Is Naples Worth Visiting?

Is Naples Worth Visiting in 2024? Top 10 Reasons to Go to Naples and Things to Know

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Is Naples worth visiting when you’re in Italy?

Between the historic magnificence of Rome and the luxurious Amalfi Coast, is Naples. This gritty city is located in South Italy and if you’re wondering, ‘is Naples worth visiting?’ then read on.

Consider this: Naples is the political capital of Campania Region, home of the oldest Pizzeria in Italy and serves arguably the best espresso in the world. 

You can easily go from Rome to Naples by direct flight, train, car or bus and it’s even possible to visit Naples from Rome as a day trip. 

Naples has over 3 million inhabitants. It is one of the densest and most diverse cities in Italy, and third largest after Milan and Rome. There are several sides to this city, from posh waterfronts to chaotic city streets. All of it is overflowing with a unique culture. 

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 Is Naples Worth Visiting?

My short answer for you is absolutely YES! But why? I’ll explain more in a moment. 

Is Naples worth visiting for 4 days? 

Naples Historical centre view of cobblestoned streets under tall archways

In my opinion, Naples is definitely worth visiting and staying in for at least 4 days. There is more to this city than its surface reputation of being polluted, crowded and having a high pickpocketing rate. 

I assure you, behind all of this you will find amazing architecture around every corner, delicious food, magical scenery of the sea hugging the mountains and plenty of fun activities.

Naples is also well positioned as a base for several day trips, and spending 4 days in Naples gives you plenty of time to enjoy the city itself as well as nearby towns. 

10 Reasons Naples is Worth Visiting

From food, to day trips and lovely city sights I’m sharing the top 10 reasons Naples is worth visiting and deserves a spot on your Italy itinerary:

1. Perfect for Foodies 

Naples is one of the top foodie cities in all of Italy, if not the world. How could it not be, as the birthplace of pizza! Whether you’re dining in at a restaurant or enjoying the street food you’re sure to eat well in Naples. There are some specific dishes you must try while visiting Naples:

Pizza Margherita 

Margharita pizza on a plate – fluffy crust, red tomato sauce, cheese and a garnish of basil

Here’s a fun Italy food fact: The pizzeria margherita was invented in Naples for Queen Margherita, and the ingredients were informed by the colors of the Italian flag!

This simple yet delicious dish consists of pizza dough topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and basil leaves.

A couple of the best places to try margherita pizza in Naples are: Sorbillo, Pizzeria Brandi (the original and oldest pizzeria in Naples!) and Pizzeria da Michele (made famous by Eat, Pray, Love). 

Pizza Fritta

Another must-try food in Naples is fried pizza, or pizza fritta. This consists of a folded dough stuffed with different pizza toppings of your choice and then deep fried until the dough becomes a crunchy crust. My recommendation is to try the fried pizza from Teresa Iorio – Le Figlie Di Iorio

Mozzarella di Bufala

plate of a ball of mozzarella cheese with basil and tomatoes

You might ask, what is the difference between Mozzarella cheese and Mozzarella di Bufala? The first is made from cow’s milk and the latter is made from buffalo milk. 

The production of Mozzarella di Bufala is protected by Italian laws and heritage, meaning it can only be produced in the region of campania. 

To distinguish fresh Mozzarella di Bufala from non-fresh, look for it to be stored in lukewarm water and ready to be sold/eaten on the same day. The color should be slightly yellowish compared with typical cow’s milk mozzarella. 

You can try Mozzarella di Bufala while in Naples at: Delicatessen Rafele o’ Lattaro, Ancient Fierro Dairy, Ponte a Mare Castel Volturno Dairy. 

Baba and Sfogliatelle 

Naples is famous for two main desserts: Baba and Sfogliatelle. Baba is sponge cake soaked in rum. Sometimes, it is filled with cream or other fillings. 

Sfogliatelle is a crunchy pastry filled with cream and dusted with powdered sugar. It is best eaten warm, and you can try it at Mary’s Sfogliatella.

Food Tour in Old Naples

The list of must-try foods in Naples goes on and on, beyond the few recommendations above. One of the best ways to get to experience as much of the food scene as possible is to join a food tour led by a local guide. 

I have tried this food tour and it was one of the best food tours I ever had traveling the world, just make sure you arrive hungry! The tour can accommodate some dietary requirements but not all, so make sure to check before you book it. 

🍕 Click here to book Naples Street Food Tour with Local Expert

2. The Best Espresso in the World

Naples is also known for its coffee scene and serves up some of the best espresso in the world, at least in my opinion!

You could literally order an espresso from any bar, pizzeria or restaurant at all and it’s almost guaranteed to be the best espresso you’ve ever tasted.

