Naples Travel Guide

Where to go and what to eat in Italy's third-largest city

Procida, La Corricella colorful Harbour
••• Francesco Riccardo Iacomino / Getty Images

Naples, Napoli in Italian, is the third-largest city in Italy, located in the Campania region in the southern part of the country. It's about two hours south of Rome, on the coast on the northern edge of the Bay of Naples, one of the most beautiful bays in Italy. Its harbor is the most important port in southern Italy.

Its name comes from the Greek Neapolis meaning new city. Its close proximity to many interesting sites, such as Pompeii and the Bay of Naples, makes it a good base for exploring the area.

Naples is a lively and vibrant city, full of wonderful historical and artistic treasures and narrow, winding streets with small shops, making it worth at least a few days visit.

How to Get to Naples

Naples is the main transportation hub for southern Italy with several major train lines. The train and bus stations are in the huge Piazza Garibaldi, on the eastern side of the city. Naples has an airport, Aeroporto Capodichino, with flights to other parts of Italy and to Europe. A bus connects the airport with Piazza Garibaldi. Ferries and hydrofoils run from Molo Beverello to the islands of Capri, Ischia, Procida, and Sardinia.

Getting Around Naples: Skip the Car

Naples has good public transportation and lots of traffic problems so it's best to avoid having a car. The city has a large but crowded bus network, trams, a subway, funiculars, and a suburban train line, the Ferrovia Circumvesuviana, that will get you to Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Sorrento.

More about Day Trips from Naples.

Naples Food Specialties

Pizza, one of Italy's most famous foods, originated in Naples and is taken very seriously here. There are even rules about the type of flour, tomatoes, cheese and olive oil to be used in authentic Neapolitan pizza. Be sure to seek out a restaurant with an authentic wood-burning oven, which takes pizza to a whole new level.

Pizza isn't the only Italian dish that originated in Naples. Eggplant parmesan was first served here, and the region is often associated with the traditional spaghetti and tomato sauce. And since Naples is a port city, excellent seafood is easy to find. 

Naples is also known for its wines, and for its rich, decadent desserts, such as zeppole, a doughnut-like pastry served on St. Joseph's Day and Easter. It's also the home of limoncello, a lemon liqueur. 

Where to Eat in Naples' Historic Center

Naples Weather and When to Go

Naples gets quite hot in summer, so spring and fall are the best times to visit. Since Naples is near the coast, it's more temperate in winter than interior cities of Italy. Here are details about Naples Weather and Climate.

Naples Festivals

Naples has one of the best and biggest New Year's Eve fireworks displays in Italy. During Christmas, hundreds of nativity scenes decorate the city and the streets. Via San Gregorio Armeno in central Naples is filled with displays and stalls selling Nativity scenes.

Probably the most important festival in Naples is the San Gennaro Feast Day, celebrated on September 19 at the Cathedral with a religious ceremony and procession and street fair.

On Easter, there are many decorations and a big parade. 

Naples Top Attractions:

Here are some must-see sights for tourists visiting Naples

  • The National Archaeological Museum of Naples has one of the world's best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, including mosaics, sculptures, gems, glass and silver, and a collection of Roman erotica from Pompeii. Many of the objects come from excavations at Pompeii and other nearby archaeological sites. Museum details
  • Piazza del Plebiscito is the center of modern Naples. San Francesco di Paola, on the piazza, is a huge domed church. Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace, is across the square (closed Wednesdays). Inside you can visit the restored rooms and royal apartments and visit the roof garden where there are good views of the bay.
  • Spaccanapoli, or Via San Biaggio, is the main street that divides Naples and is the heart of the historic center. Teeming with people, the street holds many interesting churches, shops, and other buildings. Originally the heart of the Greek and Roman city, the Spaccanapoli district is a string of narrow, winding streets and is mainly a pedestrian zone so it's a fun place to wander around. More about Spaccanapoli
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno, off Via San Biaggio, is famous for its nativity workshops and stores. See our pictures of Via San Gregorio Armeno. Via dei Tribunali, another street in old Naples, has arcades dating back more than 1,000 years.
  • Santa Chiara Church is part of a large complex that includes a monastery with beautiful cloisters decorated with majolica tiles and frescoes and an interesting archaeological museum. Santa Chiara Monastery and Museum
  • The Duomo is a 13th-century Gothic cathedral dedicated to Naples' patron saint, San Gennaro. On one side of the Duomo is the 4th-century  Basilica Santa Restituta (the oldest church in Naples) with columns believed to be from the Temple of Apollo, good ceiling frescoes, and archaeological remains from the Greeks to the middle ages. The 5th-century baptistery has good 14th-century Byzantine-style mosaics. Naples Duomo
  • San Lorenzo Maggiore is a 13th-century medieval church with extensive Greek and Roman remains underneath.
  • Piazza del Mercato has probably been a market square since Roman times.
  • Via Toledo, a pedestrian street, is one of the main business and shopping streets.
  • Castel dell'Ovo, the oldest castle in Naples, sits in a prominent position on the harbor and is used for exhibitions and concerts.
  • Castel Nuovo, a huge castle erected in 1279-1282, houses the Civic Museum (closed Sundays). Inside are 14th-15th century frescoes and paintings, silver, and bronzes from the 15th century to present.
  • Teatro San Carlo, known for its perfect acoustics, is the best place to hear opera in southern Italy. Opened in 1737, it's the world's oldest surviving opera house although it was rebuilt in 1816 after a fire.
  • The Capodimonte Museum and Park, built as King Charles III's hunting lodge, houses one of Italy's richest museums with a great picture gallery and collection of majolica and porcelain. You can wander around the royal apartments and the surrounding park, too.
  • Museum and Monastery of San Martino, on the Vomero Hill, has a famous display of Neopolitan nativity scenes, beautiful cloisters and gardens, frescoes and mosaics, artwork, and fantastic views. San Martino Museum
  • Funiculare, inclined railways, take you up the hill to the Vomero district where you'll find fabulous views, Castel Sant'Elmo, and Certosa and Museum of San Martino. Funiculare Centrale, one of the longest in the world, leaves from Via Toledo by Galleria Umberto. The other two are Funiculare di Chiaia and Funiculare di Montesanto.
  • The Orto Botanico, botanical garden, is one of the best in Italy.
  • Naples University, founded in 1224, is one of Europe's oldest universities.
  • Bay of Naples - Many interesting destinations on the Bay of Naples and in Campania can easily be visited from Naples.

