Naples is a city I had my eyes on for some time, being one of Italy's top destinations due to its extremely favorable geographical position near Vesuvius and the Amalfi Coast. And because September-October is a very good time to visit Naples, we took advantage of a good offer on the plane, which allowed us to enjoy a full but wonderful weekend.
Travel period in Naples: September 30-October 3, 2022. How did we organize it?
- A full day for exploring the city
- A full day for visiting the Amalfi Coast
The road to Naples
I flew with Ryan Air from Madrid for 10 euro/per person, to which I added a cabin bag (price also 10 euro). From Naples, I continued the journey to Bari, so I took the return flight from Bari with Wizz Air, for 25 euro/per person plus a cabin bag (price 14 euro).
Having a flight to Naples in the evening, I went to the accommodation by taxi taken from the airport, because the metro and buses stop running after 11 pm (approx). The taxi cost us 25 euros and the journey took 15 minutes. If you land during the day, there are much cheaper options, such as the bus.
Ps: I tried to take Uber, but after several minutes of searching, I couldn't find anything. Anyway, the price displayed in the app for the race was between 23-27 euros, so we would have paid anyway. Thus, we started the transport for 2 people as follows;
Plane 94 euro (with return from Bari)
Taxi 25 euros
Accommodation in Napoli
I chose something simple from Booking, depending on price, location, score, and reviews.
A room with a private bathroom and kitchenette at Casa Milu Centro, located approximately 9 minutes walk from Museo metro station (line 1) and 7 minutes from Piazza Cavour metro station (line 2). The area looks rather suspicious, especially at night, but both the host and the taxi driver told us that it is a safe neighborhood, and not to worry. The interior was ok, but the exterior leaves a lot to be desired from all points of view.
We paid 161 eur for 3 nights, to which were added 15 eur the city tax and 10 eur the late check-in fee, we arrived at the accommodation around 00:30.
I recommend the property if you plan to explore the city far and wide and stay in the house for the minimum necessary + if you keep to your budget and don't want to spend a lot of money on accommodation. In the rest, things can be improved from the point of view of comfort and I could also say cleanliness.
The bed mattress was quite uncomfortable, the shower a bit broken, the shower cabin slightly dirty, and the towels didn't seem the cleanest and new ever either. Long story short, would have things to improve, but in the end, when you choose something cheaper, you kind of expect such compromises, unfortunately. Anyway, otherwise you had everything you need, including air conditioning, Wi-Fi, coffee, cutlery, microwave, etc.
The total price of accommodation in Naples for 3 nights: 186 eur.
The transport in Napoli
I walked a lot in the central area, and the rest by subway, funicular, and once by bus.
In Naples there are 2 metro lines, a trip costs 1.20 eur, and a subscription for 24 hours costs 4.50 eur. The advantage of the one-day subscription is that it includes an unlimited number of trips for both the subway, bus, and funicular, and as a tourist, it is the perfect choice to get rid of your worries.
Tickets are sold at vending machines and counters in metro stations, but also at small street shops called Tabaccheria. You can generally find them near all the stations, being small supermarkets that sell newspapers and food products in general.
For transportation outside the city, I used the train and the bus, as I said above that I dedicated a day to visiting the 3 towns on the Amalfi Coast: Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. But I will talk about this in a future article on the blog.
The favorite vehicle of the inhabitants of Naples is clearly the motorcycle. You see and hear them everywhere, so you have to pay extra attention when you walk down the street to avoid them with dexterity:) Otherwise, of course, many cars, the drivers driving in the well-known Italian style: chaotic, slaloming among pedestrians regardless the color of the traffic light or the place you pass through.
Transport cost strictly for Naples: 9 eur/2 persons, for a subscription valid for 24 hours.
Is Napoli a safe city?
The most correct answer would be it depends. It's a rather infamous city, but in recent years a lot has been invested in tourism to increase the city's economy and at the same time its notoriety. In crowded places and next to tourist attractions, there are generally police who supervise, and if you walk through the tourist areas you have no problem.
Of course, we didn't ostentatiously go through the peripheral neighborhoods or the infamous ones like the Spanish quarter. From what I can tell based on direct observation, a lot of people seem suspicious (to me) in Naples when you walk down the street, but no one turned out to be a real danger :))
I didn't have any incidents with anyone even though we were walking around a lot both during the day and at night, so if you are a little careful with the areas you reach and take care of your goods without displaying them ostentatiously, you are clearly safe.
As a tourist, I don't think you have to worry about this, it doesn't seem any riskier than other European cities like Paris, Rome or Amsterdam.
When is it better to visit Napoli?
I was extremely amazed by the large number of tourists here, especially Spanish, French, English, and Americans. Naples is clearly an expanding city, with great potential, which seems to flourish even more in the coming years.
The areas we walked through it was full of people, and on the terraces, there were queues everywhere you looked. Not to mention the anthill of tourists that we found the day we walked along the Amalfi coast.
I imagine that if it was so crowded at this time of the year (starting from October), it is certainly infinitely more crowded in the summer months. From this point of view, I would clearly recommend autumn and spring as the preferred time to visit the area, especially since the temperatures are pleasant and you can walk around leisurely.
Bonus, in addition to shorter queues at the sights, transport, and restaurants, in the off-season there are slightly lower prices.
What did we visit in Napoli?
We only stayed one full day in Naples, so we organized our time so that we could see as much as possible. You can find the list below, in the order of my personal preference.
