Naples has so many things to do and see you can stay for days. Unfortunately, most of the visitors visit Naples for one day, see the busy streets in the old town and though they got the feel for the city. They could not be more wrong!
17 best things to do in Naples
1. Walk around the busy streets in the old town
Most people visit Naples because of its picturesque, narrow, cobble stone streets in the old town. If you are one of them, you will sure get to know its loud and chaotic vibe, which actually works. One of the best things to do in Naples is getting lost wandering around it sold town, but do make sure not to miss few most famous streets like Spaccanapoli (Naples splitter, which divide the old and new town), San Gregorio Armeno (the street where you can buy nativities all year-round and feels like Christmas) and Via Toledo (busy streets with full of cafes, restaurants and shops selling gelato and sweets).
2. Relax at the Spanish quarter (Quartieri Spagnoli)
It cannot get more local than the vibe in Spanish quarter. The Spanish quarter in Naples is popular for hanging out with friends and enjoy the dolce vita lifestyle, sitting in cafes and restaurants and watch the busy life around you with really picturesque scenes where old houses with balconies and drying clothes makes everything so much better.
3. See the metro stations
There are cities around the world, which are famous for its beautiful metro stations and many people put Naples among them too. If you are interested in that, check out the following stations: Toledo, Garibaldi, Museo and University.
4. Buy the red chilies
If you’ll be wandering around the old town of Naples you will see many ornaments in shape of the red chilies. According to superstitions they are used to protect you from evil.
5. Find the Pulcinella
Another interesting tourist attraction in Naples is the traditional city mask, which dated back to 1300. The Pulcinella mask present the happy side of life and positive feelings. You can find the statue of Pulcinella in via Toledo.
6. Make your taste buds happy
One of the must things to do in Naples is trying its delicious food. Luckily, you can literally find it on every corner. Make sure not to be on a diet during your traveling to Naples. Check out here, which food in Naples you should taste.
7. Churches and Chapels
Wandering around Naples and seeing numerous churches and chapels, you can realize how important religion is here. Did you know that the famous football player Diego Maradona has even its own chapel in the city, where his tears and hair are saved? You can find the chapel near at the Bar Nilo. So one thing is certain, Naples connects religion with football.
8. Feast your eyes at local markets
One of the best things to do in Naples is for sure visiting its local markets. You will easily see what kind of food they use and what will be served on your plates. There are lots of small local markets in the old town and one of the most picturesque are fish markets. Check out two – Pignia Secca Market and Porta Nolana market.
9. Visit the castles
The city of Naples is rich with history and historical buildings; among which you can also find castles. We visited only the Sant’ Elmo castle, but seen the other two (Castle Nuovo and Castle Ovo) from the outside.
10. Take a walk through Galleria Umberto I
The Galleria Umberto I is a shopping place, which got its name after the Italian king, who ruled during its construction. If you have already visited the city of Milan, you will easily notice similarities, as Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan was actually its inspiration. The Galleria Umberto I is also under UNESCO World Heritage protection.
11. Enjoy the view over Naples
If you are interested in seeing one of the most populated city in Europe from above, take a funicular ride (or walk up) to the Castle Sant’ Elmo. There is an entrance fee, which you can avoid if you are happy with views underneath – in front of the entrance to the Certosa di San Martino monastery.
12. Get to know the life of Bourbon Kings
Not far from the Galleria Umberto I stands the spectacular Royal Palace, where Bourbon kings once owned. In front of it is enormous square – Piazza del Plebiscito, which is a nice change after chaotic and narrow streets of Naples.
13. Take a look at Vesuvius from the coastal promenade
We also enjoyed the coastal promenade, which offered beautiful views over the Vesuvius volcano. Part of the promenade is closed for traffic, so it is really enjoyable to take time for lunch or dinner at one of its many restaurants. The promenade ends with a park, where kids’ playground can be found, what is quite a challenge in Naples.
14. Find some street art
Like every city, you can also find some street art graffiti’s in Naples. If you are interested in these kind of things, open your eyes when wandering around the streets.
15. Take the steps to the underground
Lots of people visit Naples for its underground world and coming to the city just because of that will not be disappointing. You can learn more about the life and burial sites in San Gaudioso and San Gennaro catacombs (one ticket covers both). We visited only the smaller, San Gaudioso catacombs, which were in use in 4th and 5th century BC and were really impressed. We have heard nice critics also for the Sotteranea and Galleria Burbonica.
16. Vomero District
If you will already be visiting the Castle Sant’ Elmo, don’t stop there. Take a walk around the nearby Vomero district, which will show you a totally new face of Naples. Streets in Vomero are wider, quieter, greener and you can even hear the birds singing. It is known as upscale neighborhood, so you can treat yourself in its many cafes, restaurants, pasticcerias and gelaterias. Or you can just shop ’till you drop.
17. Avoiding dogs’ poops
Well, like it or not, but during your exploration of Naples, you will also need to be careful about one thing – dogs’ poops. The old city center does not really offer parks and places, where locals would take their dogs out, so they are walking them around the busy streets, where dogs are doing their things… Unfortunately picking-up behind them, has not yet reached Naples, so mind your step.
We stayed in Naples for three full days and I believe this is perfect time to feel the city and get to know a bit about its local life, not just seeing few best known streets. After all, Naples for sure offers many things to do and see, so make sure to plan more than just one day for it.