ULTIMATE 3 days in Naples Itinerary (+ other suggestions!)

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
May 8, 2024
Looking for the ultimate Naples itinerary? Look no further, we spent 3 awesome days there and share our top tips for an awesome Naples adventure...
naples itinerary

On our epic west coast Italian road trip, we made our way from Pisa, to Naples. 

Naples is the third largest city in Italy, and one of the oldest cities in Europe. 

It’s also the capital of Campania, a fantastic area of the country, and we were super excited to explore everything this city and area of Italy has to offer!

There is a lot to do in the Naples area, and 3 days is a perfect amount of time to immerse yourself.

When exploring such a popular and famous place, it can be overwhelming working out where to go, and how to best plan your time to get the most out of your trip.

So we’ve done the hard work for you!

Below we take you through our 3 day Naples itinerary, along with a little extra itinerary in case you decide to send yourself to the coast for a few days too!

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Is 3 days enough in Naples?

Is 3 days enough in Naples

Naples is such a fantastic and varied destination that you could easily spend longer than 3 days here.

It all depends on how slowly you want to move through the area, and whether you want to  do absolutely everything there is on offer. 

That being said 3 days is absolutely enough if you want to see the best of what Naples has to offer. 

This itinerary will allow you to experience the highlights of Naples city itself, and the surrounding areas. 

Day 1: Naples Itinerary

Your arrival time will of course be dependent on your circumstances, but we arrived late afternoon, checked into our hotel, and then headed off for our first Napoli experience: a pizza making class!

Stop 1: Pizza making class in Naples

First stop on this Naples itinerary has to involve food. As the birthplace of the Margarita Pizza, you simply can’t go all the way to Naples and NOT learn how to make pizza! 

We booked a class via Get Your Guide (this tour!), and it was awesome. You are split into groups of 10 couples, and you learn how to make a margarita pizza from scratch. 

It’s extremely satisfying, not to mention delicious. You’re also served a traditional Italian starter, and you get a choice of beverage with your meal! 

We’d 100% recommend this to anyone visiting Naples as it was SO much fun and a must-do in Naples! 

The Tour We Took
Naples: Enjoy an Authentic Pizza-Making Workshop with Drinks
Learn how to make an authentic Neapolitan pizza at a class with a local chef in Naples. Hear about traditional cooking techniques, taste local ingredients, and enjoy a drink with your homemade pizza.

Stop 2: Galleria Umberto I & Spanish Quarter

After pizza making, we decided to wander around the city and explore some of the outdoor sites. Starting with the beautiful Galleria Umberto I, a shopping mall constructed in the late 1880s.

After that, we wandered through the streets of the ‘Quartieri Spagnoli’ (Italian for Spanish Neighborhoods) which is a really cool spot in Naples. 

This is the part of Naples where you’ll find the Neapolitan language to be stronger than anywhere else. It’s a large section of the city covering around 800,000m2 and is home to around 14,000 residents.

The Quatieri dates back to the 16th century, and consists of endless side streets filled with outdoor bars and restaurants. There’s a great vibe and it’s the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat, or even a drink! 

Stop 3: Sunset drinks by the water

Once the sun is setting, head towards the water. Here you’ll find a bunch of pop up bar style venues where you simply sit on plastic chairs that face the water.

Enjoy some Lemoncello spritz, with a beautiful view of Mount Vesuvius. This really is the perfect way to end your first evening in Naples. 

TIP: Something we didn’t do because we didn’t get to Naples early enough was the underground Naples tour. This isn’t expensive and looks super interesting, discovering catacombs and WW2 bunkers under the streets of Naples. If you arrive in Naples earlier in the day, then I suggest you pop this onto your Naples itinerary. 

Day 2: Naples itinerary 

Stop 1: Gran Caffe Gambrinus 

We kick off day two of this Naples itinerary in the only way you can kick off a morning in Italy - coffee and pastries! 

 Gran Caffe Gambrinus 

Start your morning with breakfast at Gran Caffe Gambrinus. It’s a landmark 19th century coffee house and a great spot for breakfast and pastries, or dinner and drinks! We had breakfast! It’s such a nice vibe. 

