Naples, sitting pretty in the south of Italy, is the home of the world’s best pizza! But while munching your way through it slice by slice is nice, there are lots more reasons to visit.
Planning a trip to Italy’s Naples promises cool culture, brilliant beaches, and loads more to keep both kids and couples entertained. Look no further for the best things to do in Naples and beyond in 2022.
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Top Naples attractions for adults
Get fired up in Pompeii for the day
Building a city right beside an active volcano doesn’t always go to plan – just ask anyone who’s been to Pompeii. When the mighty Mount Vesuvius blew her top in 79 C.E., it pretty much destroyed everything in its wake, whilst ironically preserving it forever under the ash. Welcome to the world’s most awe-inspiring archaeological site!
On a day trip, or even a half-day trip from Naples to Pompei, you can make like an explorer and join a professional guide for a walk around the 50-hectare site. It’s been frozen in time for over 2,000 years and never fails to get the imagination churning. One of the most exciting things to do around Naples is simply getting close to the ancient dwellings, fountains, statues, frescoes, and Pompeii’s impressive amphitheater.
Don’t be put off by the volcano’s active status, it hasn’t erupted since the 1940s, so you’re probably safe. (We said probably). Check out a full list of Pompeii tours and excursions.
Explore a Roman town at Herculaneum
Obliterated by volcanic lava in 79 AD, Herculaneum remains one of the most fascinating clues as to the lives of the rich in Roman times, and is sometimes less crowded than Pompeii. History buffs and intrepid explorers can join a trained archaeologist for a walk around the old Roman town on the coast around the Bay of Naples, and see how the effects of Vesuvius shaking her volcanic booty changed everything, forever.
There’s more lavish marble and there are more mosaics in Herculaneum’s remains than in Pompeii. Learn about the 300 or so skeletons that were uncovered by archaeologists and discover how the carbonization in the lava helped to preserve everything from intricate artwork on walls and roofs on humble houses, to bed frames, wooden spoons, and even sewage works!
Get underground at the Catacombs
If walking on land isn’t adventurous enough for you, there’s plenty going on underneath the streets of Naples, too. In fact, there are thousands of years of history lying just a few meters below the shuffle of tourist footsteps.
Discover a hidden world of Italian history, see the final resting place of Saint Januarius (San Gennaro) – the patron saint of Naples – and peer up close at intricate stone carvings and beautifully restored frescoes in the Catacombs of San Gennaro.
The oldest sections of the Catacombs date as far back as the second century AD and were originally built by a local noble family before being expanded for the growing Christian community. You’ll see the tombs of major Christianity figures here, and gaze up at the high vaulted ceilings, imagining the thousands of people walking above you. Some of them likely have no idea what lies beneath!
Want to know more about the Catacombs? Check out an in-depth interview with someone who walks the tunnels and crypts every day!
See an Emperor’s dressing room at Naples Underground
Imagine having a house with a hatch under the bed that offers you – and only you –exclusive access to the ancient theater of Neapolis! Don’t just imagine it, see it for yourself when you expand your underground adventure in the Catacombs to the series of tunnels that span the entire city – Naples Underground. There are a lot of them in this top Naples attraction, so it’s best to stick to the designated entry points and join a guide who’ll keep you on the straight and narrow. Very narrow.
See the ancient aqueduct that for 23 centuries was responsible for providing Naples with water. See the Summa Cavea and sewers, and behold the bright blue tiled Bourbon-period drains, whose colors haven’t changed all that much, thanks to the darkness in these underground depths. This is a great way to learn the incredible history of old Napoli from the experts, while treating your eyeballs to something awesome at the same time.
Tour the Phlegraean Fields and Pozzuoli
The Phlegraean Fields is a sprawling constellation of ancient volcanic craters, and a trip here makes for a humbling walk amongst some of Mother Nature’s most terrifying and powerful creations! With an active crater spanning 700 meters in diameter, the Solfatara was born from a huge phreatomagmatic eruption that occurred between magma and water some 4,000 years ago. Powerful sulfur vapors reach temperatures of 160° C around here, so be sure to stick within the guidelines and don’t get too adventurous.
The best way to see the Phlegraean Fields is to join a tour, which will also take you to the huge Roman amphitheater at Campi Flegrei. Most tours include a wander around the village of Pozzuoli, famed for its ancient marketplace and bradyseism – a raising and lowering of the Earth’s surface caused by volcanic activity.
Explore land and water by bike
Opt for a regular bike or an e-bike and get the lowdown on Naples on a 3-hour guided tour with a local, including photo stops! This has to be one of the best things to do in Naples if you’re looking to get your bearings whilst soaking up the sun and all that surrounding scenery. From hills to hidden nooks and crannies, to colorful street markets, your guide will explain it all, plus some cool historical facts as you pedal your way about.
