5 days in Naples: the best itinerary for first-timers

5 days in Naples

Naples is a fascinating city in the south of Italy that lies next to Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. We’ve spent 5 days in Naples; visited its surroundings, discovered its archaeological and architectural treasures, and appreciated its culture. In this blog post, we are going to share our Naples itinerary. We recommend you follow the same if you’re going to Naples for the first time. 

Established by the Ancient Greeks and later shaped by the Romans, Naples stands as a city renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Moreover, Naples is a food paradise where you’ll have some of the best food ever. The iconic pizza, the world’s most consumed food, was born right here. Delicious sweets such as “sfogliatelle” and “babà” are also pretty popular. However, Naples offers much more than just top-class food. Just like Italy, it is a city you must live, feel and discover.

QUICK TIP: The number one rule of this trip should be: no rush. Take your time and enjoy every moment. To make the most of it, you should prepare a list of must-see and allow some extra time for any unforeseen.  

First, make sure you find a suitable place to stay in Naples on Booking.com. We stayed at Apartment Fabrizio and we were happy with our choice. The apartment is small but cozy, and it is located in a tranquil area near the Cavour metro station. 


5 Days Naples Itinerary

Day 1: Wander around Naples’ most iconic landmarks

Day 1 is dedicated to visiting the historic center of Naples and its hidden gems. These include Naples undergrounds, the historical center with the Cathedral, Spaccanapoli, Via Toledo, and the Spanish Quarters.

Naples Underground

The first stop is at Napoli Sotterranea, located in Piazza San Gaetano 68 to revive the history of ancient Naples and explore its undergrounds. Not many know that Naples’ undergrounds are rich in tunnels and passages dating back as far as Greek and Roman times, some of which can still be visited today.

The tours start at 40 meters below, through the cavities excavated into the soft tufo stones during the Greek era, which served as cisterns for water. Here you will have the possibility to admire some ancient, well-preserved Greek-Roman aqueducts and also learn how these tunnels served as shelter during World War II. The tour also includes a visit to an ancient Roman theatre. Booking your Naples Underground Tour in advance will guarantee your slot.

Via San Gregorio Armeno

Once the tour is over, head towards Via San Gregorio Armeno. This street is famous for being the largest world’s market of “presepi”, or nativity scenes. The presence of craftsmen making small terracotta statuettes is believed to have existed here since Roman times. Whilst in the past nativity scenes were the only theme, today the craftsmen reproduce mini-statuettes of any kind: from pizza-makers to celebrities, and much more. Although most popularly busy during Christmas times, the market is on every day, all year round. Stroll around the shops of the master craftsmen and soak in the atmosphere: Naples is a city to live in

Five days in Naples
Artisan shop in San Gregorio Armeno

Time for lunch…

At this stage, if you’re hungry, you could head to “Da Michele” or “Gino e Toto Sorbillo”, both located nearby. These are possibly the most popular pizzerias in Naples and an absolute must-try.

TIP! The queues at Da Michele and Gino e Toto Sorbillo are endless during lunch and dinner peak times. If you choose to go, be mindful of this and show up early – no later than 12 pm for lunch and around 6 pm for dinner should be ok. We went to Michele for lunch at 12 pm and only had to wait 15 minutes for a table. However, when we left the place, the queue to get in was insanely long!


Are you a big fan of pizza? Take the opportunity to learn how to make proper pizza while in Naples! With this Naples Pizza Making Class, a local pizza chef will teach you how to make the dough, work the base and add the sauce and toppings. After class, you will get the opportunity to taste your own pizza and take on board valuable tips from the chef. A truly unique way to spend your time in Naples!

Naples Cathedral

After lunch, head to the Duomo di Napoli. That is the Naples Cathedral, the main church of Naples. The church is a beautiful example of Angevin Gothic Style from the 14th century and is home to some incredible historical remains. Underneath the church are the archaeological remains of a Christian church, and Greek and Roman ruins. Naples Cathedral also houses the treasures of Saint Januarius, the city’s patron, as well as a vial of the blood of the Saint. The vial is brought out to the pilgrims three times a year when the dried blood usually liquefies. This is known as “the miracle of Saint Januarius”. If the miracle does not occur, it is believed a catastrophe will hit Naples.

