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11 Best Things to See and Do in Naples


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Being a city rich in history, culture, and mouth-watering meals, Naples or Napoli should place high atop any European bucket list.

Due to the vast history of this region, Naples is filled with historical edifices, big squares, and churches with a host of modern amenities and fabulous nightlife opportunities. Sheltering in the shadow of the grand Mount Vesuvius, this is undoubtedly an epic tourist destination.

With loads of natural beauty emerging from the Gulf of Naples and the adjacent Amalfi Coast, along with looming in the shadow of the giant Mount Vesuvius, the choices of things to do in Naples are boundless. But, to make your life easier below are the list of 11 best things to do in Naples.

1. Mount Vesuvius – Climb the sleeping giant

The skyline and landscape surrounding Naples is dominated by the legendary giant volcano namely Mount Vesuvius which was erupted in 79 AD and caused the devastation and burial of Pompeii and its surrounding places.

It is believed extremely dangerous because of the number of human habitats that are resided in its danger zone.

Nowadays you can book a bus tour from Naples to visit this spectacular natural phenomenon and climb up the slopes of this sleeping giant to look into the crater.

A hike will take about half an hour and is considered not too challenging – The views from the top on a clear day are absolutely incredible. Also, the caldera and crater are equally amazing.

Hiking to the summit of the intimidating Mount Vesuvius is challenging, but rewarding at the same time. Climbing this giant volcano is indeed an unarguable addition to Naples’s must-do bucket list.

If hiking isn’t your thing, better climb up the volcano on horseback!

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2. The City of Pompeii – Visit the ancient ruins

Pompeii – once a flourishing ancient civilization – was demolished by the powerful eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. In today’s time, the excavated ancient ruins, alleys, and houses of Pompeii manage to attract around 3 million tourists annually.

At present, you can explore the extensive ruins of Pompeii, where some interesting sights include the Amphitheatre, the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Jupiter, and the case del Fauno.

Moreover, you can witness plaster casts of many of the tragic victims who were buried under the molten ash and remain frozen in their pose for an infinity.

With its ancient ruins retained perfectly by molten ash, a visit to this UNESCO world heritage site is like travelling back in time.

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Pompeii in Naples
Photo © Vacclav | Dreamstime.com

3. Herculaneum –The better-preserved scenes of Roman life

Often ignored for nearby Pompeii, Herculaneum rests today in the shadow of the giant volcano as a sprawling ancient relic, which was desolated after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD.

Keeping that in mind, try to kill two birds with one stone by combining both city ruins in a guided day tour or three birds along with a Vesuvius climb!

Herculaneum got entirely engulfed by lava and portrayed even better-preserved scenes of Roman life. For example, a row of twelve boathouses, which were excavated during the 1990s, was found to be the final hiding place of more than three hundred people.

Some of the Interesting sights within the complex include the House of Argus, and the Villa of the Papyri, which both contain wonderful wall paintings and beautiful frescos.

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Views of Herculaneum
Photo © David Moreno | Dreamstime.com

4. Piazza Del Plebiscito – Start the day at the enormous public square

The Piazza del Plebiscito is undeniably the main square in Naples — in fact, one of the largest in Italy — that acts as the city’s gathering spot, and the central point for a lot of the city’s most renowned landmarks. Whichever way you head, you’ll find iconic buildings and their stunning exteriors, making it the ideal starting point for any walk through the city.

The vast pedestrian area of the square is packed with remarkable buildings and statues. It is close to the Royal Palace in the east and the church of San Francesco di Paola in the west, Other noted adjacent buildings include the Palazzo Salerno and a statue (one of the two bronze equestrian statues) dedicated to Charles III of Spain.

A stroll through the square is a must-do thing on any trip to Naples. Use this beautiful corner of Naples as a starting point for your exploration of Naples and be sure to visit the fine historical buildings that sit here.

Just within a few steps from Piazza del Plebiscito is the well-known Teatro di San Carlo (opera house), the characteristic Quartieri Spagnoli, and Castelnuovo.

The grand Piazza del Plebiscito
Photo © Massimo Santi | Dreamstime.com
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5. Naples National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum, located to the north of the Harbour, is home to Naples’s most valuable collection of Roman and Greek antiquities and displays many of the loot discovered during the excavation at Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Other notable collections include marble statues depicting scenes from ancient mythology, a huge collection of objects from ancient Egypt such as mummified residue, death masks, and stunning mosaics from the ruins of Pompeii.

If you are curious about ancient Roman history and archaeology, visiting this museum is infinitely interesting. As one of the world’s largest archaeological museums, visiting the museum is the best thing to do for history aficionados.

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6. Castel Dell’ovo – Witness Naples’ oldest castle

Within walking distance of the Piazza del Plebiscito, the Norman-built Castel Dell’ovo or Ovo Castle dating back to the 12th century holds the formidable title of Naples’ oldest castle.

Once an island, the land that the castle sits on is at present connected to the mainland and is reachable by road and a footpath.

You can also witness various exhibitions of art and displays about the castle and its history.

The castle area is surrounded by plenty of smart seafood restaurants. After visiting the main attraction, the area offers a bunch of restaurants and bars to refresh and regain your energy with dazzling views of the Gulf of Naples from their patios or terraces.

