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Best things to do in Naples

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Italy  /  Campania  /  Province of Naples  /  Naples
From exploring the past of the city to tasting delicious wines and dishes of the surrounding region, things to do in Naples appeal to various types of holidaymakers. Drawn to its impressive collections of archaeological artifacts, history enthusiasts flock to National Archaeological Museum of Naples, where they can see remnants of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance cultures. Taking you underground, Galleria Borbonica will introduce you to the versatile roles tunnels beneath the surface had during different periods of the city's history. Nature buffs shouldn't miss a chance to hike the well-maintained paths of Vesuvio, the infamous volcano, and the surrounding national park.

Naples is best known for its Art Museums, Landmarks, and Specialty Museums.

Top 15 things to do in Naples

1. Galleria Borbonica

Walk the underground tunnels at Galleria Borbonica, which that once connected a royal palace to army barracks and served as a bomb shelter during World War II. In the 16th century, 300 years before Bourbon king Ferdinand II decided to build a military underground passage, the tunnel housed water tanks for the city. You can still see the tanks, along with vintage cars, motorcycles, and fascist statues that were thrown away. One of the three available tours includes a raft ride in an abandoned subway tunnel filled with water.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

Delve into Italy's diverse history at Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Considered the most important archeological museum in Italy, it boasts a collection of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance antiquities housed in a 16th-century palace. Admire the dozens of intricately-made pieces in the mosaic collection, or visit the museum's Secret Cabinet to see hundreds of Roman artifacts from the site of Pompeii. Pick up an audio guide at the entrance to learn more about the specific pieces, as well as Pompeii's history.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Museo Cappella Sansevero

A treasure chest of art and science, Museo Cappella Sansevero houses almost 30 significant works of art, among which are three notable late-Baroque statues. These intriguing sculptures were created with a marble-like substance known for its tissue-like quality, invented by Raimondo di Sangro, a prominent inventor and scientist. He spent the last years of his life reconstructing and decorating this chapel. Arguably the site's most notable piece, a sculpture of Christ covered with a thin shroud is a masterpiece created by Giuseppe Sanmartino, a distinguished sculptor of the Baroque period. The chapel also contains an exhibit of anatomical models of a mature man and a pregnant woman, their skeletons encased in hardened arteries and veins made of beeswax, iron wire, and silk. Tickets can be purchased on site, but if you want to avoid a long wait, book online well in advance.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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4. Pompeii Archaeological Park, Pompeii

Pompeii Archaeological Park, a World Heritage site, was once a thriving Roman city. The famous cataclysmic eruption of the nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE destroyed it, as well as nearby Herculaneum, Stabiae, Oplontis and part of Boscoreale. When the volcano erupted, the entire settlement was covered with a deep layer of ash. Nearly 3,000 people died that day, and the ash quickly settled, preserving the city in almost its original state. Today, this is an open-air museum of the everyday life as it must have been when the ancient Roman civilization flourished here. Among the thousands of objects perfectly preserved by ash are ceramic pots, jewelry, furniture, and frescoes.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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5. Underground Naples

See the other side (literally) of the city with Underground Naples, offering a chance to tour a place some 40 m (130 ft) below the historic center of Naples. This secret, underground city remains a world apart from what you see above ground--a network of tunnels, Greco-Roman aqueducts, and air raid shelters from World War II. The tour takes you on a journey through history and provides a look at the city's turbulent past, from the ancient until the modern times. Most of the passages you'll see during the evocative tour were originally cut by ancient Greeks, who extracted tufa stone from this site. Part of your excursion will take place by candlelight and will lead through some very narrow passages--keep that in mind if you don't like tight, dark spaces.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Lungomare Caracciolo

Take a walk or drive along Lungomare Caracciolo, a long seafront promenade lined with renowned hotels, restaurants, and shops. Along the promenade are numerous spots where you can stop, rest, and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding hills and distant Vesuvius. This popular waterfront road was named after Francesco Caracciolo, a hero of the Neapolitan Republic who was hanged and then thrown into the bay on the orders of Horatio Nelson, a famed admiral of the British Royal Navy. The promenade was built between 1869 and 1880, and is separated from the sea only by a few artificial reefs, which have replaced ancient beaches that once lined the bay. The road is open to motor vehicles in both directions, with an adjacent bike path on the sea side.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Cloister of Santa Chiara

