Are you taking a Mediterranean cruise, and one of your ports is Naples? Do you want to know what to see and do? Today we will cover everything you can do alone in Naples, Italy, one of our favorite cities!
In this blog post, we will tell you everything you can do in Naples, Italy, on your own if you are visiting during your cruise. The cruise line will try to charge you a lot of money for excursions in Naples, but with a little planning ahead, you can do almost the same trek, or better, for a fraction of the price!
So let’s begin our tour by talking about the Cruise Port.
Starting With the Cruise Port
Many of you asked us how far Naples is center from the cruise port. The answer is the cruise port is in the city center! In fact, from the most famous pier, Royal Caribbean, NCL, Holland America, Princess, and Celebrity dock is about 15 minutes walk to Piazza Plebiscito, the heart of Naples.
When there are more than two ships in port, cruise ships might dock at another pier about 500 meters from the main one. However, there is usually a free shuttle bus connecting the two harbors.
Is Naples, Italy, a Walkable City?
Naples city center is very walkable. You can reach most of the best landmarks in the city on walking. However, you have a few other options if you don’t want to walk too much or have mobility issues.
The first one is the hop-on hop-off bus which costs about €24 per person at the time of recording, and the ticket is valid for 24 hours. The hop on hop off bus stops in front of the cruise pier. However, we do not recommend this option because most of the streets in the historic city center are very narrow or pedestrian-only. For this reason, the bus won’t take you to these areas but to the closest place possible then you still have to walk.
Another option to get around Naples is by subway. Naples has a beautiful subway that is very clean and efficient. It is also very cheap. In fact, a single ticket costs (at the time of recording) €1.30, while the daily pass price is €4.50.
A third option that you can plan ahead to get around Naples, and our favorite, is by taxi. Taxi drivers have a set price for just a few hours to take you around the city. We used this option on our last cruise and paid €70.00 for two hours.
The driver took us to the best spots in town, including a great coffee place! If you are four people, it comes out to be less than 20 euros per person, Way cheaper than what the cruise line charges for a city tour!
What to See in Naples?
Most cruise lines will promote Naples as the gateway to Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, or the island of Capri. These are all fantastic places to visit, and we will talk more about them later, but if this is your first time in Naples, we strongly recommend you visit this beautiful, vibrant, and ancient city.
You can take a stroll on the beautiful Lungo mare, visit the old street of Spaccanapoli, full of incredible architecture, go and admire the fantastic view from the Certosa or visit the ornate rooms of the royal palace.
You can also visit Naples’s most elegant spots that host a large number of the city’s cultural events, The Piazza del Plebiscito.
Piazza del Plebiscito
When you look out at the Piazza del Plebiscito, you can see two big buildings. One of them is the San Francesco di Paola Basilica. It looks important and it has many columns in front of it. It is also one of the biggest churches in Naples. The other is Naples Royal Palace.
According to history, Piazza del Plebiscito got it’s named after the 1860 plebiscite that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
If you are into a historical culture, visiting the Historic Center Of Naples is a MUST! The Historic Center of Naples is a special place in Italy.
It was named by UNESCO as an essential place to visit. There are lots of things you do in UNESCO world heritage site, like visiting old churches, exploring caves, and checking out catacombs.
The old part of Naples has lots of churches. You can find even more than one church on the same street when visiting this lovely city.
The old part of Naples has many churches and homes that were built in the Baroque style. The most important church is San Gennaro Cathedral which is also located in the old part of town.
Via San Gregorio Armeno
Aside from visiting historical places, you can visit Naples; you cannot miss the city’s most popular street, the Via San Gregorio Armeno.
The street is a work of art itself. It is very narrow, and both sides are filled with hundreds of small shops that sell colorful things, like Nativity scenes.
What makes Naples Cathedral stands out is that it is surrounded by other tall buildings like bodyguards. It has an impressive Neo-Gothic look on the outside with three doors. Inside, it is over 320 feet long and 150 feet high, with three sections.
The Cathedral is full of beautiful things like frescoes with lots of detail, bronze railings, big altars, sculptures, and famous Italian art. You can visit all these spectacular details for free!
Besides the Naples Cathedral, you can also visit other beautiful churches in the area.
