When you’re looking for what to do in Naples, be prepared – it’s the kind of place you could easily spend 2 weeks and never see anywhere else in Italy!
From the Amalfi Coast to Procida, Capri, Pompeii, Ischia, and so much more, Naples is a playground for anyone and everyone. It’s an easy train ride away from Rome, so getting in and out of the city is a breeze. If you’re looking for some major sightseeing, Naples is also a great place to base yourself to see many of the islands.
What to Do In Naples Itself
1. Eat Everything
Yes, food is coming first on this list. Naples has an incredible food culture, and the food is out of this world. As the official home of pizza, you should make sure to try at least a few places! The street food and cafes also offer incredibly fun dishes. And don’t forget the gelato! Naples is filled with incredible gelaterias. (Find the ranking of 34 Italian gelato flavors!)
2. National Archaeological Museum, Naples
The National Archaeological Museum is one of the most incredible treasures in Italy. I was blown away by the sheer volume of the artifacts. If you’re into statuary, their collection is one of the most impressive in the world.
Upstairs, you can see the mosaics that came out of Pompeii and Herculaneum. There are even some, well, suggestive mosaics that people used to use to order “services” in the brothels! Pompeii and Herculaneum both have replica mosaics at the sites, but the Archaeological Museum is the place to find the originals.
The top floor even has breathtaking frescoes. You can easily spend a whole day in the museum!
3. Cappella Sansevero
This gorgeous baroque chapel is filled with incredible art and statues. It’s a quicker visit than the Archaeological Museum, but a worthwhile one nonetheless!
You simply can’t miss Pompeii. It’s absolutely unique among history, given the level of preservation thanks to the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. The streets and buildings are well-preserved enough that you can easily imagine what the city was like, back when it was a city. The villas are gorgeous, and it’s fun to think about how life must have been.
It’s also sobering when you realize how many people met their deaths, and how quickly.
Pompeii is a giant site, and especially in the summer, you’re smart to reserve a whole day for it. If you want to walk through it quickly, it could be done in half a day. But to really explore and experience the entirety, try to give it as much time as you can!
5. Herculaneum (Ercolano)
Herculaneum is the “little sister” of Pompeii in a few ways. It was similarly destroyed by the eruption, but it was covered in mud instead of just ash. Thus, the preservation of the site is different. It feels like a metropolis compared to Pompeii – Herculaneum is a multi-story site whereas Pompeii is incredibly spread out. You can see where people were at the waterfront, trying to get away. It’s hugely moving (and terrifying to imagine being trapped like that).
Because it’s more compact, Herculaneum can definitely be done in half a day. I’d caution against trying to do Pompeii and Herculaneum in one day if you really want to “do” them. It’s a whole lot of history to cram in!
Also, to note, if you take the train in – the stop is “Ercolano.” I was definitely expecting it to have a longer name and almost missed it!
Naples is an incredible city, and these are just five things worth exploring. There are many museums, historical sites, and so much more – just within the city itself! This doesn’t even include all of the islands and day trips you should take from Naples.