7 days in Naples and Amalfi Coast

Discover Italy off the beaten path

When many travellers visit Italy they usually start with Milan or Rome. They then go to Siena, Florence and Venice.

Many travellers ignore Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Big mistake.

It is true that Naples is not the safest place to visit in Italy. Be aware of the situation and pay attention to pickpockets all the time. But don’t let this stop you from visiting this city. It will be rewarding in the end.

In Naples you can visit an amazing number of historic sites, monuments and statues. There are also Unesco world heritage sites, places unique in the world, as the submerged park of la Gaiola and the subterranean city. 

My hometown is also the place of origin of the pizza. And that should be alone a good enough reason to add this city to your bucket list.

Close to Naples you can visit Pompei and Ercolano. Old cities destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvio. It’s the only place in the world where you can see the architecture of an ancient city so well preserved. Even some corpses have been preserved due to the volcano ashes.

You then have the Amalfi coast or as we say in Italian “la costiera amalfitana”. Amalfi and Positano have some of the most amazing views in the entire country. There are also some hidden gems to explore in the costiera that are really worth. These cities are not always budget-friendly, but I’ll give you some tips below not to break your wallet.

I created a 7 days itinerary for anyone willing to add Naples and the Costiera to their Italian journey. If you can’t afford to take all these days off then just allow yourself at least 3 days (1 for Naples and 2 for the Costiera).

As I don’t have many pictures in high-quality of Naples and its surroundings I relied on some content from fellow travelers and Instagram pages that are sponsoring these amazing locations where I grew up. You can click on the photos to visit their profiles.

 

Day 1 Naples: Historic Centre and Subterranean City

Arrival:

You will probably arrive to Naples by plane or by train. 

If you arrive by plane you will have to take a taxi or a bus to the city centre or your hotel (there is no tube station yet at the airport).

If you arrive by train you can catch the bus, the tube or a taxi to get closer to the city centre.

The station is closer to the centre compared to the airport. Be careful as the station is one of the most unsafe areas of Naples. Unfortunately not a warm welcome.

Things to see:

  • Via dei Tribunali also known as Spaccanapoli
    Spaccanapoli literally translates as “Breaking Naples” since it splits the historic quarter into two. It’s in the hearth of the historic centre and it’s full of locals, a lot of university students and tourists.

  • Il Cristo Velato (The Veiled Christ)
    A sculpture renown worldwide for its incredible amount of details. There are many legends around it. In the past people thought that it was not a sculpture but the result of alchemic studies.

  • Piazza del Gesu’ (Jesus’ Square) and the Church of Gesu’ Nuovo (New Jesus)
    A beautiful square in the hearth of the historic centre.

  • Santa Chiara Cloister
    A church with amazing gardens

 
 Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
 
  • Napoli Sotteranea (Subterannean Naples)
    Naples has an entire city underneath that you can explore. You can only access with a guided tour that will walk you around the old underground streets and caves. For most of the path you will have to walk with a candle in order to see around. Many sites have been used in the past as graveyards. There are different entrances, but I would suggest the one close to the “Cristo Velato” or the ‘Galleria Borbonica’ where they also organise a raft ride on specific days.

  • Via San Gregorio Armeno
    A side street of Spaccanapoli that is hosting nativity markets all year around. In December this street becomes the most crowded street of the entire city.

  • Castel Sant’Elmo
    If you have enough time you can also visit Castel Sant’Elmo. It’s located in a residential area but not too far from the historic center. Just outside the castle there is a small square where you can enjoy one of best views of Naples.

  • Pizza Time
    If you want to have an amazing Pizza you have to go to Sorbillo, in the historic centre, in Via dei Tribunali 
    (be careful as there are two different Sorbillo pizzerias. The second one is just one door ahead, but you will recognize the good one as it’s always super-crowded).

 
Da Michele Pizzeria.jpg
 

Check my articles for the best pizza places to eat in Naples . It’s not a bad idea to have pizza twice a day while there!!

The historic centre has much more to offer.  You could never fit all the attractions in a day so I just included my personal favourite sites.

Day 2 Naples By The Sea

If you have a second day in Naples, spend it by the seaside. This is my suggested itinerary for day 2.  

  • Plebiscito Square
    One of main and largest squares of the city, where locals usually play a game. Starting from the royal palace, try to walk straight aiming to walk in between the two statues of knights riding horses. Usually people fail – can you do better?

  • Castel Dell’Ovo
    This castle on the seaside is my favourite one in the city. Remember to go up to the roof (entrance is free) for an amazing view of the coastline.

  • The underwater park of Gaiola
    During summer time la Gaiola gets super crowded with local enjoying the sun and the beach. Still the most amazing part of this place is the underwater park. Not just the marine life but the archaeological sites that you can explore. (snorkelling, diving or with a boat with glass bottom).

  • Pausilypon Archaeological Park
    You will have to book in advance to visit this place and you can only access it with a guide. You will walk through a long arched path opening up to an amphitheatre and old buildings with incredibly well-preserved colours, in particular the Pompeian reds. You also have an amazing view of the sea and of the island of La Gaiola – a cursed island according to locals. Ask your guide about the legend!!

  • Virgiliano Park
    As you are in this area of the city, enjoy a walk in one of the nicest parks of Naples. The best part is the sea-view.  This is my item of the list, as I would suggest to skip it if you will end up struggling with time.

  • Pizza Time Once Again
    Hey, you are in Naples, you better enjoy it. This time around try Antonio & Antonio in Via Partenope. The prices are on the higher side compared to the city centre but you are just few steps away from the sea.

