Naples Italy Recommendations

Naples Travel Recommendations

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This is by no means a comprehensive guide to everything there is to do in Naples, Italy. There are my recommendations based on my experiences in the city. For your convenience I’ll put a hyperlink glossary here so you can click and skip to the section of interest. 

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting to Naples
  3. Transportation in Naples
  4. Where to Stay in Naples
  5. What to Do in Naples
  6. Eats and Drinks of Naples


“See Naples Then Die”

In Italian, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori”. I love Naples – but admittedly, the optics of this famous phrase might not entice the average American tourist to visit.

Ok I’m being cynical – what is meant by the expression is that the city is so beautiful, that after you go, there’s nothing left to see in life so you might as well call it a day. While I’m not going that far, I do think it is one of the most beautiful places in Italy. 

Located in the Campania region, Napoli is the unofficial capital of Southern Italy. It’s old, dirty, hectic, but beautiful and full of character. What we as Americans know of as Italian food and culture was largely derived from (but distinctly different than) that of southern Italy. This is because of the mass migrations that took place in the early 1900s from southern Italy to the Americas.

Just have one day in Naples? Check out my Naples Day Trip Itinerary.

A Word About Crime

People either love or hate Naples. Italians and foreigners alike often have an idea that it’s full of thieves and corruption. Due in part to historically high levels of poverty and minimal employment opportunities, as well as the influence of some less-than-savory organizations, this is prejudice probably wasn’t too far from the truth. Unfortunately, for some this was the perception of not just Naples, but of southern Italy as a whole, leading to politicians (who shall remain unnamed) to declare that the South was a parasite, dragging the North down with it (until they needed the South’s votes then it became a different story). But I digress.

Now, the data indicates that things have changed, and cities such as Rome, Bologna, and Milan have higher rates of crime (with Milan being the highest). That said, like in any big city, be aware – keep an eye on your stuff, keep your back pockets empty, and be more alert if you go out after dark. But at the same time, don’t expect to find much more crime here or nearly as much violence as you would find in places like southwest Atlanta or downtown LA. If you are aware of this ahead of time and use common sense, you’ll be fine and will hopefully love Naples for its character, beauty, cheap yet amazing food, and language (distinct from Italian).

Ok enough of my irrelevant commentary.

Getting to Naples

If you are flying into Naples International Airport (NAP), I suggest you take Alibus from the Bus Terminal. Unfortunately, there is no train or tram from the Airport. Depending on your final destination, you can take the bus to either the Naples Central Train Station then take the Metro from Piazza Garibaldi, or take Alibus all the way. I’m a fan of staying on one mode of transport, even if it means overall longer time and slightly more walking. For that reason, if I’m staying in the center, I’ll prefer to take Alibus all the way to Immacolatella Porta Di Massa.

If you are taking another train from a city such as Rome, you’ll want to take it to Napoli Centrale

Pro tip – Napoli Centrale (the train station) and Napoli Piazza Garibaldi (the metro/subway station) and are basically in the same location, they just couldn’t make it easy for us and call it by the same name.

My suggestion with buying train tickets in Italy is to skip the line at the machine and use the Trainline app. Please check out my post, Essential Resources for Italy Travel.

Transportation in Naples

If you have the means and ability to walk – walk. Half the experience of the city of Naples is what can be seen on foot.

Where to Stay In Naples

My go to site for places to stay is In Naples, I’m a big fan of Ostello Bello (link), which is an amazing hostel in a great location. If hotels or condos are more your speed, I suggest keeping it within a 15 minute walk of the Quartieri Spagnoli to be close enough to everything. Most tourist attractions are near the Centro Storico. Vomero is a great area as well, and being higher elevation will give you some great panoramic views of the city, but it requires the uphill metro to get down to the main city.

Things to Do in Naples

Things to Do: Non-Ticketed Items

Via Toledo, the street on the eastern border of the Quartieri Spagnoli, is very touristy, crowded, and lacks anything particularly interesting – however it serves as a landmark to know where you are in the city.

Quartieri Spagnoli – The narrow street, cheap food, almost-get-hit-by-a-vespa district of Naples (to be fair, that’s most of Naples).  This is a must-visit area of the city. According to many, this used to be a more dangerous part of the city, but these days it’s pretty safe especially during the day. If you go at lunchtime, you can see all the locals who live on the bottom floor with their doors open to let the air in while eating at the kitchen table, or the occasional man in his underwear watching TV.

This images shows a typical street in Quartieri Spagnoli
Quartieri Spagnoli

Murales Maradona – A shrine to the late Diego Maradona, an Argentine soccer/football player who played for SSC Napoli and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. You’ll see his face all over Napoli – a somewhat bizarre idol worship, given the man’s questionable character. The obsession makes more sense in context, which you can learn about here.

Spaccanapoli – literally “Naples Splitter”, it’s a long street that divides the city.

Seaside walk – Get some ride-share rental bikes or scooters and ride down the whole strip of Via Francesco Caracciolo (or just walk)

Christmas Alley – Walk down Via S. Gregorio Armeno and look at all the hand-made nativity figures year round.

Piazza del Plebiscito – Huge huge piazza. Kind of dirty if you look too close, but from the center it’s beautiful.

