Naples is one of those cities that completely takes over your senses. It’s incredibly vibrant, with a seemingly never-ending flow of colorful locals and tourists bustling through its narrow streets and wide piazzas. There’s simply no other city like it in Italy, or the world, for that matter. So if you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience, look no further than this city. But what are the absolute must-see attractions and things to do in Naples? I’ve got you covered! Here are our top 17 picks.
Things To Do In Naples, Italy
1. Cappella Sansevero
Cappella Sansevero is one of the most interesting places to see in Naples. This small chapel is home to some of the city’s most remarkable artworks, including Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino, one of the world’s most famous marble sculptures.
The chapel was built in 1590 to be used by the prominent Sansevero family as their private chapel. However, it was later used as a cemetery chapel for the family. In the 18th century, Prince Raimondo di Sangro, the seventh Duke of Sansevero, transformed the chapel into a mausoleum for his family.
Today, this chapel is most famous for its Veiled Christ, a life-size marble sculpture that was completed in 1753 by Giuseppe Sanmartino. The sculpture depicts Christ after the crucifixion, his body covered by a transparent veil. It is an incredibly life-like and moving sculpture and is considered one of the finest examples of Neapolitan Baroque art.
Another of the chapel’s highlights is the Anatomical Machines. These are two human skeletons that have been dissected and reassembled to show the workings of the human body. They are made up of bones, arteries, and veins displayed in two glass cases. They are incredibly detailed and are a fascinating glimpse into the human body.
The Chapel of Sansevero is one of the most unique attractions in Naples and is well worth a visit. Just be aware that it is very popular, so it can be quite crowded, especially in the summer.
Address; Via Francesco de Sanctis, 19/21, 80134 Napoli NA, Italy
2. Naples National Archaeological Museum
The Naples National Archaeological Museum is one of Italy’s largest and most important museums. It is home to an incredible collection of artifacts from the ancient Roman city of Pompeii and other sites in the area.
Founded in 1816 by Ferdinand I, this museum has grown over the years to become one of the most important in the world for archaeological artifacts. The Pompeii collection is particularly impressive and includes many well-preserved frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures. The museum also has an excellent collection of Greek artifacts, including pottery, bronzes, and statues. There is also a section on Egyptian artifacts, which includes a number of mummies.
The Naples National Archaeological Museum is an essential stop for anyone interested in the history and culture of the city and its surrounding area. And being one of the most famous attractions in Naples, it is definitely worth a visit. I suggest taking a guided tour, as there is so much to see and it can be easy to miss some of the highlights if you’re not familiar with the museum. Audio guides are also available, but I find they can be a bit difficult to follow as you’re not given any map to follow.
Address; Piazza Museo, 19, 80135 Napoli NA, Italy
3. Catch a show at Teatro di San Carlo
If you are looking for fun things to do in Naples, a visit to Teatro di San Carlo is a must. This beautifully preserved theatre is the oldest working opera house in Europe and is one of the city’s most iconic attractions.
Founded in 1737, it is the oldest continuously active opera house in Europe and plays host to some of the world’s most prestigious operatic performances. The theatre features a six-level horseshoe-shaped auditorium with ornately decorated boxes and balconies. The theatre is incredibly opulent and is considered one of the finest examples of Italian neoclassical architecture.
If you are lucky enough to catch a performance at Teatro di San Carlo, you are in for a treat. The theatre has excellent acoustics, and the productions are of a very high standard. Even if you are not a huge opera fan, a visit to this theatre is an absolute must.
Address; Via San Carlo, 98, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
One of the places in Naples that you simply cannot miss is Spaccanapoli. Spaccanapoli means “split Naples,” and it is named after the fact that this is the old part of the city that was divided in two by the main street, Via dei Tribunali. This is Naples’s historical center and probably the city’s most atmospheric part.
Spaccanapoli is a great place to stroll around and get a feel for the local Naples’s life. There are plenty of little shops, traditional businesses, and some interesting churches and monuments. But what attracts most visitors to Spaccanapoli are the numerous pizzerias and trattorias, where you can stop for a quick and tasty bite. It is believed that if you want the best pizza in Naples, you need to come to this part of town.
So take your time to wander around Spaccanapoli, do some people-watching, have a slice of pizza, and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this place.
5. Castel Nuovo
Castel Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino, is one of Naples’ most famous attractions. This imposing 13th-century castle sits on the edge of the city’s historic center and has been a symbol of the city for centuries.
The castle was built in 1279 by Charles I of Anjou, the King of Sicily, as his new royal seat. In the centuries that followed, it served as a royal palace for different rulers and was the site of many important events. In addition, each ruler made their own additions and modifications to the castle.
Today, this castle is open to the public, and visitors can explore the castle’s different halls and rooms, which are now home to a number of museums and art galleries. There is also a beautiful terrace with views over the city.
