Are you looking for the best things to do in Naples, Italy as a first-time visitor? This guide has you covered!
Naples is seriously one of my favorite cities in Italy (and even Europe). It took me a while to understand the city but once I did, I fell in love,
This guide walks you through the top Naples attractions, including historical landmarks and even where to eat!
Did we miss any of the best Naples landmarks? Let us know what to do in Naples in the comments!
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Best Naples Tours (to Maximize Your Time!)
If you’re looking for something more organized when in Naples and the surrounding area, here are some awesome Naples tours you should check out.
These tours will help you maximize your time, which is especially important if you only have a short amount of time in the city! We listed a variety so that you can pick which one is most suitable for you (and many include multiple places!):
- Naples Underground Ticket and Guided Tour (top-selling city tour!)
- Full-Day Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius Tour (from Naples or Sorrento)
- Boat Tour to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello (top Amalfi Coast tour!)
- Naples Pizza-Making Workshop with Drinks (I LOVED this!)
- Street Food Tour of Naples (with local guide!)
- Gulf of Naples & Capri Sightseeing Boat Tour
Best Things to Do in Naples Italy
1. Explore the Naples Underground (and Its Enthralling History)
If you are looking to escape the chaos of the streets of Naples… or even flee the heat for a bit, book yourself an underground experience in the city and you will get a chance to walk through 2400 years of history!
This is the heart of the city and its history and you can take a tour and purchase a ticket for a super cheap price!
This tour will include visiting the Greek-Roman aqueduct before seeing the Summa Cavea and the remains of a Roman Theater. The guide will speak both English and Italian (there is an app that will allow you to hear in other languages).
At the end of the tour, you will get a chance to enjoy some pizza at the end.
This is a skip-the-line entry ticket and is a MUST when visiting Naples. It is the #1 best-selling thing to do there!
2. Go on a Naples Street Food Tour
Take a food tour through the two main streets of the historical city center– Via dei Tribunali and Spaccanapoli– with an informed guide, who will tell you about the stories and legends that lead to the creation of signature dishes.
Napoli is the birthplace of pizza, and this tour will make sure you have a taste of both the pizza fritta and the pizza a portafoglio.
Between stops of notable attractions in the city, you’ll sample dishes such as arancini, taralli, frittata di pasta, babà, and the signature sfogliatelle dessert.
There will even be a stop at the salumeria, where you can eat a board of fresh cheese, salami, olives, and other deli meats.
End the tour at a limoncello factory with a limoncello shot, followed by an authentic gelato of your choice!
3. Take a Day Trip to the Amalfi Coast
Arrive at the Piazza Amerigo Vespucci, where you’ll get clear views of the beach.
From there, explore the narrow streets lined with colorful restaurants, cafes, shops, and pebble beaches.
This tour can be personalized with a boat trip along the coast or the option to tour the town with your guide or on your own.
Afterward, you’ll see Ravello, and its charming gardens, streets, and views can be admired before returning to the bus.
4. Learn to Make Your Own Neapolitan Pizza in Naples
Okay, so one of my favorite experiences I did ANYWHERE was this pizza-making course in Naples! There are a few courses out there but the only one I can vouch for is this one as it is the exact one I did.
This Naples pizza-making class will pair you with an Italian chef where you will get to make your own dough before topping the pizza and throwing it in the oven to cook!
You can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine with it (or a non-alcoholic beverage if you choose). It also came with an appetizer and dessert.
The class lasts for two hours and is conducted in English. It will have a maximum of 10 participants and is centrally located in Naples (and super easy to get to).
So, I wasn’t very good at making pizza it turns out, but the pizzaiolo helped me and made sure I had a good pizza to eat in the end so I didn’t have to eat my disaster!
This was seriously such a fun activity and I highly recommend it to everyone visiting Naples!
5. Check Out the Catacombs of San Gennaro
The patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro, has catacombs built in his honor not only meters away but layered on top of an even more archaic set of catacombs.
Millennia’s worth of history is preserved underneath the streets of Naples, arranged on a division of two floors, and has steps descending into a collection of tombs, a chair, and an altar, all belonging to a single nave carved from the tuff underneath.
The lower part of the catacombs extends toward and around the Basilica of Sant’Agrippino, where Mass is celebrated to this day.
Observe the fading iconography decorated on the walls, and consider a guided tour for the full rundown on the historical significance of the catacombs, the people involved, and the way it impacted Catholicism.
6. Go on a Day Trip to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius
Take a private bus from Rome with an archaeological guide to tour the ruins of Pompeii and drive up to the crater of Mount Vesuvius, where you can take a short hike and admire the surrounding views.
