As one of the most historic cities in Europe, Naples is on plenty of people’s travel bucket lists. Located in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, the city is surrounded by natural beauty, and its historic standing means that there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in Naples.
With so much to see and do in Naples, it can get overwhelming to try and hit up all these gorgeous spots, so check out my guide to Naples’ most stunning attractions and areas.
Rising high up above the Gulf of Naples is the majestic Mount Vesuvius. Still an active volcano, it was Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum. Now, it’s a popular hiking spot, with a ton of trails that lead up toward the summit.
If you don’t want to hike up the volcano, there are also a few vineyards on the volcano itself. The volcanic soil makes it perfect for growing a whole range of crops, especially grapes. Cantina di Vesuvio is a small vineyard on the banks of the volcano that runs a delicious tasting paired with homemade dishes, created with local Campanian ingredients.
Royal Palace of Naples
Looking to get a hit of history while taking in some beautiful artwork and antiques? The Royal Palace of Naples features a huge amount of exquisite artifacts and tapestries, decorated the ornate halls of the former seat of power for the Kingdom of Naples.
You can walk around this amazing palace, complete with original furniture, and learn all about the history of Naples’ royal family and ultimately how kingdoms in Italy fell when the country became united.
San Carlo Theatre
Just over the piazza from the Royal Palace of Naples, you’ll find another ornate and beautiful building, the San Carlo Theatre or Teatro San Carlo. As the royal opera house for the Royal House of Bourbon in the 18th century, it was the place for entertainment and to be seen by the upper classes.
As such, the interior of the theatre is gorgeous and intricately decorated. You can take in a performance there – there’s opera, classical concerts, and more – or you can take a tour of the opera house when there aren’t any rehearsals going on.
Isle of Capri
If you’ve seen any dreamy photos on Instagram of people vacationing on the Amalfi Coast and the islands, chances are they’re on the Isle of Capri. Just a short ferry ride away from Naples, Capri feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
This super hilly island is split into two areas, the harbor area with its souvenir stores, boat trips, and seafood restaurants, and the top of the hill which is home to some of the biggest designer brands on the planet. Don’t want to hike up the hill? I don’t blame you. Instead, take the funicular up and down the hill, it’s only a couple of euros and your legs will thank you.
In case you don’t have a ton of money to splurge, here’s how you can visit the Amalfi Coast without breaking the budget.
Otherwise known as the Egg Castle due to the magical, mystical story of Virgil, the Roman poet who allegedly put a magic egg in the foundations to fortify the castle, Castel dell’Ovo is located out in the Bay of Naples, providing jaw-dropping views.
Around the base of Castel dell’Ovo, you can find plenty of great alfresco bars and restaurants, set against the fortifying walls of the castle, and opening up to provide unobstructed waterfront views. You can also sit and witness the fishermen bringing in the catch of the day, and then order it straight from the restaurant!
Piazza del Plebiscito
This popular and expansive square connects the Royal Palace of Naples and the Teatro San Carlo and is always a great spot to wander and people-watch. You can stand in the middle and spin around to see several different kinds of beautiful architecture.
Here, there are also a ton of events held throughout the year, so it’s a great place to come, walk around, and maybe catch a local festival or event.
Sometimes called Maschio Angioino, Castel Nuovo or the New Castle is a medieval castle with breathtaking views of Mount Vesuvius. Now, a medieval castle being called new might sound odd, but compared to the Castel dell’Ovo which has existed since the 6th century BC, this is super modern.
You can wander around this gorgeous and majestic castle and learn more about its role throughout Naples’ tumultuous history. In fact, it’s been destroyed in places and that really just adds to the beauty of the place.
Chiostri di Santa Chiara
Looking for a splash of color on your next visit to Naples? Head to Chiostri di Santa Chiara. Hosting a church, a monastery, and a museum, you can easily spend all day here. Harking back to the 1300’s Chiostri di Santa Chiara has been a landmark throughout Naples’ history.
If you’re into architecture, it’s built in the Gothic style, but its main characteristics are the colorful columns and murals that dominate the facade. Spend some time exploring the complex, sitting on one of the benches, or learning something new at the museum.
Need to shop until you drop in a beautiful mall that’s full of outstanding design features? Galleria Umberto is designed in the style of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. With a high arched glass ceiling and dominating pillars on the outside, it’s a hub of life where tourists and locals mingle.
Stop by, get a coffee, wander the streets around the galleria, and don’t forget to take some time to look up and appreciate the skill and beauty of this amazing building.
Why not take this opportunity to try out a bit of Italian? Or you can start practicing right now to prepare for your trip by grabbing some of these language gifts for Italian learners.
No trip to Naples is complete without visiting Pompeii or Herculaneum, or both. It might sound weird to say that it’s a beautiful place to visit, but as you walk around this open-air museum with so many people’s final moments captured for eternity is morbidly beautiful.
You can’t help but be affected by the different rooms and scenarios as you wander around. Seeing how people lived and still are in the shadow of the volcano is an experience like no other. You can really learn a lot about ancient history, and a lot about modern archeological practices.
If you’re looking for the best view of the bay of Naples, Vesuvius, the islands, and the Amalfi Coast, you have to head up to Posillipo and visit Parco Virgiliano. Set on top of a hill overlooking the bay, Parco Virgiliano is one of those spots that you absolutely have to visit, and gives you a little break from the city vibes.
Once you get there, you’ll find a kid’s playground and an amphitheater where you can stop, take a minute, and have some lunch. In the Summer, Parco Virgiliano is super popular with many groups coming up with picnics and drinks to watch the sunset.
Gaiola Island/Marine Protected Area Gaiola Underwater Park
One of the most beautiful places in Naples actually lies under the water. Gaiola Island lies just off the coast of Naples and is best known for having a cursed villa and the Marine Protected Area Gaiola Underwater Park.
Here, you can see coastal villas that have long been lost to erosion and have sunk. Snorkel and kayak among these amazingly preserved ruins. It’ll feel like you’re exploring a real-life Atlantis. Truly stunning.
All in all, Naples and the surrounding area are truly stunning places. From natural phenomena to outstanding architecture, to gorgeous artifacts, this region has it all. There’s a reason so many travelers come back here year after year!
Dayna Brockbank is a budget-crazy travel blogger at Happily Ever Travels. She has lived in 8 countries, has gotten lost in every single one, and somehow still has miraculously never broken a bone even after scootering around Southeast Asia for 2 years. She speaks 3 languages and is a bit obsessed with Duolingo.