10 Things to Do in Naples Italy | An Essential City Guide
Naples or Napoli as it is called in Italian, is a fantastic major city in the South of Italy. There are so many things to do in Naples, Italy, that you are bound to have an unforgettable trip.
As the birthplace of Pizza, a trip to Naples is a foodie’s dream. Worldwide, loads of sauces boast that they’re made with authentic Neapolitan tomatoes. So imagine how good the food is when it is freshly made in this beautiful Italian city!
Aside from the tasty cuisine and tons of restaurants, there are also unique things to do in Naples, Italy. Visit the beautiful churches, architecture, museums, and castles. As Naples is a coastal city, you can also enjoy the sea air and views. While you might not be able to sunbathe on the sand, you can still sit with your feet in the water, enjoying the rays of the Italian sun and cold gelato.
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Naples or Sorrento as a Base to Explore Italy?
Quick reference guide
Many people consider whether to stay in Naples or Sorrento as a base for onward travel. As Naples has proximity to the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius (an active volcano), there are plenty of options for day trips.
Southern Italy is famous for its beaches and coastline, so consider visiting the Amalfi Coast while you’re in the region. Naples is also close to the capital city of Rome. If you’re looking to extend your visit to Italy, why not explore the things to do in Rome for three days.
Read on to discover the ten best things to do in Naples, Italy, and make your own decision about whether you will visit for a day or base yourself there for a more extended holiday.
Where to stay when you visit Naples?
Naples, Italy, has a little bit of a reputation for being dirty, which can cause people to feel uneasy or unsafe. In addition, Naples is a big city, and as such, some areas look a bit more run-down than others, and there is petty crime. However, on my travels, I never once felt unsafe in Naples. On the contrary, the local people were really friendly and helpful, doing everything they could to point me in the right direction when I was lost.
If you want to be near the action and close to all of the unique things to do in Naples, Italy, I recommend staying in Quartieri Spagnoli or the Naples Historical Centre. It is easy to get to Naples from the airport, using the funicular lines, bus shuttle, or taxi.
The hotels around this area are often above shops and other things, so it can be a little challenging to find where you’re staying, and the cobbled streets aren’t the best to be dragging your suitcase over. But, being so close to the street of Via Toledo, where most of the nightlife and restaurants are, it is worth it.
List of the Ten Best Things to do in Naples Italy
1) Visit the popular Via Tolerdo Area
Via Toledo is one of the most prominent tourist areas in the whole of Naples. The ancient street of Via Toledo is well-known for shopping. It stretches for 0.75miles and starts and ends at a Neapolitan Pizzeria.
There are several sights, monuments, and striking architectural buildings on this route that you should not miss. I have listed some of the best sights in the Naples Via Toledo area below:
- Galleria Umberto I, a beautiful public shopping gallery from the 19th century, is a UNESCO world heritage site within the Historic Centre of Naples.
- Palazzo Buono, a stunning 17th century building, was rebuilt in Neoclassical style during the ten years of the French occupation of Naples. It is just a shop, but it is pretty, nevertheless.
- San Nicola alla Carità, the church of St. Nicholas the Charitable is a 16th century building that has an ornate décor that you must see while you’re in the area.
2) Head to ‘Pizza Alley’ to Taste authentic pizza from Naples’ pizzerias
So let’s cut right to it when in Napoli NA, it would be a travesty if you didn’t devour (at least one) Neapolitan Pizza. A candle lit dinner, eating world famous pizza, has got to be one of the most romantic things to do in Naples Italy. There’s no better place to get your fill of doughy tomato goodness than from ‘Pizza Alley’ located on Via Tribunali.
The most famous place for pizza in Naples, Italy, is Sorbillo. This pizzeria has history and notoriety, and Sorbillo makes the best pizza in the world, so it is worth checking out… if you can handle the carnage!
However, when I went to Sorbillo pizzeria, people were so desperate to get in that they pushed past the crowds gathered outside to put their name on the list and waited hours for a seat. It’s also really confusing as there is another Pizzeria also called Sorbillo next door. Judging by the crowds outside one of them, it is obvious which one is famous.
I chose to swerve the Sorbillo tourist trap and chose another pizzeria recommended by our hotel – Pizzeria Dal Presidente, which is known to have been favoured by Bill Clinton. There are great vegetarian options, and the pizza was delicious.
3) Take a cookery class to make your own pizza
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Naples Italy, try your hand at pizza making and learn how to make the best pizza direct from a Neapolitan chef.
Learn the authentic ways Italian pizza is made from an expert pizzaiolo (pizza maker) and refine your culinary skills. Best of all, you get to eat your tasty pizza creation. Win-win right?
