12 Amazing Things to Do in Naples, Italy: From Ancient Ruins to Pizza Perfection

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated July 4, 2024 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jem
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Heading to Naples, Italy? I’ve got the scoop on the top attractions and things to do in Naples. Picture this: diving into the world’s best pizza, wandering through ancient ruins, and feeling the energy of vibrant streets. Naples is a mix of delicious, historic, and totally fun.

If you’re plotting your next adventure, Naples should be at the top of your list. Trust me, this city is packed full of attractions waiting to be discovered.

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From the shadow of Mount Vesuvius to the buzzing streets that birthed pizza, Naples is where stories come to life.

I’ve been lucky enough to experience Naples firsthand, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer. Whether it’s getting lost in the Historic Center, sipping espresso as the sun sets over Mount Vesuvius, or hopping on a ferry to Capri, the real question is where to go in Naples to make the most of your journey.

So, from one traveler to another, I’m laying out the ultimate list of things to do in Naples. Let’s dive into the heart of one of Italy’s best places and uncover all the gems this city has to offer.

The top things to do in Naples, Italy right now

Best places to visit in Naples, Italy

Ready to dive into the heart of Naples? From the mouth-watering pizza in the historic center to the ruins of Pompeii, there’s an endless list of exciting things to do in Naples.

Whether you’re exploring the underground catacombs of San Gennaro or soaking in the panoramic views from Castel dell’Ovo, every corner of Naples offers a new adventure. Here’s your ultimate guide to the best activities in Naples – each one a must-experience!

1. Explore the Historic Center

When you hit Naples, the first stop has got to be the Historic Center. It’s a mix of ancient vibes and today’s buzz, all rolled into one. Think old buildings, narrow streets, and an atmosphere that’s simply unique.

A must-do is grabbing a coffee at Piazza Bellini. It’s the heart of the local scene—casual, lively, and just the right kind of noisy.

Then there’s the Duomo. More than just a big church, it’s a piece of history that makes you feel connected to centuries past.

Keep your eyes peeled for those little shops hidden in the alleys. They might look unassuming, but they’re gold mines for souvenirs and local crafts. It’s like the city’s own version of treasure hunting.

Honestly, the best part about the Historic Centre is stumbling upon something awesome around every corner—whether it’s a quaint pizza place or a shop with the coolest handmade items.

So, here’s some friendly advice: let yourself wander. Discovering the Historic Center is among the fun things to do in Naples, not just for the sights but for the experiences waiting around every corner. It’s about those unexpected finds and the laid-back vibes of Naples’ oldest streets.

The Historic Center must be your first destination when you arrive in Naples.
The Historic Center must be your first destination when you arrive in Naples.

2. Savor a Slice at Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo

If there’s one thing you absolutely must do in Naples, it’s to eat pizza where it all began. And Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo on the bustling Via dei Tribunali is the place to go. This isn’t just any pizza. It’s a slice of Neapolitan tradition, served up in one of city’s most beautiful spots.

Gino Sorbillo’s is legendary for a reason. The dough? Light and airy. The toppings? Fresh and flavorful. Trust me, after one slice, you’ll understand why locals and tourists queue up outside its doors.

I recommend going for the classic Margherita. It’s simple, but it’s a masterpiece of flavors. And while the wait might test your patience, it’s worth every minute. Plus, it gives you time to soak in the vibe of Naples’ lively streets.

Grabbing a pizza at Sorbillo’s is diving right into what makes Naples special. It’s one of those fun places to visit in Naples where you get to taste something amazing. Definitely set aside some time for this. It’s a highlight you’ll want to remember.

And yeah, it’s always packed. But that’s just part of the fun. Waiting for your table adds to the excitement, all building up to that moment you take the first delicious bite.

The place to go is Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo on the busy Via dei Tribunali.
The place to go is Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo on the busy Via dei Tribunali.

3. Climb Mount Vesuvius

When you’re in Naples, looking out at the skyline, one giant landmark stands out: Mount Vesuvius. Climbing this legendary volcano is one of Italy’s must-do activities that mix adventure with a sense of awe.

Getting to the top isn’t too tough. The path is straightforward, and the views are unbelievable. You’re looking over Naples, the bay, and the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s a panorama that puts all those postcards to shame.

