What you need to know about Naples
What to do in Naples
Central European Time (CET)
Being a medieval city there are plenty of cobbles and cracks to kill your shoes, but strap on some sturdy sneakers and get ready to walk. Most of the cultural and historical must-sees in Naples, with the exception of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius, are within a 3 kilometre radius. There’s a pretty good public transport system too, so hopping on a bus, subway, funicular railway or tram is easy. A hop on, hop off tour is a great option for saving time and money as most offer three different routes around the sights for one price.
The best time to visit Naples is April-June and September-October, when temperatures are less likely to have you melting as fast as your gelato. Even Italians try to avoid being around in August. New Year's Eve in Naples is known for being a blast, literally - the city is proud of hosting the best fireworks in Italy. November makes for cheaper hotels and quieter attractions, but pack some warm clothes and a hat, as the nights can be cold with a mean icy wind.
It’s not to be messed with really, but strangely, people do. The world’s most famous and feared volcano can be accessed from Naples via a rickety commuter train, or by taking a tour. It famously erupted in 79 AD, swallowing Pompeii and Herculaneum with one ashy gulp and killing an estimated 10,000 to 25,000 people. While Mount Vesuvius is sleeping, curious travellers hike all the way to the summit along a rocky, winding road. It’s a steep and punishing stroll but don’t worry, there are plenty of people handing out walking sticks.
Eat your weight in babà
Babà or babbà is as much a part of Neopolitan culture as its famous pizza and coffee. A mushroom-shaped sweet soaked in rum or limoncello, it's even seeped into everyday language. If you have a particularly sweet personality, locals won't hesitate to say “si nu' babbà” (you're a baba). Originally from Central Europe and enjoyed by Naples' high society, this is a no-nonsense pastry that's all about the taste. Eat it on its own while you take a walk through Naples' bustling streets. A true Amalfi Coast staple to enjoy on the go!
Escape the city
Craving some waves? Capri, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are all easy to reach from Naples. All year round daytrippers flock to the sea-view cafes, restaurants and boutiques to spend their hard-earned Euros and to gawp at the rich and famous. From Capri’s lemon groves and bourgainvillea-clad terraces to the Almafi’s curving coastal roads and dramatic cliffs, there’s a photo opp around every corner.
Naples' National Archaeological Museum offers history fans what is arguably the world’s finest collection of Graeco-Roman artefacts. Inside you’ll find treasures from Pompeii and Herculaneum, marble sculptures, the famed Toro Farnese (Farnese Bull) and amazing mosaics from Pompeii's Casa del Fauno. The Borgia collection of Egyptian relics and epigraphs in the basement is a must-see.
See how the royals lived
Once a hunting lodge for King Charles III, the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte then became a posh royal home. It’s now the place to marvel at work by Neapolitan artists of the 17th and 18th centuries, and the King’s inherited Farnese collection, which includes portraits of royals by Titian. The royal apartments are quite something. Expect opulent chandeliers and furniture, exquisite tapestries and even a room lined completely with porcelain!