This quick guide will tell you (and show on a mapwhere to stay best (for a reasonable price and convenient location), what unique places to visit to get a real taste of the city and where to eat in the motherland of pizza and drink the common but so traditionally good espresso.

It’s a 5-minute read of helpful and practical information for a great trip to Naples. Easily the only guide you’ll need to get the most out of your visit.

Contents:

  1. Intro & Map
  2. Where to stay: 3 best hotels (at reasonable price)
    1. Hotel San Pietro
    2. Hotel Piazza Bellini
    3. UNA Hotel Napoli
  3. What to see / visit
    1. Spaccanapoli
    2. Veiled Christ (Cristo Velato) in Cappella Sansevero
    3. National Archaeological Museum
    4. Teatro San Carlo
    5. Toledo Metro Station
    6. Certosa e Museo di San Martino
    7. Castel Sant’Elmo
  4. Where to eat / drink (best pizza, pastries & coffee)
      1. Pizza
      2. Pastries
      3. Coffee
  5. There’s more (beyond Naples)

Intro & Map

The chaotic traffic with much of honking and teenagers on scooters, the narrow streets with wet laundry lined between houses, locals shouting in dialect, the strong smells of omnipresent coffee, fried food and pastries… These are just some of the details that create your impression of the city that eventually will win you over, if you have the patience to explore it.

Maybe it’s not as elegant as Florence or as ‘perfectly ruined’ as the show-offy Rome or even as otherworldly as the romantic Venice. But as Allegra Hicks put it:

“Naples is surprising because you see an extraordinary amount of beautiful things in a mile, but unlike in Rome, they don’t hit you in the face.”


“See Naples and die” says a proverb of uncertain origin but quoted by Goethe to mean that once you have seen Naples, you can die peacefully, since nothing else can match its beauty.

Another local saying argues that “When a stranger comes to Naples he cries twice: when he arrives and when he leaves”. Some negative aspects may get you desperate (and even make you cry), but once you take the time to appreciate the real beauty (places, food, people) leaving it all behind will make you cry, again.

However, it’s hard to put it all in words.

You’d rather need to taste it to somewhat understand it. Naples is often called the city of contrasts. And you may instantly fall in love with it or hate it on your first impression or feel a mix of both. But you definitely need to visit it first.

And there are quite a few good reasons to consider a visit to Napoli, whether just for a day trip from your cruise ship (or by train from Rome) or for a couple of days stay during your vacation in the area. We’d be happy to enrich your experience in either case.


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Having a map with places you want to visit is very helpful. So we created a very practical dynamic map with the most convincing reasons to visit Naples — 3 best hotels where to stay, 7 unique places to see and a handful of great locations for the best pizza, pastries and coffee. Read on below for the detailed description of each and every place on the map.

Where to stay: 3 best hotels (at reasonable price)

As a traveler choosing a hotel is just one of the many things you need to think about before the trip. As travelers ourselves, we know how much time it may take to choose just the right place to stay.

So we did our homework and researched top 3 hotels in Naples for you to choose from (but if your destination is the Amalfi Coast, then we got you covered with 9 top rated hotels there). You can pick one that better suits your preferences in almost no time.

Most important details are put in evidence. The rates price calendar will help you choose the cheapest time of the year.

Sure, our shortlist cannot possibly suit everyone. But if you want to spend little to no time in choosing a lodging place that will delight you and guarantee an enjoyable stay, then read on.

Hotel San Pietro

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It is an isle of tranquility secluded from the chaotic life on the streets. Just behind the corner from Piazza Garibaldi, this hotel is an ideally located base from where to explore the city (or get to/from the airport). Rooms are spacious and clean. Beds are comfortable (which is a great plus). The rooftop gives a beautiful view.

Price & rating:
Double rooms with breakfast  start at €99 per night, but can get as high as  €164.

Definitely worth the money!

Check availability

9★★★★★

 Calendar of room rates* (in Euros)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 99  99  99 144 164 144 116 106 144 144  99  106

*Prices were sampled in April for the whole year ahead. Hence prices are higher in April, May, June but much lower when you book 6+ months in advance.

Nearby locations:
  1. Walk 100 steps and you are in Piazza Garibaldi — the main city square where to take the subway or any fast train to Rome, Salerno, Florence, Venice, Milan etc. (at Napoli Centrale station).
  2. The most famous pizza place in Italy — L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele — is 3 minutes away.
  3. Spaccanapolithe most alive super narrow street that runs across the whole city and is filled with many authentic shops — is just 5 minutes away.
Best for:
Conveniently central locationViews from the rooftop terrace
Know before you go:
  1. You might have to open the windows to cool down the room occasionally as it may get rather warm, even in late winter and spring.

