Both chaotic and artistic, this largest city in southern Italy offers a little something for everyone. From the world-class monuments, archaeological treasures, Italy’s best pizza and electrifying street life, Naples is all but dull. One day in Naples can seem like no time to explore everything, but it’s just enough time to fall under its southern charm and get the real vibe of the city.
What’s the best time to visit Naples?
Even though Italy’s always been one of the World’s best summer destinations, Naples makes a brilliant winter break destination too. It enjoys a mild, southern climate which makes winter pretty enjoyable. If you want to enjoy sunny weather and still skip the tourist crowd pick May or late September.
What’s good to know about Naples?
Italy’s third-largest city and one of its oldest is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Its historic centre, that was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is the largest in Europe.
Over the centuries, especially during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras, Naples has been a major cultural centre and its rich historic architecture doesn’t hide that. It’s often called an open-air museum, due to many historic monuments and archaeological sites, including the Roman ruins of Pompeii in the immediate vicinity.
One Day in Naples Itinerary
Top things to do in Naples, Italy
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in Naples.
Start your day with a coffee and sfogliatella
Before you even start your Naples tour, take a shot of a strong espresso. Even though the whole Italy is known for its great coffee, the best one is still served in Naples. Find the patisserie that serves sfogliatella and try this shell-shaped filled Italian pastry, originally from the region of Campania.
Stroll around the historic centre
Walk the Old Town as early as possible to skip all the crowd that comes later in the day. Follow the Spaccanapoli (Via San Biagio dei Librai) – the narrow, straight street that splits the historic centre in two. The street offers plenty of patisseries and souvenir shops as well as many historical buildings and churches.
Visit Il Duomo (The Cathedral)
Follow the Via Duomo all the way to the Cathedral of Naples dedicated to Our Lady of Assumption. The church was originally built in the Gothic style, but was reconstructed and renovated in other architectural styles over the centuries. The church keeps the blood of Naples Patron Saint, San Gennaro. It’s kept in a little flask that’s supposed to liquefy twice a year in front the crowd. The spectacle is called the Miracle of Saint Gennaro.
Discover a hidden world of Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground)
Many Italian cities are actually built on previously existing underground cities. Napoli is not an exception. Napoli Sotterranea includes the ruins of the underground structures that was built by the ancient Greeks and later developed by the Romans. From Roman forums to Roman markets, you can witness the centuries of civilization, all under the existing city of Naples. Prepare yourself for a 90 minute exploration full of imagination and mystery.
Stop at Sorbillo’s to eat the original Napoli pizza
Pizza, the most famous Italian dish, originated in Napoli. You can still taste the original pizza taste in one of the many Naples Pizzerias. The best one, Sorbillo, offers several types of pizzas for a really fair price. The best thing is that even being super crowded, you won’t wait more than 5 minutes to get your pizza done. Try the basic one with basil, tomato and mozzarella.
Check out the Gesù Nuovo church unique facade
Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo was first built as a Palazzo Sanseverino in the 15th century and was later converted in the 16th-century church. Giuseppe Valeriani designed its unique facade, covered in pyramid shapes that make a great visual experience. It’s a great place to snap a few photos, too.
Explore the Ancient Art at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Out of many museums and galleries in Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale is the most impressive one. It houses the world’s finest collection of ancient Greco-Roman arts and artefacts, including the most impressive Roman finds of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Colorful Pompei frescos and mosaics, early Greek sculptures, Herculaneum bronze finds – it’s all there. Don’t skip the secret room – a collection of saucy ancient erotica.
Toledo Metro station
Even though Naples is best explored by foot, this modern metro station will force you to use the public transportation at least once. The Toledo Metro station won the LEAF Award ‘2013 as “Public building of the year” and according to CNN it’s the most beautiful metro stop in Europe. Check it out to see why.
Visit the Castles
Naples is a home of many forts and castles, two of them are really worth a visit even if spending only one day in Naples. The Castel dell’Ovo, placed at the end of the lungomare, is the oldest one, dating from the 12th century. Second one, Castel Nuovo overlooking the port was built at the end of the 13th century. If you’re not into doing the inside tour, checking their exterior and surrounding is still a great thing to do in Naples.
Spend a night at Piazza Bellini
Naples is famous for its livly piazzas (squares) where both locals and tourists gather until the early hours. Piazza Bellini is a great choice not just cause of the nice bars and restaurant, but because you also meet a lot of interesting locals and musicians that hang around the mini park in the centre. There are many nice beer shops, so even if you’re travelling on the budget you can have quality Italian beers for less than 2 euros.
Where to stay in Naples?
Since you only have a day in Naples, it’s very important not to waste much time on transport, so you should pick yourself some central place to stay.
Hotel NapoliMia should be a great pick since it’s located in one of the busiest and most interesting streets in Naples – Via Toledo. The hotel is pretty close to the Toledo station and many other city attractions plus they serve an amazing breakfast in the morning.
The Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel
The Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel is even more central, located in the heart of the historic centre. Antique furniture, tasteful interior, interesting art is what describes this boutique hotel best. Not to mention their amazing breakfast. You shouldn’t miss the fantastic views from the roof terrace neither.
Caruso Place Boutique & Wellness Suites
Caruso Place Boutique & Wellness Suites is a new stylish boutique hotel that combines modern designs with the antique details and furniture. It’s centrally located, literally on the Via Toledo, right across Galeria Umberto I. The spacious rooms provide unique and comfortable stay.
NeapolitanTrips Hotel Royale
NeapolitanTrips Hotel Royale is another stylish hotel with a perfect location, close to all the main attractions. The hotel has an amazing roof top deck with a fantastic bar overlooking the city. Enjoy your evening drinks with a spectacular city view.
Hotel Piazza Bellini
Located on Piazza Bellini, Hotel Piazza Bellini is perfect for city exploration and sightseeing. Set in a 16th-century building, hotel combines modern design with artistic elements. Uniquely decorated rooms bring extra comfort.
Extra tips for visiting naples
-The traffic can get crazy in Naples. Whether you’re just crossing the street, even on the marked place, you need to watch out for the cars. Sometimes they just don’t care for the pedestrians at all.
-If visiting the Napoli Sotterranea bring some long sleeve shirt. It can get cold down there.
-Watch your wallet! Pickpocketing, especially around tourist attractions, is very common so you better keep your cash, credit cards, phone and other valuables concealed.
-Unlike many European cities, there’s no strict dress code when visiting the religious sites, so you can enter even if wearing short clothes.
Make your trip to Naples even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for the detailed list of all the activities and organized tours in Naples or around the area.
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