best things to do in Naples, Italy

As a sun-kissed city rich in history, culture, and mouth-watering meals (read: prepare for the best pizza of your life), Naples — or Napoli — should sit high atop any European bucket list.

With oodles of natural beauty stemming from the Gulf of Naples and the neighboring Amalfi Coast, not to mention the intimidating Mount Vesuvius overshadowing the city, the choices of things to do in Naples are endless.

1 – Stroll down Spaccanapoli in Old Town

Spaccanapoli in Old Town, Naples

No visit to Naples is complete without a free walking tour through its charming and vibrant Old Town. Its main, narrow street — Spaccanapoli — is the heartbeat of the city, cutting through the region’s historic center. Chat to shop owners to experience the authentic culture and grab un cornetto along the way, just like the locals!

2 – Travel back in time at Pompeii

Pompeii ruins

A once-thriving ancient civilization decimated by the violent Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD; today, the excavated ruins, streets, and houses of Pompeii manage to attract over 2.5 million annual tourists.

With its structures preserved perfectly by molten ash, a visit to this UNESCO world heritage site is like stepping back in time 2000 years.

3 – Climb Mount Vesuvius

Mount Vesuvius

A hike up to the summit of the foreboding Mount Vesuvius is challenging, rewarding, and an indisputable addition to the Naples bucket list must. If hiking isn’t up your alley, ascend the volcano on horseback instead!

Combine Vesuvius with an archeological tour of Pompeii (the civilization it so effortlessly destroyed) and Herculaneum, or for a change of pace, a wine tasting experience!

4 – Make pizza, Napoli style!

cooking class in Naples

If Italy is known for one thing above all else, it’s Italian cuisine — scrumptious, mouth-watering, fresh food… and lots of it. Ask any Naples local where the country’s best pizza comes from, and they’ll proudly boast their hometown, the birthplace of the pizza pie.

With that in mind, there’s no destination more fitting to learn how to whip together an authentic Italian pizza than here, with plenty of pizza-flavored tours to choose from.

5 – Visit the iconic Caserta Royal Palace

Caserta Royal Palace

See how royals lived, bask in the unmatched opulence of 1,200 rooms, and witness hundreds of years of history at the 18th-century Royal Palace of Caserta.

While the palace’s interior is something to behold, its sprawling gardens, lush with manicured greenery and artwork, are an attraction in their own right.

Read our latest post about Caserta Royal Palace tickets price.

6 – Drive down the Amalfi Coast with the roof down

Amalfi Coast day trips from Naples

With dreamy cliffside towns of Sorrento, Positano, and plenty more straddling the ocean, the sun-kissed Amalfi Coast falls nothing short of stunning. Whether you plan on renting your own car and turning the picturesque experience into a multi-day adventure, or joining a day tour for the hassle-free highlights, the dreamy Amalfi Coast road trip simply can’t be missed.

7 – Go beneath the city’s streets in a Naples Underground tour

Naples Underground tour

Above the surface, Naples is abundant with shops, restaurants, and historic attractions. But buried 40 meters underground, another world — a marvelous, eerie, oft-overlooked world — awaits. Hidden beneath the city’s streets are air-raid shelters, aqueducts, caves, a garden, and a Roman theater, all of which can be explored in a fascinating underground tour.

8 – Admire intricate designs at the Chiostro di Santa Chiara

Chiostro di Santa Chiara, Naples

Hosting a church, monastery, and museum, all dating back to the 13th century, the Chiostro di Santa Chiara complex invites visitors to explore the religion and architecture of eras gone by.

Its Rococo-style Majorca tiles are beautiful, likewise the intricately-decorated cloisters. For history buffs and art admirers, it’s one of the essential things to do in Naples.

9 – Bask in luxury at the Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples

Dishing up postcard-worthy views of Mount Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples, the city’s Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale di Napoli) is one of Naples’ most impressive vantage points. But it’s also so much more than that: it’s historically significant, extremely luxurious, and home to beautiful outdoor areas like the ‘Courtyard of Honor’ and the ‘Hanging Gardens’.

