Неапол, Naples

A Short Guide to Naples, Italy, and 7 useful advises

May 2024, Naples

“See Naples and die!” Goethe exclaimed when he saw it. I would add that there’s no harm in seeing it more than once. There’s always something to marvel at, to enjoy, to be cautious about… Why I think so, read on to see what I recommend and what I don’t in this short guide.

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Good to know about Naples:

  • Rich History: The city is full of interesting sights, and Pompeii is nearby.
  • The volcano Vesuvius is there and destroyed the population of Pompeii and Herculaneum in AD 79.
  • Wonderful art: Galleries and architecture abound.
  • Pizza: Naples is considered the birthplace of pizza, but not every place will meet high expectations.

pizza from Naples, пица в Неапол

  • Delicious food everywhere: You can find tasty food all over the city.
  • Great local wine: The terroir is influenced by Mount Vesuvius and the maritime climate.
  • Crowds and noise: The streets are bustling during holidays, and the city is lively and cheerful, with noise until 3-4 AM. Despite old recommendations and perceptions, it is safe—you won’t be shot or beaten. Via Toledo, in particular, seems to never sleep.
  • Watch out for pickpockets: Just to be safe.
  • Scooters everywhere: They zip around, even on sidewalks—be cautious as even children ride them.
  • Surprisingly quiet in restaurants: Contrary to my expectations, there wasn’t much music in the eateries.
  • Beautiful views along the Amalfi Coast.
  • Galleria Umberto I: An imposing covered space dating from 19 c with a magnificent skylight, housing cafes and shops.
  • The Spanish Quarters: Unforgettable with its narrow streets, laundry hanging from balconies, and zipping scooters. It’s also quite touristy.

  • Maradona: He is an icon here, with his photos, portraits, and number 10 jersey seen everywhere. He is treated almost like a saint.
  • Churches: The city is full of them, literally on every corner, and some are open to visitors even at night.
  • Nastro Azzurro: A slightly more alcoholic (5%) and mildly bitter version of light beer in the Peroni range, following an old recipe dating back to 1963.
  • Garbage: There is quite a bit of trash on the streets in the evening, but it’s clean by the morning.
  • Street Musicians: Some sing from their balconies with a microphone and speaker.
  • Metro Tickets: You need to validate your ticket at a special machine, even though there are no turnstiles and you can enter freely. Don’t forget, or you will be fined.
  • Most Important: Neapolitans are very, very warm-hearted people. They enjoy life, are always smiling, ready to help and take care of strangers, speak decent English, and make you feel very welcome in the city.

Recommendations for what to do in Naples and the surrounding area:

  1. You can stay either in a hotel or a guesthouse. We chose the latter and were very impressed by the hospitality of Alfredo and Sergio at Bonita Naples B&B on Via Toledo. It’s a wonderfully artistic place where you won’t miss a thing. If you get a room with a balcony, you can soak up the Neapolitan vibe late into the night.
  2. See the main attractionsCastel dell’Ovo, Duomo di San Gennaro, the Royal Palace, and anything else you find recommended by various travel guides. On Via Toledo there is an interesting gallery where you can see paintings by Caravaggio and Velazquez.

  1. Wander the streets without a plan or direction—if you can spare a day to simply enjoy the city, you won’t regret it.

  1. Go to Pompeii. Taking the metro line from Montesanto is undoubtedly the most comfortable way to get there compared to the train. Our hosts recommended it, and we were very pleased that we listened to them. If you can spare more time to wander around the urban part of Pompeii and not just the excavations, it would be a good idea.
  2. Make a trip along the Amalfi Coast. The tourist towns include Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, and Ravello. I suppose after the popularity surge from the Netflix series “Ripley,” (there’s also a 1999 feature film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law, and Gwyneth Paltrow), which was filmed in Atrani, where the action actually takes place, it also falls into this group. Smaller but equally pleasant towns with fewer tourist crowds include Maiori, Minori, and Praiano. If you have more time, hop on a boat to Capri.