Start the visit at the Antiquarium, a museum full of treasures, artifacts, and plaster casts from the molds of ash.
The Forum is the main square of the town and has the Temple of Jupiter, the Shrine of the Lares, the Temple of Vespasian, the Curia, the Basilica, and the Temple of Apollo with its iconic 48 Ionic columns.
The Teatro Grande and Teatro Piccolo, the mysterious Temple of Isis, the Stabian Baths, the Amphitheater, and the House of Menander should also be included in your itinerary.
7. Take a Day Trip to Capri and the Blue Grotto
Explore Capri and the Blue Grotto by taking a scenic ferry ride from the Gulf of Naples.
Just a bit less than an hour’s journey, the tour guide at the vibrant Marina Grande will be waiting eagerly to show you the highlights of the island.
Upon your arrival, take a minibus to explore the quaint village of Anacapri, which is almost 550 meters above sea level.
Visit the Villa San Michele and the gardens of Axel Munthe, or explore the historic, narrow streets to La Piazzetta, a magnificent plaza surrounded by boutiques, gift and souvenir shops, cafes, and other old buildings.
Afterward, take a chairlift, an iconic attraction on the stunning, mountainous island, to Monte Solaro, which is the highest point of the island.
8. Visit the Basilica Reale Pontificia San Francesco da Paola
In the main square of Naples, Piazza del Plebiscito, is the stunning San Francesco di Paola Basilica.
It is a stunning neoclassical building with colonnades, a columned portico, and a massive dome of 53 meters.
The interior showcases 34 Corinthian columns, ornate altars, and statues. At night, the Basilica is illuminated with a medley of colorful lights.
If you have been to the Parthenon in Rome, then perhaps you will notice the similarities of the structure, both inside and out– but especially the interior!
The beauty and impressive size of the Basilica rival that of the Royal Palace of Naples on the other side of the Piazza del Plebiscito.
The statue of the horseman in front of the Basilica is that of San Francesco di Paola, the owner.
Address: Piazza del Plebiscito, 80132 Napoli NA
9. Visit Herculaneum with an Archaeologist
The volcanic ash of Vesuvius acted as a remarkable preservative and created solidified molds of ash for over 300 people, which are showcased by the seafront.
Not only did stone and marble survive the eruption, but incredibly decorative and detailed mosaics, paintings, ceramics, paper and scrolls, and carbonized wood, as well.
The Sacello degli Augustali was a shrine dedicated to Hercules, the patron god of Herculaneum.
Some other highlights of Herculaneum include the Forum, the Samnite house, and the thermal baths.
Casa dell’Albergo was the local inn, and the House of Galba, House of Aristides, and House of Argus were all mansions belonging to prominent families.
10. Stroll Along Spaccanapoli Street
Explore the old, historic parts of Naples through Spaccanapoli street.
It gets its name, meaning “Naples’ splitter” because its narrow streets cross the center of the city from the southwest toward the northeast.
Due to other independent streets pooling into it, Spaccanapoli is an unofficial street not included in maps.
It is about 2 kilometers in length and includes Piazza Gesu Nuovo, Piazza Nilo, Maddaloni Domenico Capitelli, San Biagio Dei Librai, the Naples Cathedral, and the streets of Pasquale Scura and Benedetto Croce, ending on the outside of the old city center.
Literally cut through the city and walk into the most prominent sites, landmarks, and hidden gems, in addition to the best cafes, shops, hotels, obelisks, villas, restaurants, and bakeries.
11. Check out Piazza del Plebiscito
In central Naples is the iconic Piazza del Plebiscito, perhaps the priority place to visit when in the city.
In the piazza are two of the grandest structures in all of Italy, the San Francesco di Paola Basilica and the Royal Palace of Naples.
Both emblems of the city, the Basilica is built in the neoclassical style with a colossal dome and a curved colonnade facing the Royal Palace of Naples on the other side of the square, a palace, museum, and significant historical destination all in one.
Near the piazza is Via Toledo, an important street with many monuments and a variety of shopping.
Additionally, there is the Teatro di San Carlo, the Castel dell’Ovo, and the Galleria Umberto I.
12. Buy Souvenirs at Via San Gregorio Armeno (“Christmas Alley”)
Via San Gregorio Armeno is not only a church and monastery, but an alley where historically, handcrafted figures of the nativity scene were sold.
The location of the alley and the quality of the handcrafted items created an artisanal culture that became renowned over the years, and now statues of celebrities, sports players, politicians, and other everyday figures are crafted in the shops as well.
