10 Things to Do in Naples Italy | An Essential City Guide

10 Things to Do in Naples Italy | An Essential City Guide

March 12, 2021 13 By Kerry

If you’re looking for an escape from every day, then Napoli is the perfect place to be. With its rolling hills, beachfront and lively streets, it’s easy to find things to do in this Naples, Italy. Whether you’re a foodie searching for the perfect Italian dish or the beautiful churches, architecture, museums, and castles draw you in. Naples is a coastal city, so you can enjoy the sea air and views. While you might not be able to sunbathe on the sand, you can still sit with your feet in the water, enjoying the rays of the Italian sun and cold gelato. Discover all this and more in this list of the top 10 things to do in Naples.

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List of the Top 10 Things to Do in Naples Italy

Wondering what to do in Naples, then Via Toledo is a great start as it is one of the most prominent areas in the city. The ancient street of Via Toledo is well-known for shopping. It stretches for 0.75 miles and starts and ends at a Neapolitan Pizzeria.

You should take notice of several landmarks, monuments, and striking architectural buildings on this route. I have listed some of the best sights in the Naples Via Toledo area below:

  • Galleria Umberto I, a beautiful public shopping gallery from the 19th century, is a UNESCO world heritage site within the Historic Centre of Naples.
  • Palazzo Buono, a stunning 17th-century building, was rebuilt in Neoclassical style during the ten years of the French occupation of Naples. It is just a shop, but it is pretty, nevertheless.
  • San Nicola alla Carità, the church of St. Nicholas the Charitable, is a 16th-century building with an ornate décor that you must see while in the area.

2) Head to ‘Pizza Alley’ to Taste Authentic Pizza from Naples’ Pizzerias

So let’s cut right to it, Naples is world-famous for pizza. So, when in Napoli, it would be a travesty if you didn’t devour (at least one) Neapolitan Pizza. A candle-lit dinner, eating world-famous pizza, has got to be one of the most romantic things to do in Naples, Italy.

There’s no better place to get your doughy tomato goodness than from ‘Pizza Alley’ located on Via Tribunali. The most famous place for pizza in Naples, Italy, is Sorbillo. This pizzeria has history and notoriety, and Sorbillo makes the best pizza in the world, so it is worth checking out… if you can handle the carnage!

Things to do in Naples - woman eating a pizza in a pizzeria
Authentic Neapolitan Pizza from an Italian Pizzeria

However, my experience of Sorbillo pizzeria was that awful. People were so desperate to get in that they pushed past the crowds gathered outside to put their name on the list and waited hours for a seat. It’s also confusing as there is another Pizzeria called Sorbillo next door. Judging by the crowds outside one of them, it is obvious which one is famous.

I chose to swerve the Sorbillo tourist trap and chose another pizzeria recommended by our hotel – Pizzeria Dal Presidente, known to have been favoured by Bill Clinton. Again, there are great vegetarian options, and the pizza was delicious.

Why not try baking your own pizza?

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Naples, Italy, learn how to make authentic Neapolitan pizza directly from an expert pizzaiolo (pizza maker) and refine your culinary skills. Best of all, you get to eat your tasty pizza creation. Win-win right?

3) Discover the underground city of Naples

See the hidden depths of Naples with an Underground Naples guided tour. Your guide will take you through 2,400 years of history, from the Greeks to modern times, uncovering the underground birthplace of Naples from an archaeological, historical, anthropological, and geological point of view. The Napoli Sotterranea provides a 40 meter deep journey of cisterns and tunnels that take you on a unique and historical underground adventure.

4) Cool yourself down with a refreshing Gelato at Fontana del Carciofo,

Still wondering what to do in Naples? Well, how about cooling off with a delicious Italian Gelato? I can reccommend Il Gelato Mennella. Not only was the Gelato (ice – cream/sorbet) delicious and affordable, it is only a 3-min walk from Piazza del Plebiscito. Relax with a cool Gelato in hand, gazing at the Fontana del Carciofo, a beautiful fountain.

Things to do in Naples Italy - Fontana del Carciofo,
Fontana del Carciofo,

5) Stroll around the Piazza del plebiscito

Things to do in Naples Italy - Piazza del plebiscito
Piazza del plebiscito

The Piazza del plebiscito is Napoli’s largest Piazza at over six acres. This is one of the top things to do in Naples Italy that you don’t even realise you’re doing. That is because it is so lovely to stroll around on a warm day, and despite the restoration work, it still looks fantastic.

The whole Piazza is beautiful. There is also the Royal Palace to the east and the beautiful church of San Francesco di Paola to the west, which are other gorgeous sights to see.

6) Visit the Maschio Angioino Castle

A visit to Maschio Angioino, an ancient medieval castle, is one of the unique things to do in Naples Italy. Also known as Castel Nuovo (New Castle), this breathtaking piece of history adds a splash of renaissance and culture to Piazza Municipio.

