One Day in Naples: The Perfect Itinerary

View From Napoli Lungomare. A day in Naples


Naples might be my favorite of the Italian cities. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest European cities. Plus, it has a very deep-rooted and well-maintained culture including food, language, and tradition. These qualities make it a great place for not just seeing historical landmarks, but also for experiencing what many refer to as “the real Italy”. 

Naples street and artisan
A typical Naples street and artisan working in his shop.

I would normally not suggest only a day trip to the unofficial capital of southern Italy, because there’s so much to it. But I recently made a day trip with my father and aunt during our stay on the Amalfi Coast, and they were beyond satisfied. Having been several times before, I knew where to take them so they could get most out of the day. If you follow this guide, you too will be able to get a taste of the beautiful city of Naples in a day.

Naples in a Day
Guglia dell’Immacolata
monument and Via dei Tribunali

If you want to see my complete list of recommendations for things to do in Naples as well as more background on the city, check out my separate article with all of my favorite things to do in Naples. Also know that like in any major city, petty crime is a thing. So please keep an eye on your stuff, especially on public transport. Check out my recent post about getting pickpocketed in Rome.

This can all be fit into 7 hours on the ground in Naples. Wear comfortable shoes – it’s all walking.

Who this itinerary is for

This itinerary assumes you are are staying no more than 90 minutes from the city and can get there without making any train or bus changes. Too many transit changes opens the door for delays, missing train times, etc. Not to mention, too much travel time in one day wouldn’t allow enough time to see the city.

So if you’re staying in Florence or even Positano, this probably isn’t feasible. If on the other hand you’re coming from Rome, Salerno, or Vietri sul Mare, then keep reading!

Some of these attractions have options for ticketed entry and tours. For a single day, I advise against these for the sake of time. If you have extra time, great. Otherwise just take it slow and enjoy.

Walking around Naples. A day in Naples
Sometimes the best thing to do in Naples is just have a leisurely walk.

Getting there and back

If you are doing this on a Monday or Friday, check the train schedules first to make sure there is not a strike (these occur on Mondays or Fridays). You do not want to get stuck in the city of Naples. Train schedules are always subject to change, so please check the departure and return options before you go.

From Rome

To make this feasible, you should take the high speed trains. It will be more expensive, but will reduce travel time significantly. You will want to go from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale. Buy online train tickets for this route on Trainline here. Look for Frecciarossa options where travel time is about 1 hour and 15 minutes (40 – 50€ one way)Side thought – can we take a moment and marvel that we live in an age where you can get from Rome to Naples in a little over an hour? I love train travel.

From Salerno

Take a Trenitalia regional train from Salerno to Napoli Centrale. Buy online train tickets for this route on Trainline here. (about 6€ one way)

From Vietri sul Mare

Take a Trenitalia regional train from Vietri sul Mare-Amalfi to Napoli Piazza Cavour. Buy online train tickets for this route on Trainline here. (about 6€ one way). Going to Napoli Piazza Cavour (which you can do without changes from Vietri) will let you bypass the chaos around Napoli Centrale.

After arrival

When you leave the train station, the first thing to do is to make your way down the narrow alleys into the historic center of Naples. Head to Via S. Gregorio Armeno to look at all the hand-made nativity figures and artisan shops. This is the perfect place for buying unique gifts and seeing the weird stuff that makes Naples, Naples.

Nativity figures on Via S. Gregorio Armeno - a Day in Naples
Nativity figures on Via S. Gregorio Armeno: “You must not be from around here”

Next, make your way to Spaccanapoli – literally “Naples Splitter”, it’s a long street that divides the city in half. On it are a million places for coffee, Neapolitan pastries (try baba and sfogliatella), and people-watching.

Desserts on SpaccaNapoli - a day in Naples
Desserts on SpaccaNapoli. Yeah, I think it’s all low carb.

Keep walking west, making your way to Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo and Santa Chiara. They are across the street from one another. Go inside the churches if they’re open (free entry). 