The alley can be found between the two most important city center streets– Via dei Tribunali and Spaccanapoli.
This lane may seem hidden at first, but once you catch sight of your first old shop of figurines, or ‘presipio,’ then follow the narrow streets into the heart of the historic shopping center.
It’s a signature place for a Neapolitan souvenir! And one of the best places to check out during winter in Naples!
13. Check Out the Royal Palace of Naples
You cannot visit Naples without seeing the Royal Palace.
The stunning decor and furniture painted ceilings, and beautiful tapestries, antiques, and paintings spread throughout the palace are just the tip of the iceberg.
As you tour the palace, you can catch sights of Mount Vesuvius from the windows.
Admire the grand wallpapers, the flat columns, and the ornate doors with golden leaves– just don’t hurt yourself when you crane your head upward to admire the ceiling frescoes!
The lavish lifestyle of the Bourbon Kings is no joke. The Throne Room has a golden throne, and there is even a private theater, in which opera and plays were performed exclusively for the royal family.
Additionally, the Historic Apartment functions as a museum and includes the Mariacristina di Savoia Room and the Royal Chapel.
Address: Piazza del Plebiscito, 1, 80132 Napoli
14. Drink Coffee at the Ventimetriquadri Coffee Shop
Visit the first specialty coffee shop in Napoli, with a menu ranging from traditional espresso to trendy mixtures.
This espresso bar offers pour-over coffee, otherwise known as V60, served in a wine glass, a great selection of different roasts– including Gardelli beans, origami brews, and even trendy drinks you may have never heard of, like an espresso spritz, which you can enjoy on a hot day!
The professional and helpful staff can lead you in the right direction if you find yourself overwhelmed by the menu.
In addition to coffee, there are desserts and pastries, such as Neapolitan bars, muffins, including the popular pistachio muffin, cookies, and cornettos filled with a variety of creams, and of course, an assortment of wines.
Address: Via Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 64a, 80129 Napoli
15. Visit the Naples National Archeological Museum
Considered to be one of the best museums in the world, the Naples National Archaeological Museum is home to an abundance of extraordinary displays.
Check out the archaeological remains, volcanic ash molds and casts, mosaics, sculptures, ceramics, frescoes, excavated treasures, and artifacts of Herculaneum and Pompeii on the first two floors.
Notable for its Roman and Greek collections, the foundation of its exhibits leans on the Farnese Collection, which includes highlights such as the Farnese Hercules, the Farnese Atlas, and the Farnese Bull.
Otherwise, the museum showcases artwork and artifacts secured from the ruins of Pompeii, such as the mosaic of Alexander the Great against King Darius.
The architecture of the museum is an exhibit in its own right; the structure is a combination of both Baroque and neoclassical styles.
16. Visit the Island of Ischia
Hidden in plain sight in the Gulf of Naples is the volcanic island of Ischia, just over an hour away by ferry from the city of Naples.
The ferry option even enables you to take your car, if you so choose.
From picturesque, vibrant villages to natural hot springs, an authentic Italian experience tucked away from tourists, all with affordable prices, then this may be the fairy tale you’ve been looking for.
The main attractions include the Aragonese Castle, which is impossible to miss, as it towers over the sea on its own separate island.
The Parco Idrotermale Negombo is one of a hundred thermal springs, however, it in particular has springs against a rising cliffside.
Additionally, there are ample things to see and do in its towns of Forio, Sant’ Angelo, and Procida.
17. Explore the Castel dell’Ovo
Fortifying the coastline of the historic city is the Castel dell’Ovo, a fortress built on the island of Borgo Marinaro, and a performer of many acts.
It functioned as a villa and palace as well as a prison, in addition to a fortress.
It is particularly popular for its view over the Gulf of Naples with the peaks of Mount Vesuvius in the background.
Although the fortress is empty, the entrance is free and thus absolutely worth the visit, especially due to its picturesque views and ideal photogenic location.
There are terraces, cannons, and even special exhibitions throughout the year, which you can inquire about or check ahead of time online on their website.
18. Go Shopping at Galleria Umberto I
If you’re seeking a grand shopping experience, then the Galleria Umberto can’t be missed.
It’s probably second to the stunning shopping center in Milan, also notable for its stunning architecture and interior design.
The gallery is essentially a shopping arcade, ornately decorated within, with sculptures, mosaic floors, and signature Romanesque murals, topped with a glass and steel domed roof.
The Galleria is a world-renowned location for shopping, dining, lounging, and socializing.