However, if you want to experience one of the oldest and best coffees in Naples, visit Gran Caffè Gambrinus.

Tip: If you order “Latte” in Italy it means you are ordering a cup of milk (not coffee). If you want to order coffee with milk you can either order a Cappuccino or Caffe Macchiato (espresso shot topped with milk foam). 

3. Beautiful Gothic & Baroque Architecture

Naples has a reputation for being grungy, but don’t overlook its beautiful architecture. Whether or not you’re into the architectural details of some of the city’s key landmarks, they’re worth visiting. Add the following piazzas and cathedrals to your Naples itinerary:

Top Piazzas (Squares) to visit in Naples:

Piazza del Plebiscito 
woman in yellow dress looking out over the view of Naples

This is the largest piazza in Naples and close to the seaside. It faces the Royal Palace and is within walking distance from the National Library. Don’t be fooled by its size.

Wandering around Piazza del Plebiscito and visiting the Royal Palace could easily take hours. The Palace windows overlook the main Naples Marina where you will spot some big cruise ships.

Piazza della Vittoria

Located at the end of the Lungomare promenade, Piazza della Vittoria is the perfect spot for admiring sunsets while overlooking the blue sea of Naples.

Piazza Garibaldi

As you step out of Naples’ main train station (Napoli Centrale), you will find yourself in front of this huge Piazza. The surrounding streets are quite loud and chaotic, giving you a taste of the Napoltean hustle. 

Personally, I wouldn’t spend as much time at this Piazza due to its chaotic vibes. Keep an eye on your belongings here, as well.

Top Cathedrals to Visit in Naples: 

Naples is famous for being home to more than 500 cathedral domes. I truly mean it when I say everywhere you look, you will find a cathedral dome, mostly colored in light yellow. 

The facades and interiors of Naples’ cathedrals, similar to other cathedrals in Italy, are vibrant in color and rich in design. Make an effort to stop in at the following:

Naples Cathedral

Built in 1200 on the remains of an old temple dedicated to the Greek God of Apollo. 

Basilica of Santa Chiara 

Located at the heart of the historical city of Naples with a mix of gothic and baroque architecture. 

The Church of St.Gregory of Armeno 

Known as the Church of Santa Patrizia, showcases Baroque architecture. 

Church of San Domenico Maggiore 

Another cathedral located at the heart of Naples built between 1200-1300s, features Gothic architecture

Church of Gesu Nuovo 

Located behind the incredible black stone facade of the Renaissance Palace Sanseverino, you’ll find the Church of Gesù Nuovo. Built in the late 1500s, it features amazing baroque architecture and stunning paintings that shaped Naples’ art scene. 

Church of Sant’Eligio Maggiore 

Located near Mercato Piazza, this church is the oldest Gothic style church in the city. 

4. Experience Old Naples 

A visit to Naples wouldn’t be complete without visiting the oldest street and neighborhood in Naples – Spaccanapoli. 

Alongside this area you will find traditional foods, narrow streets and tall buildings with people talking loudly with each other from their balconies. 

The best time to visit Spaccanapoli is closer to sunset. At night, this street becomes very lively with music, dancing and eating!  

5. Sunset Walks by the Sea

One of my favorite things to do in Naples is to take sunset walks by the sea at “Lungomare Caracciolo.” It’s mostly pedestrian with a wide and long street, perfect for walking along and taking in the sunsets at the main Naples seafront.

At this promenade, you will also find plenty of restaurants, bars and street vendors that keep the setting full of life from sunset through to the the early hours of sunrise. 

Good food and ambience associated with excellent Italian service is guaranteed at almost every restaurant here. You don’t need to pre-book, but you may need to wait anywhere from 15-60 minutes to snag a candle-lit table by the sea. 

If you walk toward the north side of the promenade, you will find yourself looking at one of the old castles in Naples, Castel Dell’Ovo. It is built over 2 rocks in the sea that are connected to each other. 

Castel Dell’Ovo is believed to have been built around the 7th century and is currently connected to the mainland by a pedestrian bridge.

Next to the Castel you will find a marina with a small square – Piazza Marinari. What I like about Piazza Marinari is the views of the city of Naples with the surrounding lush green mountains as the backdrop. 

At Piazza Marinari,  there are several fresh seafood restaurants to choose from where you are sure to have a wonderful meal in front of panoramic city views. 

My top recommendations are open for both lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended here during peak season and weekends: Club Nautico della Vela, Elettra Ristorante E Cruderia, La Scialuppa

6. Shopping With Any Budget

Galleria Umberto is worth visiting in Naples for some shopping

Naples is perfect for shopping. Whether your budget is large or limited, there is something for everyone. 