Afterwards you’ll also be able to walk around Piazza Del Plebiscito as it’s right next to it. 

Stop 2: Pompeii

Perhaps one of the most prestigious attractions in Naples, Pompeii is absolutely a must visit in the area, and is naturally one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy so make sure you get there early to get a head start!

Pompeii is a large archaeological site which shows a unique snapshot of Roman life, frozen at the moment it was buried.

The former ancient city of Pompeii was once a thriving, sophisticated and wealthy Roman city with a population of around 11,000. 

However,  following the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius it was buried under 4 to 6 metres of volcanic ash and pumice. 

The ruins of Pompeii were not first discovered until the 16th century, when the remains of over 1000 victims were found. These bodies had remained preserved underneath calcified layers of ash, even after the biological material decomposed. 

Production of casts of these victims started in the 1860s, and since then over 100 have been made. These are now on display in metal and glass showcases for tourists to look at and understand the true impact the Vesivius eruption had.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts around 3.5 million visitors every year, so it’s best to book your tickets in advance to avoid missing out.

If you have the time, it’s definitely worth taking a tour - this tour from GetYourGuide is a great price.

The opening times vary depending on the time of year, so make sure you check before you visit.

How long do you need in Pompeii? 

Brad and I spent 2.5 hours in Pompeii, and that was enough for us in 35 degrees heat!! 

If you have a tour guide you’ll definitely spend longer here, some people spend up to 8 hours here. But we wouldn’t recommend this in the height of summer!

2-3 hours is definitely sufficient if you want to see the highlights, and get a feel for the overall area.

Top Rated Tour
Pompeii: Small-Group Tour with an Archeologist
Discover Pompeii with an archaeologist guide on a shared or private tour. Explore the excavations and admire artworks, mosaics, and frescoes while learning about the story behind the site.

Stop 3: Lunch at a vineyard

After Pomepii you’ll have worked up quite the appetite and thankfully the surrounding area of Vesuvius is brimming with wonderful wineries thanks to the ash from the volcano.

We went to a vineyard called Cantina Del Vesuvio Winery Russo Family, for lunch and a tasting which was incredible value.

We had a 3 course lunch and 5 wine tastings for £35 (ish) and epic views.

It was such a dream....You can book our exact tour below...

The Tour We Did
Mount Vesuvius: Vineyard Tour with Wine Tasting and Lunch
Relax on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and taste local dishes paired with organic Lacryma Christi DOC wines. Enjoy a guided tour of a traditional vineyard and admire breathtaking views of the volcano.

Stop 4: Climb up Vesuvio

So now that you’ve been to Pompeii it’s simply imperative that you go to Vesuvius!

Vesuvius is actually the only volcano on Europe’s mainland to have erupted in the last hundred years, it’s also regarded as ‘one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world’, as at least 600,000 live within the danger zone.

But don’t let that put you off! It hasn’t erupted since 1944, and a few million visit every year! 

The height of the cone of Vesuvius is 1281 metres so you’ll want a decent pair of walking shoes, sunglasses and some water as a minimum.

Now climbing up a volcano in the middle of the Italian summer might seem a bit daunting to most, but you’ll be pleased to hear that if you’ve got your own vehicle you can make it most of the way up Vesuvius without having to trek.

You’ll head up to one of the two parking areas, which MUST be pre-booked online. Then you’ll get a shuttle bus to take you further up the mountain, which is 3 euro each return.

You have to walk the final bit, which is quite steep but remember - it isn’t a race! Just take it slow and you’ll reach the top in around 30 minutes. 

The views are epic and it’s well worth it! 

Once you climb to the very top, you can peer into Vesuvio, and you can even enjoy a glass of wine when you get to the top for around 2 euro.  We headed up around 4pm, and it wasn’t very busy, which was nice!

If you’re walking the whole way up, be aware that at the beginning of the trail you will be offered some wooden sticks to help you on the hike. Although this seems complimentary you’ll be asked for money on the way back.

TIP: They only allow a certain number of people up on the volcano at one time, so book your tickets for Vesuvio ahead of time, especially if you’re visiting in peak season and at peak times, otherwise you may miss out. This tour from GetYourGuide includes skip the line access and an audio guide, which is useful because there is actually no information about the volcano at the volcano! 

