The Best Time to Visit Naples, Italy

Naples by night, Italy
Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

Naples is the largest city in southern Italy and the third-largest in the country with a history stretching back for millennia. A visit to Naples is a must for any extended Italian itinerary—one that goes beyond the Rome/Florence/Venice circuit. Naples is all the things you've probably heard it is—crowded, chaotic, and a little confusing. But it's also ancient, fascinating, and diverse. Late spring (after Easter) or fall are the best times to visit as crowds are smaller and temperatures are lower.

Crowds pack into Naples during the summer months, when there's peak heat and humidity on its narrow streets. It's also crowded around Christmas and Easter, the two biggest events for this deeply religious community. Winter brings smaller crowds but rainfall averages 5 inches per month.

Weather in Naples

The weather in Naples tracks with most of the rest of Italy, meaning summers are very hot, with daytime temperatures reaching into the 90s Fahrenheit and sometimes even peaking at around 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Summer evenings are cooler, especially if you catch a sea breeze. Late spring a very pleasant season in Naples, as it offers warm, but not-yet-hot temperatures and relatively low rainfall.

September is still a hot month in Naples, especially the first couple of weeks, which means water temperatures are still warm enough for swimming. October is a prime month to visit, with cooler temperatures and slightly increasing rainfall. November through April are the rainiest months in Naples, with rainfall especially heavy in November and December. Winter temperatures seldom dip below 40 degrees F (4 degrees C).

Still, we'd pack an umbrella and at least a light jacket even if visiting Naples in high summer. Weather in Italy is increasingly unpredictable so short of a freak July snowstorm, it's best to be prepared for anything.

Crowds in Naples

If you visit Naples in June, July or August, expect to find crowds waiting to access tourist attractions, milling around on city streets, and clamoring for a spot on public beaches. If visiting in Summer, be sure to reserve in advance for timed entrance to the attractions you don't want to miss, such as the National Archaeological Museum and the Naples Underground. If you're heading to Pompeii or Herculaneum, expect to have plenty of company.

If you can put up with rainy, chilly weather, a visit from November to March (excluding Christmas, New Year's, and Easter) will yield smaller crowds and lower hotel prices. Naples is far too lived in to ever feel deserted, but you'll have more time to linger at touristic sites and you'll seldom wait in line for a table at a restaurant. A word of caution: because some attractions and even restaurants offer reduced hours in the winter, be sure to reserve in advance for anything you really want to see/experience. Remember too that in the dead of winter it starts to get dark by 4:30 p.m., meaning outdoor sites like the Pompeii archaeological park will close a lot sooner than in the summer.

Unless you want to partake in religious observances or parties related to Christmas, New Year's Carnevale (the pre-lenten festival), and Easter, we advise against visiting Naples during these periods, when the city is filled with pilgrims and revelers.

The short season after Easter (depending on whether Easter is in March or April) and before the summer is one of the most pleasant times of the year in Naples in terms of crowds.

Seasonal Attractions and Businesses

Naples is not a seasonal destination so other than some businesses closing in August, when Italians take their vacations, you'll find things open year-round. Tour providers may run fewer tours in winter months, but chances are if you're interested in a city tour or food tour, you'll be able to find a tour that suits you any time of the year. Tourist attractions will remain open year-round, with the exception of Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, when virtually every attraction will be closed. Some attractions will close on Easter Sunday, all of Holy Week, or the entire week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Note that many museums in Naples are closed on Tuesday, so check before you go.

On religious holidays, many restaurants will either be closed or open for special dinners by reservation only.

Prices in Naples

Naples is not as expensive to visit as Rome, Milan, or some other top Italian cities. Still, off-season hotel prices will be lower, sometimes drastically so. If you're looking to save money, plan a visit between November to March (excluding Christmas and Easter). International airfares are typically at their lowest between January and April (excluding Easter).

Naples Holidays and Events

The aforementioned holidays of Christmas, New Year's, and Easter are huge in Naples. The city is perhaps the most famous in Italy for its presepi, or nativity scene displays, and people travel from across Italy to buy handmade nativity figures here, especially in December. Naples is also known for having one of Italy's most spectacular New Year's fireworks shows—though the unofficial fireworks will start all over the city in the days leading up to Dec. 31.

On Sept. 19, the Festa di San Gennaro celebrates Naples' most important saint with a huge street festival, processions, and the presentation of the San Gennaro relic to crowds gathered in front of the Duomo, the city's main cathedral.

January

January is one of the coldest months in Naples, with average temperatures hovering around 40 degrees F (4 degrees C). It rains a lot, though snow is quite rare. Still, pack layers, and don't be caught off guard by a frigid wind if you wander close to the waterfront.

