One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the largest city in Southern Italy -Naples is a fascinating, chaotic place to visit, but is it possible to see Naples in a day? Yes, we covered a lot of ground in one day but we appreciated the raw beauty of Naples a lot more when we returned for a longer stay.
Is It Safe To Visit Naples?
Naples has always had a reputation for being dangerous. The city is the home of the Camorra, one of Italy’s oldest and largest gangs. However, they are not interested in tourists.
As two females travelling together, did we feel safe? Yes, we did. Pickpockets, as in most major cities, can be a problem, just pay attention to your surroundings.
Also, keep an eye out for motorbikes, you probably have a higher chance of being knocked down by a bike than being robbed.
If you are driving into Naples, as Jonathan and I did on our first trip to Naples, it’s highly recommended to use a car park rather than park on the street.
If you look up crime stats by city, https://www.numbeo.com/crime/rankings.jsp, Naples is currently at 95, far lower than Atlanta and Houston, for example, that are ranked at 55 and 50.
Top Things To Do In Naples, Italy
If you have only one day to visit, we have put together a list of top things to do in Naples. So start with a cup of strong coffee, make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes (Naples is best explored on foot!) and get ready to embrace the madness that is Naples.
Take A Free Walking Tour
With limited time, it’s a great idea to join a walking tour to show you the highlights and learn a little bit about the city. We did the free Best of Naples walking tour with http://www.napolithatsamore.org. The tour starts at 10 am and lasts two hours. Our guide was excellent, pointing out lots of points of interest along the way. Even though the tour is free, you can’t just turn up; you do need to reserve your spot in advance.
Visit The National Archaeological Museum
Museum buffs will be spoilt for choice, but if you only one day in Naples, then we recommend the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Located in an impressive 17th-century house in the heart of the city. Here you will find what’s considered the world’s best ancient Greco-Roman artifacts. There are some cool Pompeii frescoes and mosaics. And don’t forget to visit the secret room, if you want to see some ancient erotica from Pompeii.
From here, it’s just a short walk to Via San Gregorio Armeno. This narrow cobbled street is filled with artisan workshops producing nativity scenes. Yes, it’s Christmas every day in Naples on this street and not surprisingly gets really busy in December. It was pretty busy when we were there too. There were also some unusual tourist gifts too – would you like toilet paper with your ‘favourite’ politician’s face on it or some lucky chili pepper?
- Pictures of Pompeii Along With Some Tips for Visiting
- Driving the Amalfi Coast
- Visiting Herculaneum (Ercolano) Italy with Photos
See Naples Cathedral
A ten-minute walk will bring you to Naples Cathedral. Inside the church is a small vial of blood from the city’s patron saint, Saint Gennaro. His blood is brought out twice a year on the first Saturday of May and on his saint day, the 19th September, when the ‘miracle of the blood’ occurs, and the dried blood liquefies. Legend has it that if the blood fails to liquefy, then disaster will befall Naples!
Walk Down Spaccanapoli
Just five minutes from the Cathedral is Spaccanoli. This narrow cobbled street which stretches for two kilometers through the heart of Naples’ old city is filled with cute shops, cafes and small eateries. It’s a fabulous place for people watching, and exploring the side streets. Be sure to try the local pizza, you know it’s great when you see massive queues of locals waiting outside. Or we can recommend a hole in the wall, pasta and seafood place, Pescheria Azzurra, if you are getting burnt out on pizza.
Recommended Places To Eat (This Will Require More Than One Day In Naples)
Since we originally wrote this guide, I returned to Naples for a girl’s weekend, and eating good food was our priority.
Here are some of the places we can recommend.
For coffee, head to Caffe Gambrinus, the oldest coffee shop in Naples. It’s located on Piazza Plebiscito near the Royal Palace. Stand up at the bar, and it’s just a euro to enjoy an espresso. But after roaming the busy streets of Naples, it’s nicer to sit, and people watch. An excellent Latte Macchiato will set you back four euros.
For A Pastry Fix
For a pastry fix, you have to try the local specialty sfogliatella. A sfogliatella is a shell-shaped filled Italian pastry. Fillings include orange-flavored ricotta, almond paste and candied peel of lemon. Served hot out of the oven, they are delicious. Over the weekend, we tried a few, all in the name of research. Our favourite was from Sfogliatella Mary in Galleria Umberto 1. Their pastries won by a mile and more!
For Pizza the best pizza in Naples
Naples is famous for its pizza, and with a pizzeria on virtually every corner, where do you pick? We asked a local for recommendations.
Here are two of the pizza places we tried that we tried and were excellent:
Starita is located near Materdei Station. Get there as the doors open at 7 pm, or you will have to queue. They don’t accept reservations here. However, service is speedy, so once you’re in, don’t think you’ll be in for the night. It’s eat and go, but the pizza is delicious. Starita has been serving pizza since 1901, and everyone from the Pope to Sophia Loren has eaten here. Their specialty is the Marinara Starita – a very simple pizza served with a delicate layer of tomato sauce, fresh datterini (cherry) tomatoes, and wild oregano.
The cost of a pizza here starts at €6.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
For one last pizza, before heading home, we visited L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples’ historic centre. Every time we passed this place, there was a long line of people waiting. Only two types of pizza are served here– the margherita or marinara. Both are delicious.
You may recognise this place from the movie Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts.
When you arrive, they will hand you a number and will call you when a table comes available. Pizza costs €6.
Naples is not all pizza; you have to try the local pasta too. Our recommendation is Tandem, also located in the historic centre for a delicious pasta ragu. Again, it’s a popular place to visit, but you can put your name down on the list and come back later. Ragu costs from €8.
For Pasta And Fish
For pasta and fish, head to AL 53 on Piazza Dante. My friend and I shared an absolutely delicious seafood pasta, followed by mixed grilled fish and salad. With wine, the bill came to €35.
How To Get From Naples Airport To Naples City Centre
If you only have one day in Naples, you will want to get from the airport to the city centre as efficiently as possible. Here is how.
Getting to Naples by Bus
The Alibus departs regularly from Naples Airport to Naples city centre. The journey time takes between 10-20 minutes, depending on traffic. You will be dropped off outside Naples’ central station.
The bus tickets cost €5. You can purchase a ticket from the ticket machine in the Arrivals Hall or pay onboard the bus.
Getting to Naples by Taxi
The taxi flat fare from Naples Airport to Naples city centre starts at €18. That’s the price of the flat fare to the historic centre. There’s also a five euro airport fee added to the taxi fare.
Top Tips Seeing Naples in A Day
- Wear comfy shoes – Naples is a city best explored on foot but don’t worry, they do have a metro system.
- Be careful when crossing the streets, the driving here is crazy, watch out especially for the motorbikes.
- Keep an eye on your belongings at all time, there are pickpockets but don’t be paranoid.