10 – Live the high life on the island of Capri

Capri Island

It’s Hollywood-famous, it’s aesthetically beautiful, it’s a paradise for yacht owners, and it’s popular for a darn good reason. The charming island of Capri, known for its upscale shopping, rugged landscape, fine dining, and glowing Blue Grotto, is hands-down one of the best Naples day trips. Take a boat trip around the island for unbeatable views before burning some calories with a walk to the Monte Solaro summit.

11 – Check out the Naples Archeological Museum

Naples Archeological Museum

Displaying thousands of artifacts spanning Greek, Roman, and Renaissance times, including fascinating samples collected from Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Naples Archeological Museum is a perfect rainy day destination. As one of the world’s largest archaeological museums, it’s a surefire hit for history aficionados.

12 – Spend a day on Ischia island

Ischia island

While run-of-the-mill tourists tend to zoom straight to the famed island of Capri, Napoli residents have been flocking to the shores of neighboring Ischia for decades. As one of the area’s best-kept secrets, Ischia remains less touristified, more affordable, and an underrated slice of nature worthy of any visitor’s time.

13 – Explore the Herculaneum ruins

Herculaneum ruins

Abandoned after Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Herculaneum stands today in the shadow of the volcano as a sprawling ancient relic, one which often is overlooked in favor of nearby Pompeii. With that in mind, why not kill two birds with one stone by combining both city ruins into the same day (or three birds, with a Vesuvius hike as well)?

14 – Sail around the Campanian Archipelago

sailing around the Campanian Archipelago

Comprising of five diverse islands, each with its own flair, the Companion Archipelago is full of eccentric party spots, relaxing beaches, snorkeling havens, and picturesque landscapes.

Choose from large, small, or private boat tour options — either way, whether you stop at Capri, Ischia, Nisida, Procida, or Vivara, or a combination, fun in the sun is guaranteed.

15 – Browse the Capodimonte Museum

Capodimonte Museum, Naples

Situated within the grounds of a royal palace, the Capodimonte Museum plays host to the National Gallery, one of the nation’s finest art collections. Stroll through its decadent rooms, admiring some of the 47,000 famous works by the likes of Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio, and more.

With art spanning from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century, it’s an unmissable Naples attraction.

16 – Go horseback riding on Vesuvius

horseback riding near Naples

While hiking up an active volcano is an adventure in and of itself, travelers with an extra desire for excitement can take the experience to the next level with an afternoon on horseback.

The experience promises a day packed with fresh air, nature, educational tidbits, and if you’re up for it, a glass of wine (or three).

17 – Gaze at the Paestum temples

ruins of Paestum

Renowned for its three excellently-preserved ancient Greek temples reminiscent of Athens’ famous Acropolis, the ancient city of Paestum should be a high priority for history buffs visiting Southern Italy. Thanks to its glistening location on the Amalfi cliffs, the World Heritage Site blends history with beauty like few other places on the planet.

18 – Zoom through the city on a panoramic Vespa tour

Vespa tours in Naples

For one of the most stereotypical, fun things to do in Naples, hop on board the back of a Vespa (or drive your own, of course) and follow the local guides as they zip down alleyways, backstreets, and showcase the real Naples — not the tourist-trodden version. If a private tour is out of budget grab a map, rent a shiny set of wheels, and see the city at your own pace.

19 –  Visit Castel dell’Ovo (Ovo Castle)

Ovo Castle, Naples

Located on the seafront island-turned-peninsula of Megaride, the Norman-built Ovo Castle holds the formidable title of Naples’ oldest castle, dating back to the 12th century.

After ticking off the main attraction, the area offers a stack of restaurants and bars to recharge the batteries, offering sublime views of the Gulf of Naples from their terraces.

20 – Start the day at the Piazza del Plebiscito

Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples

Within walking distance of Ovo Castle, the Piazza del Plebiscito is an enormous public square — one of the largest in Italy, in fact — that serves as the central point for a stack of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Whichever way you look, you’ll be met with historic buildings and stunning facades, making it the perfect starting point for any stroll through the city.

Get there.

21 – Save time with a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour

hop on hop off bus tour in Naples

If you’ve got a long list of things to do in Naples but are strapped for time (or need a break from walking) a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour is the answer. These convenient busses track two routes throughout the city, stopping at 25 different points of interest, including Largo Costello and Capodimonte.

