Naples is located close to the infamous Mt. Vesuvius, the active volcano which destroyed the Italian town Pompeii. Today, it is a summery city which has a lot to see and do. When visiting Naples, you will find that most activities revolve around food and culture. When visiting a city of such historical importance, it is natural to ask what to see in Naples. From the various churches to the grand piazza’s, the home of pizza offers an endless list of things to enjoy. So, if you want to get a better idea of the best touristy things to in Naples read ahead and discover the top 13 things to do in Naples.
13 Amazing things to do in Naples
- Visit Pompeii and Trek in Mt. Vesuvius
- Have a look at the Naples Cathedral
- Roam around Piazza del Plebiscito and look at the Royal Palace of Naples
- Learn more about History in the National Archaeological Museum
- Admire the architecture in Castel dell’ Ovo
- Shop at Galleria Umberto I
- Visit the Catacombs of San Gennaro
- Admire some art in San Francesco di Paola
- Satisfy your aesthetic tastes in Via Toledo
- Submerge yourself in the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baia
- Admire Italian History in the Palace of Capodimonte
- Get Romantic in Lake Avernus
- Eat Delicious Food
This list of things will tell you about the things to do in Naples and what to see in Naples. These are only 13 of the many things there are to do, so do not let this list restrict you.
1. Visit Pompeii and Trek in Mt. Vesuvius
This famous town is known for being destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius centuries ago. Today, you can walk through the rubble, enjoying what is considered as one of the most important archaeological sites. If you are debating what to see in Naples, make sure this is on your list. This ruined town is a sight to behold and covers 440,000 sq meters.
As this is a buried city, you could only imagine what you will find here. Public baths, meeting spots, government buildings and other evidence of this being a very commercially active city lay here. So, take your time to look around and enjoy the view of Mt. Vesuvius dominating over the landscape of the remains of a grand town. While visiting here, be sure to pay a hiking trip to Mt. Vesuvius. It is a pleasant and enjoyable trek when done during March and April.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 15
- Opening Hours: 9am – 7:30pm (last entry at 6pm) – April through October | 9am – 5pm (last entry at 3:30pm) – November through March | Closed: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December
Also See: 12 Best Places to visit in Italy in 2019
2. Have a look at the Naples Cathedral
This Roman Catholic Cathedral is the main cathedral in Naples. It is also known as Cattedrale di San Gennaro, named after Naples patron saint, Saint Januarius. This cathedral was constructed in the 13th century, under the reigns of Charles I and Charles II.
The architecture of the building is also evidence of the age of the cathedral. The art and style are reminiscent of the Middle Ages. The inside makes for a sight, decorated with frescoes by Domenichino and Giovanni Lanfranco. The altarpieces and high altar are all quite attractive and are something you must look at. Along with it, you can find an assortment of artwork and paintings by the likes of Luca Giordano. When planning what to do in Naples, Italy, add this breathtaking cathedral to your list.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 6
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 8 am to 12:30 pm | Sunday and Holidays – 8:30 am to 1 pm and 5 to 7 pm
3. Roam around Piazza del Plebiscito and look at the Royal Palace of Naples
Closed on Wednesdays, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, May 1st, August 15th
The front of the Royal Palace looks down at the busy piazza, which is the centre of the city. Considered the heart of this city, the piazza and palace are always crowded by locals and tourists alike. The palace was constructed in the 17th century. This is evident in the architecture, which is quite characteristic of the Renaissance and Baroque Ages.
Here you will find an elegant hanging garden giving you a view of the sea. This was added by Gaetano Genovese after a part of the palace was destroyed by a fire in the 1800s. This palace has since been home to many royal families – from the Spanish royal family to the Bourbon family. Therefore it has much to see and admire. Paintings, furniture and tapestries from each of these families add individual touches to the palace.
The Piazza del Plebiscito is one of the largest piazzas in the city. This site owes its name to the famous plebiscite of 1860 when Napoli became a part of the new kingdom, Italy. Once the centre of the French Revolution, this piazza is now a popular spot for events and concerts. Visiting this square should be on your list of the top things to do in Naples.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 4
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday – 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
4.Learn more about History in the National Archaeological Museum
One of the things to do in Naples that we would highly recommend is visiting this museum. The National Archaeological Museum is of significance to historians and culture lovers. It is home to various ancient Roman remains and other antique collections which were of significance at some point. The building was constructed in 1555 as a cavalry barrack. Since then it has served as the University of Naples from 1616 to 1777 following which it was converted to a museum in the 19th century.
In this museum, you will find numerous collections, from which Farnese and Mosaics are some of the best known. The Farnese Collection consists of engraved gems and marble sculptures from the Roman Empire. The Mosaic Collection has a lot to see as well, the Alexander Mosaic being the most popular. The Egyptian collection has a lot of artefacts to showcase too. So, if you are still confused about what to see in Naples, visit this museum with a variety of captivating collections.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 2
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 7:30 pm (Closed on Tuesday)
5. Admire the architecture in Castel dell’ Ovo
The name of this castle has a very distinctive backstory. Translating to Castle of the Egg, it comes from the belief that the Roman poet Virgil planted a magical egg in the foundations of the castle. This egg is meant to hold the castle together, and it is believed that, if the egg cracks the castle will fall apart.
The castle is placed on the peninsula of Megaride, a site believed to be the grave of the mermaid Parthenope. Its location has made it a powerful name in history as a fortress influencing both; land and sea, spiritually and literally.
As the oldest fortification in Naples, this castle has seen many changes and rulers. The Romans used this as their summer residence only to abandon it. This was followed by the 12th-century Normandy invasion, who made changes suitable to their requirements. The years following were equally tumultuous. Today, the castle gives an outstanding view of the city from its terrace and offers a unique interior, largely influenced by the numerous owners.
