Although the name can be translated to “New City”, the rugged cobblestone streets hold secrets that can be dated back to ancient times. Home to the original pizza (that’s right, pizza was not sent from above) and a love for espresso that runs deeper than the world beneath its streets, Naples, Italy waits to be explored.
Located in Southern Italy, Naples is the capital city of the Campania region. The Bay of Naples, which opens up to the Tyrrhenian Sea (an arm of the Mediterranean Sea), makes it one of the most important port cities in the Mediterranean. It is the third largest city in Italy behind Rome and Milan With Positano just south along the coastline.
What a charmer!
Here’s a Pro-Tip: Although Naples is warm year-round, the winter months can be rather wet, so be sure to pack appropriately for the seasons! Also, with so many volcanos in close proximity, check the news before booking!
Flights to Naples will arrive at the International Airport of Naples – Capodichino Airport. This airport serves domestic as well as international flights. Once landed, you can make your way to the city via taxi, shuttle or city bus. Although taking a taxi from the airport to the city is convenient, I would not recommend taking a taxi around the city. The streets are very narrow, packed with traffic and it is much easier and quicker to walk most places.
Here’s another Pro-Tip: You can purchase a TIC (Ticket Integrato Campani) which is a pass to all city metro lines. You can opt for a single use (good for 90 minutes), one-day pass or week-pass.
With so much to explore, it was hard to choose, but here are my top things to do in Naples:
Castles – Having been ruled by numerous different kingdoms in its extensive history, Naples is widely known as the City of Castles. Here are the top castles that I recommend visiting:
- Castle Nuovo – Also known as Maschio Angioino, be sure to check out the Hall of Barons
- Castle dell’Ovo – One of the city’s oldest castles, dating back to the 6th Folklore says that a sorcerer hid an egg within the castles’ foundation saying that as long as the egg was safe, the castle and city of Naples would remain safe!
There’s an egg hidden under the Castel dell’Ovo, no yolk!
- Castle Sant’Elmo – A medieval fortress atop Vomero Hill consisting of a museum, exhibition hall and some seriously amazing views!
Pompeii – This ancient city (along with Herculaneum) was frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, burying it under 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) of ash. You can either take a guided tour or walk the streets on your own, however whichever you choose, remember to bring sun protection and snacks for your adventure. You can reach Pompeii from the city centre via the Napoli-Sorrento Circumvesuviana train. Although scenic, the journey is long and winding.
Here’s another Pro-Tip: To see more incredible Pompeii artefacts, head to the National Archaeological Museum in Naples.
I lava exploring ancient Pompeii!
Capri island – For a break from the commotion of the city, head over to the Naples harbour and hop on a ferry to this charming island. While there, be sure to check out the Roman Emperor Tiberius’ many villas, swim in the sea and visit the Blue Grotto Sea Cave.
While there are many notable fine dining restaurants in Naples, quality food can be found just about everywhere. Pizzerias, gelaterias and cafes serving delectable sfogliatelle pastries and espressos can be spotted far and wide. Street food such as cuoppo, pizza fritta and montanara are commonly consumed on the go, keeping the city’s vibe alive and active. Here are my recommendations of where to enjoy the legendary Neapolitan food:
- Di Matteo – A well-priced local favourite, old-school pizzeria with a street front stall proving that ‘the simpler the better’.
- Taverna dell’Arte – A romantic atmosphere with a varied menu full of traditional flavours.
- Da Cicciotto – Located atop a cliff with incredible seaside views, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, this elegant establishment offers the freshest seafood dishes.
Port’Alba was the first pizzeria ever opened and is still open today!
Here’s a final Pro-Tip: The tap water in Naples is safe to drink, so be sure to ask for tap water while dining to avoid the extra charge.
Naples is just as vibrant after sundown as it is during the day. The city’s’ nightlife is exciting with areas like Piazza Bellini and Chiaia offering plenty of bars, pubs and clubs for locals and travellers to enjoy a bellini or two. With Campania being a producer of high-quality wines, you can also find many fabulous wine bars where you can enjoy the taste of local wineries. Here are some of my favourite places to enjoy a drink:
- Enoteca Belledonne – A classic wine bar in Chiaia with a carefully picked wine list featuring mostly Italian wines.
- Il Birraiuolo – The focus here is Italian craft beer, with a casual vibe and excellent whiskey selection as well.
- Alter Ego – Located in Piazza Bellini offering a variety of drinks, live music and lively atmosphere.
Here are some great places to stay while visiting Naples:
Enjoy the romantic atmosphere in Old Town
- The Bellini House – Located in the heart of the historic district, offering garden views and a lovely atmosphere after a long day of sightseeing.
- NaopliMia Hotel – In one of Naples’ lovely historical buildings, rooms are modern and colourful. Nearby the metro station.
- Grand Hotel Vesuvio – With a seafront location in Santa Lucia, this luxury stay offers views of Mount Vesuvius, Capri and the Gulf of Naples.
Naples is a beautiful contradiction. From the gorgeous landscapes, to historical landmarks, all wrapped within a bustling metropolis, I always love visiting its beautiful chaos.