If you’re wondering how to organize this trip, I’ll tell you how I did it. It might be useful to you.

I was quite puzzled about how to plan and execute a day trip along this coastline—I wondered whether to rent a car, hire a driver, join an organized tour, or take a boat. The offers ranged from 600 to 2000 euros for a group of 6 people. No matter how many opinions I read on the internet, nothing gave me a definitive answer.

I only knew for sure not to rent a car because driving along the Amalfi Coast is a nightmare.

The road is narrow, traffic jams are brutal in summer and beyond, and parking is nearly impossible and expensive. Along the route, there’s only one gas station, and during peak season, it’s closed due to causing traffic jams.

In the end, I gave up and let myself decide on the spot, following intuition. It turned out that the decision came naturally, even on the first night when we arrived. The driver we had reserved to pick us up from the airport was a very pleasant and kind person who spoke English-Italian, just like me. We got along perfectly from the very beginning. I decided to ask him if he would drive us along the coastline, and to my delight, he did just that. What’s special here is that his price was half of what I encountered as offers on the internet.

And so, thanks to Pasquale, we had a wonderful day filled with countless views, delicious street food, plenty of Aperol Spritzes and espresso shots, and minimal stress related to traffic jams and worries about where to park. He told us about the towns in the area, their way of life, food, and gossips about some of the famous personalities he had driven along the same route.

  1. Try different local foods and drinks—everything is delicious, but the region’s specialties include:
  • Sfogliatelle for breakfast: crispy, multi-layered pastry with a ricotta cream filling.
  • Pizza and pizza fritta: try any kind, pizza fritta is fried—it’s like a calzone with mozzarella and ham inside.
  • Wine: volcanic soils lend minerality and salinity. White varieties include Fiano, Lacrima Crisit, Falanghina, Greco, while the most characteristic red variety for Campania is Aglianico. One evening we went to a wine bar, Vinarium Napoli, which turned out to have wonderful cuisine and wasn’t expensive at all, and they had all kinds of wines.

But nearby, we also had another remarkable place, L’Antico Grottino Wine Bar.

  • Local beer—Nastro Azzurro, of course.
  • Street lemonade—served at street stands, often mixed with a bit of soda. You have to stand with your legs apart and lean slightly forward to avoid spilling it on your clothes and shoes. Another option is to get a granita for refreshment.
  • Have Aperol Spritz with a sea view in the upscale Chiaia District or somewhere else.
  • Polpette—local traditional meatballs in tomato sauce. If you think, “Oh, we have these in Bulgaria too,” here the tomato sauce isn’t random—they use San Marzano tomatoes, which are very tasty.
  • Taralli or tarallo—you might see it somewhere—crispy salty breadsticks with nuts and spices. They resemble the packaged taralli you can find here, but these are larger and more delicious.
  • Linguine with seafood or mussels.
  • Pasta ragu—with beef mince, but they don’t call it Bolognese here.
  • Street food is sold in a cuoppo—a paper cone. It may contain seafood, fried food, potatoes, or something else.
  • Baccalà—salted and dried cod. The same delicacy is characteristic of Venice.
  • Gelato and coffee are must-haves, of course.
  1. Take your time and give yourself time for dolce far niente, i.e. for doing nothing, enjoying, meditating with a view of the sea, amidst chanted speech, screeching seagulls and canzonets from the street musicians.


Absolutely, Naples offers plenty of entertainment, beauty, and good vibes. Just make sure to dedicate enough time to it to truly enjoy everything it has to offer.

How to get to all these places in Naples?

To reach the recommended places listed by me, use this Google map. Select the icon of the place you are interested in, then click on the arrow, and it will open the navigation map for you:

How to book your stay?

I recommend that you check the packages that the hotel offers on their website because they are very affordable. But for your convenience, I have also put a box on booking.com. Compare the prices and choose an option.


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