Now, while Vesuvius is famous for its eruption in 79 AD, today it’s a peaceful giant offering breathtaking sights. Bring your camera, because you’ll want to capture this. And wear good shoes—trust me on this.

The climb itself is a conversation starter. You’re walking on a piece of history that changed the world. Once you reach the crater, take a moment.

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Look around. You’re standing on the edge of one of the most famous volcanoes in the world.

When you’re listing down places to go in Naples, make sure Mount Vesuvius is on there. It’s an experience that connects you with nature and history in an unforgettable way.

One enormous landmark that sticks out while you're in Naples and looking out at the skyline is Mount Vesuvius.
One enormous landmark that sticks out while you’re in Naples and looking out at the skyline is Mount Vesuvius.

4. Discover the Ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum

Visiting Naples and skipping the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. These ancient cities, frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, offer a glimpse into life thousands of years ago that’s both haunting and fascinating.

Pompeii is vast. As you walk its streets, you can’t help but imagine the lives of the people who once called this place home. The preserved buildings, the artifacts, and those famous plaster casts of the eruption’s victims—it all tells a story of a bustling city stopped in its tracks.

Herculaneum, though smaller, offers an even more intimate look at the past. The preservation here is incredible, from wooden structures to vivid frescoes. It feels like stepping into a living history book.

Both sites are a short trip from Naples and totally doable in a day. I recommend starting early to beat the crowds and the heat. And definitely wear comfortable shoes; there’s a lot of ground to cover.

You’ve got to add these ancient cities to your Naples things to do list. They’re more than old ruins. They’re like time machines, taking you back and sharing stories that still mean something now.

Missing out on the Pompeii and Herculaneum ruins when visiting Naples is like visiting Paris and without seeing the Eiffel Tower.
Missing out on the Pompeii and Herculaneum ruins when visiting Naples is like visiting Paris and without seeing the Eiffel Tower.

5. Stroll Along the Lungomare

If you’re searching for that perfect sunset spot or a place to enjoy a peaceful walk by the sea, the Lungomare in Naples is where you need to be. This scenic waterfront promenade offers stunning views of the Bay of Naples, with Mount Vesuvius looming majestically in the distance.

The Lungomare is not just about the views, though. It’s lined with the best cafes and restaurants in Italy, where you can grab a gelato or sit down for some fresh seafood. The atmosphere here is laid-back and utterly Mediterranean. It’s the ideal spot to relax after a day of sightseeing or to start your evening with a leisurely stroll.

One of the best parts? The Lungomare is pedestrian-only, so you can wander without a care, soaking in the sights and sounds of the sea. Whether you’re watching the fishermen bring in their catch or kids playing by the shore, it’s Naples life at its most picturesque.

Don’t forget to check out the iconic Castel dell’Ovo, perched on a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. It’s a great place for photos and offers a bit of history too.

A walk along the Lungomare is a must for anyone wanting to experience the serene side of Naples. It’s where the beauty of the city meets the tranquility of the sea. When you’re deciding what to do in Naples, I highly recommend a stroll here.

Since the Lungomare is a pedestrian-only area, you can stroll around carefree and take in the sights and sounds of the ocean.
Since the Lungomare is a pedestrian-only area, you can stroll around carefree and take in the sights and sounds of the ocean.

6. Visit the Royal Palace of Naples

So, you’re looking for the best attractions in Naples? Put the Royal Palace of Naples on your list. It’s like stepping into a world where every hallway and room was designed to wow. This place offers a peek into the lavish lives of those who ruled the roost.

Walking through those rooms, you get why it’s not just another palace. The decor is out of this world—think chandeliers that could light up a small town and paintings that tell tales of yesteryears.

And that staircase is a real showstopper. Trust me, you’ll want to take your time here. The gardens? They’re the perfect spot to catch a break and enjoy some incredible views. It’s like the palace’s personal oasis.

There’s also a bit of learning to do with the museums inside. They’re a cool way to get a crash course in Naples’ royal history without feeling like you’re stuck in a classroom.