Castel Dell'ovo
Photo © Lachris77 | Dreamstime.com

7. Old Town – Stroll down Spaccanapoli

Your Naples visit will be incomplete without a free walking tour or stroll through its vibrant and charming Old Town. Its main alley ‘Spaccanapoli’ is the pulse of the city, cutting through the historic center of the region.

Stroll down the Spaccanapoli streets, where you can adore the beauty of its different architectural styles’ buildings and old churches. Visit the city’s charming streets and the popular Cappella San Severo where the Veiled Christ is placed.

Try to have a word with shop owners to experience the real culture and grab a ‘cornetto’ on the way, just like the other Neapolitans!

Also, you can step into the heart of Naples on any of the guided walking tours of the cosy and characteristic Spaccanapoli street.

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8. Diego Armando Maradona Stadium – Hear the crowd roar for SSC Napoli

The only belief system that is giving a strong rivalry to that of the church is football in Naples with its much-loved ‘God’ Diego Armando Maradona. You can see many brilliant wall arts of Maradona throughout the city’s alleys.

If you are a football fan, visiting the football stadium named after him (formerly the San Paolo Stadium) to watch SSC Napoli is the must thing to do and you’ll likely be rewarded with a brilliant match of football with a passionate crowd roaring for their home team. SSC Napoli plays in Italy’s top league Serie A.

It’s guaranteed goosebumps for anyone when encircled by more than fifty thousand passionate football fans all singing and buzzing for a goal.

Don’t forget to make the move afterwards to Bar Nilo if you are a football lover, especially a Maradona fan, to witness the reliquary containing a piece of his hair!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your match ticket here!

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9. Caserta Royal Palace – Bask in the luxury at the iconic palace

Witness hundreds of years of history at the 18th-century Royal Palace of Caserta, and see how royals lived, bask in the unmatched opulence of 1,200 rooms.

The Royal Palace of Caserta, also known as Reggia di Caserta, is famous for its grand size and luxurious style, and wonder of late Italian Baroque architecture.

While the palace’s interior is something to get an eyeful of, its vast lush green gardens and artwork are an attraction in their own right.

The largest royal residence in the world, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, shares a number of features with the Palace of Versailles, and is one of the most-visited monuments in southern Italy.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this iconic palace during your trip to Naples.

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Caserta Royal Palace Gardens
Photo © Marbenzu | Dreamstime.com

10. Castel Sant’Elmo – Enjoy the panoramic view of Naples

A stunning medieval fortress, Castel Sant’Elmo sits on a hill overlooking the city and providing the best views of Naples. The funicular journey to the top is pretty splendid too.

If you are looking for the best panoramic views of Naples from the top, this is the place for you. A walk through the stylish residential district of Vomero will take you to Castel Sant’Elmo, which is conveniently located right next to the Certosa di San Martino on Vomero Hill.

This star-shaped hilltop fortress is a crowd favourite offering historically educational tours with friendly and knowledgeable local guides, cultural activities, and events that often rejuvenate the spaces of the castle, from ancient art through to more contemporary styles. This is an ideal place for perfect back-to-back afternoon activities.

Castel Sant`Elmo skyline and waterfront
Photo © Ig0rzh | Dreamstime.com

11. Via Dei Tribunali – Sample the City’s Best Pizzas

Via dei Tribunali is a great street in Naples Italy for strolling, people watching and eating pizzas.

When in Naples eating the original Neapolitan pizza is a must-do thing!

In Naples, pizza is all about fresh ingredients, juicy flavours, and the perfect mix of basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and olive oil.

For the finest authentic Italian creations, head straight towards the old street of Via Dei Tribunali. Pizzeria Di Matteo in the heart of the city is a super popular pizzeria since 1936. There would be hardly anyone who doesn’t know this pizzeria in Naples. During lunchtime, the entrance becomes crowded with many locals standing in a long line to taste the mouth-watering pizzas.

Also, many national and international celebrities visited and tasted pizzas here. On the wall, you can see a picture of former American President Bill Clinton tasting the pizza on the occasion of the G7 meet held in Naples in 1994!

Else, you can follow the crowds on Via dei Tribunali to find Gino Sorbillo, perhaps the most popular and the best pizzeria in Naples. Moreover, tomatoes, cheese, and basil have never tasted as good as they do on a Sorbillo margarita!

If you are a food lover and loves pizza, sampling the city’s best pizzas is an activity that you can’t miss during your trip to Naples.

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Summary

The Italian city of Naples houses many sets of unique sights that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Whether you’re staying for a day, a week, or for a longer duration, we’ve listed down exactly what you need to do and see in this historic mine of a city.

We hope you have found our selection of things to do in Naples useful.

If you get a chance to visit Naples soon, make sure you try out all these 11 best things to do in Naples to make your trip memorable.


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Written by

Arunabha Chakraborty

Arunabha is a travel writer and digital marketer located in Kolkata, India. He is passionate about writing and photography and enjoys documenting his wanderlust experiences through his blog, encouraging others to travel and create unforgettable memories. He found a passion for travel writing right after his master’s degree. You can follow his travels on Instagram and his blog[Read full bio]

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