your adventure at Mount Vesuvius, head back to Naples for a late lunch at Sorbillo, which is known for its delicious pizza and pasta dishes. In the evening, explore the lively neighborhood of Chiaia, which is full of trendy bars and restaurants.
Day 3: Discover the Amalfi Coast
On your final day in Naples, take a day trip to the stunning Amalfi Coast. There are several ways to get there, including by car, bus, or boat. If you prefer to drive, be aware that the roads can be narrow and winding, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Alternatively, you can take a bus or a boat tour that will take you along the coastline and stop in some of the charming towns along the way.
Some of the most popular towns to visit on the Amalfi Coast include:
- Positano: This picturesque town is known for its colorful buildings and steep, narrow streets that lead down to the beach.
- Amalfi: This town is famous for its beautiful cathedral and charming main square.
- Ravello: This hilltop town offers stunning views of the coastline and is known for its beautiful gardens and villas.
No matter which town(s) you choose to visit, be sure to take in the stunning views and enjoy some of the fresh seafood and limoncello that the region is known for.
Where to Stay in Naples
There are plenty of options for accommodations in Naples, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Some of my top picks include:
- Grand Hotel Vesuvio: This iconic hotel offers stunning views of the Bay of Naples and is located just steps away from the historic center.
- La Controra Hostel Naples: This hostel offers affordable accommodations in a beautiful historic building, with a rooftop terrace and a garden.
- UNA Hotel Naples: This modern hotel is located in the trendy Chiaia neighborhood and offers stylish rooms and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views.
- B&B Il Ventre di Napoli: This charming bed and breakfast is located in the heart of the historic center and offers cozy rooms and a delicious breakfast.
Be sure to book your accommodations well in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak season.
Where to Eat in Naples
Naples is known for its delicious cuisine, especially its pizza and seafood dishes. Some of my favorite places to eat in Naples include:
- Pizzeria da Michele: This iconic restaurant is a must-visit for its delicious Neapolitan pizza.
- Sorbillo: This restaurant is known for its pizza and pasta dishes, and has been in the same family for over 100 years.
- Trattoria da Nennella: This family-run restaurant serves traditional Neapolitan dishes in a cozy atmosphere.
- Pescheria Mattiucci: This seafood market and restaurant offers fresh seafood dishes in a casual setting.
Be sure to try some of the local specialties, like spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams) and sfogliatella (a traditional pastry filled with ricotta cheese and candied fruit).
Free Tours in Naples
If you’re traveling on a budget, there are several free walking tours available in Naples that will take you through the city’s historic center and provide insights into its rich history and culture. Some of the most popular free tours include:
- Free Walking Tour Naples: This tour takes you through the historic center and includes stops at landmarks like the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the Castel dell’Ovo.
- Napoli Sotterranea: This tour takes you underground to explore the city’s ancient catacombs and tunnels.
- Street Art Tour Naples: This tour takes you through the city’s vibrant street art scene and showcases the work of local artists.
Be sure to tip your guide at the end of the tour to show your appreciation for their time and expertise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Naples safe for tourists?
Like any big city, Naples has its share of crime and safety concerns. However, if you take basic precautions like staying in well-lit areas and avoiding carrying valuables with you, you should be able to enjoy your visit without any problems.
What’s the best time of year to visit Naples?
The best time to visit Naples is during the shoulder seasons of spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. However, if you don’t mind the heat and the crowds, summer (June to August) can also be a great time to visit, especially if you’re planning to spend time on the beach.
What should I wear when visiting Naples?
It’s a good idea to dress modestly when visiting Naples, especially if you plan to visit any religious sites. Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, or anything too revealing. Comfortable shoes are also a must, especially if you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking.
Do I need to speak Italian to visit Naples?
While it’s always helpful to know a few basic phrases in the local language, you can usually get by with English in Naples. Many people in the tourist industry speak English, and there are plenty of signs and menus in English as well.
Naples is a vibrant and fascinating city that offers something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or just soaking up the atmosphere. With this 3-day itinerary, you’ll be able to see some of the city’s most important landmarks, explore the surrounding area, and enjoy some delicious Neapolitan cuisine. I hope this guide has been helpful, and that you have a wonderful trip to Naples!
Official tourism website of Naples