Naples’ Unmissable Sights and Insider Tips

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As the capital of Campania and the third largest city in Italy, Naples is one of Europe’s must-visit destinations. As the nearest hub to Pompeii, the birthplace of the pizza, and just a hop away from Capri, there’s a ridiculous amount to consume here. It can be rough and ready, but that’s just part of its inimitable and vivacious character. We’ve narrowed down some of its unmissable sights and included our own tips and tricks too, so you can really make the most of a city break here!


When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, the volcanic ash preserved the Roman city of Pompeii, so that we can now wander these same streets and buildings and almost experience what it was like to be alive all those centuries ago. One of the most well-preserved structures is a 90-room villa complete with frescos and a winery, while the thriving community was also home to an amphitheatre, baths, bakeries and even a brothel.

dealchecker tip: You can enter the park for free on the first Sunday of each month, however you may have to queue. The sprawling surrounds will take at least two days to see completely, so if you prefer, you could visit the entirety of Herculaneum instead. This city was actually engulfed by lava before Pompeii, and is better preserved. It was also a wealthier city, so it was home to many elaborate mosaics and frescoes as well as luxurious villas that overlook the ocean.

The Campanian Archipelago

A stay in Naples is an opportunity to see another memorable part of the world with a day trip to the nearby island of Capri, which is home to the luminous Blue Grotto, verdant gardens, upscale shops and restaurants, dramatic limestone sea stacks and steady stream of superyachts. You can hop over easily on a high-speed hydrofoil, which takes 40 minutes, or there’s a slower, more scenic route which takes one hour and 15 minutes.

dealchecker tip: If you’ve already been to Capri, or you’re just not hugely bothered about ticking it off, then head to the Procida instead. This two-square-mile isle is adorned with pastel-painted houses and seafront eateries that serve the freshest citrus-laden fish freshly plucked from the Tyrrhenian Sea. You might even recognise some of the maze-like streets from the slick 90s film adaptation of The Talented Mr Ripley.

Naples National Archaeological Museum

What was once a cavalry barracks and then a part of the city’s university is now a salmon-hued beacon that is home to a tremendous collection of Graeco-Roman artefacts. You’ll find relics spanning from Ancient Egypt to Pompeii, including frescos, mosaics, sculptures and dioramas. Some of the most famous treasures to be found here include the epic Farnese sculptures of Hercules and the bull scene. You might also come across the Secret Room during your visit, which is home to 250 erotic-themed objects that were found in Pompeii and Herculaneum.

dealchecker tip: The museum is free to enter on the first Sunday of each month, but you can expect some crowds! Don’t leave without visiting the picturesque courtyard, which makes for a peaceful spot to collect your thoughts and perhaps snap a photo or two…

Castel Sant’Elmo

This hexagonal 14th-century fortress boasts one of the city’s most spectacular viewpoints, from which you’ll be able to gaze across Mount Vesuvius and the Sorrento Peninsula. You can reach the summit via one of three funiculars, however we recommend walking back down via the atmospheric stone staircase Pedamentina di San Martino, admiring the changing cityscape as you descend.

dealchecker tip: The neighbourhood of Vomero where the castle is perched is well worth perusing for a while, rather than heading straight back to the city centre. You’ll find the dreamy manicured gardens of Villa Floridiana, which boast ocean views, winding paths, romantic fountains and even some resident turtles! There are local pizzerias, gelaterias and boutiques to be found on almost every street too, so you could even spend a whole day here.

Naples Cathedral

Gold mosaic in Naples cathedral

The city’s central cathedral boasts a rich and complex history. It was first built in the 13th century, however it now features a mish-mash of architecture styles due to damage caused by earthquakes and wars. There’s plenty more to see beyond its neo-Gothic facade, from its gilded ceiling and jewel-encrusted relics to its enthralling mosaics and fascinating frescoes. One of the most intriguing artefacts here is the skull and blood of San Gennaro. A vial of his blood is brought out on holy days, and if it miraculously liquefies, it is said to signify good times ahead…

dealchecker tip: If you’re heading to the cathedral, then you may as well pop in and see the Seven Works of Mercy by Caravaggio in the nearby Pio Monte della Misericordia, which is a stunning octagonal 17th-century church.

Royal Palace of Naples

Royal Palace of Naples

Located on Naples’ largest public square Piazza del Plebiscito (which is a sight to behold in itself), the Royal Palace of Naples is a lavish time capsule of the city when it was under Spanish rule. Its construction began in 1600, and inside you’ll find elaborately decorated royal apartments, a national library, and a private theatre. Look out for the statues of Apollo and the Muses in the theatre—these are, incredibly, made of papier mâché!

dealchecker tip: After visiting the palace, wander down to the waterfront promenade (or Lungomare), where you’ll find plenty of bars, eateries and viewpoints, as well as the Castel dell’Ovo.

Chiostri di Santa Chiara

Colourful cloisters in Naples

Hidden behind a 14th-century church in the centre of the city, there’s a little oasis of calm in the form of a cloister garden. You’ll find sensory bursts of colours and smells at every turn, from the frescoes and tilework to the verdant citrus trees, plus there are benches where you can sit, relax and reflect.

dealchecker tip: After basking in the serenity of the cloisters, you can dive right back into the buzz of the city by wandering just a couple of minutes down the road to Piazza Bellini. Bars line this petite square that surrounds the ruins of some 4th-century Greek walls. It’s the place to be come sunset, when you can mill around and chat to both locals and other tourists with the help of a spritz or two!

Madre Museum

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In a city that contains an almost overwhelming amount of history, the Madre Museum is a refreshing sanctuary of contemporary art in the city centre. You’ll find permanent exhibits from the likes of Jeff Koons and Anish Kapoor as well as countless colourful and photoworthy corners in the three-story 19th-century palazzo. The museum also attracts an intriguing roster of temporary exhibitions, so keep an eye out for what’s coming if you’re flexible on your travel dates!

dealchecker tip: Don’t leave without heading up to the sprawling and tranquil rooftop, where you’ll find a striking horse sculpture by Mimmo Paladino and a captivating view across the city.

Other highlights:

The delightfully retro Caffè Mexico chain is a safe bet for an excellent cup of coffee in the city with a photo opportunity on the side!

The bustling, and sometimes chaotic, Via Pignasecca, thrums with local life and offers fine fresh Italian produce and life-changing street food on outdoor market stalls. The traditional shopfronts and people-watching opportunities make this a place to really spend some time.

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Via dei Tribunali is nicknamed Pizza Alley, and it’s widely considered to be the home of the best pizzerias in all of Naples! Gino Sorbillo is mentioned in the Michelin Guide and is often named as the home of the best Neopolitan pizzas.