4) Cool yourself down with a refreshing Gelato at Fontana del Carciofo,
A visit to Napoli NA wouldn’t be complete with tasting Italian Gelato. So, again, I followed our receptionists’ advice and visited the place that she recommended, Il Gelato Mennella.
Not only was the Gelato (ice – cream/sorbet) delicious and affordable, it is only a 3-min walk from Piazza del Plebiscito. This means you get to relax with a cool Gelato in hand, gazing at the Fontana del Carciofo, a beautiful fountain.
5) Stroll around the Piazza del plebiscito
The Piazza del plebiscito is Napoli’s largest Piazza at over six acres. This is one of the top things to do in Naples Italy that you don’t even realise you’re doing. That is because it is so lovely to stroll around on a warm day, and despite the restoration work, it still looks fantastic.
The whole Piazza is beautiful. There is also the Royal Palace to the east and the beautiful church of San Francesco di Paola to the west, which are other gorgeous sights to see.
6) Visit the Maschio Angioino Castle
A visit to Maschio Angioino, an ancient medieval castle is one of the unique things to do in Naples Italy. Also known as Castel Nuovo (New Castle), this breath-taking piece of history adds a splash of renaissance and culture to Piazza Municipio.
Castel Nuovo is made of sandstone and is surrounded by an impressive fortress. At the time of writing, there is a lot of exciting excavation work in the surrounding area. Inside the castle, you can see sights such as the armory room and tickets cost no more than 6 euros without the need for booking.
7) Visit Castel dell’Ovo – The castle on the Gulf of Naples
Castel dell Ovo is the only castle in Napoli with free entrance. However, access to Castel dell-Ovo needs to be booked in advance for a specific timeslot. So please don’t do what I did and rock up expecting to walk in as that won’t happen. You can get tickets here.
The whole area surrounding Castle Ovo is beautiful. You can sit on the rocks that surround the bay of Naples with your feet in the sea or visit one of the many restaurants nearby. This area is so relaxing and picturesque, and it is personally one of my favourite places to relax.
8) Photograph the views of Mount Vesuvius from Lungomare
One of the fun things to do in Napoli is to bask in the beautiful views of the ocean. The iconic photography that everyone associates with Napoli is the view of Mount Vesuvius from across the Gulf of Naples. The 2.5km strip of pedestrian road that spans the coastline makes for a lovely leisurely and scenic stroll towards the Naples Harbour.
Tourists and locals alike often head here for sunset, particularly on a clear day. As this Italian city doesn’t have a public beach as such, you can grab a rock to sunbathe or relax upon after a long day (they’re not as uncomfortable as they look, promise).
9) Visit the The Linea 1 Metro
While it might seem off that I’m recommending a visit to the Linea 1 Metro station as one of the unique things to do in Naples Italy, it is because this metro station is so cool. Not only is it a functional metro line, but it is also filled with marvellous art installations that make you feel as though you’re in an art gallery, not a metro station.
Visit the Toledo station for some of the unique artwork in the Naples underground.
10) Have a drink next to the open ruins in Piazza Bellini
Piazza Bellini is a popular hangout for locals as it has many different open-air bars and can get lively on the weekend. So visit here if you want to let your hair down and enjoy a drink in a district buzzing with atmosphere.
In addition, you can view the ancient ruins that are in the centre of the square, although these aren’t very well maintained. Nevertheless, if you want to experience the more cosmopolitan side of Napoli, NA, then pop to Pizza Bellini for a few hours.
Still Looking for Fun Things to Do in Naples Italy?
If you’re looking for more things to do in Napoli, have a look at Get your Guide or Viator below. Even if you don’t book a tour or experience with them directly, it will help you build your perfect itinerary. If you have the time, a trip to see Mt. Vesuvius or Pompeii is a must.
You can check these tours from Naples, Italy, here. Also, consider visiting the stunning Capri Island, a perfect getaway that even celebrities like to escape to. There are tours to Capri Island from Naples. Otherwise, you can do it on your own.
You might also find the following guides useful:
- Visiting Capri Island in a day
- Things to do in Sorrento
- Amalfi Coast Road Trip
- Best Vegetarian Dishes in the World to eat when travelling
Tips for when you Visit Naples
- Make sure you taste the famous Napoli Pizzas, just book ahead if you want to go to Sorbillo.
- Visit the Castles;, they are beautiful from the outside, but book tickets in advance if you want to see the inside.
- Walk past all the taxi touts to get to the airport shuttle bus stop – the Alibus shuttle only costs 5 euros to get into the centre of Naples, Italy.
- Plan enough time for onward travel – the train station is enormous and not that easy to navigate. If you’re heading to Sorrento, go down the escalators for tickets! It isn’t apparent
Pin for Later
If you’re not travelling to Naples just yet, pin this post to review later when you’re ready to visit. Have you visited? I’d love to know your tips and how you found it, so please let me know in the comments.