The main, famous shopping streets in Naples are:

  • Via Toledo 
  • Galleria Umberto
  • Via Chiaia
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno
  • Via Luca Giordano

In addition to international brands, you will find smaller boutiques selling Italian handmade goods. Prices are very competitive and you will be guaranteed a unique piece from Naples to keep forever in your wardrobe!

7. Practice Your Culinary Craft 

Plate of Pizza Margarita with sea and grassy mountain in the background

We know that Naples is big on food, and you’re bound to eat well while you’re visiting. But, why stop there? Taking an Italian cooking class in a foodie city like Naples equips you with the skills and recipes to recreate the deliciousness even once you’re back home.

You can choose from a variety of classes focused on different, traditional dishes both savory and sweet. Here are a few of the top ones to consider: 

Day Trips from Naples

8. Historic Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius

view of Pompeii ruins near Naples is worth visiting

Overlooking the bay of Naples, you will see Mount Vesuvius standing tall. Considered one of most powerful volcanoes worldwide, it completely buried the city of Pompeii in 79 AD essentially preserving it under ash and molten lava. 

Today, the preserved city of Pompeii is a wonder with many visiting to learn more about its history and way of life back then. While you could make your way to Pompeii yourself via train from Naples, visiting on a tour with an expert guide is the best way to really understand what you’re seeing.

Plus, it takes away the hassle of having to navigate the Italian train system on your own. 

This tour of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius includes roundtrip transportation from Naples, a guided tour of Pompeii, pizza or wine tasting option and a climb up Mount Vesuvius. 

🌋 Click here to book the Pompeii / Vesuvius Day Trip from Naples

Tip: Be sure to wear a hat and sunscreen, even if you visit during cooler months. The sun is very strong at the top of the mountain. 

9. Scenic Islands: Capri, Ischia, Procida 

Naples is surrounded by beautiful islands that are within less than 1 hour boat ride from Naples’ main port. Each island offers something different, and although you could visit each island and spend the day there, my personal recommendation is to stay for a few days at each island to explore their beauty to the fullest.

Capri

View of waters around Capri with sailboats against mountain background

Capri is the island of the blue “Azzurro” waters and home of the Blue Grotto (Blue Cave). The beauty of Capri is unreal. You can take the ferry from Naples’ main port and arrive at Marina Grande to spend the day in Capri. 

Or, you could skip the lines and logistical planning by booking a guided tour which is the most efficient way to explore all Capri has to offer in only one day. 

Whether you choose to visit on your own or with a tour, here are some ideas of the best things to do on Capri: 

  • Visit the Blue Grotto 
  • Visit Giardini di Augusto, you can take the Funicular from Marina Grande and make your way to the gardens
  • Take a half day (4 hours) boat tour around Capri to visit the Faraglioni, the Green Grotto and White Grotto. The boat will make a few swimming stops to refresh yourself in the deep blue waters. A great option if you’re staying on Capri for a few days. 
  • Have lunch at one of the famous beach clubs on the island, such as, La Fontelina Beach club, Il Riccio Beach Club, Da Luigi ai Faraglioni. Just make sure to book months in advance for your lunch spot, these are very popular seafood restaurants. 
  • Sip coffee at the Piazzetta and wander around for a shopping spree 
  • Explore Anacapri town, located at the highest point of Capri Island. 

⛵️ Click here to book Private Capri Island & Blue Grotto Day Tour

 Tip: If you plan to swim at one of Capri Beach clubs, note that they are all pebble    beaches. Make sure you bring water shoes to protect your feet.

Ischia Island

Castello Aragonese d'Ischia (1)

In 40 minutes by boat from Naples, you will reach the Emerald island of Ischia. It’s called the emerald island, because unlike Capri, Ischia’s water colors are deep emerald.

Ischia is the biggest island off the coast of Naples, and offers so much that I would suggest staying at least 5 days in this beautiful island if you can! But if your time is limited you can do the following on a day trip:

  • Walk around Ischia city center and visit the Castello Aragonese d’Ischia
  • Take a bus or taxi to visit the Sant’Angelo area, and enjoy an authentic Italian lunch on the terrace at Deus Neptunus. The restaurant is run by an Ischian family. 
  • Visit Poseidon thermal spa (Giardini Poseidon Terme) to enjoy 360-degree views of the island while relaxing in one of their 22 thermal pools (both heated and ice cold). At Poseidon, they have their own sandy beach. Entrance fees are around 40 Euros. No need to prebook. 

