Naples is mostly famous for crime and pizza. I can’t say I love Naples. It’s gritty but in a run down, unsafe way not the cool “it has character” way. I didn’t love Naples but its close proximity to interesting sites like Pompeii, Capri, and Sorrento makes it a good starting point for exploring the region. Naples isn’t the prettiest of Italian cities and it is also not one of the safest. It has a well deserved reputation for muggings. However, it’s the birthplace of pizza and that’s reason alone to visit for at least a few days.
- Hostel Prices: Hostels are cheap in Naples with dorms costing between $18-25 USD per night and private rooms beginning at $50 per night.
- Budget Hotel Prices: Rooms begin at $54 USD per night for as basic double room with private bath.
- Average Cost of Food: You can eat very cheap here. The main food of the city is pizza and most pizzas cost around $10. If you want a nicer meal, expect to spend around $25 for a dinner including a drink. The coperto (table charge) is $1.30 (1 Euro) and is a rip off but you got to pay it!
- Transportation Costs: Traffic in Naples is nuts and taxis tend to be expensive. Walk where you can. Transportation passes for a single bus journey cost $1.50 and are good for 90 minutes. There is also a metro but it doesn’t go very many places. The price is the same.
Top Things to Do
- Archaeological Museum of Naples – One of the world’s best collections of Greek and Roman artifacts can be found here. Here you will find a lot of art from the city as well as nearby Pompeii. There’s glass, mosaics, sculptures, and even the casts of the bodies found in Pompeii.
- The Duomo – A 13th century Gothic cathedral dedicated to Naple’s patron saint. A huge festival is held when a vial of his blood is taken out of its storage place in hopes that it will liquefy. It’s quiet the event but the church is still very beautiful even if you can’t make the event.
- Piazza del Mercato – This place has the best market in the city.
- Teatro San Carlo – Opened in 1737, it’s the world’s oldest surviving opera house. The inside is very ornate and the colors of the paintings radiate. Coming in here, you just can sense the luxury that the old aristocracy demanded from the opera and that is still alive during shows today.
- Pompeii – This famous site is one of the best preserved Roman ruins in Italy. It makes for a popular day trip from Naples and will give you a look at some amazing frescoes and the homes of Romans. Make sure you take a guided tour so you can get the context of all the buildings and sites. I spent a whole day here and I felt like I could have spent even more time here. It lives up to the hype.
- Herculium – The lesser known cousin of Pompeii. The site is also very well preserved and filled with many, many less tourists. While I wouldn’t skip Pompeii, you should also try to work in a visit here too as it’s a beautiful site filled with ruins and in many ways, on par with Pompeii.
- Open Air Cinema Festival – Every Summer, this cinema festival offers something different to do in the evening. It is always really nice outside and the films are shown on one of the largest projection screens in Italy. A ticket is $6.
- Villa Floridiana – Originally built as a gift from King Ferdinand I to his second wife, this lush estate is home to beautifully manicured gardens and original furnishings. The real treasure is the National Museum of Ceramics. With over 6000 pieces in the collection, you’ll see everything from Japanese Edo ceramics to range of European pieces.
- Villa Comunale – This once prestigious, seaside strip of land was originally designed for royalty. In addition to beautiful walkways, there is a vintage aquarium, several fountains, a tennis club, and a band stand to check out.
- Anfiteatro Flavio – This was once the third largest amphitheater in all of Italy. Over 20,000 people used to gather here, just to watch crazy, blood driven events like gladiator matches. Today, you can tour among the various fallen columns and learn more on the history behind the intricate mechanism used throughout the stadium.
- The Naples underground tour – Outside of Pompeii (and eating pizza), this was my favorite activity in Naples. Located in the city center, you take an underground tour of some of the ruins of the city, see ancient reservoirs, and learn about how the city has been built up and changed over thousands of years. I love underground tours and this was one of the better ones I’ve been on.
- Use public transportation - Use the buses and trams rather than taxis as they can get expensive especially when you’re stuck sitting in traffic.
- Eat on the cheap - Have a pizza or take away a sandwich for just a few Euros and save a lot of money. They are the best food in Naples anways.
Other Destinations in Italy