Hotel Piazza Bellini

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One of the most preferred places by travelers. Super clean and quiet, but just minutes away from the hectic and very alive city center. Staff will go out of their way to help you with anything. The buffet breakfast is extensive and delicious.

Price & rating:
Double rooms with breakfast start at €81 per night, but can get as high as  €135. Check availability

9.1★★★★★

 Calendar of room rates* (in Euros)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
135 131 99 81 135 126 104 117

*Prices were sampled in April for the whole year ahead. Hence prices are higher in April, May, June and lower when you book 6+ months in advance. Prices you find may differ from the ones above if you are performing your research in a different period.

Nearby locations:
  1. National Archaeological Museum is a 5 minutes walk from here. The subway/metro station is also there.
  2. Main streets with shops (including Spaccanapoli), restaurants and churches are a few blocks away.
  3. Museo Cappella Sansavero is a short walking distance from here.
Best for:
LocationViews / Quietness
Know before you go:
  1. You can get a room with terrace or even arranged on two levels.
  2. Apartments are particularly good for families as they include a kitchen with fridge, microwave and traditional oven. Best for a longer stay.
  3. Top floors grant you the best views of the city.

UNA Hotel Napoli

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Facing the main city squarePiazza Garibaldi — this modern 4-stars hotel of a renowned chain offers outstanding views from the rooftop terrace (featuring the restaurant/bar). Perfectly located to get around. The breakfast offers many choices. A quality stay is guaranteed!

Price & rating:
Double rooms with breakfast start at €94 per night, but can get as high as  €148. Check availability

8.6★★★★☆

 Calendar of room rates* (in Euros)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 94  94  94 148  135  109  99  99  106 109  99  99

*Prices were sampled in April for the whole year ahead. Hence prices are higher in April, May, June and lower when you book many months in advance. Prices you find may differ from the ones above if you are performing your research in a different period.

Nearby locations:
  1. Piazza Garibaldi — the main city square — is just in front of you. Here you can take the subway/metro to explore other neighborhoods or any fast train to Rome, Salerno, Florence, Venice, Milan etc.
  2. The most famous pizza place in ItalyL’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele — is 3 minutes away.
  3. Spaccanapoli — the pulsing heart of the city and super narrow street that splits it in two parts — is just 5 minutes away.
Best for:
Roof terrace restaurantthat is possibly the best in the area — where also the breakfast is served.
Know before you go:
  1. The traffic in the square may be an issue for light sleepers, see if you can request a room in the back.

What to see / visit

How to spend 1 day in Naples? Our answer as locals is the following list of unique places in the city.

Are they all doable in 24 hours? Maybe not, but picking at least a few of them is undeniably worth your time for a perfect day in Naples.

Most of the sites we describe are located in the lower part of the city — literally the downtown — or historic center (centro storico). Some others are in the hilly middle-class neighborhood of Vomero, high above the city.

Naples’ centro storico is a UNESCO World Heritage Site — it encompasses 27 centuries of history and is the largest in Europe.

Naples is the city with the highest number of monumental churches in the world448 places of worship are spread across the city that even earned it a moniker — the city of 500 cupolas. Do visit at least a couple of them that we mention below.

Spaccanapoli

Translated from Italian this name means Naples splitter. It is a narrow street that runs across the old city and literally slices it in two parts. By walking it you won’t see it though. To do so you’ll need to look at it from above and Castel Sant’Elmo is the best (and sort of the only) place for this.

Also, if you need to locate this street on a map, its proper name is San Biagio dei Librai.

Go for a promenade and let this street guide you to many of the interesting sights including Monastero di Santa Chiarafor the courtyard with orange trees that is embellished with majolica scenes from the Old Testament, Church of Gesù Nuovowith strange mystical symbols carved in its rocky facade and not less impressive than the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica inside, the Nile God statue (with a chubby toddler angel that seems to be breastfed by a male figure) — a reference to the Egyptian colonists who lived in the area.

FYI: Most of the totally recommended pizzerias we mention below are located on the parallel street — Via dei Tribunali — just one block away.

Veiled Christ (Cristo Velato) in Cappella Sansevero

Veiled Christ in Cappella Sansevero

To know that this sculpture was carved by Giuseppe Sanmartino from a single block of marble already amazes. But to see this masterpiece from nearby and incredulously stare at Jesus Christ covered with a transparent shroud — with folds of stone — that perfectly adheres to his body and face… It is likely the greatest example of realism and will make you question whether it’s inanimate at all. Unlike the veil, your breath will surely be taken away.