Address; Via Vittorio Emanuele III, 80133 Napoli NA, Italy
6. Explore Santa Lucia
I think one of the best things to do in Naples is simply to wander around and explore. And there is no better place to start than Santa Lucia, one of the city’s most beautiful and atmospheric neighborhoods.
Santa Lucia is located on the slopes of Pizzofalcone and offers stunning views over the Bay of Naples. It is a lovely area to explore, with its narrow streets, pretty churches, and quaint shops. The best way to see it is simply to wander around and get lost in its labyrinth of streets.
Little cafes and restaurants line the streets, and there are plenty of places to stop for a coffee or a bite to eat. The evenings are particularly atmospheric in Santa Lucia when the streets are lit up by the twinkling lights of the city, and the sound of music floats through the air.
7. Capodimonte Royal Palace and Museum
If you are wondering what to see in Naples, a visit to Capodimonte Royal Palace is an absolute must. This huge Bourbon palace was built in 1758 by Charles III of Bourbon, then King of Naples. It was designed to house the king’s art collection, which was one of the largest in Europe at the time.
The palace is now home to the Capodimonte Museum, one of Italy’s most important art museums. The museum’s collection includes paintings by some of the world’s greatest artists, such as Bellini, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Mantegna, Raphael, El Greco, and other Neapolitan artists.
In addition to the paintings, you can also tour the royal apartments, which are sumptuously furnished and decorated. You’ll see the king’s bedroom, the queen’s bedroom, the great hall, and other rooms where the royal family once lived. After your visit to the palace, be sure to wander through the beautiful park surrounding the palace.
Address; Via Miano, 2, 80131 Napoli NA, Italy
8. Soak up the Sun on Naples Beaches
You need a break from all those museums and sightseeing in Naples, right? Then head to one of Naples’ beaches for some sun and fun. The city has a few different beaches, each with its own atmosphere.
The most popular and crowded beach is Lowdermilk Park. Located just a short walk from the downtown area, this beach is well-maintained, with showers, toilets, and a children’s playground. The downside is that it can be quite crowded, especially on weekends. Another popular beach is Mergellina. This beach is located in the Mergellina district and is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and people-watching.
For a more secluded and natural setting, check out Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. This beach is located in a protected area and is only accessible by car or bike. The upside is that it’s usually not very crowded. The downside is that there are no amenities, so you’ll need to bring your own food and drink.
There are many beaches in and around Naples to choose from, so take your pick and enjoy!
9. Take a Food Tour
If there is one thing that Naples is famous for, it’s food! The city has some of the best pizzas in the world, as well as some incredible pasta dishes.
A food tour is a great way to try a bit of everything and to learn about the city’s food culture. I took the Naples Food Tour with Food Tours of Naples, which was one of my trip’s highlights! The tour lasted about 3.5 hours, and we visited six different restaurants and cafes, trying everything from pizza and pasta to gelato and coffee.
Our guide Stefania was amazing. She was passionate about food and told us many interesting things about Naples and its cuisine. She also went out of her way to make sure we had a good time, taking photos for us and even helping us find our way back to our hotel at the end of the tour.
I would definitely recommend a food tour to your list of things to do in Naples. It’s a great way to try many different things and learn about the city’s food culture.
10. Shopping at Galleria Umberto I
You don’t have to be a shopaholic to enjoy a visit to Galleria Umberto I. After all, this magnificent shopping mall is one of Naples’ most popular attractions!
Galleria Umberto I is a covered shopping arcade that was built in 1887. It is named after King Umberto I and was designed by the architect Emanuele Rocco. The arcade is decorated with mosaics, marble floors, and a glass dome, making it one of the most beautiful shopping malls in the world.
The mall is home to a number of high-end shops, as well as cafes and restaurants. It is the perfect place to do some people-watching and is also.
During your trip to Naples, be sure to make time for some shopping at Galleria Umberto I. This impressive glass-roofed shopping arcade was built in 1887 and is one of the city’s most popular attractions.
The Galleria is home to a number of high-end shops, as well as cafes and restaurants. It is the perfect place to do some people-watching and also great to pick up some souvenirs. I loved that there were so many different shops to explore, and I even found a couple of great Italian brands that I’d never heard of before.
Generally, I would recommend spending at least an hour or two here, especially if you are a fan of shopping. However, even if you’re not a shopper, come and appreciate the beautiful architecture and people-watch.
Address; Via Santa Brigida, 68, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
11. Sant’Elmo Castle
Another one of the top attractions in Naples is the Sant’Elmo Castle. This medieval fortification is located on a hilltop in Vomero, one of the city’s most fashionable residential districts. The castle was originally built as a church, but it was converted into a fortress in 1349 to protect the city from attacks. It was further fortified in the 16th century by the Spanish viceroy and used as a prison until the 19th century.