Naples Cathedral
Naples Cathedral


After visiting the cathedral, head towards Via Vicaria Vecchia and walk towards Via San Biagio Dei Librai. You have just started the popular walk on Spaccanapoli! Translated literally in “Naples Splitter” as it divides the historical centre in two, Spaccanapoli is, in reality, a sequence of streets. Once the main hub of ancient Neapolis, today is a popular tourist destination featuring several piazzas and historic buildings. These include the 14th century Santa Chiara religious complex, the Sansevero Chapel, and the San Lorenzo Maggiore Basilica, to name a few.

Via Toledo

Once you reach Via Toledo, turn left and walk down the road. Via Toledo is the shopping street of Naples, home of countless old shops as well as the usual big chain stores and the elegant Galleria Umberto I shopping arcade. Now, take a moment for yourself; sit down at one of the many cafes around, and taste the authentic espresso coffee. We would recommend pairing the espresso with a sweet: the “sfogliatella”, a crispy pastry with orange-flavored ricotta filling, is to die for!

Spanish Quarters

Just off Via Toledo lie the Quartieri Spagnoli or “Spanish Quarters”. This neighbourhood was born in the 16th century to house Spanish garrisons, whose role was to quench revolts from the Neapolitan population. Today, it is a traditional and very authentic neighbourhood. Take a stroll around and enjoy the murals representing celebrities who have been influential to the local population. Amongst the most impressive murals is football star Maradona, who used to play for Napoli Football Club. If you decide to stay around for dinner, the area is home to some amazing traditional trattorias and pizzerias.

Naples Spanish Quarters
Street Art at the Spanish Quarters

Day 2: Visit the Royal Palace of Caserta

Day 2 is dedicated to the Reggia di Caserta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Royal residences in Europe.

Reggia di Caserta: How to get there

The impressive Caserta Royal Palace is catchy at first sight. It is no wonder why it was chosen as the film location for popular movies such as Star Wars, Mission Impossible, and Angels and Demons.

Trains from Napoli Centrale station are frequent and will get you to Caserta, a town located 38km north of Naples, in about an hour. Once at Caserta train station, cross the train tracks and exit the station: the entrance of the Reggia will be just in front of you.   

Caserta’s Royal Palace is a year-round destination, but its extensive gardens are at their best in spring and summer. The complex is closed on Tuesdays and the Court Theatre is open only on weekends. On the first Sunday of every month, there is a free entrance to the Palace and a reduced ticket for the park. You can find additional detailed information on their official website.

The Royal Gardens

The Reggia di Caserta was constructed by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies as their main residence as kings of Naples. Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli, one of the greatest Italian architects of the 18th century, it is considered a masterpiece of the Italian Baroque style. As soon as you are in, if the weather is good, go straight to the Royal Gardens, as they close earlier than the palace.

The Gardens are an integral part of the complex, made of scenic fountains and cascades, statues, and a botanical garden. To get to the English Garden, you can walk following the fountains that are aligned in a ‘telescopic effect’. The walk is uphill and can become tiring, but it is enjoyable. There is also a shuttle bus running up and down connecting the English garden and the Palace.

Royal Palace of Caserta
The Royal Gardens

The English Garden

The English Garden is a must-see of the complex. It features several rare plants brought there back in the day, and still growing today. But also replica ruins of Pompeii, small lakes, and the famous “bath of Venus”, a tranquil oasis to be discovered. Take your time to visit the gardens and their highlights.

The Royal Palace

The Tour of the Royal Palace of Caserta is the best way to visit this fascinating sight. With its 1200 rooms, the palace is enormous and it is easy to get lost or miss out on something. The interiors of the Royal Palace of Caserta are truly impressive. Everything inside is very special to see: the Throne Room, for example, is the richest and the most extraordinary environment of the royal apartments.

Once returning to Naples, after the long – but enjoyable – day, treat yourself to a pizza! You deserved it. 

Caserta Royal Palace
The Royal Palace of Caserta


If you have a limited time to spend in Caserta or Naples, or your flight leaves in the evening, you may consider storing your bags with Radical Storage. They have multiple store locations across cities. All you need to do is book your storage location for a selected day and time and leave your bags once there. We have found storing our bags particularly convenient when we did not need to stay overnight and only had a day to spend in a city. 

Day 3: Museums Day

Day 3 is dedicated to exploring Naples’s history, historic monuments, and buildings. These include the Archeological Museum of Naples, Plebiscito Square, the Royal Palace of Naples, Castel Nuovo and Castel dell’Ovo.