Visiting hours & prices: Sansevero Chapel Museum is open to the public every day 9am — 7pm (09:00 – 19:00). It is closed on Tuesdays. The admission tickets cost is 7 Euros. For young people aged 10-25 the ticket price is 5 Euros, whereas for children up to 9 years the admission is free. Last entry is 30 minutes before closing. Please do check the official website for the special opening hours and the most recent information.

Where: It is half way between Spaccanapoli and Via dei Tribunali. Here’s the exact location on Google Maps that you can bookmark/save for later.

National Archaeological Museum

It has a stellar collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. Vast rooms of ancient statuary and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum are as fresh as the day they were painted. Here you can also see the Secret Cabinet of ancient erotica — phalluses of any size/shape, paintings, statues — discovered in the two cities destroyed by Mount Vesuvius. Don’t be surprised if many rooms are closed; the museum says it lacks funding.

Ticket price & opening hours: Museum is open daily 9am — 7.30pm (09:00 – 19:30). Closed on Tuesdays (when Tuesday coincides with a holiday, it is closed on Wednesday). The ticket office of the Museum closes half an hour before. The admission ticket cost is 12 Euros. Always check the official website for the most recent information.

Pro tip: There is free entry on the first Sunday of each month.

Where: Here’s the precise location on Google Maps that conveniently shows you the busiest times so you can plan your visit accordingly.

Teatro San Carlo

Teatro San Carlo Naples Italy

It is the world’s oldest working theater and the oldest theater in Europe. Built by King Charles of Bourbon and inaugurated in 1737, it had been also the most prestigious in Italy until La Scala in Milan was built. Even today according to National Geographic it the best in the world, ahead of Paris Opéra, Sydney Opera House, The Royal Opera House in London, Lincoln Center in New York, even Bolshoi in Moscow and second only to La Scala. Its architectural lines, decorations, red velvets and furnishings simply enchant and definitely deserve a visit.

Admission & visiting hours: Guided tours are offered from Monday to Saturday (except for holidays) at 10.30am 11.30am 12.30pm 2.30pm 3.30pm 4.30pm (10:30; 11.30; 12:30; 14,30; 15:30; 16:30) and last around 45 minutes. The admission ticket cost is 9 Euros (7 Euros for people under 30/over 60 years old). Advanced booking is recommended. Please check the official website for the detailed and most recent information.

Where: Here’s the exact location on Google Maps.

Toledo Metro Station

Toledo Metro Station Naples Italy

This subway station opened in 2012 and is part of the Art Stations of Naples project. It is themed around water and light. And the highlight of this place is the deep, blue, sparkling crater that connects the ground level with the great lobby 38 meters below. It is definitely the most impressive feature of the whole station. Do not miss it!

Pro tip: Once you are inside, go down via the first escalator. When you reach the second (lower level) escalator, go in the middle (of the 3 available moving stairs) and remember to look up! At around half way down you will see the illuminated blue tunnel above you. It is hypnotic!

No wonder that The Daily Telegraph included the Toledo Station on its Europe’s Most Impressive Underground Railway Stations list, CNN gave it a 3rd place among 17 of the world’s nicest, brightest metro stations and 2nd place among 12 most beautiful and impressive metro stations in Europe. Beyond that it also won the 2013 LEAF Award as “Public building of the year“.

Should you need another good reason to visit this architectural masterpiece, here’s one. Taking the subway is one of the best ways to get from the lower area of the city to the higher neighborhood of Vomero where Castel Sant’Elmo and Certosa e Museo di San Martino are.

Fares & opening hours: The station is open every day of the week from 6am — 11.15pm (06:00 – 23:15). To see the art features of the station you’ll need to purchase a single ride ticket inside that will cost you 1.10 Euros. The train frequency is 10-15 minutes.

Where: The station is on Line 1 of the Naples Metro and is located in Via Toledo (Via Roma) which is also one of the main shopping streets in Naples. See the exact location on Google Maps and bookmark it there so you can easily find it later.

Certosa e Museo di San Martino

Certosa e Museo di San Martino View Mount Vesuvius From Garden

A former monastery, perched high above the city offers stunning views of the bay of Naples, especially from the external garden. It is now a museum with a display of Spanish and Bourbon era artifacts.

Ticket price & opening hours: It is open to the public from 8.30am — 7.30pm (8:30 — 19:30). Closed on Wednesdays. The admission fee is 6 Euros. Last admission at 6.30pm. Please check the official website for the most recent information

Pro tip: The first Sunday of every month the admission is free for everyone (but expect it to be overcrowded)!