1. The streets taken in stride
Walking the streets is the best way to take the pulse of a city. In my case, it contributes a lot to the impression I form about a place and to the impulse I have (or not) to continue visiting that city. What I can say is that I enjoyed walking through Naples and admiring the houses, the shops, the terraces, the people, and the scenery, even if it is an extremely noisy, dirty, and very crowded city. What particularly caught my attention?
- laundry spread in front of the houses directly on the dryer in the street or suspended from the windows/balcony or between the houses, like garlands. You had the feeling that the whole town did all the laundry on the same day.
- Confectioneries with all kinds of super appetizing products, both in appearance and taste. Everything we tried was very good, especially the lemon cakes specific to the place and the star of the local sweets, baba.
- The presence of many churches and castles, which is classic for Italy in general and you see them everywhere in Naples
- Many delicious pizzerias, famous locally being Pizza Margherita (generally served wrapped like a wallet), and many bars with cocktails and other drinks at very affordable prices (between 1 and 6 euros).
- The spectacular landscapes, especially Vesuvius and the cliff area, where the sea can be seen superbly
- Extremely many people travel by motorbike, so you have to be careful every step of the way when you walk on the streets so that you don't get run over by someone.
Among the most famous streets we walked were:
- Via Toledo. Located right in the center of the city, it is the commercial street of Naples. Full of shops and terraces, there are always people and atmosphere here. By the way, the Toledo Metro Station is very nicely designed, being recognized for its particular design.
- Via Gregorio Armeno is full of artistic souvenir shops, especially dolls and figurines, either static or with dynamic elements, setting the stage for a whole story. It is a real experience to walk on this narrow street, interspersed with special elements that capture your attention one after another.
- Via Dei Tribunali. The oldest street in Naples, also centrally located, near Gregorio Armeno. Here you can best see the old imprint of the city, both through the buildings and through the style of the shops, very old style for the year 2022. You will notice here the old type of "general stores", where traders sell the most diverse products: from food to basins, to clothes, hygiene products, and so on.
2. Castel dell'Ovo and the Lungomare cliff
The castle is located right on the cliff, next to the Grand Hotel Vesuvio.
It can be visited for free
You have a wonderful view of the sea and the Vesuvius volcano
It is preferable to visit the castle in the afternoon or in the evening for a superb sunset.
The beach is quite long, so if you plan to walk it from one end to the other, reserve around an hour.
3. Belvedere Mergellina
The Mergellina area is worth seeing for the most beautiful panoramic point over the city. We got there by taking funicular 4 from sea level, and from above we went down for a walk on the streets enjoying a dreamy view. On our way, we also stopped at a terrace with a view where we enjoyed a delicious cocktail accompanied by aperitifs and snacks (multiple) included in the price.
4. Gambrinus Cafe
Super elegant and full of people, the Gambrinus cafe is between the Umberto I Galleries and Piazza Plebiscito. A true art inside the cafe, from the decoration, tables, and showcases, to the design of the cups and plates in which you serve the coffee. A small expresso is really small, but like a thimble, so you know what to expect. I had a coffee with pistachio cream like whipped cream and I can say that it was absolutely brilliant (price 3.5 eur).
5. Sant Elmo Castle and San Martino viewpoint
I got here by funicular from the station near Via Toledo, and then I walked for about 10 minutes.
The San Martino viewpoint is located in front of the castle, access is of course free.
The castle can be visited, the price in the season being 5 euros/person. In the off-season, the price is reduced by 50%.
Strictly from the point of view of the castle, I can't say that there are many things to see, but it is worth walking along its alleys and admiring the panoramic view of the city.
6. Piazza Plebiscito
- Piazza Plebiscito is a very nice place located in the city center, near the Umberto I Galleries, the San Carlo theater, and the Royal Palace.
- It is one of the most beautiful squares of the city, standing out both for the very large space it occupies, often being a meeting point for the city's inhabitants, and for the Basilica San Francesco di Paola, a beautiful neoclassical church. The church can be visited for free, but we caught a wedding there when we arrived at the square, so we settled for some pictures from outside.
7. Piazza Dante
A very beautiful and old market, located in the historic center of the city, near the Santa Chiara church. The kind of market you pass through safely if you explore the city of Naples, being part of the central, tourist area, and very close to the metro (Dante station).
8. Umberto I Galleries
Located right next to Piazza Plebiscito, the galleries house shops and restaurants, being very similar to the Vittorio Emanuele galleries in Milan. Very good-looking, with an effect dome in the center, they are a good place for pictures for tourists and for shopping for enthusiasts :)
9. Nuovo Castle
Located near the seafront, the Nuovo castle is imposing and grand from the outside. It is visited, the price of a ticket being 6 euros. When we arrived around 4 p.m., we were told that it was fully booked for that day, so if you want to visit the inside of the castle, make a reservation in advance.
10. Church of Santa Chiara
It is the largest Gothic church in Naples, located in the central area of the city, in Piazza del Gesu Nuovo. An extremely old and magnificent church, which I did not visit inside. The visiting ticket costs 6 eur/person.
One day in Naples is enough to take the pulse of the city and see the most important sights (at least from the outside). If you still want to have time to enjoy more walking, eating, and visiting in detail certain tourist attractions, then I recommend you to stay at least 2-3 days in Naples before changing your destination or exploring the surroundings.
We intend to return to this extremely attractive city as soon as possible. Until then, keep an eye on my profile because the article about the Amalfi Coast is coming. Enjoy beachin'!
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