Well yes, now I can no longer hide it: Naples is my favorite city in Italy (not to mention Rome which is my hometown). I come there every year, lately even several times a year, both because the things to see are almost endless, and because I feel at home here. The great advantage of Naples then is that, unlike Rome, it is very easy to visit and it is possible to take many trips outside the city without necessarily having to rent a car. So here's what I recommend you visit around Naples:
What to see around Naples: all the places not to be missed
The first place to see around Naples can only be her. Capri is a dream! This legendary island represents an incredible mix of elegance, exclusivity, nature and history. In Capri we pass from Roman ruins to wild seascapes, from “popular” pizzerias to 5-star luxury. The itinerary that I propose can be done in one day, but if you have more time, dedicate at least 3-4 days to this magnificent island and you will not regret it!
Once you get to Marina Grande, the small port of Capri, to get to the center of Capri, take the funicolare which comes just one step away from the famous small square. From here you can already enjoy a magnificent view! The village is small, well-kept, and extremely chic, but out of season you hardly notice that you are surrounded by the windows of Dior, Gucci, etc.
From here they depart different routes which can only be covered (fortunately!) on foot, to go and see Villa Jovis (the Roman villa of the emperor Tiberius) or the natural arch (currently in "restoration" - 2016) and mythical stacks. I would advise you to do the second one (arch + stacks), but do it clockwise, otherwise you will find yourself climbing 1000 steps on the way back! The walk is really beautiful, totally immersed in nature and silence and the views are truly breathtaking. Depending on your pace and the stops you will make (if it's hot enough a dip near the stacks is a must!), The walk can last from 2 to 3 hours (it is circular). Once back in Capri Center you will have deserved a nice plate of string with clams at the Verginiello Restaurant, one of the very few restaurants open all year round; moreover it has a beautiful panoramic terrace .. which never hurts!
After the lavish lunch, from Capri Centro take the minibus that goes up to Anacapri (if you are faint of heart and suffer from vertigo don't look at the road!). Depending on the time (and the hours of light) you have available, you can take a tour in the pretty village, or even climb to the top of Mount Solaro (with the chairlift that always leaves from Anacapri) or visit the beautiful Villa San Michele in Axel Munte. The latter was the home of the multifaceted Swedish doctor Axel Munte; built on the ruins of a Roman villa, it is surrounded by magnificent gardens that offer an incredible panoramic view.
At this point it will then be time to return to Naples. You can get off at Marina Grande using the funicular again or on foot, following the steps.
Do not miss a Capri:
- Capri Center and the square
- natural arch
- Villa Jovis
- Gardens of Augustus
- Mount Solaro
- Villa San Michele
- Punta Carena lighthouse
How to reach Capri:
Hydrofoils to Capri depart from the Molo Beverello in Naples (which is located just behind the Maschio Angioino). There are at least 15 a day between A / R. The ticket is very expensive considering that we are talking about a 1h journey (17-20 euros each way), but it is money well spent! There are very frequent ferries (practically every hour) also from Sorrento (10 euros each way).
NOTE: : if you decide to go to Capri out of season (between October / November and March / April) you can go there any day of the week, but if you decide to go there when the season has begun I strongly recommend that you go there during the week, at the latest on Saturday, so as not to find yourself in the midst of the crowd.
Where to sleep in Capri
Villa Giardini Luxury B&B : new structure a stone's throw from the famous square and 700 meters from the Faraglioni. The rooms overlook a beautiful garden. An oasis of peace at a good quality-price ratio.
Sorrento has been a popular holiday resort for at least 2 centuries and has remained one city of ancient charm, elegant and simple at the same time. The only flaw (for which you do not suffer, however, when you go there in winter) is the absence of a real beach. If you don't go there in summer and you are a little sporty, a nice itinerary to do is to follow the 3 km path connecting Sorrento to San'Agata, a town perched in a panoramic position on the hills overlooking the two gulfs (that of Naples and that of Amalfi). Be careful though because the path is very badly marked and you can easily go wrong. Once back in the village you can go for a well-deserved lunch overlooking the sea (and almost with your feet on the sand) at the famous Trattoria Da Emilia in Marina Grande (watch out for the portions, they are not exactly pediatric!).
The afternoon can be dedicated to exploring the town of Sorrento. If you decide to take this trip in December you will certainly be struck by the Christmas lights: many and very beautiful, of great class. I honestly knew that this area (Salerno in the first place) was famous for this, but I didn't think there was an investment of this magnitude even by the smaller municipalities.
How to reach Sorrento from Naples:
To get to Sorrento, take the famous Circumvesuviana from the Central Station (Garibaldi station). A train leaves every 15 minutes and in 1h and 1/4 you will arrive in Sorrento.
Where to sleep in Sorrento
Lauren House: a very nice B&B located a few steps from the center and Marina Grande. The rooms are nice and big and some have a balcony with a sea view.