Galleria Umberto I is a shopping center in Naples, Italy. It was inspired by the Galleria Emanuele II in Milan.
The place was damaged during World War II. But now, it has a glass dome and roof that protects its beautiful architecture and mosaic floor.
We highly recommend you visit Galleria Umberto I. This majestic dome is located in an exciting area of Naples, and you explore many shops and cafes.
Catacombs of San Gennaro
Historians believe the Catacombs of San Gennaro were probably a royal family’s tombs long ago. The parts carved into the rock are from the 2nd century.
After a few years, they became available to Christians. In the 4th century, more places were added, and Saint Agrippinus was buried there.
You must pay for a guide if you want to go to the San Gennaro. However, when you buy your ticket for the entrance, you can visit other catacombs for free for a limited time of 12 months which is not a bad deal at all!
Aside from Naples’s spectacular historical places, in the center of Naples, there is a very old area with many roads and squares. It was built by the Romans and Greeks long ago. You can go on tours to visit this old place called “Naples Underground“.
To visit Naples’ Underground, you need to go 40 meters below the surface! You can explore kilometers of tunnels, caves, and passages. They are easy to access and usually bright.
Just to be safe, we recommend you get a guide to take you back in time. There is lots of fun stuff to discover down there!
The Lungomare is probably one of the most scenic and beautiful place for a stroll in Napoli. On this long street you’ll have many great restaurants an bars to stop and eat outside with the stunning view of the Mediterranean sea and the ancient Castel dell’Ovo. During the weekends this is the area where people from Napoli walk around and stroll.
Is Naples Safe?
Naples is as safe as any other bustling tourist destination. Unfortunately, the city has a bad reputation for being dangerous. In Reality, it is not dangerous at all if you stay in the tourist areas of the center. Like any other busy tourist city, pay extra attention to your belongings if you’re on a train or in a crowd.
There are a few other things in Naples that you have to pay extra attention to and plan ahead. Number one is traffic. Drivers in Naples are very aggressive and don’t respect pedestrians very much, so when you cross the street, be aware.
Second, some of the roads in the historic city center are thousands of years old, and the pavement is uneven, so pay attention to where you walk to avoid tripping.
What is Naples Famous for Food?
Naples has some of Italy’s richest and most varied food cultures and maybe the entire world! Of course, you can not talk about what to eat in Naples without talking about Pizza!
Pizza in Naples is more than food. It is almost a religion!
If you ask ten people in Naples where to get the best Pizza, you’ll get ten different answers because everyone has their favorite pizza place. In our opinion, they are all good, better than any other pizza you can eat elsewhere.
Our favorite places are the Pomodoro pizzeria in Piazza San Gaetano and Attilio near the Mercato di Pignasecca. But Naples is not just Pizza; you can have some fantastic seafood in Naples or some incredible pasta dishes.
An excellent area to check out if you like seafood is the Borgo Marinaro near the Castel Dell’Ovo. Their fishermen bring the catch of the day to several restaurants. It can’t be fresher than that!
Another great tradition in Naples is fried food served in a paper cone on the street.
You can’t talk about food in Naples without talking about desserts! You can not leave Naples without trying a classic Baba soaked in rum or a warm Sfogliatella with ricotta filling.
Is Naples, Italy, a Beautiful City Compared to Other Italian Cities?
Aside from the impressive architecture, Naples boasts a wealth of cultural attractions as one of the most popular Italian cities. Among them stands out the esteemed San Carlo Opera House, situated near both the Royal Palace and National Archaeological Museum.
If you are wondering how you can visit San Carlo Opera House or also knowns as San Carlo Theatre, all you have to do is get a guided tour which is available both in English and Italian language. You can also get the San Carlo tour in other languages, but you have to pay a bit more.
The guided tours feature San Carlo Theatre Opera House’s Main Stage hall, Royal Box, and Foyer. It will take you around 30 minutes to finish visiting one of Italy’s oldest opera houses, San Carlo.
Another place that makes the city stand out as one of the most popular Italian cities is the Royal Palace of Naples, Italy. It is known as one of the oldest buildings in the city.
The Royal Palace of Naples has many items you look at from a long time ago. They have old antiques like decorations, tapestries, and furniture from the Spanish and Bourbon times. It also has artwork by artists back then. It’s very special and important for Naples.