Where: Here’s the location on Google Maps. To get here, take the metro Line 1 from anywhere downtown (and do not forget to stop at Toledo Metro Station to see its impressive design).

Castel Sant’Elmo

View of Naples, Spaccanapoli and Mount Vesuvius from Castel Sant'Elmo

It is a medieval fortress from the era of Charles d’Anjou and the most visible landmark of the city.

The crumbling, close-packed houses, satellite dishes, the cupolas of churches, the port, Maschio Angioino castle, Spaccanapoli street that slices the city and, in the distance, the majestic Mount Vesuvius — is what you get to see from the rooftop of this fortress as it offers the only unobtrusive 360-degrees panorama in Naples.

Ticket price & opening hours: It is open to the public from 8.30am — 6pm (8:30 — 18:00). Last admission at 5pm. The admission fee is 5 Euros. For the most recent information do check the official website.

Pro tip №1: On Tuesdays, only the rooftop is open to the public and the admission costs 2.5 Euros (half price). So if you are here for the panorama (and to witness Spaccanapoli street slicing the city in two halves) then Tuesday is just the right day.

Pro tip №2: The admission is free on the first Sunday of the month (but be prepared to see some crowds).

Pro tip №3: If you plan to visit Certosa e Museo di San Martino as well, you can buy a special ticket that costs 10 Euros and grants you admission to Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte, Certosa e Museo di San Martino, Castel Sant’Elmo, Villa Pignatelli during 2 day period.

Where: Here’s the precise location on Google Maps. To get here from downtown, you may take the funicular (Funicolare di Chiaia in Piazza Amedeo) or the metro Line 1 (and exit at Vanvitelli station), in which case you should definitely stop at Toledo Metro Station, humbly one of the most impressive metro stations in the world.

Venture beyond Naples and hike up the magnificent Mount Vesuvius or get a drive along the travelers’ magnet — Amalfi Coast, but also go back in time and walk among the remains of Pompeii and Herculaneum.


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Where to eat / drink (best pizza, pastries & coffee)

When you are in Naples, the food especially lingers in the mind — the city is one of Italy’s culinary heavyweights, serving up the country’s best pizza, pastries and coffee.

Pizza

“Given that the best pizza in Italy is from Naples, and the best pizza in the world is from Italy, which means that this pizzeria must offer…I’m almost too superstitious to say it…the best pizza in the world?”

— is the question Elizabeth Gilbert asks herself in her book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by talking about a simple margherita pizza at Antica Pizzeria Da Michele.

“I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair… There’s not a menu. They have only two varieties of pizza here—regular and extra cheese. None of this new age southern California olives-and-sun-dried-tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough it takes me half my meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza dough I ever tried. It’s soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we had two choices in our lives when it came to pizza crust—thin and crispy, or thick and doughty. How was I have to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings contact high of glamour to everyone around her. It’s technically impossible to eat this thing of course. You try to take a bit off your slice and the gummy crust folds, and the hot cheese runs away like topsoil in a landslides, makes a mess of you and your surroundings, but just deal with it.”

Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is so popular that you might have to wait for quite some time to get in (or even to have a takeaway pizza). If the queue outside gets you a bit discouraged and you feel like there is little chance you can try the historic pizza here, these pizzerias offer the next best thing you can find:

They are all located in Via Dei Tribunali, which is just a block away from Spaccanapoli. Venturing there after having had a delicious pizza is a great idea.

Pastries

Sfogliatella is a flaky, filled pastry and one of the Neapolitan specialties. Delicate layers of pastry stuffed with ricotta and orange peel and dusted in confectioner’s sugar. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Sfogliatelle Attanasio is the right place to try this tasty pastry.

Coffee

The coffee, like pizza, is a tradition, a habit, a ritual, a daily activity that few dare to avoid. The Neapolitan espresso has well defined characteristics, ranging from roasting to the ritual of preparation — qualities that make it a unique product of its kind. Every neighborhood in Naples has its own reference bar, even more than one, where according to the inhabitants you drink the best coffee in the city. Here are some of the best cafés for a perfect espresso:

  1. Gran Caffè Neapolis
  2. Ceraldi Caffè
  3. Caffè Ciorfito
  4. Gran Caffè Gambrinus

There’s more (beyond Naples)

Before you leave, consider a visit outside the city. Pompeii and Herculaneum can really complement your prior visit to National Archaeological Museum and show you where all the artifacts come from. A hike up to the summit of Mount Vesuvius that is suitable for everyone can add even more to the story of destruction of the two ancient towns. Or maybe Amalfi Coast is what you’ve been thinking of since you first saw pictures of this beautiful coastline stretch. Each and all of them are within your reach, especially with us.


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