- Ticket Prices: Free Entry
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 6:30 pm | Sunday – 9 am to 2 pm
6. Shop at Galleria Umberto I
This public shopping gallery in the city centre was constructed in the 19th century and was a point of focus in the age of Risanamento, the process of making Naples healthy again. The architecture is breathtaking, and the floor work is quite lovely to look at. If you are searching for a place to shop and look around for fun, this is one of the best places to see in Naples to do so.
The glass roof is what attracts hordes of tourists. It lets in the sun, giving the whole market an ethereal glow. It also offers shoppers a marvellous view of the sky. This is one of the world’s first shopping malls which are still maintained and operating. The stores along with the detailed mosaics and sculptures make this a very popular shopping spot in the city.
- Ticket Prices: Free Entry
- Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
7. Visit the Catacombs of San Gennaro
This paleo-Christian burial and worship sites are eerie but thrilling to visit and are not for those who are faint of the heart. Divided into two levels, one can find many kinds of burials here, each equally distinct to look at. Some of the burials are decorated with mosaics and frescoes made to commemorate the person.
The most exciting part is the revelation of the 200 plus oil lamps which have been discovered. Some of them date back to the third century and are still maintained for tourist purposes.
The catacombs have given Naples the nickname of the city of Layera since each layer reveals a different era of rulers and Neapolitan history.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 9
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday – 10 am to 5 pm | Sunday – 10 am to 2 pm
8. Admire some art in San Francesco di Paola
Located on the west side of the Piazza del Plebiscito, this church is known for its awe-inspiring interior. It bears a resemblance to the Pantheon in Rome with its high columns, dome-shaped roof and circular interior.
Many sculptures, paintings and statues add value to your trip to this church. Each chapel is decorated differently, showing taste and effort on the artist’s part. Many old works of art have been shifted here to suit the churches ambience. In any case, one of the top things to do in Naples is to admire art and what better place to start?
- Ticket Prices: Free Entry
- Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 7:30 pm
9. Satisfy your aesthetic tastes in Via Toledo
Via Toledo is one of the best places to visit to get a taste of ancient-Naples. The street is quite old and was once graced by the nobility of the city. This was an important street for the aristocratic shoppers of Naples. And even today, a walk down this street will induce a sense of admiration in you. This street stretches over 1.2 kilometres and offers a connection between Piazza Dante and Piazza Trieste e Trento.
You can find an array of religious structures and shopping buildings along with a diverse cuisine on this street. Various tourist spots are located along this street as well. If nothing else, this street is a treat for the eyes. So, you do not need a reason to visit. You can simply go for a walk, stop for some gelato and window shop.
- Ticket Prices: Free Entry
- Opening Hours: Open 24 hours
10. Submerge yourself in the Underwater Archaeological Park of Baia
A visit to the ruins of an ancient Roman city makes scuba diving here a truly memorable experience. Boat tours are available along with diving lessons, so if you are up for the adventure, go ahead! The sight of a whole city submerged underwater is astonishing. Unlike Herculaneum which was swallowed by mud or Pompeii which was draped in ashes, this city was pushed underwater. This is owed to a bradyseism which unlike an earthquake moves upwards and downwards causing a shift in land altitude.
Baia was once the resort which housed all the rich Romans in the ancient Roman times. You can see this through the remnants which are admirably grand, even underwater. The five sites you can visit are Portus Julius”, “Secca delle fumose”, “Ninfeo di Claudio”, “Villa dei Pisoni” and “Villa a Protiro” with the most popular being “Villa a Protiro”, a villa with a courtyard and geometric tiled floor. Along with it is “Ninfeo di Claudio”, a 200 meter street with public baths and fountains where Emperor Claudius relaxed.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 4
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday – 9:30 am to 6 pm | Saturday to Sunday – 9 am to 5:30 pm | Closed on Monday
11. Admire Italian History in the Palace of Capodimonte
Housing the Museo di Capodimonte, this palace is a must-visit for all tourists. It serves as evidence of Naples once being a great kingdom which has now been reduced to a city. The architecture along with the furniture is glorious and striking, and maintenance ensures that the grandeur leaves every tourist in absolute wonder.
The structure commands a view of the whole city and offers a breathtaking sight. The palace and museum display the peaks of the Bourbon family history. The family’s heirlooms are proudly showcased for tourists to stop and admire. When making a list of what to see in Naples, do add this trove of treasures.
- Ticket Prices: EUR 12
- Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 7:00 pm
12. Get Romantic in Lake Avernus
A common spot for tourists to admire Mt. Vesuvius from, this lake resides in a crater formed by a volcanic explosion. The name Avernus originates from the word Averni which means lakes or grottos which exude toxic vapours or dew, which is why this lake was also considered as an entrance to the Underworld or Hades’ Kingdom. Yet, Romans settled around it, establishing villages and settlements. These settlements can be admired from the lake or on the way to the lake. Walking here should be on your list if you are wondering what do in Naples, Italy.
- Ticket Prices: Free entry
- Opening Hours: 24 hours
13. Eat Delicious Food
Since you are in the home of Pizza, you should explore the pizzas. Pasta, pizza, gelato, are a few things with which you can satiate your appetite. The list is actually endless. Cafes and restaurants dot every corner of the city for you to give your tastebuds an experience they will never forget. So don’t count those calories for a week and let loose! Eating authentic firewood pizza or traditional gelato is a once in a lifetime experience after all.
Further Read: 9 Indian Restaurants in Rome That You Must Visit
This list summarizes thirteen of the top things to do in Naples. Of course, you are free to add more or take away from this list. We hope this list benefits your plans for visiting the home of Pizza and many other wonders. These are the top things to do in Naples, at least by popular belief and recommendation. Let us know in the comments below if you are familiar with any of these!