On those beautiful summer days, grab a seat on the open-air second level.

22 – Discover the San Martino monastery

San Martino monastery, Naples

A gorgeous monastery dating back to the 1300s, the Certosa e Museo di San Martino is a must-see for anyone visiting Naples. Besides the beautiful courtyard, vast art collection, and stunning architecture, the historic monastery also serves up spectacular views of the Bay of Naples and the hills of Vomero from its balconies and gardens.

23 – Enjoy the view at the Castel Sant’Elmo

Castel Sant’Elmo, Naples

Sporting remarkable panoramic views from above Naples, this star-shaped hilltop fortress is a crowd favorite offering historically educational tours with friendly and knowledgable local guides. Sant’Elmo is conveniently located right next to the Certosa di San Martino on Vomero Hill, making for perfect back-to-back afternoon activities.

24 – Explore the city on electric bikes!

bike tours in Naples

Who knows Naples better than Neapolitans? The answer: no one! That’s why a locally-led e-bike tour of the city’s most popular attractions and hidden gems is always a surefire hit for visitors of all ages. If you’re on the hunt for awesome things to do in Naples that don’t involve too much walking, an e-bike tour is a perfect solution. For a touch of extra celebration, stop at a winery along the way!

25 – Visit the Museo Cappella Sansevero

Museo Cappella Sansevero, Naples
credit to Museo Cappella Sansevero

Housing a number of eerily realistic sculptures sure to give any onlooker goosebumps, the 15th-century Museo Cappella Sansevero is regarded as a gem of Italian artistic heritage. Complementing the famous pieces on display, the building itself is a work of art.

Thanks to its location in Naples’ historic center, it’s an easy addition to any day out.

26 – Walk in Spartacus’ footsteps at the Ancient Capua Amphitheater

Ancient Capua Amphitheater

With the claims to fame of being the second-largest of its kind in Italy (behind the  Colosseum in Rome) and the location where Spartacus ignited his revolt, the Amphitheater of Ancient Capua is overflowing with historical significance.

Having once served as a crucial meeting point during the Roman ages, this attraction, just outside the city, is a worthy stop on any day trip north.

27 – Enjoy a day trip to Procida Island

Procida day trip from Naples

On looks alone, with a cliffside cityscape bursting with vibrant color, the slow-paced island of Procida is a worthwhile day trip; taking into account its lemon groves, cobbled alleys, warm hospitality, and relaxing atmosphere, it transforms from worthwhile to unmissable — a crucial addition to any Naples vacation!

Hot top: For exceptional views, hike up Terra Murata, the island’s highest point.

28 – See Maradona murals on a street art tour

street art tour in Naples

A gone but not forgotten icon of Naples thanks to his seven seasons of stardom playing for the Serie A club, Diego Maradona’s legendary name lives on through street art dedications. The best way to see all of the city’s hidden artistic gems is on a walking street art tour, during which guides happily share cultural insights and folklore.

29 – Stoll along the Lungomare Caracciolo promenade

Lungomare Caracciolo promenade, Naples

Stretch those legs on the long seafront walkway that is Lungomare Caracciolo, a blissful pedestrian area lined with luxury hotels, award-winning restaurants, and boutique shops. By day, the promenade serves up marvelous views of the bay at the feet of Mount Vesuvius; by night, its restaurants and bars come alight with energy — a fairytale setting for a romantic evening.

Get there.

30 – Explore the Galleria Borbonica

Galleria Borbonica, Naples

For when you’ve already conquered everything above the surface, head underground and experience the unique atmosphere of the Bourbon Tunnel — an ancient underground passage with a fascinating history and a unique collection of abandoned cars and motorbikes.

On those sizzling summer days, the cool underground environment is a blessing.

31 – Grab a souvenir on Via S. Gregorio Armeno

Via S. Gregorio Armeno, Naples

With endless shops dedicated to Christmas nativity scenes, every day on this street feels like December 25th — it’s no wonder Via S. Gregorio Armeno is regarded as the most characteristic street in the city. A leisurely walk down its narrow path is one of the most unique things to do in Naples, and a must for anyone hunting for souvenirs.