Stop 5: Head back for dinner

If you’re looking for a great area to eat, then it’s time to get ready and head out to the Spanish quarter for some food.

We’d love to be able to recommend some fantastic restaurants around here, but I’ll be totally honest as much as we had plans to go for dinner, we were SO tired from an epic day of adventuring, we decided to pick up a pizza and watch a movie instead. 

We got pizza from La Lazzara Trattoria e Pizzeria and it was honestly some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, and stupidly cheap too! 

Day 3 Naples Itinerary 

Stop 1: Castelo Nuovo

This sight is hard to miss in Naples, it’s a large, mediaeval castle that dominates the port side of the city! 

Castelo Nuevo, often referred to as Maschio Angioino, is located right in front of the Piazza Municipio and the Palazzo san Giacomo (city hall). It was first erected in 1279, and is one of the main architectural landmarks of the city thanks to its sheer size and scenic location.

We decided to go inside and have a look around. It turned out that you actually have to pre book your slot online, however we got lucky as they have a few spaces available. 

To be on the safe side I’d definitely suggest booking your tickets online first, especially if you’re visiting at a busier time! Tickets are 6€ for adults. 

You can also scan a QR code to book when you get there (for a later time!)

There are a bunch of different tours available, and we went for the most basic. It’s an interesting spot to visit, and gives you some beautiful views across Naples. 

Stop 2: Herculaneum

Herculaneum, like Pompeii, was an ancient Roman town buried under the volcanic ash and pumice following the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD.

This archaeological park is the lesser known sister of Pompeii but JUST as interesting, and way less crowded.

It’s famous for being one of the few ancient cities that was preserved nearly intact. The ash that blanketed the town protected it from looting, and from the elements.

Of course Pompeii is the better known of the two, however it was the first Vesuvian city to be discovered, and remained the only one for a number of years.

Herculaneum was found in 1709, and Pomeii wasn’t revealed and identified until 1748 and 1763 respectively.

historic sites at Herculaneum 

The main difference between Herculaneum and Pompeii is that Herculaneum preserved more wooden objects such as roofs, beds and doors, as opposed to humans like Pompeii.

Herculaneum was a smaller city than Pompeii, home to only around 5,000, however it was a wealthier town, known for being a seaside retreat for the Roman elite.

The Herculaneum Archaeological Park is beautiful, interesting and a great place to visit - but there’s no shade! So if you’re visiting in the intense summer months, wear plenty of sunscreen, drink water, and maybe bring an umbrella for shade. 

You won’t need as much time at Herculaneum as you will at Pompeii, so we spent about an hour walking around. Again you could do a guided tour with an archaeologist here, if you want more information.

It’s also worth noting that there are no paper maps here, it’s all done via QR code. Of course this is fine in the world of smartphones and technology, but both Brad and I’s phones were dead! So we had to do it map free…whoops!

Other Naples attractions we didn’t include 

This Naples itinerary is based on what we actually did! But there are other things to do in Naples that aren’t included in our itinerary, some of the most popular are: 

San Carlo Theatre (Teatro di San Carlo)

The oldest Opera house in Europe and one of the largest and most prestigious in the world, San Carlo Theatre is another fantastic Naples attraction which you could add to your Naples itinerary if you have the time.

Depending on when you visit Naples you can watch either an opera or ballet. The ballet season runs from December to early June, followed by the Opera season from July to late November. 

If opera and ballet aren’t your thing, then you can simply enjoy a guided tour of the main auditorium, the royal box, and the two foyers. 

The tours run everyday in both English and Italian. Advanced booking is recommended.

Castel Sant'Elmo

Castel Sant'Elmo Naples

This mediaeval fortress dates back to the 1200s and provided one of the city’s earliest pedestrian connections between upper and lower Naples.

The castle's location on top of Vomero Hill means it offers the best viewpoint in Naples.

It’s a steep uphill climb to reach the castle from the Old Town,  so it can be easier to use one of the funicular. The 'Funicolare di Montesanto’ stops the closest, just a 5 minute walk from the castle.