If cycling on land sounds boring, how about a water bike excursion? Leave the streets, crowds and museums in Naples and head off on a unique bike-cum-kayak out to sea! See the summer house of the Italian president and stop to swim in ancient caves. Cycling hasn’t been this cool since… no, cycling has never been this cool.
Romantic things to do in Naples for couples
Hold your beloved close and get ready to declare ‘that’s amore.’ There is no shortage of romantic things to do in Naples, or its idyllic surroundings!
From mountains to beaches on the Amalfi Coast
Looking to put some sparkle back into your relationship? Get away from the museums in Naples and indulge in some sweeping panoramic ocean views, including dolphins frolicking in the surf. Take a day trip to the picture-perfect Amalfi Coast and walk hand-in-hand with your lover through cute, quaint mountaintop towns. Gaze at the waves from the tops of sheer cliffs and dip your toes into warm cerulean waters.
Cruise across to Capri
It doesn’t get more romantic than sipping limoncello and strolling through pretty green gardens, or lounging next to your loved one on a white, sandy, sun-kissed Italian beach. Welcome to Capri, a haven for couples! Hop on a ferry from Naples and head over to the gorgeous island for a day – it only takes 40 minutes to get there and the views en route are worth the trip alone.
Don’t miss a trip out to see the glowing sea cavern known as the Blue Grotto. It’s quite a sight to behold with the sunlight streaming through its craggy cavities. Who would forgive you for pulling out a ring and popping the question? That should make it a trip no one will forget.
Create a surprise itinerary with the Hop-on Hop-off Bus
Wake your partner up with kisses and coffee, then surprise them with your plan for the day – which is to explore all the romantic things to do in Naples at your leisure, one landmark at a time. The Hop-on Hop-off bus is a casual and fun way to explore – especially when you take a seat on the top deck with the breeze blowing through your hair.
With the liberty to choose when to get on and off, three different bus routes and over 30 stops, you can literally take your lover wherever the wind blows.
Fill up on a Naples food tour
If you’re the kind to get cute in the kitchen, where better to indulge your taste (for each other) than on a food tour? While the museums in Naples are food for your eyes, eating your way from place to place is one of the most delicious things to do in Naples. It’s also a great way to discover a bunch of new places and edible treats you might not have found otherwise.
A Naples pizza tasting & city center walking tour offers a guided pizza pilgrimage around the beautiful streets of Naples. It’s a great excuse to stop off at different establishments and sample the delicacies at each without looking particularly greedy.
Chomp your way through classic Italian snacks, pastas and pizzas, and even desserts and espresso. Plus, if you’re hungry for some history, you’ll enjoy learning the extraordinary history of Neapolitan pizza, and finding out why you can only experience the real thing here, in the city where it was first created!
Take a stroll down Spaccanapoli
Your romantic trip to Naples won’t be complete until you’ve taken a leisurely stroll down the city’s longest street – Spaccanapoli. This street has literally split the city of Naples into two and is a designated UNESCO heritage site. Taking a daytime walk is one of the liveliest things to do in Naples, and it’s a prime place for people-watching.
As you pass through the Via San Biagio Dei Librai, you won’t miss the fragrant smell of freshly baked goods, or the vendors trying to sell you beautiful Napoleon arts and crafts. A romantic walk could end up at the historical complex of Santa Chiara, where you can grab a couple’s selfie by the imposing Gothic-style cathedral.
Castles and cobblestones on Procida Island
It’s a living fairy tale on Procida Island, the Bay of Naples’ smallest island. It’s worth rising early and venturing here on a breezy 40-minute hydrofoil ride from Naples. Did you know, this tiny slice of paradise was named Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2022? It beat nine other candidates and became the first island to ever be granted the prestigious title.
Feel the romantic vibes on a day tour that includes a 3-course lunch with a view! There are sweet-smelling lemon groves, near-deserted beaches, pastel-colored houses, and cobbled alleys to explore, as well as wild nature and a castle that calls for some lovestruck selfies.
Fun things to do in Naples for kids
They might be crying out for more gelato, and sure, they won’t have anything like this stuff anywhere else, but there are more things to do in Naples for kids apart from just stuffing their faces! Gather up the rugrats and get ready for adventure.
Learn the secrets of the world at Città della Scienza
Big and little ones can immerse themselves in scientific subjects, from the love life of bugs to far-off galaxies, at one of the most fascinating interactive museums in Naples. Kids will start to see their own insides in ways they could never have ever imagined at CORPOREA – the first European interactive museum on the workings of the human body.
