Best things to see in Naples in one day

by ilive4travel

Published on Nov 3, 2019

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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

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.

view of Mount Vesuvius from Naples

via caracciolo

Castel dell’Ovo

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.

Castell dell'ovo Naples

Borgo Marinaro

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.

view of mount vesuvius from the harbour

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.

Click here to buy your skip the line ticket.

Castel Nuovo

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.

Castel Nuovo Naples Italy

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.

Outside San Francesco di Paola

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.

Inside San Francesco di Paola

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.

Entering the aqueduct below naples

aqueduct below naples

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.

Click here for more information and to buy your ticket.

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.

Naples from Vomero Hill

View of Naples from Vomero Hill

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.

If you want to read more on Naples, Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast, then check out Lonely Planet’s guide.  Paperback version here & Kindle version here.

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Read about what to do in 24 hours in Naples, Italy

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——-  About me ——-

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Clare from Ilive4travel

Hi my name is Clare and welcome to ilive4travel.  I am originally from the UK but spend most of my time in Peru, the country that caught my heart.

I have visited 73 countries and love to share with you everything I have learnt about these countries in my guides.

19 Comments

  1. Lauren West

    Naples is definitely a beautiful city! The underground aqueduct is so interesting, I think that ancient structure like that existing under the modern city is intriguing. Also it’s great that you can go there on a hot or rainy day! Looks like you had great weather for your visit, though.

    Reply
  2. OmniyaFareed Shafik

    Naples seems like an amazing place to visit. I will definitely be checking out some of the places you mentioned in this post.

    Reply
  3. Kris

    I love every place that you feature on this post. I wish I can also walk in the hallways of a castle too, that’s so fairytale-ish..hehe! The monastery also offers a great panoramic view of Naples. Thanks for sharing your experience!. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Jan Michael De Guzman

    This city looks awesome based from your description and photos. I think i need at least 3 days to explore the entire city and see all its beauty. Thanks for sharing how beautiful it is.

    Reply
  5. Janine Good

    Naples is so underrated. It has a sad reputation of being a bit slummy with risks to travellers. That being said, your post shows the beauty of the city with its incredible seaside and architecture. I have been to Naples travelling through to Pompeii and found the pizza there exceptional!

    Reply
  6. Ivy

    I’ve heard negative things about Naples but your post says otherwise! I’m glad you had a wonderful time. I’ve been fascinated with Roman history since highschool so I would love to visit that underground aqueduct. We’re going to the Amalfi Coast next spring and we may just add Naples to our itinerary!

    Reply
  7. Khansa

    How was it walking through the aqueduct? It looks a bit creepy. I love the blue skies there! Its a beautiful blue. Never been to Italy – hoping one day I will be there ?

    Reply
    • ilive4travel

      It was only creepy when we turned off the lights!! Italy is so beautiful, I love that country 🙂

      Reply
  8. Lisa

    I’ve just finished watching the show Spartacus, so I’ve become a bit of a geek for Roman history, this sounds like such an interesting place to visit! And nice and close to Pompei as well for a day trip, doesn’t get much better!

    Reply
  9. Grace

    I have never hard of the place so it is nice to stumble upon something of the beaten track so to speak. I don’t think I will get a chance to visit the place, nevertheless I’m glad I got a bit of an inside about the place as it looks lovely. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  10. Iza Abao, Two Monkeys Travel Group Writer

    I am going to take note of Hostel Macini. There are many hostels in Asia but I think it’s hard to find hostels in Europe.
    I would like to visit Naples someday. The Castell dell’Ovo looks breathtaking.

    Reply
  11. Mel I TravelingMel

    I would love to visit Naples. Looks like you had a great time. The aqueduct under Naples looks really interesting; glad the cholera epidemic has passed. 😉 I’d love to know more about the botanical experiments. And great views from the monastery.

    Reply
  12. Allison

    I’ve never been to Italy. I missed it in my last trip to Europe but I won’t make that mistake again. Until now I hadn’t really considered Naples as Italy has some stunning cities and I won’t be able to see them all. I will definitely rethink including Naples on the itinerary now as I have seen a different side.

    Reply
  13. Jean

    I too have always wanted to visit Naples. After seeing your photos and reading this post I’m even more desperate to go. One day I’ll follow in your footsteps literally to the Certosa di San Martino.

    Reply
  14. Rosie Benton

    Naples has never really been up there on our bucket list but after reading your post its made us want to visit!! The city looks awesome – cool pictures too. The church of San Francesco di Paola looks really pretty too, glad you enjoyed your trip.

    Reply
  15. Joanna

    I have been to Napoli in 2015 myself and fell in love with the beautiful chaotic city (and it’s delicious food of course). I was lucky to have a local as a guide so I could explore the nightlife too and don’t be afraid I will get mugged 😀 I loved the views over the city from Certosa di San Martino too and I was lucky to be there in a sunny day, same as you 🙂

    Reply
  16. Only By Land

    It’s good to read about place in Italy other than Rome, I just checked the map to see exactly where Naples is as I’m visiting Italy this autumn but unfortunately I’ll be crossing the Northern part and San Marino so Naples is a little far. I often choose places close to the main stations for the simple reason that I don’t want to go far with my bags, this hostel sounds perfect as does the breakfast. The hike up Vomero hill much have been so easy after your adventures in Peru! The views of the city from up there were brilliant though.

    Reply
  17. Suma - Tales of travelling sisters

    The castle in the middle of the sea looks stunning! Its amazing how they could build such structures back in those days. I would love to visit Naples just to do the walking tour of the underground Aqueduct. And ofcourse to enjoy the view at Certosa de San Martino.

    Reply

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