The castle is now home to the Museo del Novecento, which houses an important collection of 20th-century art. The museum’s paintings, sculptures, and photographs provide a fascinating insight into the artistic movements that developed in Naples during the last century. I suggest taking a guided tour of the museum, which is included in the price of admission.
In addition, you can enjoy stunning views of Naples and the surrounding area from the castle’s towers. So if you are wondering what to see in Naples, this is definitely one of the attractions that should not be missed.
Address; Via Tito Angelini, 20/A, 80129 Napoli NA, Italy
12. Castel Ovo
Lungomare is the name of the seafront promenade in Naples, and it is one of the most beautiful places in the city. Stretching for over 2 kilometers, it is a great place to take a walk, go for a run, or just enjoy the views.
The promenade is lined with trees and has a wide path that is perfect for strolling. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of places to stop and enjoy the views, including several cafes and restaurants.
One of the highlights of the Lungomare is Castel Ovo. The castle was built in the 12th century by Normans and later used as a royal residence by the kings of Naples. It has a long and eventful history and has been damaged and rebuilt several times over the centuries.
The castle is now home to an Ethno-Prehistory Museum, which chronicles the history of human settlement in the area. And the best part? Admission to the museum is free. You can climb up to the top of the castle for some great views over Naples and the surrounding area.
Address; Via Eldorado, 3, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
13. Galleria Borbonica
Galleria Borbonica is a subterranean tunnel built in 1853 by Ferdinand II of Bourbon to connect the Royal Palace with the military barrack. He wanted to be able to move between the two points in case of an attack on the palace.
Unfortunately, the tunnel was never completed, so it remained unused until World War II. During the war, the Italians used the tunnel as an air-raid shelter and an emergency hospital. After the war, it fell into disuse and was forgotten. But in early 2000, the tunnel was reopened to the public, and it is now one of the most famous attractions in Naples.
I suggest taking a guided tour of the tunnel, as it is very interesting to learn about its history and see all the different features. Along the way, you’ll come across old cars, motorcycles, Vespas, and other interesting items which have been left behind in the tunnel. The tour takes about one and a half hours, and I think it’s a great way to learn about Naples’ history.
14. Catacombs of San Gennaro
The Catacombs of San Gennaro are a network of underground tunnels and burial chambers that date back to the 2nd century. They were used as a burial places for Christians, and some of the chambers contain frescoes and inscriptions.
Unlike other catacombs in Rome or Paris, the Catacombs of San Gennaro feature a large passageway that is big enough to walk through. This makes it one of the most interesting catacombs to visit, as you can explore the chambers and see the burial places up close.
The catacombs are divided into two levels, and you can visit both levels with a guide. The lower level is, the more interesting of the two, as it contains the frescoes and inscriptions. But both levels are worth seeing as they offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Address; Via Capodimonte, 13, 80100 Napoli NA, Italy
15. Stroll along Via San Gregorio Armeno
If you are looking for fun things to do in Naples during Christmas time, then a stroll down Via San Gregorio Armeno is an absolute must! This is one of the most famous streets in Naples and is known for its nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.
The street is lined with shops selling everything from traditional nativity scene figurines to more modern ornaments. You’ll also find all sorts of other Christmas goodies such as sweets, chocolates, and panettones.
If you’re not in Naples during Christmas, don’t worry, the street is still worth a visit. Even without the festive decorations, it’s a pretty street with many interesting shops to explore.
16. Take a Boat to The Island of Capri
The island of Capri is one of the most famous places to visit in Naples. And it’s easy to see why. This beautiful island in the Gulf of Naples is renowned for its dramatic cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and luxury hotels and villas.
There are two ways to get to Capri from Naples. You can either take a hydrofoil (a high-speed boat) or a slow ferry. The journey takes around 45 minutes by hydrofoil and just over an hour by ferry. I took the hydrofoil, and it was a really smooth ride.
Once you arrive in Capri, there are plenty of things to do. You can take a cable car up to the highest point on the island, Mount Solaro, for panoramic views. Or explore the quaint streets of the island’s capital, Capri Town. For something really special, take a boat tour around the island to see the Faro di Punta Carena lighthouse and the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto), a sea cave with brilliantly blue waters.
17. Take a Day Trip to Pompeii
Pompeii is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites and a must-see when visiting Naples. The city was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD and was buried beneath six meters of ash.
Pompeii was rediscovered in the 18th century, and since then, extensive excavations have revealed an incredible amount about life in Roman times. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions.
A visit to Pompeii is a fascinating experience, and you can easily spend a whole day here. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of walking involved. And if you can, try to visit on a weekday when it’s less crowded.
You can find attractions to keep you busy for days in Naples. The city is rich in history and culture, and there are many things to see and do. Whether you’re interested in art and food or just want to explore a new city, you’re sure to find it here! I hope this list of the best things to do in Naples has given you some ideas for your trip. So start planning and enjoy these Naples attractions on your next vacation.