Get there.

32 – Sample the city’s best pizzas on Via Dei Tribunali

Pizzeria Di Matteo, Naples

Forget the oily slices often associated with American pizza — in Naples, it’s all about fresh ingredients, succulent flavors, and the perfect balance of toppings.

For unbeatable Italian creations, head straight to the old street of Via Dei Tribunali. Pizzeria Di Matteo has dished up perfection since 1936 and Pizzeria “I Decumani” is a deserved crowd favorite; however, cheese, tomatoes, and basil have never tasted as good as they do on a Sorbillo margarita, arguably the best pizzeria of the bunch.

33 – See the opera at Teatro di San Carlo

San Carlo Theatre, Naples

After exploring castles and demolishing a lip-licking pizza or two, top off the night with a delightful opera show at the Teatro di San Carlo (San Carlo Theater).

If the shows themselves weren’t enough to draw you in, the building alone is a formidable attraction — built in 1737, beautiful San Carlo holds the coveted title of the oldest opera house in Europe.

34 – Hear the crowd roar at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium

Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, Naples

Recently renamed in honor of the late football legend, the Maradona Stadium is the stomping ground of the S.S.C. Napoli soccer team. To say that the locals take their soccer seriously (locally called ‘football’, and yes, they will correct you) is an understatement; the atmosphere at a Serie A match is eccentric, hostile, and amazing simultaneously, unlike any other sports venue in the world.

35 – Stare at skulls at the Cimitero Delle Fontanelle

Fontanelle Cemetery of Naples

An eerie attraction full of mystery and intrigue, the Fontanelle Cemetery of Naples sits, strangely enough, inside a cave. One glance and you’ll quickly realize that this is no ordinary cemetery; Fontanelle is an ossuary, with thousands of physical skulls on display (similar to the Paris Catacombs).

It’s spooky, off the beaten track, and not to be missed.

36 – Stop into the Naples Duomo

Naples Duomo

It’s big, it’s foreboding, and it’s an essential landmark to tick off the Napes bucket list.

The Gothic-style cathedral was built in 1313, with many of its displayed artworks created even long before then. For a hidden surprise, inside the Cathedral lies a museum dedicated to the Treasure of San Gennaro — an outstanding collection of jewelry dating back to the 13th century.

Get there.

37 – Catch a train at Toledo Metro Station, an artistic masterpiece

Toledo Metro Station, Naples

As one of the continent’s most aesthetic train stations (behind only those in the Moscow subway), the Toledo Metro Station pops with beautiful murals and vibrant colors. It’s not just tourists’ opinions though: the eccentric station underneath the city’s Spanish quarter is a former winner of Europe’s “Public building of the year” award.

Get there.

38 – Take a day trip to stunning Sorrento

Sorrento day trip from Naples

While many visitors in search of Amalfi sunshine make a beeline for the island of Capri, others prefer the laidback vibes of Sorrento — a colorful, coastal town that offers sweeping ocean views and limoncello by the bucketful.

Sorrento is just a zippy one-hour ferry ride from the Port of Naples, making it a hassle-free day trip.

39 – Shop in style at Galleria Umberto I

Galleria Umberto I, Naples

Arguably the nation’s most gorgeous shopping arcade, the 19th-century Galleria Umberto I isn’t solely a shopper’s paradise: it’s an architectural marvel. Under its enormous domed glass roof, visitors can uncover a cluster of coffee shops, souvenir distributors, and exclusive brands.

40 – Tour the iconic Castel Nuovo

Castel Nuovo, Naples

Standing tall since 1279, Castel Nuovo (known locally as Maschio Angioino) resembles your typical storybook medieval castle, with towering turrets, imposing stone walls, and centuries worth of fascinating stories to tell.

Not only is the castle a must-see landmark for its architecture and beauty, but it also houses the city’s Civic Museum — a collection of paintings and sculptures dating back to the 14th century.

We hope you have enjoyed our selection of things to do in Naples. Do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions or wish to recommend other interesting places to visit in Naples.