It is an iconic place for luxury, fashion, and trends and is in close proximity to other major attractions in Napoli, such as Piazza del Plebiscito, San Francesco di Paola Basilica, the Royal Palace, and the Teatro di San Carlo.
Perhaps grab a coffee or gelato from one of the many cafes and take a stroll through the magnificent shopping arcade!
19. Eat Lunch at Pizzeria Da Attilio
It is no secret that Naples is the best place to go for pizza, especially since it is considered the birthplace of pizza, but there are remarkable establishments in the city that are augmenting the authority of their role in the cuisine.
Pizzeria Da Attilio has genius combinations that have you slapping your forehead– like ricotta-stuffed crust– which is the icing on the cake when eating comfort food.
The pizza is, of course, prepared in an authentic Neapolitan style with light and fluffy dough, and there are curious variations you could consider trying, such as the carnevalle or ‘star-shaped’ crust.
You can even watch the chef make the pizza! This pizzeria is where locals go to eat, and the prices are affordable!
If you’re stuck, Pizza Atilio allows you to sample nine different flavors.
20. Visit Museo Cappella Sansevero
Discover the beauty of Baroque in the Sansevero Chapel Museum, also known as the Chapel of Santa Maria della Pietà, designed by the seventh Prince of Sansevero, Raimondo di Sangro.
The structure is not only a museum, but a temple or chapel of initiation, and a mausoleum for nobles.
Stand in awe amidst the many intricately sculpted statues throughout the halls of the chapel, or admire the ornate engravings or frescoes on the ceiling and walls.
Notable highlights of the chapel museum include the Veiled Christ, a mind-blowing marble sculpture with legends of it being sculpted by alchemy.
Disillusion is another brilliant work with a religious expression of freedom from the bondage of sin.
Address: Via Pignasecca, 17, 80134 Napoli
21. Wander Around Chiostro di Santa Chiara
Walk through the painted-tiled pillars and the stunning gardens of citrus trees and roses of Chiostro di Santa Chiara.
The colorful and aesthetic scenery isn’t all there is to admire.
You should also pay attention to the frescoes on the walls and ceilings, the detailed architecture and interior design of the colonnades, in addition to the religious artifacts and the remains of a decently sized Roman Bathhouse and a church that was burned down years ago.
Chiostro di Santa Chiara was founded by Saint Frances of Assisi and is located in the heart of the city’s center, with a church, monastery, and tombs of royalty directly behind the altar– belonging to King Robert of Naples and Queen Sancha of Majorca.
Tickets to enter on average are around €6.
22. Discover the Castel Nuovo
Castel Nuovo, otherwise known as Maschio Angioino, or the Angevin Keep, was rebuilt by Alfonso V of Aragon, hence the distinguished Medieval Renaissance style of the fortress.
It is on the port and has a carved marble triumphal arch as a main entrance pressed between two of the five-round watchtowers.
The united stone walls create an impressive and imposing fortress, yet the inside holds the Palatine Chapel, known for its frescoes, and the Sala dell’Armeria, which exhibits Roman ruins underneath the floor of the glass.
The upper floors showcase artwork from the 17th to early 20th centuries belonging to notable Neapolitan painters, whereas the Throne Room, also known as the Hall of the Barons, often hosts cultural events and the city’s council meetings.
Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele III, 80133 Napoli
23. Have Dessert at Gran Caffe Gambrinus
Take a break from sightseeing in Naples and go for a coffee and dessert at the historic Gran Caffé Gambrinus.
It is located in the most beautiful parts of the city center and has a stunning interior design with luxurious wallpapers, ornate engravings, and statues.
Although the prices are on the higher side, visiting this cafe is a must on the Naples itinerary not only because of its history and location but because of its impact on the culture and class of the city.
With an ice cream shop, a coffee bar, and a pastry shop, there is a versatile assortment of goodies to choose from.
Some options include the sfogliatelle, frolle mignon puff pastries, almond paste cookies, the Neapolitan tart, and the Caprese cake.
Address: Via Chiaia, 1, 80132 Napoli
24. See the Villa Comunale di Napoli
Along the coast of the city and the port of Mergellina is the Villa Comunale di Napoli- a lush park with statues, fountains, blossoming trees, and excellent views of the sea.
It is a great place to take a stroll with a cup of coffee. In addition, there are eating facilities and benches where you can take your take-out to in order to enjoy great food in a natural setting.
The rocky coast’s signature Neapolitan ambiance is a relaxing reset from the bustling city.