One of my favorite things to do in Naples - go to Piazza Plebiscito
Piazza Plebiscito

Toledo Metro Station – metro station said to be “the most beautiful in Europe”.  Yes it’s pretty, but at the end of the day it’s still a metro station.

Live music – For nightlife, the street where Bourbon Street Jazz Club is a bars-and-live-music area, but keep in mind it’s not exactly Nashville in that sense.

Things to Do: Ticketed or Time-Dependent

My go-to places for tours are GetYourGuide and Viator. For tickets, I’m a big fan of one-stop-shops, so for that reason I like Tiqets.

Napoli Underground (aka Napoli Sotterranea) – Underground tour of the old aqueducts. Here you can see how many homes were unknowingly built on historical underground caverns, later to be discovered by the homeowners.  Bonus – great place to cool off if when it’s boiling-hot outside.

Belvedere San Martino – Scenic view of Naples with Vesuvius in the background (see photo below). Can be accessed by taking the incline metro station from either:

Another thing to do in Naples - see the view from Belvedere san Martino
View from Belvedere San Martino

Castel Nuovo – A big ol’ medieval castle on the water. It was built in 1279 and is pretty impressive just from the outside, but you can also enter with tickets – buy online beforehand.

Castel dell’Ovo – An even older castle, also on the water.

MUSA – Museo Universitario delle Scienze e delle Arti – If you’re into weird (read: gross) stuff, this is a great (and free) human anatomy museum. Takes about 20 minutes to walk through. Lots of skeletons, preserved body parts, unborn and deformed fetuses, and that sort of thing. Located in the university.

Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo is one of my favorite chies, or any another giant cathedral that you see. Unless there’s a mass going on, usually you can just walk in the churches. They are huge, beautiful, and unlike anything in the US.

  • Take a ferry to a nearby island like Ischia or Procida (I love love love Procida). I always use DirectFerries for this.

Eats and Drinks

Pizza at Pizzeria Attanasio
Pizzeria Attanasio – this one was the “Siciliania”


The thing about pizza in Napoli is that most of it is quite similar, and because there is such pride in the traditional Neapolitan pizza, most places adhere to the strict guidelines for what makes an authentic pizza margherita. I’m sure if any Neapolitans read this, they will disagree and have their favorite places. In fact, the day I’m writing this, I met a man from Naples who told me “the best pizza places in Naples are not in the city center”, so there’s that. Also the price – you shouldn’t be paying more than 5-6 euros for a margherita pizza.  This idea has sparked some debate, that Sorbillo himself chimed in on, responding to $65 pizzas by serving free pizzas outside his restaurant for a day.  

So you can find good pizza in most places, but the heavy hitters are:

Gino e Toto Sorbillo – I have been here several times and would consider it my go-to. They don’t do reservations, and you should expect a 20-30 minute wait.

L’antica Pizzeria da Michele  – claimed to be the oldest pizzeria in the city (also the site of Julia Roberts indulgence in Eat Pray Love – so if you’re recently divorced and trying to find yourself, keep this place in mind because you might be there).

Antica Pizzeria di Matteo

Other Pizza Options

Pizzeria Attanasio and Pizzeria I Decumani 
are lesser known but also great options.

Isabella de Cham – I haven’t been here yet, but it’s apparently the only woman-owned and operated pizzeria in the city. 

Street Food

Sfogliatella – very typical to the Campania region, theses are pastries with thin, leafy texture, filled with chocolate or cream.

Sfogliatella with Amalfi Coast in the background

Pizza al Portafoglio – Literally “wallet pizza” – Basically a traditional pizza but folded so you can take it to go. 

Babà – a small rum cake that’s often served in a cup. It’s very sweet and moist (pardon the expression)

Pizza Fritta – technically the OG of pizza – this existed before the open face pizza. It’s basically a pizza folded in half and sealed, then fried.

Just walk down the aforementioned Spaccanapoli street – there’s food options all over the place.

Desserts on Spaccanapoli
Desserts on Spaccanapoli. It’s all low carb.

Mediterranean Seafood

It’s easy to overlook seafood when pizza is the centerpiece of a city’s cuisine, but you’re missing out if you don’t take advantage of the proximity to the Mediterranean ocean and try some amazing seafood. 

Locally recommended to me recently was Pescheria Azzurra. Wow. The best fried seafood I’ve ever had. And cheap. For three people – 3 mixed fried plates, a Coke, a water, and 2 beers – 40€. In Cape Cod this would be at least double the price. This place is very casual and mostly street seating only. If there’s a long line, as is often the case, you can get the fried goodness in a cone to-go.

Here’s where I have to confess – most of my experience with Naples seafood has been outside of the city. But I didn’t want to leave this post with just one recommendation, so I reached out to some Napoli-native friends and here’s what they recommended for other places in the city:

That’s it

That’s enough for now. If you were planning to go to Naples already, I hope you found some good suggestions here that will make your experience more memorable. And if you weren’t already planning to go, hopefully now you’ll consider it, because it’s just too unique (and the pizza is too good) not to experience for yourself.

I sincerely hope you found value in this article.  If you have recommendations of your own or have suggestions on what else you would like to see covered here, please write in the comments below. Additionally, if you’re planning a trip to Italy and need one-on-one support or guidance, check out my services page where you can get in touch with me.

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