To get a feel for the history of Naples, you should head underground. Beneath the sunny streets lies an eerie network of catacombs, passageways and ancient cisterns. Subterranean Naples tours take you on a journey through time, uncovering a whole new layer of the city. You’ll discover everything from Roman theaters to air-raid shelters!
The Galleria Borbonica is home to tunnels filled with vintage cars and World War II relics. Meanwhile, over in the Catacombs of San Gennaro, you’ll see the final resting place of saints and nobles. For haunting frescoes and skull-lined tombs, head to the Catacombs of San Gaudioso.
Street food walking tours are the ultimate way to lift the lid on the city’s culinary scene. You’ll be taken on a gastronomic journey through the historic center, sampling Neapolitan dishes along the way.
Can you tell the difference between pizza a portafoglio and pizza fritta? You certainly will after this tour! Gelatos, salamis and cheeses are all on the menu too, with a visit to a limoncello factory finishing the excursion on a high.
Did you know that pizza was invented in Naples? You can learn how to make one at a dedicated pizza-making cooking class – eating the results is all part of the experience.
Walking tours around the historic heart of Naples are the best way to explore this alluring city. These free excursions keep costs down. There’s no set charge for the experience – you just tip the guide according to how well you feel they performed.
During the walk, you’ll discover iconic landmarks and hidden gems, with plenty of insider secrets being spilled along the way. On Via dei Tribunali you’ll come across traditional shops and photogenic churches, while Piazza Bellini offers up Roman ruins and charming cafés.
Other highlights on this free Naples tour include ancient Greek walls, the Royal Palace and the city’s first pizzeria.
Be like a true Italian and zoom around the streets of Naples by vintage Vespa. It’s a thrilling way to see the sights and you’ll be able to explore hidden places that aren’t accessible by car.
Naples tours by scooter take you past some of the city’s top landmarks. Keep your eyes peeled for the Ovo Castle, Naples Cathedral and Castel Nuovo as you ride through the city. You’ll also visit Piazza del Plebiscito to see the Royal Palace and the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola.
If you don’t fancy sightseeing by Vespa, bike tours are another way to see the top spots on two wheels.
You can’t visit Naples without checking out Pompeii – one of the most famous archaeological sites in Europe. The city was demolished during the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 A.D., and today you can explore the perfectly preserved ruins.
The best way to appreciate the site is to visit on a guided Pompeii tour. Small group and private excursions are available, with some being led by an archaeologist. Choose a skip-the-line tour to beat the crowds, or opt for an evening visit to see the sunset. For the ultimate day out, you can climb Mount Vesuvius to see where the action began.
The dominating volcano of Vesuvius looms over Naples, standing as a constant reminder of nature’s power. In 79 A.D., the volcano wreaked havoc on the region, but today Vesuvius lies dormant. It’s safe to visit on a guided tour, and the views are well worth the effort required to reach the summit.
You’ll hike up the Gran Cono trail, which affords sweeping panoramas of the vast crater and beyond. Along the way, your guide will regale you with tales of how the volcano destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. There will also be a bit of a geology lesson thrown in for good measure.
Overlooking the Gulf of Naples, the ancient city of Herculaneum was another victim of Mount Vesuvius. Just like Pompeii, it was buried under volcanic ash after the eruption. It’s now another well-preserved Roman archaeological site.
On a guided tour, you can explore the old waterfront and visit the Samnite House, the Temple of the Augustales and the Forum. This was the realm of rich merchants and city nobility, and it’s fascinating to see the very streets where they walked.
Incredibly, some paintings and mosaics survived the fiery disaster, and you’ll be able to see them during your excursion.
The Royal Palace of Caserta is often included on the itinerary of guided Naples tours. Sitting pretty on the Piazza del Plebiscito, this lavish pile is known as the “Versailles of Naples.” Formerly home to the Royal House of Bourbon, today the palace is a museum.
Inside you’ll be awed by the opulent staterooms, which are resplendent with a heady mix of Rococo, Empire and Neoclassical décor. Highlights include the Throne Room and the Court Theater. Marble staircases and medieval manuscripts add a little extra polish.
Before leaving, enjoy a stroll around the manicured gardens, where fountains and mythological statues pop up around every corner.
If you’re visiting Naples, it makes sense to combine your trip with a jaunt along the Amalfi Coast. This is the glittering jewel of Italy, attracting photographers and dreamers from around the globe to its shores. Pastel-hued villages cling to the cliffs, with Positano and Sorrento being among the most picturesque.
You’ll be able to wander the narrow alleys, learning about the history of these pretty settlements from your guide. For an even more immersive experience, boat tours along the length of the Amalfi Coast are the way forward. They often take in the glittering island of Capri too.
Taking a boat tour to Capri Island is a quintessential part of the Naples experience. After a short ride across the Bay of Naples, you’ll explore the hidden caves dotted around the craggy shoreline. The Blue Grotto is the most famous, with sunlight creating a photogenic cavern of enchantment.
Back on dry land, it’s time to explore the island. Most tours focus on Capri Town, where swanky shopping streets mingle with historical piazzas and museums.
If you’ve already visited Capri, the island of Ischia is a worthy alternative. It’s bigger than its glitzy neighbor yet offers a more peaceful experience with fewer crowds.
The gritty city of Naples sits between a vast bay and a towering volcano, both of which have shaped the history of the area. Famous for its pizzas, churches and markets, Naples has much to offer every type of traveler.
While the city is packed with bustling streets and photogenic architecture, it’s the coastline that provides the ultimate appeal. Naples often acts as a jumping-off point for Capri island and the Sorrento Peninsula.
Flights from Europe keep the city connected to the outside world, and it’s easy to reach Naples by train from places like Rome and Milan.
If it’s your first visit to Naples, the best place to stay is the Centro Storico. You’ll be within walking distance of all the major tourist sites, and it’s the starting point for most Naples tours.
Hop-on hop-off bus trips are a hassle-free way to check off multiple landmarks. Meanwhile, walking excursions offer a more intimate connection with the city. The metro and the funicular are alternative ways to get around if you want to give your feet a rest.
Naples does become crowded during summer, so come in spring or fall to avoid the rush. It’s still warm here well into October.
Once you’ve explored the catacombs, visited Pompeii and checked out the Amalfi Coast, it’s time to delve a little deeper into the city’s attractions. The Amphitheater of Ancient Capua rivals the Colosseum in Rome, while the Fontanelle Cemetery is an ossuary enshrouded in folklore.
Looking for free things to do in Naples? Take in a concert in the Piazza del Plebiscito or admire the interiors of the Duomo di Napoli. Free walking tours are also great fun and won’t break the bank.
For a change of scenery, a day trip to the charming villas and gardens of Ravello is highly recommended.