National Archeological Museum of Naples

The day starts at the National Archeological Museum of Naples, located in Piazza Museo 19. This museum hosts an extensive collection of works from Greek, Roman, and Renaissance times. It also includes a large collection of Egyptian artifacts, the third most important in the world after those of Cairo and the Egyptian Museum in Turin. Not to be missed is the collection of Roman artifacts from the nearby Pompeii, Stabiae, and Herculaneum sites. Considered to be among the world’s top archaeological museums focused on ancient Rome, it is a must-visit if you’re passionate about Roman history.

Castel Nuovo

After visiting the museum, walk down Via Toledo. At the end of the street, you will find San Carlo’s theater, one of the most famous and prestigious theaters in the world. Take your left and follow the road. There you’ll find one of the most famous landmarks of the city: Castel Nuovo. Better known as “Maschio Angioino”, Castel Nuovo is a Medieval castle, first erected in 1279.

During the reign of Robert of Anjou, the castle became a center of culture giving hospitality to artists, doctors, and writers among whom were Giotto, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. Due to its strategic position, the castle has served as a fortress for the city, during the rule of the kings throughout the centuries. The castle is today the house of cultural events and the Municipal Museum.

Castel Nuovo Naples
Castel Nuovo

Plebiscito Square

To get to Plebiscito Square from the Castel Nuovo, you’ll need to walk back towards the San Carlo theater. Piazza del Plebiscito is a beautiful square named after the plebiscite that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy. At one end of the square there is the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace) and at the other end is the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola. Take a stroll around and marvel at this impressive square. Time to visit the Royal Palace of Naples.

Naples Itinerary
Piazza Del Plebiscito

Royal Palace of Naples

The House of Bourbon used the Royal Palace of Naples as a residence during their rule of the Kingdom of Naples and later the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Although a fire almost destroyed it completely in 1837, it is still possible to visit most of it. Among the many royal rooms, don’t miss the Court Theatre, the Throne Room, the Room of Mariacristina of Savoy, and the Royal Chapel. The Palace also houses a National Library, dedicated to Victor Emmanuel III. Although not as impressive as the Royal Palace of Caserta, it is still a great place to learn all about the city’s royal rulers and the luxury in which they lived.

Naples Seafront & Castel dell’Ovo

After visiting the Royal Palace, head towards the seafront. You will surely enjoy walking along the seafront of Naples; the views of Mt. Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples are stunning. The last stop of the day is at Castel dell’Ovo, the most ancient castle in Naples. Castel dell’Ovo is located on a peninsula that once was the island of Megaride where Greek colonists founded the original nucleus of Neapolis in the 6th century BC. Initially built as a fortification of the city, it served as a castle, a palace, and a state prison. The views from the castle and surroundings are beautiful; a perfect way to end a long day.

Castel dell'Ovo Naples
Castel dell'Ovo

Day 4: Naples by height

One of the best things to do during 5 days in Naples is to get uphill and enjoy the most amazing panoramic views. To do that, we’re gonna start day four with a visit to the Certosa di San Martino, in the Vomero district.

Certosa di San Martino

Vomero is a classy and bustling hilltop district where the upper class lived since the early 18th century. You can get to Vomero with the yellow metro line stopping at Vanvitelli station.

The Certosa di San Martino, St. Martin’s Charterhouse, is a former monastery complex built in 1368. Today, it houses the National Museum of San Martino with a display of Spanish and Bourbon-era artifacts. Whilst the complex has been invaded and damaged countless times throughout the centuries, the magnificent Gothic cellar remains standstill in its original form. Visiting the museum and walking through the gardens will bring you back in time and give you a first-hand experience of how the monks used to live. The views of the Gulf of Naples from up here are worth alone the 6 € entry ticket.

Certosa di San Martino
Views from the Certosa di San Martino

Castel Sant’ Elmo

Just next to the Certosa is Castel Sant’Elmo, a medieval fortress, initially erected as a church. It was not until Robert of Anjou that the building was turned into a castle. Thanks to its privileged hilltop position, overlooking the city and preventing attacks from enemies, it had played a central role in the history of the city. To put it simply, just another outstanding, well-preserved landmark of Naples. Today, we can get on top of the castle and enjoy the most beautiful views of Naples and its gulf. The panorama from up here is jaw-dropping: do not forget to bring your camera!

