Perched in the south of the country, Naples is one incredible Italian city to visit. Not only that, it’s really easy to visit if you’re travelling internationally or as part of a wider Italian road trip, too. Plus, being one of the south’s biggest cities means that there’s a heap of the best things to do in Naples to fill a long weekend; heck, even a few weeks if I’m honest.
With stunning churches, beautiful palaces and a heap of epic foodie spots, Naples is one of those epic Italian cities to visit for a long weekend. Not only that, it’s really easy to partner a trip here onto a longer journey to the nearby-ish, Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, too. This is exactly what we did and loved it!
With that in mind, I wanted to share some totally amazing spots you gotta check out once in the city. Oh, and make sure to take some comfy walking shoes; you’ll be traipsing the whole city.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Naples. Have the best time exploring!
1.) Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
The Medieval castle of Castel Nuovo has stood in Naples for almost 800 years! Over that time, it’s had such a colourful history that’s so incredible to learn about when you’re visiting the city.
Now, you can easily pop in (for a small fee) but, if you’ve got time, the guided tour is one to go for as you’ll be able to check out the underground areas of the castle, as well as the views from the roof. It really is one of the best things to do in Naples if you want to explore the city’s history; it’s so interesting.
2.) Royal Palace of Naples
Once home to the Bourbon family, the Royal Palace of Naples now houses an incredible museum that has some epic exhibitions to explore. Now, although the exhibitions are definitely worth it, it’s the rooms that are totally eye-catching for me. Once inside, you’ll totally see what I mean.
Plus, it’s right next door to the Castel Nuovo and Piazza del Plebiscito so it’s really easy to explore when seeing these, too.
Afterwards, pop over to Sorbillo for some of the best pizza in all of Naples. Just be aware, the queues can be long and at peak times you can wait over an hour for a table!
Alternatively, pop over to Pizzeria Gorizia 1916 that’s totally yummy! Not only that, they’re huge and filling. Perfect if you’re hungry.
3.) Ovo Castle
Once part of a tiny little island called Megaride, exploring Ovo Castle is one of the best things to do in Naples if you’re in the Santa Lucia area of the city.
Totally free to enter, it’s a lovely place to visit for 30-minutes or so; though, it can get crowded at peak times. If you want to visit during quieter times, visit first thing in the morning and avoid the weekends.
4.) Palace of Capodimonte
The Palace of Capodimonte is not only another one of the Bourbon families stunning homes, it also houses Naples Museum of Art that’s world-renowned. You see, inside they have a heap of Roman artefacts and Neapolitan pieces that are amazing to see.
Once inside, check out the Portrait of Francesco Gonzaga (by Mantegna) from the 15th Century, the Toulouse Altarpiece (by Martini) from the 14th Century and some of the Caravaggio collections, too.
Not only that, it’s easy to partner a trip to the palace with the nearby Catacombs of San Gennaro that’s close by.
5.) Piazza del Plebiscito
Just in front of San Francesco di Paola, Piazza Del Plebiscito is really easy to visit when exploring the Santa Lucia area that’s a pretty popular spot for visitors.
For me, the square feels so reminiscent of that in Vatican City, too. It really is beautiful and well worth a stroll. Just be aware to slap on that sunscreen if you’re visiting in Summer; those Naples sun rays can be intense!
Afterwards, pop over to see the shrine to Maradona (at Bar Nilo), too.
Honestly, the locals in Naples love Maradona and Bar Nilo’s shrine is testament to this.
6.) Basilica San Domenico Maggiore
Perched right next to the palace of Corigliano, seeing the Basilica San Domenico Maggiore is one of the best things to do in Naples if you want to explore the city’s totally awe-inspiring architecture. Honestly, this place is a true gem in the city.
Now, the church is much bigger than it looks from the outside, so make sure you pop in for a 20-minute visit around the nave and chapels to see this incredible spot. It’s beautiful.
7.) San Carlo Theatre
Okay, so, if you love the opera, then visiting theSan Carlo Theatre will be one of the best things to do in Naples on your trip. You see, not only is the theatre itself totally beautiful; they have world-class performances that are incredible.
That being said, tickets can be a little steep so, if you fancy keeping costs low, pop on a tour of the theatre itself. The tour takes under an hour and is a great little spot to make if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Plus, of course, it’s totally beautiful.
8.) Catacombs of San Gennaro
Perched underground, within the area of Rione Sanita, seeing the Catacombs of San Gennaro might seem a little macabre. That being said, it’s one of the best things to do in Naples if you want to see a totally different side (from all the sparkly palaces and beautiful architecture).
With centuries of history, it’s really interesting to see this unique part of the city, and the frescos, too. Just be prepared for a little walk if you’re arriving via the metro system.
9.) Certosa di San Martino
Once a vast monastic home, the Certosa di San Martino now houses some of Naples best artefacts and gorgeous chapels to see. Not only that, the views over the whole Bay of Naples are totally stunning and well worth seeing.
Now, to get here you can make it a little easier by taking the funicular from Montesanto and getting off at Morghen. From here, it’s a leisurely stroll of about 15-minutes.