Naples Hotels

Here are top guest rated Hotels in Naples Historic Center and Hotels near Naples Train Station. Find more guest-rated Naples hotels on TripAdvisor.

Page 1: Naples Travel Guide

Top Sights and Attractions in Naples:

  • The National Archaeological Museum of Naples has one of the world's best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, including mosaics, sculptures, gems, glass and silver, and a collection of Roman erotica from Pompeii. Many of the objects come from excavations at Pompeii and other nearby archaeological sites. Museum details
  • Piazza del Plebiscito is the center of modern Naples. San Francesco di Paola, on the piazza, is a huge domed church. Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace, is across the square (closed Wednesdays). Inside you can visit the restored rooms and royal apartments and visit the roof garden where there are good views of the bay.
  • Spaccanapoli, or Via San Biagio, is the main street that divides Naples and is the heart of the historic center. Teeming with people, the street holds many interesting churches, shops, and other buildings. Originally the heart of the Greek and Roman city, the Spaccanapoli district is a string of narrow, winding streets and is mainly a pedestrian zone so its a fun place to wander around. More about Spaccanapoli
  • Via San Gregorio Armeno, off Via San Biagio, is famous for its nativity workshops and stores. See our pictures of Via San Gregorio Armeno. Via dei Tribunali, another street in old Naples, has arcades dating back more than 1000 years.
  • Santa Chiara Church is part of a large complex that includes a monastery with beautiful cloisters decorated with majolica tiles and frescoes and an interesting archaeological museum. Santa Chiara Monastery and Museum
  • The Duomo is a 13th century Gothic cathedral dedicated to Naple's patron saint, San Gennaro. A huge festival is held when a vial of his blood is taken out of its storage place in hopes that it will liquefy. On one side of the duomo is the 4th century Basilica Santa Restituta (the oldest church in Naples) with columns believed to be from the Temple of Apollo, good ceiling frescoes, and archaeological remains from the Greeks to the middle ages. The 5th century baptistery has good 14th century Byzantine-style mosaics. Naples Duomo
  • San Lorenzo Maggiore is a 13th century medieval church with extensive Greek and Roman remains underneath (closed Mondays). San Lorenzo Maggiore
  • Piazza del Mercato has probably been a market square since Roman times.
  • Via Toledo, a pedestrian street, is one of the main business and shopping streets.
  • Castel dell'Ovo, the oldest castle in Naples, sits in a prominent position on the harbor and is used for exhibitions and concerts.
  • Castel Nuovo, a huge castle erected in 1279-1282, houses the Civic Museum (closed Sundays). Inside are 14th-15th century frescoes and paintings, silver, and bronzes from the 15th century to present.
  • Teatro San Carlo, known for its perfect acoustics, is the best place to hear opera in southern Italy. Opened in 1737, it's the world's oldest surviving opera house although it was rebuilt in 1816 after a fire.
  • The Capodimonte Museum and Park, built as King Charles III's hunting lodge, houses one of Italy's richest museums with a great picture gallery and collection of majolica and porcelain. You can wander around the royal apartments and the surrounding park, too.
  • Museum and Monastery of San Martino, on the Vomero Hill, has a famous display of Neopolitan nativity scenes, beautiful cloisters and gardens, frescoes and mosaics, artwork, and fantastic views. San Martino Museum
  • Funiculare, inclined railways, take you up the hill to the Vomero district where you'll find fabulous views, Castel Sant'Elmo, and Certosa and Museum of San Martino. Funiculare Centrale, one of the longest in the world, leaves from Via Toledo by Galleria Umberto. The other two are Funiculare di Chiaia and Funiculare di Montesanto.
  • The Orto Botanico, botanical garden, is one of the best in Italy.
  • Naples University, founded in 1224, is one of Europe's oldest universities.
  • Bay of Naples - Many interesting destinations on the Bay of Naples and in Campania can easily be visited from Naples.

Naples Travel Essentials

Find basic Naples travel facts, including Naples transportation and where to stay in Naples, on Page 1: Naples Travel Essentials.