Castel Nuovo is made of sandstone and is surrounded by an impressive fortress. At the time of writing, there was a lot of exciting excavation work in the surrounding area. Inside the castle, you can see sights such as the armoury room and tickets that cost no more than 6 euros without booking.

Things to do in Naples Italy - Castle on Piazza Municipio
Maschio Angioino Castle

7) Visit Castel dell’Ovo – The castle on the Gulf of Naples

Castel dell Ovo is the only castle with free entrance, making it one of the best places to visit in Naples. However, access to Castel dell-Ovo needs to be booked in advance for a specific timeslot. So please don’t do what I did and rock up expecting to walk in as that won’t happen. You can get tickets directly from their website here. 

The whole area surrounding Castle Ovo is beautiful. You can sit on the rocks surrounding the bay of Naples with your feet in the sea or visit one of the many restaurants nearby. This area is so relaxing and picturesque, and it is one of my favourite places to relax.

Things to do in Naples Italy - Castel del'Ovo

8) Photograph the Views of Mount Vesuvius from Lungomare

One of the fun things to do in Naples, Italy, is to bask in the beautiful views of the ocean. The iconic photography everyone associates with Napoli is the view of Mount Vesuvius from across the Gulf of Naples. The 2.5km strip of pedestrian road that spans the coastline makes for a lovely leisurely and scenic stroll towards the Naples Harbour.

Tourists and locals often head here for sunset, particularly on a clear day. As this Italian city doesn’t have a public beach, you can grab a rock to sunbathe or relax after a long day (they’re not as uncomfortable as they look, promise).

Things to do in Naples Italy - Mount Vesuvius across the Gulf of Naples
Mount Vesuvius across the Gulf of Naples

9) Visit the The Linea 1 Metro

While it might seem off that I’m recommending a visit to the Linea 1 Metro station as one of the unique things to do in Naples Italy, it is because this metro station is so cool. It is a functional metro line and filled with marvellous art installations that make you feel as though you’re in an art gallery, not a metro station.

Visit the Toledo station for some of the unique artwork in the Naples underground.

Things to do in Naples Italy - see the artwork in Linea 1 metro station
The Linea 1 Metro station Via Tolerdo

10) Have a Drink Next to the Open Ruins in Piazza Bellini

Piazza Bellini is one of the best places to visit in Naples. This square is a popular hangout for locals as it has many open-air bars and can get lively on the weekend. So visit here if you want to let your hair down and enjoy a drink in a district buzzing with atmosphere.

In addition, you can view the ancient ruins in the centre of the square, although these could be better maintained. Nevertheless, if you want to experience the more cosmopolitan side of Napoli, NA, then pop to Piazza Bellini for a few hours.

Naples or Sorrento as a Base to Explore Italy?

Many people consider staying in Naples or Sorrento as a base for onward travel. As Naples has proximity to the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Mount Vesuvius (an active volcano), there are plenty of options for day trips. A day trip from Naples to Sorrento is a must if you stay choose to stay in Naples.

Southern Italy is famous for its beaches and coastline, so consider visiting the Amalfi Coast while you’re in the region. Naples is also close to the capital city of Rome. If you want to extend your visit to Italy, why not explore the things to do in Rome for three days.

Having discovered the ten best things to do in Naples, Italy, you are better equipped to decide whether to visit for a day or base yourself in Napoli for a more extended holiday.

Where to stay in Naples?

Naples, Italy, has a little reputation for being dirty, which can cause people to feel uneasy or unsafe. In addition, Naples is a big city; some areas look a bit more run-down than others, and there is petty crime. However, on my travels, I never once felt unsafe in Naples. On the contrary, the local people were friendly and helpful, doing everything they could to point me in the right direction when I was lost.

If you want to be close to all the unique things to do in Naples, Italy, stay in Quartieri Spagnoli or the Naples Historical Centre. It is easy to get to the centre from the airport using the funicular lines, bus shuttle, or taxi.

The hotels around this area are often above shops and other things, so it can be a little challenging to find where you’re staying, and the cobbled streets aren’t the best to be dragging your suitcase over. But, being so close to the road of Via Toledo, where most of the nightlife and restaurants are, it is worth it.


Still Looking for Fun Things to Do in Naples Italy?

Still wondering if Italy Naples is worth visiting? If you’re looking for what to do in Naples, check out Get your Guide or Viator for more inspiration. Even if you don’t book a tour or experience with them directly, it will help you build your perfect itinerary. If you have the time, a trip to Mt. Vesuvius or Pompeii is a must. Also, consider visiting the stunning Capri Island, a perfect getaway that even celebrities like to escape to. There are tours to Capri Island from Naples. Otherwise, you can do it on your own.

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