Is Naples Italy worth visiting? It's a big yes for me and four other million visitors that visit this unique city each year.
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The expression "See Naples and die" is attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a German writer who visited Naples in the late 18th century. The phrase appears in his travel memoir, "Italian Journey," where he wrote, "Vedi Napoli e poi muori" (See Naples and then die).
The meaning of the expression is often interpreted as Naples being such a stunning and awe-inspiring city that once you have witnessed its beauty, there is no need to see anything more in life.
Are you now intrigued to see what the great Goethe saw? I would be!
Just like you, I thought Naples was dirty, dodgy and dangerous. That's because I only saw it walking from the cruise port to the train station, in order to catch a train to Sorrento to visit our customers back in the days when I worked for cruiselines.
It took me over 15 years to get another chance to visit Naples and spend 5 nights here. It was a completely different story and I stopped wondering Is Naples Italy worth visiting? I was more mature now, ready to embrace it's crazyness, it's hectic traffic, scenes that may not be always pretty but are full of life, so far from being artificial.
Is Naples dangerous? Is Naples dirty? Well, not more than any other cosmopolitan city in the world or in the US.
So, what do you think? Is Naples Italy worth visiting?
Listen what Dean Martin says about it...
Naples is a popular tourist destination in Italy, attracting a significant number of visitors each year. Tourism is now one of the largest sectors of Naples' economy, actually. In recent years, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Naples received millions of tourists annually, now it must be close to 4 million a year.
Is Naples a big tourist destination? Definitely!
But still, it doesn't get overcrowded like some other Italian cities, e.g. Venice and Florence. I think it's because there are so many must-see destinations around it that people just spread out and you don't feel it's crowded.
Interested in what are the top 5 reasons to visit Naples? Keep reading...
Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with a history that dates back thousands of years.
The Greeks were the first who established a colony Parthenope in the 8th ct. BC. and you can still see the Greek arceological finds in the Naples National Archaeological Museum. It houses a vast collection of ancient artifacts, including Greek sculptures, pottery, and frescoes.
If you have decided to stay in Naples for the day, it would be shame not to visit this fascinating world-class museum. See my recommendations below...
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Parco Archeologico di Neapolis (Archaeological Park of Neapolis) is another location where you can see the Greek structures, like a theatre.
This archaeological park is located in the neighborhood of Capodimonte, famous for fine porcelain and its Capodimonte Art Gallery.
The Greeks were followed by the Romans, who conquered Naples in the 4th century BC.
Under Roman rule, Naples flourished and became an important center of commerce and culture in the region. The Romans left a significant architectural and cultural imprint on the city.
Throughout its history, Naples was also influenced by various other civilizations, including:
Each of these periods contributed to the city's unique character and architectural heritage - what a unique mix, right?
Visitors can explore its historic center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and discover ancient ruins, impressive architecture, and captivating museums.
The best way to experience Naples and all the historical layers mentioned, is of course on one of the walking tours. See our recommendations below, they have the best price/rating ratio:
Naples is known for its lively and vibrant street life.
Its bustling markets, narrow alleyways, and colorful neighborhoods like Spaccanapoli and Quartieri Spagnoli offer an authentic taste of the city's character and local culture.
From bustling piazzas to vibrant street food vendors, Naples offers a unique and bustling atmosphere that immerses visitors in the local way of life.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and its culinary scene is legendary. Visitors can indulge in delicious Neapolitan cuisine, including traditional wood-fired pizza, fresh seafood dishes, and mouthwatering pastries like sfogliatelle and babà.
Naples is also famous for its coffee culture, with numerous historic cafés where you can enjoy an authentic espresso or a frothy cappuccino.
The best way to enjoy Naples cuisine is, of course, on a walking tour with one of the knowledgeable locals:
Naples is situated on the beautiful Bay of Naples, offering breathtaking views of the sea and the iconic Mount Vesuvius, famous for its catastrophic eruption in 79 AD, which buried the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum under a thick layer of volcanic ash and pyroclastic material.
This eruption is one of the most well-known and documented volcanic events in history.
Visitors can explore the picturesque coastal areas, such as the Sorrentine Peninsula and the town of Sorrento (famous for lemons, pizza and inlaid wood), and the Amalfi Coast, which are renowned for their stunning landscapes, charming towns, and crystal-clear waters.
And then, there is also the isle Capri, one of my top 3 places in the world, if not no.1! This island is a pure essence of beauty and just has to be seen! Luckily, it's easy to reach from your cruise ship in Naples by hydrofoil boat.
Now things are getting really complicated: you are starting to realize there are so many things to see in the Bay of Naples and there is so little time!
I know, it's tough!
Ideal would be to stay for a few days before or after your stay. If not, don't worry, you can always just book another cruise. This is a valid reason to do so, isn't it?
Find out more about the Bay of Naples:
As for Amalfi coast, getting there would be very difficult on your own, as it's quite distant and there's no reliable public transport. That's why I recommend taking one of the shore excursions:
These archaeological sites provide a fascinating glimpse into ancient Roman life and offer a unique opportunity to explore remarkably preserved ruins.
If you like watching History channel, you already know all this! The only thing left to do is plan how to get to Pompeii!
Learn more about that in my articles:
Or simply, book one of the shore excursions, which is the most hassle free way to get there and find out most in the little time your have:
Overall, Naples offers a captivating blend of history, culture, culinary delights, and natural beauty. It's a city that exudes authenticity and charm, providing a rewarding and memorable experience for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the rich heritage and vibrant atmosphere of southern Italy.
Do you have a great story about this? Have you been to this port of call? Have tried out any of the shore excursions I recommend? Do you have any tips that might help your fellow cruisers? Share them with us!
Hello! My name is Martina and I have been living, working and cruising in the Med for the past 20 years. Now I want to make you Med confident! Read more about me...
4. Capri ferry
10. Livorno Italy
13. Naples to Capri
16. Messina Sicily
17. Pisa Train
18. Visiting Pompeii
19. Pompeii forum
20. Port of Piraeus
22. Venice vaporetto
23. Venice water bus
24. Livorno map
25. Getting to Zadar
27. Walk Venice
28. Mykonos beach
30. Pomepii homes