Cleary not the “hippest” towns in Italy, our decision to visit Naples was met with raised eyebrows. “But why Naples?” So let’s tackle this question first before we move to the super awesome things to do in Naples
- To experience an Italian town that has not yet seen mass tourism.
- To see an active volcano- Mount Vesuvius.
- For its authentic Neopolitan cuisine. You will find very less international food chains here.
- For its artsy and famous alleyways. The city has more than a 100 alleys which intertwine from the old town to the outskirts.
- To shop your heart out. Italian leather and clothing here is super affordable.
- And lastly, to experience an Italian town without aesthetic filters
HOW TO GET AROUND NAPLES
Driving within Naples is not fun. It is extremely congested and parking can be tricky. If you are planning day trips from Naples, it is a good idea to rent a car. The downside of renting a car is finding parking. The rental companies will warn you against parking on the streets, specially overnight. So you will have to find a paid parking site every where you go. Also, majority of the hotels will charge you a parking fee of €20 per night.
So the best option is to use the extensive public transport in Naples and hire a car for day trips outside Naples.
WHERE TO STAY IN NAPLES
Holiday Inn Naples is a 10 minute drive from the airport and is in a quieter neighborhood. The nearest train station is Naples Gianturco Station, a 11 minute walk from the hotel. It is best to read reviews before you choose your stay in Naples. Find your stay here
10 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN NAPLES
1. START YOUR DAY WITH CRUNCHY SFOGLIATELLE AND A SHOT OF EXPRESSO
When the city is known for its food, eating your way through the city ranks at the very top of the things to do in Naples. Head to the famous Attanasio, near Napoli Central Train Station for some Sfogliatelle- crunchy on the outside, soft and citrusy on the inside. Enjoy this pastry with a shot of Expresso. The Italian way of drinking Expresso is to first have a sip of water to clear your taste buds and then the coffee to enjoy its full flavor.
2.VISIT QUARTERI SPAGNOLI
The Spanish Quarter takes its name from the Spanish viceroys, who ruled the city for 200 years, beginning in 1504.
Bustling, colorful, crumbling, energetic, gritty and crowded – this is the best way to describe the Spanish quarters in Naples. This is the most densely populated part of the city. Just walk through the winding alleys watching the tailors, artisans and street vendors at work.
3.ENJOY THE VIEWS FROM THE TERRACE OF CASTEL DELL’OVO
Built in the 12th century, a Roman scribe reputedly buried an egg at the premise where the castle now stands with a warning that when the egg breaks, the castle will fall. Walking up the remains of this castle will give you panoramic views of the city.
A beautiful walk from Piazza Plebiscito along the sea will take you to the castle.The entrance to this complex is free and it is open until 7:30 PM
4.ENJOY A WINE TOUR AT THE WINE CAPITAL
Naples and Campania are considered the wine capitals of Italy and wine is linked to a lot of traditions and customs here. Most wines in this region are dry and it is quite hard to find sweet wine in Naples. Be sure to try Lacryma Christie, a celebrated Neapolitan wine from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius in Campania, which translates to ‘tears of Christ.’ Though not overly fruity, its flavor has notes of plums and prunes. This wine pairs well with Neapolitan pizzza.
5.EAT PRAY LOVE FAN? ENJOY PIZZA MARGHERITA AT PIZZERIA DA MICHELE
Channel your inner Julia Roberts at the world famous joint – La’ Antica Pizzeria Da Michele. They only have two pizzas on the menu- Pizza Margherita with or without cheese. There is usually a long wait, depending on the time of the year. Though we tasted much better pizzas in Naples, it is still worth a try and lives up to the hype.
6.EXPLORE THE FAMOUS ALLEYWAYS OF NAPLES
With over a 100 alleyways zigzagging the city, you will come across alleys with strange names like the Alley of the Sun, Alley of Giants, Alley of Bakers, Alley of Spinsters. The 2 main alleys that you can’t miss while in Naples are:
1.Vico San Gregorio Armeno
Known as Christmas Alley, this is where Christmas lives year around. Now home to forgotten trades and crafts, you will find perfectly crafted figurines of Biblical characters and caricatures here. In 2016, this alley turned runway for a Dolce & Gabbana show.
2.Vico Fresco a Rua Catalana
Located in the port area, this alley is also called the Cold Alley, as the wind rises across the sea and keeps the temperatures here cooler even during summer months. This is a street of filled with tin and cork artisans.
7.VISIT THE HEART OF NAPOLI- SPACCANAPOLI
The cultural heart of Naples, here are the top things to do here.
- Visit L’ Ospedale delle Bambole, a hospital for antique doll restoration.
- Gino Sorbillo, a famous pizzeria in Spaccanapoli that will leave your taste buds satisfied.
- Visit the Christmas alley- Vico of San Gregorio Armeno
8.CLIMB MT.VESUVIUS- AN ACTIVE VOLCANO
You will need to dedicate half a day for this activity and it will be a welcome change from the general chaos in the city. Although it is an active volcano, it is perfectly safe. This is one of the heavily monitored volcanoes and will not suddenly start spewing lava. There are many scenic nature walk routes here, the most famous hike is to Monte Somma. This crater offers stunning views of Naples.
9.VISIT SANSEVERO CHAPEL MUSEUM
The Sansevero Chapel Museum in the historic heart of Naples is a jewel of the world’s artistic heritage. Here, baroque creativity, dynastic pride, beauty and mystery blend to create a unique and timeless atmosphere. Renowned for its art, the museum is home to the famous veiled Christ. It is renowned for its remarkable tissue like quality of marble.
Ticket Cost- €8. Closed on Tuesdays.
10.SHOP YOUR HEART OUT AT VIA TOLEDO
Shopping in Napoli is a must. Be it lemon candies to take back home, Limoncello, Italian leather or clothing. The prices are extremely affordable. Via Toledo is a major shopping road in Napoli running from Piazza Plebiscito and going north up to National Archeological Museum. You will find lots of cheap Neapolitan items here to take back home.