Naples holidays

Never-shy Naples knows its own mind. Boasting a long history and boldly loyal to its traditions, Italy’s third largest city loves to flaunt what it’s got – beautifully adorned churches, lively alleys and proper pizza. Its namesake bay is lined with a glamorous island and a gaping volcano. Nearby archaeological parks like Pompeii and Herculaneum are home to incredibly preserved Roman ruins. But before you go beyond the city, dive into its depths. 

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Marvel at Roman ruins and margherita pizza

The city’s sun-kissed surface bustles with lively piazzas and packed pizzerias. The chatter of locals floats from balcony to balcony overhead. Below street level, however, lie quiet and spiritual chambers. Venture beneath trap doors in churches to find remnants of an Ancient Greek city or 17th Century burial grounds where women make offerings to lost souls.

Zip through alleys crammed with street vendors and cafes. Wander beneath waving laundry hung up like festive bunting. Cut through the centre of the city by making your way down UNESCO-protected street Spaccanapoli, translated to ‘Naples splitter’, and stop to admire every art-filled church. Step inside a pizzeria and sink your teeth into the fluffy crust of an authentic margherita. Then take a passeggiata (leisurely stroll) in the gentle evening air. See the Mediterranean Sea lap the shore and make out the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. Book your flights to Naples now.

Carefully selected Naples hotels

Best hotels in Naples for all types of traveller

We have a great selection of hotels in Naples to choose from. If location is your top priority, Eurostars Hotel Excelsior is ideally placed for picturesque walks on the Lungomare. When you’re ready to sit back for a while, order a drink on the elegant terrace and admire Mount Vesuvius looming in the bay. Right next door you’ll find Royal Continental Hotel with its restaurant overlooking Castel dell’Ovo and its unique seawater pool surrounded by sun loungers. Alternatively, stay at Hotel Piazza Bellini to sleep in a 16th Century palace. Modern decor brightens the halls of this traditional building in Naples’ historical centre. You’ll also be close to some of the top sights to see and activities to do in Naples – the National Archaeological Museum is just a short walk away.

For luxury and elegance, stay at Grand Hotel Parkers. This iconic hotel’s rooms are stuffed with antiques and period pieces, and its roof is topped with a Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking Naples Bay. Just down the road, The Britannique Naples Curio Collection by Hilton also boasts stylish interiors and stunning views. Lounge on the rooftop or savour a morning espresso in the glass-enclosed restaurant to soak up plenty of sunshine.

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  1. Walk along the Lungomare: a seafront promenade featuring views of Mount Vesuvius and Capri. On one side, bars and restaurants are packed with patrons sipping limoncello and wickedly strong espresso. On the other side, Naples Bay beckons admirers – especially when bathed in twilight. Pass Castel dell’Ovo, the oldest castle in the city, and see it standing out in the water. Legend says Roman poet Virgil put an egg in the castle’s foundation and the city is safe as long as it doesn’t crack.
  2. Navigate Via San Gregorio Armeno, a narrow alleyway known for its shops overflowing with clay nativity sets. It’s a Neapolitan tradition to arrange a presepi (nativity scene) on 8 December and a figurine is one of the most sought-after souvenirs in the city. Shop for your own at any time of the year and take home a traditional halo-topped angel or a resting little donkey. Or opt for something different, like a miniature pizzeria owner or Lady Gaga.
  3. You’re in the home of pizza. Within no time you’ll be salivating over slices of traditional margherita and marinara pizza, puffing out at the edges with pride. The work of a pizzaiolo (pizza maker) is taken so seriously here that the Verace Pizza Neapolitan Association and Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli Association verify true masters of the trade. Sit in a traditional pizzeria or grab a napkin-wrapped slice from a street vendor. As much as you might want to scoff Napoli pizza for every meal, make sure to taste the city’s other delicious offerings including seafood, spaghetti and sfogliatella (pastries crammed with sweet ricotta). 
  4. Make your way up to medieval Castel Sant'Elmo on Vomero hill. Admire ramparts and towers before roaming the prison rooms that now guard 20th Century Neapolitan artworks. While the castle is impressive, most people visit for its panoramic views. Stand high above endlessly bustling Naples and take in the ancient city before looking beyond to Naples Bay and Mount Vesuvius. Visit at sunset to see it all swept up in gorgeous pinks and yellows.
  5. When a plague hit Naples in the 17th Century hundreds of unidentified casualties were buried in chambers beneath the city surface. It was believed these souls were unable to find heaven because they had not received a ‘proper’ burial, so women began tending to skulls in hopes of assisting them in their journey to God and receiving favours. At Santa Maria della Anime ad Arco you’ll find an opening in the floor of the richly adorned ‘upper church’ leading to the ‘lower church’ of the dead. Reflect in this quiet, spiritual space under the glow of dim lights and candles. Look for Lucia, a famous ‘poor soul’ called a guardian of brides, and see her skull decorated with flower bouquets and a tiara.
  • Go to Pompeii and be moved by the husk of a once thriving Roman city. Ancient remains are eerily well preserved here after being buried in debris from Mount Vesuvius’ eruption. See the world’s oldest surviving amphitheatre. Visit villas and spot graffiti left here millennia ago. Let the tragedy of the city’s fate sink in as you see body casts of Pompeii’s residents taking their final, fear-stricken breaths. Then see artefacts recovered from the site at the Naples National Archaeological Museum. The erotic art in particular provides insight into Pompeii’s rowdy reputation.
  • Pompeii wasn’t the only Roman dwelling place buried in the aftermath of Mount Vesuvius’ eruption. The fishing town of Herculaneum also fell victim to the volcano, when thousands of residents were tragically killed by the gases and mud Vesuvius spewed. The archaeological park takes less time to roam than Pompeii, is generally less busy, and is slightly closer to Naples. A tour reveals well preserved (in some cases even better preserved than Pompeii) remnants of ancient Roman life – including houses, shops, and a row of bathhouses.
  • Mount Vesuvius provides a dramatic backdrop to the Bay of Naples, dominating vistas on clear days. Adventurous hikers can follow the four-mile Gran Cono trail up the active volcano and stare into the depths of its gaping crater, before looking back at the shrunken towns and cities below. Combine trips and catch a bus to Vesuvius from Pompeii or Herculaneum. Elsewhere in Vesuvius National Park, you’ll find a vineyard sprouting from volcanic soil – taste the wine, Lacryma Christi, if you get a chance. 
  • For a glamourous day out, catch the ferry from Naples to Capri Island. Take the funicular up to Capri town where you’ll find plenty of lemon granita and glittering shop windows. Venture further up the hilly island on an old-fashioned chairlift to Anacapri (above Capri) where you can admire views of whitewashed houses, craggy limestone cliffs and the undulating sea. Before you return to Naples, catch a Capri boat tour to the Blue Grotto: a mystical, glowing cave where cobalt water is illuminated by sunlight filtering through an opening under the surface.
  • Head north of Naples to the UNESCO-listed Royal Palace of Caserta, which was built in the 18th Century to rival Versailles. Behind the palace’s thousands of windows lie frescoed ceilings, portrait-lined walls and bulbous chandeliers. Look out for the sky-blue throne and the grand staircase stalked by marble lions. Then spy woodlands and statues in the humungous Royal Park. Make your way from the Royal Park to the enchanting English Garden by walking along Via d'Acqua, a magnificent avenue lined with fountains depicting scenes from classical mythology.

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