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A truth about Naples, Italy - Things to do in Naples, Italy

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

We always used to read the experiences of the traveller about Naples. The city has been associated with mafia and considered as one of the dirtiest cities. It’s really different from the Northern cities like Florence, Milan where I had already been to.

Before our trip, we thought that these are exaggerations from the tourists and all the negative things we heard about the city would have been improved. Because we heard the same kind of things about Paris as well and we had a very different experience than what we hear from people.

Naples, Italy

But we were proved wrong this time.

When we reached the Central station of Naples, we were totally shocked to see how dirty it looks. The garbage was flooding from the dustbin and there were trash shoppers on the corner of the streets and the smell of weeds on the streets.

There were people on the streets who were staring at us and sometimes, we also got a feel that somebody was following us.

Right from the start, we got the feeling that Naples is dangerous and unsafe. The crime level is highly than other Italian cities and the tourists are being targeted by pickpockets and bag-snatcher.

Naples, Italy

How to Reach to Naples?

As we were traveling from Germany, we had booked a flight to Naples International Airport. If you book the flight in advance or a bit earlier, there’s a possibility to book a cheaper return flight.

If you are traveling within Italy, the train is the best option to reach Naples. It’s around 1 hour by train from Rome.

How to Reach Naples Center from Airport?

There’s a direct shuttle bus called “Alibus” from Naples Airport to Central Train station Naples “Garibaldi”. The bus station is around 100 m away from the exit of the airport arrival. The ticket costs 5. You can buy the ticket on the bus, ticket machine inside the airport or Online. There are frequent connections to and from Airport.

Where to you stay in Naples?

Naples isn’t a safe city. It’s famous for pick-pocketing and robberies. When we reached Central station “Garibaldi”. we got very different vibes.The city didn’t seem secure or friendly at all.

The best and secure areas to stay in Naples are Santa Lucia (near Naples Shore), Chiaia and Decumania neighborhood (Old town). We have stayed in Eurostars Hotel Excelsior and it has a Roof Top Restaurant with the best view of the Gulf of Naples.

Santa Lucia, Naples

You need to be very very careful while selecting the neighborhood to stay in. There are a lot of BnB in the city with budgeted prices and but we would suggest not to stay in BnB in Naples. The worst area to stay is near central train station “Garibaldi '' as it's not safe at all.

How to Spend a day in Naples:

Naples has a very good public transportation system. It has tram 1,2 & 3 and frequent bus connections.

Castles in Naples:

1. Castel dell'ovo:

As we were staying in one of the best locations, we started our tour of Naples from the famous Castel dell'ovo. The Castle is located right in front of our Hotel.

Castel dell'ovo, Naples

Castel dell'ovo is located on the sea front with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean sea and Port Naples. It's one of the oldest standing fortifications in Naples. Due to Coronavirus, the Castle was closed so we didn’t get the chance to get inside. The entrance is free of cost.

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2. Castel Nuovo:

The Castel Nuova is also known as New Castle, It’s a medieval Castle located in the Center of Naples near City hall. It’s one of the famous landmarks of Naples and used to be a Royal seat for Kings of Naples, Aragon and Spain until 1815.

Castel Nuovo, Naples

3. Castel Sant’Elmo:

The Castel Sant’Elmo is a medieval fortress located on a hilltop and it's a best spot to look at the View of the Gulf of Naples.

Piazza del Plebiscito:

It’s the largest public Square in Naples bounded by the Royal Palace and San Francesco di Paola Church. The square is located near the Gulf of Naples and used for Open-air concerts.

Palazzo Reale di Napoli:

Palazzo Reale or Royal Palace of Naples is a palace, Museum and touristic landmark of Naples. The palace was used to be a home of different kings of Naples.

Palazzo Reale di Napoli

San Francesco di Paola Church:

It’s the most famous Church of Naples located in the main square of Naples in West of Piazza del Plebiscito.

Explore the Neighborhood of Naples:

Quartieri Spagnoli:

To get the real vibes of the city, Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish quarter) is a neighborhood to explore. There are narrow connected streets Via Toledo (main pedestrian street of Naples). There are around 14,000 inhabitants living in the neighborhood.

Quartieri Spagnoli, Naples

It’s a commercial hub with local food stalls selling Pizzas and small cafes. There are houses with small balconies and clothes hanging on their balconies.

The streets are always full of people and you can hear the locals interacting with each other and barter things.

Quartieri Spagnoli, Naples

The Quarter isn’t safe at night. It’s best to explore in the day and get the feel of the vibrant Naples.

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Lungomare di Napoli:

One of the beautiful and relaxing thing to do in Naples is walking along the seafront of the city. The Lungomaro di Napoli is around 3 KM long and starts from Santa Lucia and ends at Caracciolo. It has cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. From the water front, you can also see the view of Mount Vesuvius.

Lungomare di Napoli. Naples

Shopping in Naples:

Via Toledo:

Toledo is one of the beautiful underground tram stations of Naples. Via Toledo is a pedestrian street of Naples around 1 KM long and it starts at Piazza Dante and ends in Piazza Trieste e Trento.

The street was built by Spanish Viceroy in 1536 and Nowadays, it's one of the most touristic places which is always full of people. Via Toledo has both international and local brands and restaurants and cafes serving the best Pizza and Coffee.

Galleria Umberto I:

It’s a shopping Gallery across the San Carlo opera house. The Gallery has international brands like Sephora and small cafes. The gallery is quite similar to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele IIin Milan but of course smaller than that.

Galleria Umberto I, Naples

Port of Naples:

The port of Naples is one of the largest seaport in Mediterranean sea and largest Italian seaport. This is the point from where you can take a boat to Capri or Salerno.

Port of Naples

During summer, it's highly recommended to book your trip in advance otherwise you might not get it due to lot of tourists.

Other Recommendations:

1. Mount Vesuvius:

Mount Vesuvius is an active volcano. The Mount erupted in AD 79 and destroyed cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae.

It’s highly recommended to climb up Mount Vesuvius, it takes around 30 minutes and to experience the hiking of an active volcano.

How to reach to Mount Vesuvius by Public transport:

If you are coming from Naples, take a Circumvesuviana which operates between Naples central station to Salerno. The train is dirty, unsafe and full of crowd. Be extra careful from pickpockets. You need to get off at the station of Ercolano Scavi and take a Vesuvio Express bus from there. The bus takes Euro 20 for a return journey and it includes the entry to Mount Vesuvius.

2. Naples underground geothermal zone:

Naples is undoubtedly one of the oldest cities of Europe. To experience how Naples was like 2400 years ago, explore the underground Naples. There’s a complex network of tunnels and historical centers. The underground Naples was also used during WW II for taking the refuge.

The guided tour starts near the Piazza del Plebiscito and ends in Via Chiaia.

3. Monastero di Santa Chiara

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