Naples, or Napoli as the locals affectionately call it, is a sun-soaked treasure trove brimming with history, culture and unforgettable culinary delights. If you thought you knew pizza, get ready to have your taste buds revolutionised in its hometown. As Italy's third-largest city, Naples boasts the largest historic centre in the country, spreading across a sprawling 4,200 acres. Leisurely get lost within its labyrinthine streets or hop on a Vespa and zoom through various districts to get a glimpse of local life through the eyes of the Neapolitans. With so much to offer, Naples is a place where your choices for things to do are as endless as your appetite for adventure. As the Italians wisely say, "Rome is the heart of Italy, but Naples is its soul." So, take a plunge into la dolce vita as we explore the top eight things to do in Naples.
- Go on a Pizza Pilgrimage
- Journey through Spaccanapoli
- Discover Naples Beneath the Surface
- Marvel at Museum Treasures
- Take in the Views at Castel dell’Ovo
- Climb Mount Vesuvius
- Step Back in Time at Pompeii
- Take a Boat to Capri
If you thought you knew pizza, think again. Naples is the birthplace of this beloved dish, and here, pizza is more than a meal – it's a sacred tradition. From world-renowned pizzerias like Sorbillo to hidden gems along Via Tribunali, each slice is a bite of history. Visit a pizzeria that’s serving pizza vera napoletana (true Neapolitan pizza) and you’ll be good to go. Don’t forget to look for the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana certification – the mark of pizza perfection. And, of course, there's no destination more fitting to learn how to whip together an authentic Italian pizza than here, with plenty of pizza-flavoured tours to choose from.
Get lost in the heart of Naples by wandering along Spaccanapoli, a bustling street that feels like a portal to another era. Here, Vespas whiz by, neighbours engage in passionate debates from balconies, and artisan workshops hum with life. Along this UNESCO-listed street, you'll stumble upon centuries-old churches, including the stunning Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo and the renowned Cappella Sansevero, home to the mesmerising Veiled Christ sculpture.
Beneath Naples lies another world – a labyrinth of ancient tunnels, chambers, and passageways known as Naples Underground. Created by the Greeks, and expanded by the Romans and Bourbons, these tunnels reveal the city's history, from stone extraction to aqueducts, escape routes, and even bomb shelters. Exploring this subterranean wonder on a guided candlelit tour is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Naples.
Naples is a treasure trove of art and history, and its museums reflect this rich heritage. Don't miss the Naples National Archaeological Museum which houses Roman remains and the intriguing erotic art from Pompeii. Explore the Monastery of Santa Chiara's gothic beauty, the Royal Palace's grandeur, and the captivating Piazza del Plebiscito.
For a view that graces countless postcards and inspires legends, head to Castel dell’Ovo. Perched on an islet just off the Naples coast, this castle is more than just a stunning sight. Legend has it that the ancient poet Virgil ordered an egg to be placed beneath the castle's foundations, symbolising its strength. If this egg had cracked, it would have spelled doom for the castle and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed. Whether the story holds true or not, Castel dell'Ovo has withstood centuries of wars and earthquakes. Today, the castle welcomes visitors with open gates and offers guided tours and temporary exhibitions. If you’re seeking history and panoramic views, this is a must on your itinerary of things to do in Naples.
The mighty Mount Vesuvius stands as a sentinel over Naples, and visiting its volcanic peak not only promises Instagram-worthy panoramas of the Bay of Naples, but it's also like a live-action geology lesson. Learn about its tumultuous past on a guided tour and brace yourself for a hike that's as thrilling as it is thigh-burning. But rest assured, conquering this geological giant is rewarding and a great item to tick off your Naples bucket list.
Nearby, the ancient city of Pompeii, frozen in time by Vesuvius' eruption, offers a glimpse into Roman daily life. Once a flourishing ancient civilisation, Pompeii met its catastrophic end during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Remarkably, this UNESCO world heritage site draws in more than 2.5 million curious travellers each year, however it’s not hard to see why as you wander through perfectly preserved villas, theatres, temples and the evocative Garden of the Fugitives.
For an island getaway, hop on a ferry to Capri. With its mesmerising blue waters, craggy hills and colourful buildings, Capri is pure magic. Take a boat tour to the Blue Grotto, hike in the mountains, or simply relax on the beach. Capri has something for everyone and it’s only an hour away from Naples.