Over the years, Naples’ reputation hasn’t always been the best, having a bad rap for being dangerous and having too much crime. But those days are gone. Well, mostly.
What Naples does offer is an archaeological treasure trove of Greco-Roman artefacts and a fantastic seaside vacation land filled with fresh seafood, cheap wine, hot summers, and fewer tourists! In fact, for many well-travelled tourists, Naples is their hidden gem.
Places to Visit in Naples
- Piazza del Plebiscito
- Castel Nuovo
- Castel dell’Ovo
- Pompeii Ruins
- Naples Harbour
- National Archeological Museum
Unique Things to See and Do in Naples
- Check out the tunnels of Napoli Sotterranea
- Hike Mount Vesuvius
- Witness all the yelling by the local fish merchants
- Sample foods walking through Santa Lucia
- See the ornate panels in the San Domenico Maggiore church
- Day trip to Capri and the Blue Grotto
- Spend a day visiting the colour coast of Procidia
What’s Hot in Naples?
Naples is the land of spicy good hotness in terms of temperature and good luck. One of the peculiar things you might see is the giving of chili peppers as gifts or hanging above doorways. This tradition of giving chili peppers is to ward off any bad luck, so if someone gives you a chili, be gracious. They are not challenging you to chili eating competition!
Peeling Back the Layers to See the Beauty
Look past the shabbiness of the old buildings needing some restoration work and the chaotic nature of driving/scootering/traffic dodging and admire the cultural interactions. Taking a step back to watch this city manoeuvre is the epitome of that classic Italian scene. If you’re from New York and you love little Italy, then you’ll love Naples because it’s the real deal, not watered down. The only real warning for this city is to watch your belongings. Just like in Rome, Milan, or any other big city in Italy, it’s the petty thieves that prosper off the tourists and locals alike.
By far the best way to see Naples is by walking through the streets, interacting with locals, and enjoying all the sights and sounds. Of course, you can’t miss the hot spots which are: Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, Capri, and the historic centre. If you are up for a long educational day, take the bus up to Mount Vesuvius, walk to the crater, photograph the view below, and then take the bus down to Pompeii. Just these two events are enough for one day and you’ll need to start your day early. Here’re a couple of tips: First, take plenty of water with you – it’s CRAZY hot! Second, if you don’t like overpriced mediocre food take some good meat, cheeses and bread for your Pompeii afternoon. Third, either hire a local guide to take you through Pompeii or rent the audio tour. There is so much background knowledge to Pompeii, including a sordid history of brothels and debauchery, that wandering around on your own without this knowledge would end up being boring. Be prepared for being there anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.
Naples is divided into 21 different districts, all are quite unique, but if your time is limited be sure to spend the day walking through the historic centre, Centro Storico. While taking a stroll through Spaccanapoli, you’ll find streets filled with shops, coffee bars, and restaurants. Via San Gregorio Armeno is another known street – famous for nativity scenes and the church of San Gregorio Armeno. There are plenty of piazzas worth visiting; Piazza del Gesu, Piazza del Plebiscito, Piazza Bellini, and Piazza Dante.
Lastly, make sure you visit the Island of Capri before you head out to the Amalfi Coast (because you have to if you’re this close!). Capri island is a ferry ride away and you can make a day trip out it, or if your pockets are deep you can stay in one of the luxurious hotels on the island. Capri is expensive, comparatively, but with great bathing spots like the Blue Grotto, it’s hard to resist.
Getting Around Naples
Best advice while in Naples is to constantly watch the traffic. Whether you’re driving or walking (driving isn’t recommended) the suggestion of rules is just that – a suggestion. If you look around at many of the cars, they aren’t in the greatest of shape. A bump here and bump there – meh. Walking is the best way to experience Naples, but for longer trips across town, grab a taxi at one of the taxi stands. They don’t cruise around looking for passengers. They are inexpensive and offer flat rates to major attractions and sights. One exciting way to travel around Naples’ hillsides is by funicular, cable trams meant for climbing the steepest of hills! There is also the Metro which offers two lines. This is a great way to travel up and down the coast too.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Naples
There’s a reason tomatoes from Naples taste so good – they have glorious sunshine all year long. Which also means there are tourists all year long. Summer months are hot and humid. Period. With highs of 31˚C, the heat can be unbearable for some. Even laying at the beach can be a “sticky, hot” affair, but this is the most popular tourist season. During the autumn and spring months, the temperatures are down, but the rains begin so bring an umbrella. Winters tend to be cool but with plenty of sunshine. For many Europeans, this is the prime time to visit, with temperatures averaging 13˚C you can enjoy afternoons golfing or sitting outside at restaurants, and for the real hearty types, you can even lay on the beach!
Ready to plan your visit to Naples? Check out these popular guides and trips.