The views from the top are an absolute must-see in Naples, with panoramic views across the city, over to the bay and Mount Vesuvius. 

It’s a great spot to visit at sunrise for even more epic views!

National Archaeological Museum of Naples

The National Archaeological Museum is really important in the world of Italian archaeological museums. In fact it’s one of the most famous and visited museums in Italy. 

MANN (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli) is known for being one of the oldest and most important cultural institutions in the world because of its rich and unique heritage.

It’s home to a wealth of ancient Roman remains, including artefacts from Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum. 

The museum is open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays), and tickets are 22€ for adults.

Other itinerary suggestions

Naples and Amalfi coast itinerary

If you’re planning on visiting the beautiful Amalfi coast then you can add this onto your Naples Itinerary.

The Amalfi Coast is a 50 km stretch of coastline, spanning the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula.

It depends exactly where you are headed for in Amalfi, but it’s around 60 km from Naples to Amalfi. Naples airport is the closest to Amalfi so it’s a great base for visiting the Amalfi Coast.

The only reason we didn’t visit on this trip was simply because this was actually a last minute sort of trip, and in peak season (Summer) the Amalfi coast is fully booked if you don’t plan in advance.

As Amalfi is a smaller place you really notice the crowds A LOT MORE, so bear this in mind if you’re visiting in peak times.

I wouldn’t recommend driving to the Alamafi coast, because you’ll be stuck in traffic jams, either take public transport, or go on a day trip from Naples.

In order to get the most out of your time, I would recommend adding at least 2 nights, 3 days onto your current itinerary to do the Amalfi Coast.

I would also suggest visiting out of high season, so around the end of May, start of June or mid September! You’ll still catch great weather but won’t have to battle with the crowds.

TOUR OPTION: If you don’t have the time to visit all of what the Amalfi Coast has to offer, then I’d really recommend taking a day trip from Naples. Jumping on a tour sorts everything out for you, and it’s still a way to say you’ve spent some time there. 

This tour from Get Your Guide will take you to all the hot spots - yes, it’ll be a long day, but it will be a beautiful one!

This tour includes all your transport, your pick up, your drop off, and your lunch! A stress-free way to do it in peak summertime in my opinion. 

Things to do in the Amalfi Coast

Capri, Italy

Here are just some of the many amazing things to do on the Amalfi coast.

Explore the Fiordo di Furore - a great place to relax and swim, overlooked by a tall bridge it is one of the most picturesque spots on the Amalfi Coast

Catch the sunset at Ravello - Ravello is a beautiful town home to stunning cliffside gardens, so a great thing to do in Amalfi. The terrace of Infinity at the Villa Cimbrone is the best spot to watch the sunset

Explore the Emerald Grotto - found in the small village of Conca dei Marini, just a few kms outside Amalfi. This small cave is filled with seawater, which glows a magical ‘emerald’ colour when the sunlight filters through, sending sparking reflections up the walls of the cave

Pootle around Positano - this is definitely one of the most popular holiday destinations on the Amalfi Coast, and it isn’t hard to see why! This stunning village boasts a pebble beachfront and steep, narrow streets. It’s linked to other coastal towns by the Sentiero Degli Dei hiking trail

Sail over to Li Galli - an archipelago of little islands found between the Isle of Capri and 6 km southwest of Positano. The archipelago consists of three islands - Il Gallo Lungo, La Catelluccia, and La Rotonda. 

Walking tour of Amalfi - a great way to get a feel for, and see the attractions in a new place is to join a walking tour, even better if you can find a free walking tour! This one in Amalfi runs twice a day.

Atrani - one of the smallest villages in Italy at 0.2 square kms, it’s certainly a hidden gem of the Amalfi Coasts where you can escape the crowds

Capri - this island in the Bay of Naples is famed for its rugged landscapes and its Blue Grotto, where the sea glows an electric blue! You can get to Capri via ferry from Amalfi which takes around 50 minutes to an hour

Ferriere Valley Waterfalls - this offers a really different perspective to the rest of the Amalfi area. From Ravello you can take a small path to the hamlet of Pontone, and from here join the path to the valley.