10.) Fontanelle cemetery
Okay, so bear with me, I know I’ve mentioned two pretty random places (like the Catacombs of San Gennaro) but Fontanelle cemetery is another spot to see in Naples if you fancy something totally different.
Inside, you’ll find caverns filled with skeletons that are centuries old! We saw something similar in Palermo, Italy and it’s so unique.
Just check before you visit, I know they’ve been closing it periodically for restoration work; so check before you set off.
11.) San Gregorio Armeno church
With over a thousand years of history, San Gregorio Armeno is one of the more popular spots to visit when exploring the historic centre of Naples itself.
Honestly, once you head inside the church, you’ll see how palatial this place looks. It’s beautiful. You probably will only spend around 15-minutes here, but it’s a great stopping point when exploring all the little streets around here.
12.) Island of Procida
Okay, so Procida isn’t technically the city of Naples but it’s only a few miles away by boat from the Port of Naples. Not only is it stunning, but it’s a great day trip to explore if you’re wanting a little chill time from the hustle and bustle of Naples.
Once here, be sure to stroll the streets of Terra Muta and Coricella for a spot of lunch.
Now, this island will require a bit of walking rambling, so be prepared to be on your feet all day. Oh, and be sure to try a Rum baba on the island (or in Naples), too. They’re like a spongy-sweet cake that’s dipped in some potent rum!
13.) Church of Jesus Nuovo
Although it might not look like much from the outside, seeing the Church of Jesus Nuovo is one of the best things to do in Naples after visiting the Fountain of Monteoliveto that’s closeby.
Once inside, make sure to check out the vault frescos that are so stunning, too. This is the kind of building where you ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.
Afterwards, head on over to La Lazzara for some of the tastiest Neopolitan cuisines. Their parmigiana, oven-fired pizza and seafood pasta is amazing.
14.) Santa Chiara Cloisters
Really close to the Church of Jesus Nuovo, the Santa Chiara Cloisters is another one of Naples religious spots that date back centuries.
Although the cloisters sustained damage during WWII, it’s still one of the best things to do in Naples to see its gorgeous ceramics and maioliche, too. You’ll likely spend around 40-minutes exploring, though, you can easily spend longer if you’re hankering for a more relaxing day.
15.) San Giovanni a Carbonara
Nestled on the streets of via Carbonara (yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds), San Giovanni a Carbonara might not look like much from the outside, but it has a treasure trove of things to see inside.
After arriving, check out the Tomb of King Ladislaus of Durazzo, the Cappella Caracciolo del Vico and the incredible arts around the walls.
16.) Galleria Umberto I
Galleria Umberto I is a shopping gallery that you can’t miss when in Naples. Built within the 19th Century, it looks pretty similar to the galleria in Milan and is totally beautiful.
Honestly, the scale of this place is just so impressive!
Now, although you won’t spend too long wandering inside, it’s great to check out this beautiful part of Naples.
17.) Fountain of the Giant
Just shy of Ovo Castle, the Fountain of the Giant is pretty easy to visit! Not only that, it’s one of the most famous fountains in the city to see.
For me, it’s one of the best spots for views of Vesuvius, you know, the active volcano that obliterated Pompeii?
Although you won’t spend longer than 10-minutes here, it’s worth stopping on your stroll via Naples promenade.
For me, visiting the area of Posillipo is one of the best things to do in Naples in the early evening. You see, it’s the kind of place that’s filled with some gorgeous cocktail bars and restaurants.
Now, prices can be a little higher here, and the restaurants do attract lots of visitors (which means prices can be inflated sometimes).
If you’re looking for some fresh seafood, pop into Il Miracolo dei Pesci. Their lobster is amazing, just be aware their tables get reserved fast.
19.) Casina Vanvitelliana
Just a few miles from the very centre of Naples, Casina Vanvitelliana is a 17th Century lodge that’s built upon the water. Now, although it’s totally beautiful, there’s not a heap going on inside so you’ll probably only be here around 20-minutes.
That being said, there’s a lovely restaurant just up the road. Old Friends has some of the best steaks in Naples!
20.) Chapel of St. Januarius
Perched within the Cathederal of Naples, exploring the Chapel of St. Januarius is another one of the best things to do in Naples if you want to see the tomb of St Andrew the Apostle. Though, that’s not the only reason!
The whole chapel is beautiful and easily compares to the stunning chapels of Florence we saw. Honestly, there’s so much history to enjoy.
21.) Palace of Caserta
Around 30-minutes in the car from the very centre of Naples, the Palace of Caserta might not be Naples, but it’s really easy to visit for an afternoon and it’s totally special.
Being one of the biggest places of 18th Century Europe, the Palaces of Caserta is totally massive and will require a few hours to explore. Once here, be sure to pop inside to see the Baroque halls and pop out into the gardens to explore the stunning grounds. This place is immense.
Just make sure to reserve a ticket before you leave from central Naples. After all, you don’t wanna rock up without an invite!