3. Amalfi coast
The Amalfi Coast is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and fascinating places in Italy and it is not hard to understand why foreigners go crazy for it. Its landscapes are incredible, with the mountains that drop sheer to the sea, the characteristic ones seafaring villages and several hotels and restaurants among the finest and most luxurious in Italy. A magical territory that can be explored even in a day starting from Naples . For all the info on the Amalfi Coast, I refer you to the dedicated article, What to see on the Amalfi Coast in 3 or 5 days.
Procida, the smallest and least touristy island in the Gulf of Naples, is undoubtedly another place not to be missed in the surroundings of Naples. It is a real gem, colorful, wild and still authentic. Except in August, when landlords flock to the beaches, you will only see locals wandering through the narrow, sun-bleached alleys throughout the rest of the year. I was there in May and I was practically the only tourist around .. priceless! Procida can be toured all on foot in one day because it is less than 4 km long. With the hydrofoil you get to Marina Grande and from there the visit of Marina Corricella and Terra Murata, the two most characteristic "neighborhoods". Take Via Principe Umberto and climb slowly up to the castle. Already along the climb you will have a magnificent view of the magnificent pastel-colored houses of Marina of Corricella (the film was shot here “Il Postino” with Massimo Troisi). Continuing further you will arrive at the belvedere of the castle from which you will have a beautiful panoramic view of Pozzuoli and the Gulf of Naples.
Then retrace your steps and walk the few kilometers of road that separate you from Marina of Chiaiolella, which is located on the opposite side of the island. If you visit the island in the summer, here you can take a nice swim at Lido of Procida and satiate your appetite in one of the fish restaurants overlooking the marina. If you don't want to walk back to Marina Grande, you can take the bus.
How to go to Procida from Naples:
Hydrofoils to Procida leave from Molo Beverello in Naples (which is located just behind the Maschio Angioino) and take 1 hour. There are at least 10 per day and the price varies between 13 and 16 euros each way.
Where sleeping in Procida
Terra Murata Boutique B&B : located in the historic center of Procida, a few tens of meters from the port and Marina di Corricella. It has well-kept rooms and (some) with a beautiful view of the pastel houses of Marina di Corricella.
5. Royal Palace of Caserta
La Palace of Caserta it does not need many presentations, it is a royal palace of unprecedented beauty as well as the largest royal residence in the world by volume. The Royal Palace of Caserta was wanted by King of Naples Charles of Bourbon, who, caught in a "competition" with the French royals and eager to give a worthy representation of government to the capital and its realm, decided to inaugurate a palace that could rival that of Versailles in magnificence and grandeur (and it must be admitted that the operation was perfect!).
The restoration work on the main facade has also been completed since 2016/2017 and the Royal Palace has truly returned to its former glory. The Royal Palace, which was mainly inhabited by the Bourbons, it was designed and built by Vanvitelli and by his son in a very long period ranging from 1752 to the beginning of the 800th century. The Museum of the Royal Palace of Caserta that can be visited today is the result of a series of installations that began in the early decades of the twentieth century when the Royal Palace was abandoned from the patrimony of the Crown of the Royal House of Savoy and became part of the patrimony of the State of Italy . Since 1997 it has also been included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
What you visit inside the Palace are the real apartments and court theater; to reach both you go along the magnificent Staircase of Honor (even used in some scenes of "Star Wars"!).
In addition to the Palace, what is striking is also the park, beautiful, with an immense Italian garden connected to an English garden. The Royal Park it was immediately an integral part of Vanvitelli's project and was inspired by the gardens of the great European residences of the time, blending the Italian tradition of the Renaissance garden with the solutions introduced by André Le Nôtre at Versailles.
To visit the Park, if you don't feel like walking for at least an hour to reach the magnificent one English garden, you can use the small shuttle buses that leave from the back of the Palace (2,5 euros return). It is also possible to take a 40 'ride on the horse-drawn carriage (50 euros).
How to reach the Royal Palace of Caserta from Naples
The Royal Palace of Caserta can be reached with 30 'by train from Naples, starting from the Central Station (Garibaldi Station). The Royal Palace is located right in front of the Caserta railway station exit and can be reached in a few minutes on foot.
Opening Hours: from Monday to Sunday from 8:30 to 19 (closed Tuesday)
Prices: 13 euros + 5 euros l'audioguida
Among the places to see around Naples there is also her, the largest of the islands in the Gulf of Naples, the island of Ischia. Of volcanic origin, Ischia is famous above all for its vast spas and for its beautiful beaches. Visiting it is very simple because there is a single narrow coastal road that borders the coast crossing the inhabited centers and the luxuriant vegetation. The hinterland of the island is dominated by the Monte Epomeo (788 mt) and from very steep slopes where you can make beautiful excursions. One above all is that of 2,5 km that rises from the village of Fontana to the summit of Mount Epomeo from which you can enjoy a superlative view of the Gulf of Naples.
