naples, italy

When planning our trip to Southern Italy, we knew Rome & the Amalfi Coast were absolute musts. But after hours of planning & researching…& more planning & researching, we had two extra days with no place to stay! We didn’t have enough time to head north to Tuscany, & we didn’t want to extend our stay on the Amalfi Coast, fearing we would miss the vibrant atmosphere of city life. We knew we wanted to visit Pompeii, so we finally settled on visiting Napoli. (In case you’ve missed my other guides to Italy, here’s the perfect guide to Florence, what to eat and drink in Florence, getting lost in Venice, and what not to miss in Cinque Terre!)

After talking with friends & reading more blogs than I care to admit, the general consensus was that one, we made a very big mistake, & two, we might not make it out alive. To make matters worse, we had booked an AirBNB, so if something happened to us while in Naples, no one would ever know!

Fast forward to September & everyone telling us to avoid Naples — it’s dirty, chaotic, gritty, the list goes on! I’m happy to tell you Naples is everything & more, & one of the most beautiful & vibrant metropolitan cities we have ever visited! Over the years, Naples has gotten a bad rap — from the Italian mafia to crime, pickpocketing & poverty. I can see why some are hesitant to visit. But, I also honestly believe anyone could visit & have an amazing time. There is so much history to soak in; amazing food to devour; & an incredible, vibrant atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the world.

Naples was a whirlwind of a visit, & to be honest, Alex & I left feeling like we had only scratched the surface of the Napoli lifestyle. If you’re heading to Southern Italy, do not miss Naples. Get off the beaten path & explore the unknown because Naples will be the highlight of your trip! Here are our favorite, absolutely do not miss, Naples experiences!

Naples Walking Tour
Planning our time in Naples was overwhelming. Not knowing whether the city was completely safe, combined with TripAdvisors list of a million & one things to do, we may or may not have given up planning & entered Naples blindly. As we took the train from Positano to Naples, Alex booked an AirBNB Naples City Walking Tour, & I am so glad we did this! Our guide, an archeologist, led us through historic Naples, mixing art, history, culture, facts & stories. From churches to public squares, to street art & Banksy, we saw & learned so many things we would have otherwise missed by exploring on our own. Our guide even gave us fantastic restaurant & bar recommendations! 10 out of 10 would recommend this experience.

Wander Via S Gregorio Armeno
If you love Christmas, don’t miss Via S Gregorio Armeno! A dedicated, year-long Christmas Market, this walking street will give you all the Christmas feels. Yes, it’s very touristy, but there’s no where else in the world like this!

Drink with Locals at OAK
Alex for the win again! After walking for hours, Alex spotted this hidden gem — down a small alley in the center of Naples. With amazing craft beer & chilled wine, OAK is the perfect spot to drink with locals.

Get Lost in Quartieri Spagnoli & Drink at Cammarota Spritz
Quartieri Spagnoli is vibrant, chaotic & beautiful. With cars & scooters rushing down small alleyways, children playing soccer in the street, & food stalls selling fried pizzas, this is the real Napoli. In fact, the Neapolitan language is stronger here than anywhere else in Naples! We ventured through the Spanish Quarter with no destination in mind, stopping at Cammarota Spritz, a bar famous for its €1 Aperol spritz, drawing hordes of students & travellers wanting to get happy on the cheap. Too short on time, we wish we could have stayed longer to explore!

Take a Day Trip to Pompeii
No trip to Southern Italy is complete without a day trip to Pompeii. In case you missed it, here’s the all encompassing guide to Pompeii & wine tasting at Mount Vesuvius!

Devour Pizza at Sorbillo
Saving the best for last! Naples is the birthplace of pizza, & what better way to experience Naples than by eating pizza! We decided to try Gino e Toto Sorbillo, & oh my, we may have died & gone to heaven. The pizza was out of this world amazing. Beware — the lines are so long! Fortunately, some very smart people put bars across from Sorbillo, selling aperol spritzes, so at least you won’t go thirsty while waiting!

P.S. In case anyone was curious, our AirBNB in Naples was adorable! Not only did we feel incredibly safe, but we were able to stay in the center of Naples, embracing the Napoli lifestyle for two nights.