Constructed in 1310 as a burial site, Cloister of Santa Chiara shares Neapolitan religious and artistic history. Explore the Gothic-style basilica and its ten chapels. Destroyed during World War II, the basilica was restored in the 1950s. Examine the intricate designs and grand decorations of the royal tomb. Admire the mosaics, fresco remnants, and Renaissance-era statues throughout. The museum features artifacts from the monastery as well as details about the complex's origins.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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8. Via San Gregorio Armeno

Explore one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Naples at Via San Gregorio Armeno. Built in the 10th century atop the remains of a Roman temple, the church and monastery complex features a single nave with five adjoining side arcades. It is well-known for its collection of fine art and 16th-century decor. Walk through the center nave with its high ceilings and ornate gold detailing. Visit the Idria Chapel to admire the 18-piece series of paintings depicting the life of Mary by Paolo de Matteis. If the weather is nice, you can rest outside in the main cloister.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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9. Catacombe di San Gennaro

With the tombs of saints and commoners dating from the second century, Catacombe di San Gennaro is one of Naples' most important Christian site. As you walk the hallways of the catacombs, you'll view the resting places of famous Neapolitan figures, including St. Januarius (San Gennaro), who was interred in the fifth century. Explore the rooms and niches carved out of the solid stone. Admire frescoes, mosaics, and portraits--some nearly 2,000 years old. Notice the differences between the tombs of the different social classes, ranging from simple stone shelves to dedicated areas within the grand basilica. You can book a guided tour online.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Il Sentiero Degli Dei, Positano

Enjoy fabulous views of the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri along Il Sentiero Degli Dei, a scenic footpath on the slopes of Monte Peruso. Linking the tiny hilltop town of Agerola with Nocelle, this 7 km (4.3 mi) path is considered challenging but offers many viewing points with wooden benches and chairs for picnicking--ideal spots for taking a rest.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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11. Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte

The 18th century Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte offers an extensive collection of Neapolitan art set within a grand palace. Before entering, wander through the park surrounding the building. This was once a forested hunting ground for Naples' Bourbon rulers. Inside, marvel at paintings and other pieces dating from the 13th century--perhaps the richest collection of Neapolitan School artworks in the world. Try to book your tour ahead of time, because tickets sell out quickly.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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12. Duomo di Napoli

Completed in the 14th century, Duomo di Napoli was built on the foundation of two palaeo-Christian basilicas, traces of which can still be seen today. When you visit this Catholic cathedral, be sure to look for the fourth-century mosaics. The grand Royal Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro contains famous frescoes by Domenichino and a reliquary by 14th-century French masters. Those of a squeamish disposition should skip the caskets of human bones. The cathedral operates a strictly modest dress code.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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13. Parco Acheologico di Ercolano, Ercolano

Just a 30-minute train ride from Naples, Parco Acheologico di Ercolano is the site of an ancient settlement frozen in time when the nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in the year 79, also destroying nearby Pompeii, Stabiae, Oplontis, and part of Boscoreale. Allegedly founded by Hercules, this city was once a renowned seaside resort where some of the richest Romans spent their summer vacations. The wealthy city's streets were lined with elegant private houses and public buildings, many covered in marble. This ancient site is one of the few places in the world that can be seen in almost its original condition, because a deep layer of hot mud buried it deeply enough to preserve even the upper stories of buildings. The hot ash conserved thousands of everyday household objects, including beds, doors, and even food. Today, this World Heritage site offers modern visitors a chance to see how ordinary people lived nearly 2 millennia ago. Tickets can be purchased in advance by phone or online.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Castel Nuovo - Maschio Angioino

Castel Nuovo - Maschio Angioino is a medieval castle near the sea with iconic architecture. Many visitors claim the outside view is the most impressive, so be sure to stop for photos. Once inside, you can find a 15th-century bronze door with a cannonball embedded in it, historical artwork, and other antiquities. Also look for the glass-floored room that looks down into the catacombs, which house some unearthed skeletons. English translations are not typically offered, so consider hiring a guide before you go.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Food Tours, Sorrento

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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