Hitting up the Royal Palace is definitely one of the best things to do in Naples. It gives you a taste of the high life, showing you how the other half lived in style. And who doesn’t want to feel a bit royal, even if it’s just for a few hours?

This location provides an insight into the opulent lifestyles of individuals in power.
This location provides an insight into the opulent lifestyles of individuals in power.

7. Take a Day Trip to the Island of Capri

One of my favorite places to visit in the Mediterranean is the island of Capri. From Naples, you can take a day trip here. It’s a slice of paradise right off the coast, and getting there is half the adventure. Hop on a ferry and let the sea breeze set the mood for an epic day ahead.

Capri is famous for its jaw-dropping blue sea, luxe shopping, and that laid-back island vibe that makes you want to ditch your return ticket. First up, the Blue Grotto. It’s a sea cave where the water glows an unreal shade of blue. It feels like entering another world—a must-see that’ll have you questioning if it’s real.

Don’t just stick to the tourist spots, though. Wander a bit, and you’ll find hidden gems in Italy, like quiet little cafes and breathtaking viewpoints that aren’t on every travel blog. It’s these off-the-beaten-path spots that make Capri truly special.

And here’s a tip: grab some gelato and just stroll.

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The views, the vibes, it’s all top-notch.

So, when you’re planning what to see in Naples, carve out a day for Capri. It’s where those picture-perfect postcard scenes come to life right before your eyes.

The island of Capri is among my favorite destinations in the Mediterranean.
The island of Capri is among my favorite destinations in the Mediterranean.

8. Enjoy the Vibrant Nightlife in Piazza Bellini

When the sun sets, Naples transforms. If you’re wondering about things to do at night in Naples, Piazza Bellini is where it’s at. This spot buzzes with energy, filled with locals and travelers all looking to soak up the best of Naples after dark.

Piazza Bellini is the heart of Naples’ nightlife. With its mix of historic architecture and modern bars, it offers a unique vibe that’s hard to find anywhere else. Grab a drink at one of the outdoor cafes and watch as the piazza comes alive with music, laughter, and the clinking of glasses.

The bars here serve up everything from classic Italian wines to inventive cocktails, so there’s something for every taste. And the best part? You get to enjoy it all in the open air, under the stars, surrounded by the buzz of the city.

For a truly local experience, strike up a conversation with someone nearby. Neapolitans are known for their warmth and hospitality. Don’t be surprised if you end up making a few new friends!

Piazza Bellini is a spot where you can experience the soul of Naples at night. From the music that fills the air to the historic surroundings, it’s an experience that captures the essence of the city.

In the center of Naples' nightlife lies Piazza Bellini.
In the center of Naples’ nightlife lies Piazza Bellini.

9. Explore the Catacombs of San Gennaro

If you’re in Naples and looking for something a bit different, head to the Catacombs of San Gennaro. It’s not your everyday tourist spot. It’s a journey into the heart of Naples’ history, underground style.

Think of it as a hidden world beneath the city streets, where ancient Naples comes to life. The catacombs are huge, more like a labyrinth filled with narrow passages and larger chambers. The walls are lined with the most intricate frescoes and mosaics. It’s like an art gallery, but older and, honestly, cooler.

The stories behind these catacombs are what make them truly fascinating. I recommend a guided tour. The guides know all the secrets and stories that you’d never find out on your own. Plus, they can point out the hidden details you might miss, like tiny inscriptions or symbols that have huge historical significance.

Visiting here is one of those unique things to do in Naples that gives you a peek into a totally different side of the city. If you’re up for an adventure that’s a bit off the beaten path, the Catacombs of San Gennaro are waiting. Trust me, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of place that’ll stick with you.

The Catacombs of San Gennaro offer a subterranean tour of the center of Naples' past.
The Catacombs of San Gennaro offer a subterranean tour of the center of Naples’ past.

10. Visit the Naples National Archaeological Museum

Got a thing for history? Then the Naples National Archaeological Museum is your kind of place. It’s packed with some of the coolest artifacts you’ll ever see, straight from ancient Rome and beyond.

The collections here are mind-blowing. We’re talking mosaics from Pompeii that are so detailed, you’ll feel like you’re walking the streets of the ancient city. And the statues? They’re the kind you see in history books, only way more impressive in person.