One day in Naples from a cruise ship

Since Naples is a VERY popular port stop, I thought it would be worth mentioning what you can do if you’re coming from a cruise ship.

Most people will be taking a day trip to either the coast, or to Pompeii, but if you want to explore downtown Naples, I’d recommend Castello Nuevo, Gran Caffe Gambrinus, the Spanish Quarter, and wandering around the historic centre, so you’ve covered all the highlights.

Best time to visit Naples, Italy 

The best time in Naples is arguably between March and May, and late September / early October, as the weather is still good but there aren’t the crowds associated with peak summer season.

If you are planning a trip to Naples in the winter, it’s best to keep your trip to just Naples city, as opposed to venturing to the Amalfi Coast and islands in the Bay of Naples.

Winter can still be a pleasant time to visit Naples, as the temperatures between November and February are still mild, and weather is sunny, however there is a greater chance of rain.

Naples really comes alive at Christmas and New Year when locals fill the streets for festive celebrations.

Bear in mind that if you are visiting in the summer months it will be BUSY!

We visited during the summertime and can confirm it was crowded, however if you are strategic with your timings and plan your itinerary well, it won’t feel overwhelming.

Also remember that the summer months are going to be hotter and more humid. In July and August temperatures can often reach the low 30s, so prepare to get hot, sticky and sweaty!

Best way to get to Naples, Italy 

We rented a car as we were doing a larger Italian road trip of the west coast, and Italy offers great car rentals. 

And if you fancy having your accommodation with you wherever you go, then you might want to consider renting a campervan for your Napels road trip. There are lots of fantastic campervan rentals in Italy

However you don’t need to rent a vehicle to get around! Italy has an amazing train network, so you can easily explore Naples and its nearby areas without your own vehicle.

And of course, you can fly! You can fly direct to Naples from the UK and USA, as well as other major cities in Europe. We always use Skyscanner to find the best deals on flights.

Getting around Naples, Italy 

Of course, we had our own vehicle which was really convenient, especially as lots of the attractions in Naples require you to get out of the city centre.

Pompeii, Vesuvius, Herculaneum and the vineyards are all a reasonable journey out of the city, so it might be with renting a car to help you get around.

BUT if you’d rather not drive, or rent a car there’s plenty of other ways to get around. As Naples is one of the biggest cities in Italy, it is of course very well connected.

You can use trains, metros, taxis, and even hop on, hop off buses to get around different attractions in Naples. Or, get yourself on an organised tour. 

Where to stay in Naples, Italy

B&B Depretis19 

Some of the best places to stay in Naples include:

Chiaia - sophisticated upper-class neighbourhood with high-end shopping

Vomero - quiet residential area, slightly further from the hustle and bustle of the city, with a great nightlife

Port of Naples - a great option if you’re planning to head to nearby islands, or visiting the Amalfi Coast by ferry. We stayed in this area at the B&B Depretis19 

Spanish Quarters - pedestrian neighbourhood with affordable accommodation and delicious food

Naples Historic Centre - a really good choice if it’s your first timing visiting naples as it’s within close proximity to all of the main attractions and is a very safe area

Central Station Area - ideal if you’re planning on heading into or out of Naples by train

Posillipo - History neighbourhood that’s home to Roman Ruins from the 1st century BC, as well as panoramic coastal views

Is Naples expensive? 

No! Dining, drinking and attractions are all at a great price in Naples and I wouldn’t call it expensive.

Sure it’s not dirt cheap like Asia, but everything is a very reasonable price and you can visit on a budget if you want. 

Is Naples worth visiting? 

If this itinerary hasn’t got the message across yet - yes absolutely!

Of all Italy’s amazing cities and cultural centres, it’s one of the country’s must-visit destinations with stunning scenery, and rich history.

So now it’s time to start planning your trip to Naples!

Hopefully this Naples itinerary will help you get the most out of your time there, and that you really get to immerse yourself in the rich Italian culture and history of this incredible city.

If you’ve found this itinerary useful and maybe followed it yourself, we’d love to hear about it!

Or if you’ve added some extra stops in here and there, then let us know in the comments below.

And if you’ve found this itinerary useful, check out some of our other European itineraries, to take some of the stress and pressure out of your trip planning:

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