Naples in One Day
It has always been a dream of mine to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum and so on a trip to Europe after I had explored northern Italy, I added Naples to my Italy itinerary so that I could explore the area.
I arrived at the airport and got the Naples Alibus Airport Shuttle bus to the Napoli Centrale train station, it runs every 20 minutes and costs 5 Euro one way, much cheaper than a taxi.
I based myself in Hostel Macini near the Napoli Centrale train station so that I could get out of the city to easily visit Mt Vesuvius, Pompeii, Villa Oplontis, Herculaneum & The Amalfi Coast to visit Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi.
I also decided to visit the Island of Ischia. Originally my plan was to visit Capri but accommodation and travelling around it are expensive, so I decided instead to spend a few days in Ischia and there are some great hotels in Ischia.
If you are wanting to visit Mt Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, then you need to give yourself a minimum of half a day each for these and then the Amalfi Coast you can do in one day but it would be better if you could spend longer there.
Hostel Macini is a great little hostel, the staff were super friendly, breakfast included, free wifi and very clean. They helped me with what to do in the city & how to get to places outside of the city that I wanted to visit.
Via Caracciolo is a wide boulevard alongside the Bay of Naples. 1.5 miles of it has been pedestrianised meaning that you can easily walk, skate or run with amazing views of Mt Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples and one of the top things to do in Naples. There are many cafes, pizzerias and hotels alongside this street where you can sit and enjoy the views for lunch or dinner.
It does get crowded at weekends, so if you can visit mid week it’s better.
As you walk along Via Caracciolo ,you reach Castel dell’Ovo (meaning Egg Castle), it’s a 15th century castle though the first castle was built there in the 12th century. It has a walkway out to it as it sits on an island in the sea. It is the oldest surviving fort in Naples. It was restored to how you see it today in 1975.
There is no entrance fee as you are unable to get into many of the interior rooms (some of which are used for exhibitions) but it is worth a visit and a walk to the top of the castle to see the amazing views.
Borgo Marinaro sits next to the Castel dell’ovo and was once a fishing village. Nowadays it’s a thriving marina and a great place to go eat in one of the many restaurants.
National Archaeological Museum Naples
The National Archaeological Museums is one of the top places to visit in Naples. It is one of largest archaeological museums in the world and is known particularly for it’s roman artifacts. It has many items from Pompeii and Herculaneum on display.
The museum is open Wednesday to Monday from 9am to 7.30pm. It is closed on Tuesday’s. The entrance price is 18 Euros.
Castel Nuovo meaning New Castle. The first castle on this site was built in 1282 but the fortress was completely rebuilt in 1479 to look how it does today. The castle was used as a royal residence until 1734 when the Royal Palace was favoured instead.
Nowadays inside is the civic museum with the first 2 floors part of the museum and the palatine chapel.
It is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 7pm and costs 6 euro.
Duomo di Napoli – Cathedral of Naples
Naples Cathedral is rome catholic and the main church of Naples. It was completed in the early 14th century on top of the foundations of two basilicas.
The main attraction in the cathedral is the Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro with beautiful frescoes and altarpieces and the Crypt. It also houses a vial of blood of Saint Januarius which is brought out 3 times a year.
San Gregorio Armeno
San Gregorio Armeno is a baroque church and monastery and is one of the most important in Naples. It is located in the historic center of Naples.
The original church was built in 1579 though it has been refurbished over the years. The main attraction is the cloister from 1580 with a marble statue in the middle.
Piazza del Plebiscito
The Piazza Plebiscito, it is a large public square in the centre of Naples. It was opened in 1846 with the Royal Palace at the east and the church of San Francesco di Paola in the west with twin colannades extending out from it.
It was originally built as part of the royal palace and was not paved so that bull fights and other games could be held here. Between 1963 and 1994 it was used as a carpark before being refurbished and made into the pedestrianised square you see today.
It’s an impressive square with some beautiful buildings in the streets around it.
San Francesco di Paola Church
The church was built as an imitation of the Pantheon in Rome and finished in 1816. It is circular and the dome in the centre is 53 metres high. It is very impressive inside and worth a visit.
Teatro di San Carlo
The theatre of San Carlo located next to Piazza Plebiscito one of the most famous and prestigious opera houses in the world. Here you can either see a show or get a guided tour around the opera house.
It is the oldest opera house in Europe, with the original being built in 1737. Unfortunately this burnt down in 1816, though it was reconstructed shortly afterwards and still remains stunning to this day.
Toledo Metro Station
It may seem strange to recommend visiting a Metro Station but in Naples they allowed the city’s public transit station’s to be designed by contemporary artists and architects to bring art to people’s lives. It has a theme designed around light and water and in 2013 won the Leaf Award for the Best public building of the year.
It is amazing to see and even if you aren’t planning on using the metro you should at least go and visit the station.
Napoli Sotterranea – Naples Underground
When looking for things to do in Naples, I heard that there was a walking tour of the aqueduct below the city. The aqueduct was originally built by the romans and then a new aqueduct was built in 1629. It was shut in 1884 due to the cholera epidemic but now part of it is open for you to walk through, you can see the botanical experiments done there, a Roman Cistern, Greek Cistern and an air raid shelter.
There is also a Roman Theatre in this area, that over time the walls have been incorporated within local houses, in the basement of one of these houses you can see some of the ruins and part of the corridors of the theatre. This is run by Napoli Sotterranea. Well worth a visit on a hot or rainy day. Click here to book tickets.
Naples Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
If you don’t have much time in Naples and want to see all the main sights without trying to navigate public transport yourself, then consider doing the Hop on Hop Off bus. It takes you to the main sights and once you have seen, you can hop on the next bus to the next sight. You also get to see Naples whilst on the bus.
Certosa Di San Martino
I finished my trip in Naples with a walk up to Certosa di San Martino, it’s a former monastery complex built in 1368 and expanded to what we see today in 1623. It is now a museum housing Spanish and Bourbon era artefacts and has some of the finest nativity scenes of the world on display.
Certosa di San Martino sits on top of the Vomero hill along with Castel Sant’Elmo and the views of the city and Mt Vesuvius from there are amazing.
To get there you can take funicular from via toledo by Galleria Umberto to Vomero and then it’s a 5 minute walk or you can take the metro to Piazza Vanvitelli and from there it’s a 15 minute walk.
Sample Naples Pizza
In the evening I went for Pizza, a must while you are in Italy as they have the best pizza restaurants. If you like food then a great idea is a Naples food tour so you can try some of the amazing food they have. Alternatively you can try a pizza making workshop and lunch, click here for more details.
There is so much to do in Naples and so many more places you can visit, I could easily have stayed longer and the region is beautiful. I am sure I will be back in the future for another visit.
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