Don’t rush it. Take your time to wander through the rooms. Each one tells a part of Naples’ story, from the opulent jewelry that’ll have you wishing for a time machine, to the everyday items that give you a glimpse into what life was like thousands of years ago.

And here’s a little insider tip: keep an eye out for the Secret Room. It’s a bit risqué with its ancient erotica, but it shows just how open and complex Roman society was.

Adding this museum to your list of best Naples attractions means giving yourself a day filled with awe. Get ready to be amazed!

The Naples National Archaeological Museum is brimming with some of the most amazing items from antiquity and beyond.
The Naples National Archaeological Museum is brimming with some of the most amazing items from antiquity and beyond.

11. Sample Naples’ Street Food

If you’re wandering around Naples and your stomach starts rumbling, you’re in luck. Sampling the street food here is an adventure all its own.

Let’s talk pizza fritta – imagine a pizza, but fried. Sounds wild, right? But trust me, it’s a game-changer. Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside, and just bursting with flavor. It’s like Naples’ answer to fast food, but a million times better.

Then there’s the cuoppo. It’s this paper cone filled with all sorts of fried deliciousness, from seafood to veggies. Perfect for eating on the go as you explore. And it’s a taste of the Naples seaside, right in your hand.

Don’t just stick to one spot. Wander, taste, and discover. Each vendor has their own secret touch that makes their food stand out. It’s one of the best ways to experience the beautiful city of Italy—through its flavors.

And here’s a tip: chat with the locals in line. They know where to find the best bites and might just share some Naples culinary secrets with you.

Sampling street food is one of the most amazing things to do in Naples, hands down. It really lets you dive into what makes this city tick.

Ideal for eating on the move while exploring.
Ideal for eating on the move while exploring.

12. Visit Castel dell’Ovo

Ever see that picture-perfect castle jutting out into the sea on Naples’ coastline? That’s Castel dell’Ovo, and believe me, it’s even more impressive in person. Not just a castle, this place is a slice of history floating on the water.

Here’s why you can’t skip it: the views. From the top, you get this panoramic view of Naples that’ll have you snapping photos non-stop. It’s the kind of view that makes you stop and think, “Wow, I’m really here.”

Walking around Castel dell’Ovo feels like stepping into a storybook. It’s got that old-world charm with a backdrop of the sea that’s just unbeatable. And the cool part? It’s free to enter. Yep, exploring this ancient castle is one of the best free things to do in Naples.

Don’t rush through. Take your time to explore the nooks and crannies. There’s a lot of history here, from being a fortress to a royal residence.

And here’s a little tip from me to you: visit during sunset. The way the light hits the water and the castle is pure magic. It’s the perfect way to end a day in Naples, trust me.

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That's Castel dell'Ovo, and I promise you that it looks even better in person.
That’s Castel dell’Ovo, and I promise you that it looks even better in person.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the best things to do in Naples, Italy:

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Naples? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to one of the best places to visit in Italy.

What food is Naples most famous for?

Naples is the birthplace of pizza, specifically the classic Margherita. You’ve got to try it; it’s simple but unbeatable with its fresh tomato, mozzarella, and basil. Don’t miss out on other local favorites like sfogliatella (a crispy, flaky pastry) and seafood dishes that are super fresh.

Is Naples an expensive city?

Not really. Compared to other Italian cities, Naples offers a lot of bang for your buck. You can enjoy delicious street food, visit many historical sites for free or a small fee, and find affordable accommodation. Just manage your budget wisely, and you’ll have a great time without breaking the bank.

Naples ought to be at the top of your list if you're planning your next travel destination.
Naples ought to be at the top of your list if you’re planning your next travel destination.

What is Naples famous for?

Aside from pizza, Naples is known for its history, vibrant street life, and stunning architecture. The city boasts ancient ruins, the scenic Bay of Naples, and lively markets. It’s a place where culture, history, and modern life blend seamlessly.

Is Naples worth going to in Italy?

Absolutely. Naples offers a unique Italian experience with its unparalleled food, rich cultural heritage, and stunning seaside views. It’s a bit rawer and more authentic than some more polished tourist spots. It’s a must-visit for those who want to dive deep into Italian culture.

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