If you find yourself between Piazza Vittoria and Piazza della Repubblica, cut through the large fenced area of 110,000 square meters toward the beautiful villa.
The Neapolitan nobility ordered its construction in 1780 in order to have a pleasant location for leisurely strolling and meeting.
Address: Viale Anton Dohrn, 80122 Napoli
25. Stroll Along Lungomare Caracciolo
Take a beautiful stroll along the waters and coast of Napoli at Lungomare Caracciolo.
Pass the harbor of Borgo Marinari, where the Castel dell’Ovo is located, and the Basilica di Santa Lucia a Mare, a major attraction of the city.
For shopping, Riviera di Chiaia is an exceptional option, especially during the night– as its nightlife scene is on the rise.
In the evening, there is music from the terraces of the varying restaurants and lounges, with lights illuminating the hillside.
The scenery, ambiance, and refreshing breeze along the waves of the Gulf of Naples are priceless; the panoramic view of the city is another pro to add to the list.
In the heart of Lungomare Caraccioli is the Villa Comunale di Napoli, an excellent stop for taking a rest.
Address: Via Francesco Caracciolo Napoli
26. Go Mural Hunting in the Spanish Quarter
Discover the cultural heritage of the Quartieri Spagnoli, or the Spanish Quarter of Naples. From food and architecture to distinct murals, the unique flavor of the quarter can’t be missed.
This neighborhood always seems to be busy, and its small and narrow streets and laneways complete with shops, restaurants, and cafes are often packed with people.
You’ll see many balconies on your walk uphill!
The Sant’Anna di Palazzo church is a stunning piece of work within the historic neighborhood.
With altars crafted out of polychrome marble, displaying excellent detail in craftsmanship and decorative elements, and with clay models of the sculpture throughout the structure, there is a feast for the eyes within the church.
27. Eat Lunch at Salumeria Regina
If you’re looking for affordable, delicious comfort food with a straightforward menu, then perhaps a prosciutto sandwich or a platter of ham, cheese, and olives at Salumeria Regina might do the trick.
Authentic and ancient flavors with quality ingredients, prepared with homemade recipes in an excellent location– right in front of the Galleria Umberto I.
Whether you’re seeking a snack or a filling meal, the wonderful and polite staff will lead you in the right direction with recommendations suitable to what you’re looking for.
In addition to the variety of sandwiches, there are rice pilafs, salads, and pasta.
The loyalty to high-quality ingredients is perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the establishment and the most commented compliment given in reviews.
Address: Via Santa Brigida, 17, 80132 Napoli
28. Visit Caserta Royal Palace
Caserta Royal Palace wears the crown of the Italian Baroque and consists of gardens, fountains, pools, and cascades expanding across 11 acres.
It is notable for its telescopic effect and is designed by one of the greatest architects of the 18th century, Luigi Vanvitelli.
The use of the natural environment is a unique characteristic of the palace, which encouraged additional botanical research to expand the gardens of Caserta.
The horticulture of the gardens in juxtaposition with the hunting lodges, woodland forests, and the English Garden, which incorporates ancient ruins and its decorations with its own lake, are beautiful additions to the campus of the palace.
There is even a silk factory tucked within the forests, and the roads can be toured on both bikes and horses!
Address: Piazza del Plebiscito, 1, 80132 Napoli
Things to Do in Naples (On a Map!)
Where to Stay in Naples
If you’re searching for the top places to stay in Naples, here are a few of our favorites!
- Short Lets Cono Napoletano (excellent location!)
- Eurostars Hotel Excelsior (beautiful sea view!)
- Casa Bellevue
- UNAHOTELS Napoli
Did we miss any of the best things to do in Naples Italy? Let us know what’s on your Naples bucket list in the comments!
More Campania & Naples Travel Guides
- Naples pizza making class
- Naples in winter
- Day trips from Naples
- Things to do in Procida
- Where to stay in Naples
- Naples to Herculaneum
- Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
- Winter on the Amalfi Coast
- Beautiful Amalfi Coast towns
- Day trips from Sorrento
- What to do in Sorrento
- Best things to do in Positano
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Megan is a travel blogger and writer with a background in digital marketing. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now splits her time between Frankfurt, Germany and Arctic Finland after also living in Norway, Armenia, and Kazakhstan. She has a passion for winter travel, as well as the Nordic countries, but you can also find her eating her way through Italy, perusing perfume stores in Paris, or taking road trips through the USA. Megan has written for or been featured by National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, the New York Times, and more. She co-authored Fodor’s Travel ‘Essential Norway’ and has visited 45 US states and 100+ countries.