Città della Scienza also offers temporary exhibitions, educational workshops for all ages and scientific insights from experts, all with programs that are frequently updated – check the website to see what’s going on when you visit. Don’t miss a walk to the small lake nearby, where you can watch the fish and small turtles swimming about freely.
Reach for the skies at Città della Scienza Planetarium
Upgrade your Città della Scienza tickets for entry into the Città della Scienza Planetarium, a 113-seat planetarium that claims to be the most advanced in Italy. Explore the universe, count the constellations and then go from giant planets to little critters at the Bugs&Co exhibit. Digging deep into the world of bugs is one of the most fun things to do in Naples – kids will see a different side to creepy crawlies when they learn how they play, fall in love, and survive.
Take a pizza-making class
What could be more thrilling for kids than trying out their favorite food in the place it was born in the late 18th century? Once you tell them pizza was first created in Naples, they’ll be even more excited when you suggest a family pizza-making class.
First on anyone’s list of things to do in Naples with kids should be to eat a ton of pizza. The second thing should be to cook some yourself! There are loads of pizza-making opportunities in Naples. It’s also home to several world pizza-making champions!
Step back in time at The National Archaeological Museum of Naples
As one of the best things to do in Naples for kids, The National Archaeological Museum of Naples promises hours of exploratory fun and adventure. Kids can walk amongst real imagination-boosting treasure from Herculaneum and Pompeii, including mosaics from Pompeii’s Casa del Fauno, the famed Toro Farnese (Farnese Bull) sculpture, and more.
This former university and old cavalry barracks is one of the most interesting museums in Naples, being chock-a-block with brain-bending Naples facts and more Greco-Roman artifacts than you can shake a sandal at.
Psssst. Don’t pay full price. Grab the Artecard Naples and visit three top Naples museums for free, with up to 50% off the rest!
Chase the pigeons at the Piazza Plebescito
Parents can take a coffee break while soaking up the splendor of historic Naples from one of the largest public squares in Naples. From the sun-flooded Piazza Plebesc, you can take in the awe-inspiring facades of the Royal Palace and the Church of San Francesco di Paola, while the kids run around, chasing pigeons.
Just a few steps away you’ll find one of the top shopping streets in the city, Via Toledo – the perfect place to get back on your feet in search of souvenirs.
The best things to eat in Naples
While many people visit Naples specifically to eat the pizza, those in the know explore the local cuisine. You can’t be in Napoli without indulging in some of Europe’s best food, including pasta and desserts. Here are a few ideas that you should add to your list, now!
Fresh fruit and vegetables to die for
Some of the best foods you’ll find in Naples are unique to the Campania region, like the creamy ricotta and buffalo mozzarella. Southern Italy farm produce like tangy tomatoes and gourds are downright gorgeous, and Mediterranean citrus fruits like lemons and oranges will make your mouth water. It’s all grown in some of the world’s best volcanic soil!
TOP TIP: Don’t miss the rainbow burst of colorful fruits and vegetables on the food stalls in Rione Sanità – shopping fresh here is one of the best things to do in Napes, for your tastebuds!
Naples is a seafood haven thanks to its location on the salty Tyrrhenian Sea. Take a morning walk through almost any neighborhood and you’ll find market sellers laden with fresh shellfish and clams. Fans of fish can buy acciughe: chunky, salted anchovies, in cans at most good grocery stores – they’re pretty much a staple ingredient in Naples’ cuisine and will take your tastebuds to the next level compared to anything you’ll find at home.
Taking a pizza and frying it might seem like overkill, but pizzaiolos all over Naples are doing it, so it must be good, right? Most Naples pizza shops will be happy to serve up a slice of this pizza variation as well as the regular pizzas, cooked in their wood-fired ovens.
Typical ingredients in a pizza fritta include cheese (mozzarella, ricotta or provolone) and salami and/or ham. For the authentic stuff, head to Centro Storico and look for the takeaway stalls on Via dei Tribunali.
Once you’ve tried fried pizza, you can guess what’s next? Deep-fried pasta of course! The Frittatina is a calorie-laden beauty that’s basically a pasta fritter. It’s usually crispy on the outside and oozing with bechamel sauce or cheese. Expect to pay around one euro for a Frittatina from a friggitoria, or double from a pizzeria.
If Naples had its own signature pastry, it would probably be the Sfogliatella. This crumbly treat is stuffed with a creamy filling concocted from sweet ricotta and can be found all over Italy, but Naples is definitely home to the best ones. A Sfogliatella comes in two calorific styles – Riccia and Frolla. If you’re craving a flaky, layered pastry, order a Sfogliatella Riccia. If you’re in the mood for a shortcrust shell, chow down on a Sfogliatella Frolla.