Events to check out:

  • New Year's Day is mostly a quiet day, though you might hear some residual fireworks from diehard partiers from the night before. Most stores and tourist attractions will be closed, as will many restaurants.
  • Jan. 6 is La Befana, or Epiphany, celebrated with concerts, bonfires, and stockings filled with candy for little ones.
  • Jan. 17 is the Festa di Sant'Antonio, with bonfires lit across the city.

February

Like January, February is one of Naples' coldest, rainiest months.

Events to check out:

  • Carnevale begins in February and features lots of little kids in costumes, confetti tossed seemingly everywhere in the city, and seasonal carnevale pastries sold in bakery windows.

March & April

March and April can be fickle weather-wise, still rainy but slightly warmer (with averages around 50 F / 10 C), with the occasional sunny day. Pack a waterproof jacket and some layers for colder nights.

We group these months together because so much of the action centers around Easter, which falls in either March or April.

Events to check out:

  • If Easter is in April, Carnevale will stretch into March.
  • Festival MANN is a vibrant arts festival held late March to early April at the National Archaeological Museum.
  • From Palm Sunday to Easter, Easter Week in Naples and the rest of Italy is defined by religious processions and an air of solemnity.
  • Festa della Liberazione, or Liberation Day, on April 25 is a national holiday marking the end of World War II.

May

May sees mostly warm, sunny days without too much heat, and winter/spring rain starts to taper off. Evenings will still be pleasantly cool, so pack a few lightweight layers.

Events to check out:

  • Processione delle Statue: The first Saturday in May, statues of Naples major saints, including Sant Gennaro, are carried from the Duomo to the Basilica di Santa Chiara, and thousands of faithful turn out to watch.
  • Mid-May, the Maggio dei Monumenti festival includes concerts, exhibitions, and access to historic buildings usually closed to the public.
  • The Napoli Bike Festival is a celebration of all things pedal-powered, wth bike tours, rallies, and exhibits.

June

Things start to heat up in Naples in June—literally, with temperatures reaching into the mid-80s F (29 C). Pack lightweight clothing, sunscreen, and a sunhat, especially if you're planning to visit Pompeii.

Events to check out:

  • The Napoli Teatro Festival (Theater Festival) kicks off in June and runs into July, featuring classic and experimental theatre productions at venues across the city.
  • Pizza Village takes place in late June-early July and is a huge pizza festival on the Naples waterfront, with pizza-cooking contests, tastings, parties, and prizes.

July

July in Naples is very hot, and this is also the city's dryest month. Daytime temps can reach into the 90s F (32 degrees C) or higher. We recommend doing your sightseeing in the morning and in the late afternoon, after 6 pm.

Events to check out:

  • The Festa della Madonna del Carmine, held June 15-17, features a mock burning of the church tower at the Piazza del Carmine, as well as a solemn mass and a grand fireworks display.

August

August is traditionally the month when Italians head to the sea for their annual vacations. Neapolitans who can't get out of town head flock to their local beaches, especially on weekends. August is at least as hot as July, and temperatures in the high 90s are not unusual. Events to check out:

  • Ferragosto, Aug. 15, in Naples is celebrated in a big way, with beach parties, bonfires, and fireworks. Expect most businesses to be closed today.

September

Crowds start to thin out and temperatures start to cool off ever so slightly, though it's still warm enough for swimming and sunning at the beach. Pack a light sweater, even though you probably won't need it.

Events to check out:

  • The Festa di San Gennaro is the biggest religious holiday in Naples, when the faithful await the liquefication of a vial of San Gennaro's blood that signifies the annual blessing of the city. The city is beautifully illuminated and a festive air takes hold.
  • Naples celebrates its diverse cultures with the 2-week long Festival Ethnos world music festival.

October

October is the start of the rainy season in Naples, but cooler temps and lighter crowds make up for any cloudy skies. Bring some layers, but don't expect terribly cool weather.

November

It's cold and rainy in Naples in November so if you visit this month, pack for the weather. Expect far thinner crowds and a low-key (for Naples, at least) air.

Events to check out:

  • ​Nov. 1 is All Saints' Day, a public holiday.
  • The Napoli Film Festival celebrates independent films from Naples and throughout the Mediterranean, which are screens at theaters around the city.

December

Cold and rainy December is still magical in Naples, when the city's presepi (nativity scene) traditions go full-tilt and the city is bedecked with Christmas lights. If you can handle the Christmas crowds, it's a great time to visit.

Events to check out:

  • From Dec. 8, the Church of Gesu' Nuovo, in Piazza del Gesu', displays nativity scene artwork.
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno is presepi central, with displays and stalls selling Nativity scenes—and Italians flocking here to buy them. There's also a large Christmas market nearby.
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