Visiting Naples’ Royal Palace and Naples National Archaeological Museum
Visiting the National Archaeological Museum in Naples won’t even break your sweat. This elegant museum is located in the center of the city, which also gives a great city view.
You can reach the place by walking, taking a bus, or even a taxi there. Just remember the address of Naples National Archaeological Museum is Piazza Museo 19.
We recommend taking the Naples Metro. Start with the Metro Line 1 to Museo or Metro Line 2 to Cavour. Or take the bus. Lines 147, 182, or 201 can get you where you want to go.
Naples’ Royal Palace
As for exploring Naples Royal Palace, the Royal Palace in Naples can be reached from the big square called Piazza del Plebiscito. The outside of the palace looks plain, but you won’t miss it because of the eight statues of people who were rulers of Naples on its front.
The inside of the building looks amazing. From the front entrance, where you can see a big staircase designed by an architect named Genovesi, to the Throne Room and Royal Apartments – it is all very impressive.
Thirty rooms and halls are open to the public. They are decorated with fancy artwork from the time when the Bourbon family was in power.
Naples it is also the gateway to some incredible sites such as Pompeii, Sorrento, The Amalfi Coast, the Islands of Capri and Ischia.
How to Visit Pompeii or Herculaneum
You have a few options to visit Pompeii or Herculaneum from the cruise port. Of course, the easiest and most convenient is an excursion with the cruise line. You can also buy a tour with a tour company, which could be slightly cheaper than the price of the cruise line.
But if you want to do it independently, you have a couple of good options. But if you decide to do this, there is one crucial step you must take first!
You must buy the ticket for the site in advance; even better, you should buy the skip-the-line ticket. The lines at the ticket office can be long, and you will waste hours waiting. (You can buy the tickets at readysetitaly.com/pompeii or https://readysetitaly.com/herculaneum)
So once you have the tickets to get to Pompeii or Herculaneum, you can choose some of our best traveling options which are:
- Option number one: Taxi (Again)
Taxi drivers charge a set fee to take you to Pompeii (or Herculaneum). This is a good option; however, keep in mind that once you get to the site, you will only have 2 hours or so to visit.
- Option number two: TrainThe train is also the most adventurous and cheaper one. You’ll need to take the subway (or a taxi) to the train station for the Circumvesuviana train. From there, in about 15 minutes, you’ll reach Herculaneum, or in half an hour, you will get to Pompeii.
How To Visit the Amalfi Coast on Your Own
To visit the Amalfi Coast, on your own, from Naples during your stay in port from a cruise is a bit more challenging. It is doable, but you might risk missing your ship. You can book a guided tour of the Amalfi coast from the cruise port that takes several hours.
Taxis are the second option to visit the Amalfi Coast and to ensure you are back in time. Taxi companies have a flat rate for a tour of the Amalfi coast. (Taxi rates)
Remember that the coast road is very narrow and can be really busy during peak season. For this reason, a return trip to Positano can take several hours. If you want to see the coast, it is probably safer to book an excursion on the cruise line.
Exploring the Beauty of Capri
The island of Capri is another incredibly popular destination from Naples. In fact, visiting Capri from the cruise terminal is not that difficult.
First, you’ll need to book the ticket for the ferry boat to Capri. Make sure that you buy a return ticket and you leave enough time to be back before the onboard time.
Then you’ll need to walk to the ferry terminal, which is only a few steps away from the cruise port. From there, it is a 45 minutes fast ferry ride to the island of Capri!
Another option to visit the famous island of Capri is by private tour. Again check that the tour will be back in time for your all on board so you will not miss your ship!
Is it Worth Going to Naples?
After reading this far, your answer should be a big YES!
With its rich culture and history, visiting one of the most popular Italian cities, like Naples, at least once in your life is a must.
We hope this blog inspired you to visit the beautiful city of Napoli on your cruise stop, enjoy the many beautiful sites and try the great food the city offers. Obviously these are just a very few attractions that Naples has to offer, but are the easiest one from the cruise port. Please let us know in the comments below if you have any more questions; in the meantime, we look forward to seeing you on our next blog!