Naples best itinerary
Bay of Naples - View from Castel Sant'Elmo

Parco Virgiliano

It is now time to get the C31 bus and head to Virgiliano Park for some more breathtaking views. Not many know the Parco del Virgiliano, a true hidden gem on the Posillipo hill. Visiting the park is free and there are refreshments stalls available as well as playgrounds for kids. But the true highlight of Virgiliano park is the terraces overlooking the whole Gulf of Naples. From here, you will enjoy impressive views of the coasts of Amalfi and Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius, Gaiola Bay, Nisida island, as well as the beautiful islands of Ischia, Capri, and Procida. Take your time and enjoy every moment of it.

Naples best views
View from Virgiliano Park

Posillipo and Mergellina

Once out of the park, enjoy a walk along the Posillipo’s coast towards Margellina. The hill of Posillipo was renowned as a retreat for the elite Romans, who built villas on its most scenic vantage points. The walk is truly scenic. However, note that it could be tiring getting to Mergellina on foot: expect approximately a one-hour walk. Mergellina is a cool district on the seafront, featuring several bars and restaurants. Tourists and locals alike enjoy meeting here, having a bite together, and strolling along the seafront. The perfect spot to get an aperitif and watch the sunset.

Day 5: Take a day tour of iconic Pompeii

The best 5 days in Naples could not have excluded a visit to Pompeii. As most of you know already, Pompeii was an ancient Roman city buried under volcanic ash in the eruption of volcano Vesuvius in AD 79.

Pompeii day tour: what to expect

Largely preserved by the ash, the excavations revealed a unique snapshot of the city and Roman life in general. Pompeii was a wealthy city, with fine public buildings and luxurious villas. The city was also an important passage for goods that arrived by sea and had to be sent toward Rome. Further excavations on a large scale are currently not planned. However, there are often findings of ruins, with the last one, a tomb, being discovered in 2021.

At the excavations of Pompeii, you will get to walk in the very same place as the ancient city. Be ready to be brought back in time. Expect to find impressive public buildings such as amphitheatres and public baths but also shops of any sort: bakeries, inns, and wool workshops just to name a few. You will get the possibility to visit countless private houses, some of them still impressively well preserved and decorated with graffiti. To visit the greater area of Pompeii with its surroundings would take days. However, it is possible to visit the main archeological site and its buildings within a full day. 

We highly recommend hiring a guide for your Pompeii day tour. Joining a guided tour is the best way to explore Pompeii and get valuable insights. You can either choose a private tour or a group tour

Pompeii day tour
Pompeii day tour

Pompeii day tour: Some practical tips to remember

We would make the following recommendations for your visit to Pompeii:

  1. Wear comfortable clothes for the day.
  2. During the summer months, bring your hat, plenty of water and suncream.
  3. Official ticket offices are only located at Porta Marina, Piazza Anfiteatro and Piazza Esedra. Once out of the train station, a bunch of friendly ladies and gentlemen may be welcoming you indicating the ticket offices. Please pay attention as they will try to bring you to their travel agency and make you buy the tickets with a surcharge.
  4. If you wish to secure a slot for the guided tour, you can find plenty of options on Get Your Guide.
  5. Pompeii needs a full day to be enjoyed. Avoid combined tours with other attractions.

How to get to Pompeii

The best way to get to Pompeii is with the Circumvesuviana trains. From Napoli central station, head to the Circumvesuviana section. From there, get the Circumvesuviana Napoli-Sorrento and stop at “Pompei Scavi”. Once at the destination, it is just a short walk to the entrance at Porta Marina – Villa Dei Misteri.

What to pack for a trip to Naples

Time for conclusions…

5 days in Naples would probably be enough to explore the city as well as some of the best landmarks on the outskirts. Just like always, we have had to exclude something from our itinerary, and that was not an easy task. Among the countless things we liked about Naples is that it is a relatively cheap city. While prices seem to have skyrocketed in recent years…Naples remains a reasonably priced destination, especially for eating out.

Naples is a beautiful city, rich in history with countless well-preserved historic landmarks. Its surroundings are all to be fully explored, definitely on the next trip to Campania.

Do you like city breaks? We wrote some interesting articles on Amsterdam, CopenhagenDubrovnik, Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris, Budapest, London, Edinburgh and Rome too!

See you again soon!


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