The main attraction of Naples is the pizza. And like weed in Amsterdam, there’s no better place to indulge than in the birthplace of pizza. Because there is such pride in the traditional Neapolitan pizza, most places adhere to the strict guidelines for what makes an authentic pizza margherita. In sum, the best pizza in Naples can be found…in Naples. Some of the heavy hitters are Gino e Toto Sorbillo, Antica Pizzeria da Michele, and Antica Pizzeria di Matteo. But there are many other places with just as good of pizza, for tourists’ sake, with likely a shorter line. For instance, Pizzeria I Decumani is a solid choice:

neapolitan style pizza Pizzeria I Decumani. A day in naples
Pizzeria I Decumani


Not in the mood for pizza? On my most recent trip, we tried the locally-recommended Pesceria Azurra. Wow. The best fried seafood I’ve ever had. And amazingly cheap. For three people – 3 mixed fried plates, a coke, a water, and 2 beers – 40. 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.

Pescheria Azzurra - a day in Naples
Pescheria Azzurra

A Walking Lunch

If you prefer to keep moving, it’s entirely possible to have a street food lunch while still getting a taste of authentic Neapolitan food. Get one of the aforementioned fried seafood cones or get a “pizza a portafoglio”, literally “wallet pizza” – Basically a traditional pizza but folded twice so you can eat it on the go.

After Lunch

Now head to one of my favorite parts – Quartieri Spagnoli. The narrow streets, 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.

quartieri spagnoli - a day in Naples
Quartieri Spagnoli

While you’re in the Quartieri Spagnoli, be sure to walk by the 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. This is one of the best places to see what makes Naples so idiosyncratic. You can read more about Naples’ obsession with Diego Maradona here.

Still have room for dessert? If you didn’t already try baba or sfogliatella before, you can try graffa. It’s essentially a donut with sugar on the outside. You can (and should) get it with pistacchio or nutella on top (or both). 

Neapolitan Graffa
Neapolitan Graffa

The Last Leg 

Keep walking down Via Toledo and walk through the glass dome roofed Galleria Umberto I. If you’d like, continue through to see Castel Nuovo

a day in Naples. galleria umberto and Castel Nuovo
Galleria Umberto and Castel Nuovo

Next, head to Piazza del Plebiscito. You can score some great photos here if the sun is setting behind the dome. Notice it’s black color – that’s because a lot of it is made with vesuvian volcanic rock (I just thought of a new music genre).

Piazza del Plebiscito. a day in naples
Piazza del Plebiscito

A short walk down the hill and you’ll arrive at Statua di Augusto, where you’ll get a view of Mount Vesuvius, the Sorrentine peninsula, and the Island of Capri behind the Bay of Naples. From here you’ll behind the seaside walk. Stop for a spritz at Taralli Caldi. Walk by Castel dell’Ovo and continue down the lungomare sidewalk. This 20 minute walk is the best way to wind down your day in Naples, before you make your way back to the train.

Napoli Lungomare - a day in Naples
View from Napoli Lungomare


Finally, head to train station Piazza Amedeo. If you are going back to Salerno or Vietri sul Mare, you can take a Trenitalia train from Piazza Amedeo to Salerno or Vietri (it’s the same train – ticket here). If you are going back to Rome, you’ll need to take a train from Piazza Amedeo to Roma Termini, with a short change at Piazza Garibaldi (ticket here).

Have Extra Free Time?

If you find yourself with time to spare in Naples, I highly recommend getting a tour of Underground Naples. This will show you the underground tunnels and aqueducts which played a key part in the Roman development of Naples, after it was under ancient Greek control.

For those with unique taste, check out the 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. Lots of skeletons, preserved body parts, and that sort of thing. It’s a small museum and takes about 20 minutes to walk through and is located in the university. It closes at 2pm.

That’s All For Now

I sincerely hope you found value in this itinerary and put it to use in Naples. Now that you’ve gotten a quick sampling of the city, maybe one day you’ll go back for a few days and immerse even more. 

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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