Day 3 – Pompeii the buried city

On the third day leave Naples. You can either rent a car to have more freedom or if you don’t drive or you are on a budget head to the station to catch the “Circumvesuviana”. This is a special train that will take you to cities around the volcano, as well as Pompeii or Ercolano.

Pompeii and Ercolano are quite similar. There are loads of different opinions on which one is best. Having visited both places multiple times I recommend Pompeii. In my opinion it has more to offer.

Pompeii is an ancient roman city that was destroyed by the explosion of the volcano and buried by its ashes. The ashes tough preserved the buildings in an incredible way – making this site a unique archaeological treasure. The city is huge, and you could walk there for hours.

After your visit drive (or get a ride) towards La Costiera. Aim to get as close as possible to Sorrento. Obviously, Sorrento itself would be ideal but it’s not a budget-friendly destination. 

Day 4 Sorrento, Positano and the Path of the Gods

The two main destinations on the Amalfi coast are Sorrento and Amalfi. These cities have beautiful beaches, all kind of facilities and bars but are also the most expensive places to stay and the most crowded ones during summer. 

You can start you first day in costiera with Sorrento.

You can have a walk around the city to live the vibes a D&G commercial or enjoy the sea at the Bagni Regina Giovanna.

If you feel like exploring, you should also go and see Positano. I am sure that this city has been popping on your Instagram multiple times.

If you have time, or if you are not a sea person or you just love hiking, you need to have a go at the Path of the Gods. In Italian it translated as  ‘Sentiero degli dei’. This hiking path starts in Bomerano and ends in Positano. You will have amazing views of the coast and get access to some secret beaches along the way.

Day 5 Amalfi, Ravello and the Infinity Terrace

After breakfast – cornetto and cappuccino if you want to eat like a local – head to your next destination.

Start with Amalfi, walk around, have a swim, refill yourself with pastries or a take away pizzetta (small pizza) and then head to Ravello.

📷 @filippo_cesarini 📍 #Furore ⠀ Nel bel mezzo della costa di Amalfi si trova un posto speciale: Furore. E' soprannominato il paese che non c'è, per via delle sue case che non si trovano una accanto all'altra ma emergono dalla roccia che circonda la spiaggia. Il piccolo borgo di pescatori tra Amalfi e Agerola è nato dalla furia delle acque del mare. Furore è conosciuto per la sua zona abitata posizionata sulla costa e dalla marina di Furore conosciuta a più come il Fiordo di Furore. Il paesino, con poco più di 1000 abitanti è formato da casette colorate che si raggiungono percorrendo tornanti tortuosi che arrivano al mare attraverso una scalinata. Passeggiando per il paese potrete vedere la galleria d'arte all'aria aperta costituita da oltre cento muri d'autore, murales e sculture che fanno di Furore un paese dipinto. La cosa che più vi affascinerà di questo "non paese" è sicuramente la spiaggia: una profonda fessura nella roccia formata da un torrente, lo Schiato, che scende a picco dal bordo dell'altopiano di Agerola. Il mare esce fuori dalle montagne dando vita ad una piccola baia che piò essere raggiunta via mare o attraverso un sentiero di trekking. Potrete trovare barchette di pescatori e un piccolo borgo marinaro dove ancora potrete sentire i racconti della tormentata storia d'amore tra Roberto Rossellini e Anna Magnani. ⠀ 👍 Segui tutte le storie nella nostra pagina Facebook 📝 #ig_italia #italia #instagramitalia #ig_italia_borghiecitta #italy ⠀

Ravello is not on the sea, but is very closeby is famous (at least among Italians) for its cliffside gardens and the Intinity Terrace (terrazza dell’infinito in Italian) at Villa Cimbrione that offer amazing views.  During summer time, usualle from  until August they organise a festival with classic music. It’s a very unique an romantic experience.

If you still have time or if you can spend an extra day in costiera, add to your list Vietri sul mare, Maiori and Minori.

Days 6 and 7 The Islands: Capri, Ischia and Procida

Time to say ‘ciao ciao’ to the costiera and head to your next destination.

You can catch a boat to one of the three islands opposite Naples and the Costiera, Capri, Ischia and Procida.

You can take a slow boat (Traghetto) ot a faster one (Aliscafo). Let me help you to decide which island is best for you:

-          Ischia: it’s famous for the hot springs! You can even boil eggs in the water in some spots (As the Sorgeto bay)

-          Procida: it’s the smallest island among the 3 and them ore quite and more untouched.

-          Capri: it’s the most expensive one and is a popular destination among celebrities, but it’s probablt the msot beautiful one! Heyou have to see the: Faraglioni and then climb up to  the Augusto gardens and Villa Jovis. (but there is much more to see!)

You need at least one night stay to enjoy the islands fully and have a romantic dinner by the sea.

Enjoy another day on the island you have choosen to wonder around the town and catch the last boat to return to Naples and end your trip – hopefyully full of memories and most lickely with some extra weight due to all those pizzas and gelatos.

Extra day? Day trips from Naples?

You still have an extra day that you want to use to explore the surroundings then I have two suggestions for you.

  • The Vesuvio – the volcano that destroyed Pompei and Ercolano.
    This might be easier to reach when you head to Pomei and Ercolano but you can also visit it as a day  trip from Naples. You can hike up to the top and look inside the cratere.

  • Solfatara.  Another volcano, but this time a subterrenean one. You can walk through boiling rocks and jets of steam with sulphurous fumes. The smell of sulphus is not the most pleasant one (imagine rotten eggs) but it’s another experience pretty unique.


Any questions? Feel free to drop me a note on my Instagram.

Thanks,
Andrea