To visit it you can take one of the buses that leave from Ischia Porto; there are 2 lines, the Left Circle which goes around the island counterclockwise, and the Right Circle which instead follows the clockwise direction. Turning counterclockwise the places not to be missed are:
- Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte: with their pastel-colored buildings, seaside bars and restaurants, the Cathedral of Santa Maria della Scala, the beautiful Fishermen's beach and the imposing Aragonese Castle perched on a rocky islet.
- Lacco Ameno: the famous ones are found here Baths of Queen Isabella where, in the 50s and 60s, the movie stars and crowned heads of Europe met. The distinctive sign of Lacco Ameno is the so-called Mushroom, a 10m rock formation that rises from the sea. Not to be missed there is also the Pithecusae Archaeological Museum hosted in Villa Arbust, the former residence of Angelo Rizzoli.
- Negombo: halfway between a spa and a botanical garden (there are over 500 species of exotic plants), Negombo is a park with thermal baths, hammams, modern sculptures and a private beach on the Bay of San Montano. Here the clientele is younger than the average of the other spas on the island.
- Forio: here there are two magnificent botanical gardens (i Ravino and La Mortella Gardens, considered one of the most beautiful botanical parks in Italy), the Giardini Poseidon spa Colombaia (the residence of director Luchino Visconti), beautiful beaches as well as some of the best restaurants on the island. If you happen to be there during meal times, I recommend the Da Peppina Restaurant, excellent cuisine and view!
- Sant'Angelo: an oasis of peace closed to cars, a lovely small harbor with refined boutique restaurants on the sea and splendid beaches. From the pier you can reach la bella by taxi boat Maronti beach or the said cove The Sorgeto with steaming hot springs. There are also nearby the Cavascura Thermal Baths (the oldest on the island), where you can immerse yourself in ancient Roman baths carved into the rock and, for those who love luxury, the Aphrodite Apollon Thermal Park.
How to reach Ischia from Naples
The hydrofoils to Ischia depart from the Molo Beverello in Naples (which is located just behind the Maschio Angioino) and take 1 hour. There are many a day and the price starts from 18 euros each way.
Where to sleep in Ischia
Find all the accommodations ofisland of Ischia (and many other useful information) on this specialized portal, divided by area / municipality.
There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world, except for Herculaneum which has had the same fate. Pompeii stood forever in its last moments of life in 79 AD thanks to the eruption of Vesuvius which buried it under a thick layer of ash and lapilli. Thanks to this, since it was rediscovered in 1748 and archaeological excavations began to bring it back to light, it has been able to give us a perfect insight into Roman life of inestimable value. It may seem strange to you but Pompeii has long held the record as the most visited place in the world and I hope that it can take it back as soon as possible, as it deserves. At the moment you have to make do with the primacy of the most visited place in Italy.
Find all the detailed info on Pompeii in the article "Pompeii excavations: guide to the visit"
Of the 8 trips that I propose to you around Naples, this is the only one I miss, even if I have dreamed of doing it for quite a while. I particularly love volcanoes and I think seeing the mouth of one of the most famous volcanoes in the world is absolutely not to be missed! After the eruption that destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD, Vesuvius erupted at least another 30 times, the most recent in 1944. In the past the volcano reached 3000 meters (today it is 1281 meters high); the eruption of Pompeii in fact made the coastline retreat several kilometers and destroyed much of the summit creating an immense caldera and 2 new peaks. Vesuvius today is the hub of Vesuvius National Park which proposes well 9 hiking and nature trails around the volcano. The most famous is the N.5, “The Great Cone”, Which starts from the Piazzale at an altitude of 1000 meters, but the ticket office is located at the Imbò Refuge, about 200 meters below. It is necessary to go to the ticket office before accessing the path (the ticket costs 10 euros). In fact, to follow the path it is necessary to be accompanied by the Alpine and Volcanological Guides of the Campania Region. The climb continues gently for about 800 m and is rewarded by a series of panoramic views that are gradually more evocative, along the various hairpin bends. It takes about 35 'to get to the cone. Located about halfway to the crater is the Museum of the Vesuvius Observatory which traces the history of the observation of the volcano.
How to reach Vesuvius from Naples
From the Central Station you will have to take the Circumvesuviana towards Sorrento or Poggiomarino Via Pompei (for timetables and prices visit this site), and reach the Ercolano Scavi station. Even those coming from Sorrento or Pompeii can reach Ercolano Scavi on the Sorrento Naples and Pompeii Naples routes. In the square outside the station of Ercolano Scavi there is a bus service (click here for timetables and prices), and taxis that lead to an altitude of 1000.
Alternatively you can join a 5h tour, where they pick you up / drop you off directly at the hotel in Naples and includes transport, the entrance ticket to the park, the guide and pizza lunch.
You might also be interested in these other articles I wrote about Naples and Campania:
- What to see on the Amalfi Coast in 3 or 5 days
- Unusual Naples: 10 places not to be missed
- Where to eat in Naples, the best pizzerias and pastry shops
- What to see in Naples in 3 days
- Excavations of Pompeii: guide to the visit
- 10 beautiful farmhouses with swimming pool in Campania