⛵️ Click here to book Ischia Private Day Trip from Naples

Procida Island

This family-run boat tour is the perfect way to explore picture perfect Procida. This postcard-worthy, colorful island was awarded Italy’s Capital of Culture in 2022 – the first island to receive the award since the start of the accolade! 

Your boat tour will provide delicious snacks featuring local ingredients, but if you choose to visit Procida on your own consider Il Caracale in the Marina di Corricella (rainbow over the sea) village for lunch.

⛵️ Click here to book Boat Tour of Procida with Lunch

10. Amalfi Coast 

amalfi coast

One of the main reasons people head to Naples is on their way to visiting one of the most scenic places Italy has become known for – the Amalfi Coast!

If you are staying in Naples, I suggest you book either a private or a group tour to wander around the Amalfi Coast. I recommend going by boat as the inland tours can take so much time in the narrow windy and traffic roads.

Most boat tours will stop by Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi, each one of those towns have their own appeal and the freshness of the food is unreal.

⛵️ Click here to book Full Day Boat Excursion to Amalfi Coast

Where to Stay When Visiting Naples

When it comes to accommodations, I’ve shortlisted the best places to stay in Naples to suit all price points: 

Budget: Viky House Chiaia

view looking up at a crowded street in Naples

Viky House Chiaia, is located at the heart of the historic center of Naples. It offers convenient and affordable accommodation with a private pool, on site washing machine and views of a quiet street. 

🏨 Click here to check prices and availability

Mid-Range: Casa di Nina Guest House 

day time view of a street in Naples city in Italy with parked cars and vespas on each side

A Casa di Nina Guest House offers vintage inspired flat with several ensuite rooms to discover. It’s centrally located, and right outside you will find a taxi rank, making it even more convenient. 

🏨 Click here to check prices and availability

Luxury: Grand Hotel Vesuvio

Napoli lungomare view ofboats in dock area next to castle

Grand Hotel Vesuvio, located at one of the trendy areas in Naples at Lungomare with stunning views of Naples Bay and in close proximity to Naples’ main port and main attractions.

🏨 Check Prices & Availability

FAQ: Why Visit Naples? 

As you consider a visit to Naples, you might also be wondering: 

How many days should you be in Naples?

I recommend staying between 3-4 days exploring Naples as a slow traveler to admire its beauty and enable yourself to cover all the highlights mentioned above.

However, if your time is limited, you could certainly cover a lot of ground in 2 days instead. Perhaps this would allow you to allocate another couple days in Sorrento to better explore the Amalfi Coast and nearby islands. 

When is the best time of year to visit Naples? 

The best time to visit Naples is during the months of May, September and October to avoid the crowds and beat heat. These months also have less chance of rain than the winter months in Italy

At the peak of summer months June to August, the heat can be excessive and the city is likely to be packed with tourists. However, if you mostly want to spend time in the water, the summer months are the best option. 

Is Naples a walkable city? 

Naples is definitely a walkable city, pack your comfortable shoes and enjoy walking more than 10,000 steps a day with ease. The city is mostly flat with some hills here and there.

For the hike up Mount Vesuvius, you’ll need to wear comfortable clothes and shoes as it is a steeper uphill journey. 

Is Naples safe? 

View of monument of Naples against buildings in the background

For the past 7 years, I have been visiting Naples at least for 2-3 days each year and have never had safety issues. However, I have heard stories from other travelers about encountering scammers and pickpockets. 

My advice is to practice your due diligence and keep your wallet, phone and any important belongings in a crossbody bag strapped to your front.

Always keep your bag zipped, not wide open. Keep your passport secured at the hotel but bring copies of your passport with you instead, and save a copy in your phone in case you run into any situation where you need to present it. 

Also, stay away from dodgy areas, especially at night and stick to places that are well-lit and where there are people around. This advice goes for both male and female travelers, and whether you’re with a companion or visiting Naples solo

Final Verdict: Is Naples Worth Visiting?

YES! Naples is definitely worth visiting. It is an authentic Italian city that offers great food, wonderful ambience and very passionate people who enjoy sharing their city with visitors. 

It might look dirty, I am not disputing this, but try to look up when you are walking around and admire the amazing old architecture, stop to eat fried pizza, sip an aperol spritz and let your worries go while witnessing the bustling city of Naples pass along in front of your eyes. 

Curious to see more of Italy? Check out this guide to beach towns in Puglia

Safe travels!

Author bio: Ruba is a travel blogger in her forties and you can read about her adventures. She is originally from the Middle East and married to an Italian and they live together in the UK.

Passionate about Italian wines and foods, she spends more time in Italy than in the UK. Ruba also offers custom travel itineraries here.