To fully appreciate Naples' captivating culture and cuisine, you would need at least three days, but if time is of the essence, follow our suggestions for how to visit Naples in one day.
If you plan on staying overnight in the city, choose an accommodation that is conveniently located in the city center so you'll be near the most important sights and not have to waste time with public transportation.
No visit to Naples is complete without a stroll through the city's vibrant historic center, a true feast for the senses and open-air museum, with historic churches, palaces, fountains, and squares sitting elbow to elbow with bustling warrens of narrow lanes lined with artisan shops, street food stands, and raucous cafés.
Begin your one-day itinerary through Naples by taking in the iconic Spaccanapoli, one of the city's most storied and colorful streets that carves a straight line through the heart of the historic center cutting Naples into two halves. Spend as much time as you can strolling along this narrow, pedestrian thoroughfare to experience the unique atmosphere and browse the many stores and artisan workshops. You'll want to snap photos of this lively corner of Naples, and visit the famous churches and palaces that line its route, including Palazzo Carafa, Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, and the Basilica di Santa Chiara.
We suggest stopping to visit Santa Chiara to admire its splendid cloister, completely covered in historic handpainted majolica. The complex is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:30PM (Sundays from 10 to 2:30). Entrance to the church is free, and tickets to the cloister cost EUR 6.
Via San Gregorio Armeno
A must-see, even if you have only one day in Naples, is the city's famous "Christmas Alley": Via San Gregorio Armeno, lined with traditional artisan workshops where traditional nativity scene figurines are crafted by hand. Browse the shops and stands crowded with figurines, miniature houses and furnishings, functioning fountains and waterwheels, and other meticulously rendered models that make for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Christmas All Year Long
San Gregorio Armeno is a narrow pedestrian lane crowded with artisan workshops where artists and craftspeople create elements for traditional Neapolitan nativity scenes throughout the year, so you can watch them work and purchase unique handmade figurines even in the summer months. Expect the street to become more crowded through the fall months; during the Christmas holidays, so many shoppers throng the street that it can be difficult to walk. If you are visiting between November and January, be prepared for crowds or plan on visiting during another time of year if you'd rather not face the melee.
After walking along Spaccanapoli and Via San Gregorio Armeno, 'your one-day itinerary of Naples continues with a visit to Via Tribunali, a lively city street lined with some of the most famous pizzerias (Sorbillo, Da Matteo, Al Presidente, Dalla Figlia del Presidente), as well as shops and street food stands. If you don't want to waste time sitting in a pizzeria, opt for a traditional “cuoppo” (paper cone of fried seafood) or a “pizza a portafoglio” (folded margherita pizza to eat on the go).
Your fast-paced visit of Naples' hot spots now moves on to the Sansevero Chapel to take in the the Veiled Christ, one of the city's most treasured works of Baroque art. We suggest visiting during the lunch hour or immediately afterwards to avoid having to wait in a long line to enter. Alternatively, book your ticket in advance via the chapel's official website.
Visiting the Veiled Christ:
Hours: Weds to Mon: 9AM to 7 PM. Saturdays: 9AM to 8:30PM (from May to December). Tues: closed.
Admission: EUR 8.
After having taken in the highlights of the historic center, walk or catch a taxi or bus to the city's seafront. Stop in the majestic Piazza del Plebiscito, the most elegant square in the city that faces the Bourbon Royal Palace (Palazzo Reale) and picturesque Church of San Francesco, one of the most popular venues for weddings in Naples.
Head towards the sparkling waves of the Bay of Naples to admire the Castel dell'Ovo, a Norman fortress set on the islet of Megaride that is considered one of the city's architectural treasures and site of many of its most beloved stories and legends. Be sure to head to the rooftop terrace to admire the views over the city as far as Mt. Vesuvius.
Visiting Castel dell'Ovo:
Hours: Open daily 9AM to 7:30PM (6:30 in winter). Sundays 9AM to 2PM (1PM in winter).
Getting there: Metro line 1 (Toledo stop); bus R2 to Piazza Municipio. There is a 1.5-walk from both the nearest metro and bus stop.
Admission: Admission to Castel dell'Ovo is free.
Dinner on the Water's Edge
End your day in Naples in style with a seafood dinner at one of the restaurants in Borgo Marinari, a tiny fishing hamlet set at the foot of Castel dell'Ovo), or on Via Caracciolo or Via Partenope, both of which overlook the Bay of Naples, Capri, and the Sorrentine Peninsula. You'll find a restaurant to suit any taste and budget, as well as eateries serving authentic Neapolitan pizza.
After your day exploring Naples, we're sure that you will want to come back for more!