9 day-trips out of Naples

Naples with Mt Vesuvius in teh background

In addition to offering a lot in terms of art, history, culture, gastronomy and folklore, Naples also has many places to see in the surroundings that can be easily visited in a day.

 

Here are my tips to make the most of the beautiful surroundings of the Neapolitan city.

Amalfi Coast in a convertible car

The road is one of the most beautiful in the world. A sinuous ribbon of asphalt that winds along the side of the mountain from Vietri to the Sorrento Peninsula, passing through Amalfi and Positano. It is the Amalfi state road 163, which in 2009 was included among the 50 most beautiful roads in the world by National Geographic Traveler.

 

Yes, because the coast and the road that crosses it has always been an obligatory stop for those “on the road” travelers in search of breathtaking views.

 

Defined as a succession of “steep cliffs, pastel-colored villages, sudden curves and lush gardens”, the Amalfi Coast is a favorite road also for its unique combination of nature, romance and folklore.

 

How to do it: take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento and have your convertible car delivered at the station as soon as you arrive from sorrentocarrent.com

Amalfi Coast convertible car
Amalfi Coast convertible car

The Royal Palace of Caserta

Reachable within a day from Naples, the Royal Palace of Caserta is the largest royal residence in Europe and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage.

 

Designed by Luigi Vanvitelli at the request of King Charles of Bourbon (1716-1788), its construction began in January 1752 but the works were only finished in the following century, after the death of the architect, by his son Carlo.

 

The Royal Palace extends over an area of ​​about 47 thousand square metres for a height of 5 floors and, in addition to the royal apartments, it contains the Palatine Chapel which is planimetrically similar to the Chapel of the Palace of Versailles.

 

Behind the Palace extends for 3 kilometers the Royal Park with its Via dell’Acqua – through which a long series of fountains flows – which connects the Italian garden to the English garden. The park’s fountains are fed by the Carolino Aqueduct, which was inaugurated in 1762 by King Ferdinand IV. This work, which draws water 41 km away, is, for the most part, made up of tunnels and viaducts.

 

How to do it: regular trains depart from Naples rail station and it’s only a 20-minute journey. The Royal Palace is a 5-minute walk from the station. Check out the Trenitalia website for the Reggia Express, an historic train operating on selected weekends.

The Royal Palace of Caserta
The Royal Palace of Caserta

The Islands of the Gulf of Naples

One of the most exclusive tourist destination in Italy, Capri is just a short ferry ride across the bay.

 

The two main centers of the island (Anacapri and Capri) connected by a funicular, the villas of the Emperor Tiberius, the Faraglioni and the wonderful Blue Grotto make it the essential stop on a trip to the Bay of Naples.

 

But the charm of the island lies above all in the myth of which Capri is cloaked: even an aperitif in the square is enough to feel in a film – one of those shot by the many directors who have chosen it as a set – or by following the steps of Jackie Kennedy, who loved walking here without bodyguards but escorted by “her” photographer Settimio Garritano, who left unforgettable shots of those stays.

 

Also not to be missed is Ischia, the main among the Flegrean islands, also called Green Island for the color of its tuff rocks and famous for the wealth of its thermal springs and well-equipped wellness centers.

 

But if you are looking for an unaltered Mediterranean nature and a less worldly stay, you have to go to Procida, the island of Arturo from the famous novel by Elsa Morante: the smallest and least known of the Neapolitan islands is the ideal destination in every season for those who want spend a day away from the beaten track.

 

How to do it: regular fast hydrofoils leave every hour from the Porto Beverello, the ferry is slower but it allows to sit out outside and admire the Bay of Naples in all its glory.

The port of Procida
The port of Procida

One day at the Roman Baths of Baia in Bacoli: a jewel a stone's throw from the sea

If you are in Naples for a few days and you want to visit places a little less known but, no less fascinating, the Archaeological Park of the Baths of Baia in Bacoli is the one for you. Visiting the Terme di Baia is a truly unique experience. On one side there are the remains of the ancient Roman baths and on the other, Bacoli and the sea.

 

Its location, a real corner of paradise, made it the most exclusive summer destination for the Roman patricians. Visiting, it means immersing yourself in ancient history and imagining Baia at its origins. A land in a state of primordial beauty, with only the thermal baths, some Roman villas in the surroundings surrounded only by the sea and the green hills of Mediterranean scrub.

 

How to do it: reaching Bacoli is not that difficult, you can take the Cumana trains directly from the centre of Naples (Montesanto) and get off at the Fusaro stop. From there you can reach the thermal baths, walking for about 800 meters. The cost of the entrance ticket is € 4.

 

However, it is possible to buy a combined ticket of 8 €, valid for two days, which also allows you to visit the other sites of the Archaeological Park of the Phlegraean Fields. The latter includes the Flavian Amphitheatre of Pozzuoli, the Archaeological Park of Cuma and the Archaeological Museum of the Phlegraean Fields located in the Castle of Baia.

 

Down in Depth Experience – The Sunken City of Baia

The Rione Terra: An Underground Adventure

Roman Pozzuoli

Archaeological Park of the Baths of Baia
Archaeological Park of the Baths of Baia

Pompeii, Herculaneum and Mt Vesuvius

Many would like to visit both archaeological sites, perhaps on the same day. True, Herculaneum and Pompeii are both worth a visit, but unless you are great experts or archeology enthusiasts, a visit to just one of these sites will suffice to give you a precise idea of ​​what a Roman city was like just before the year zero. Visiting both locations can be very demanding, both in terms of time and kilometers to be covered on foot, perhaps under the sun.

 

My advice, therefore, is to choose only one of the Roman cities and instead dedicate the rest of the day to visiting the crater of Vesuvius.

 

How to do it: Pompeii and Herculaneum are both on the Circurcumvesuviana trains from Naples while the bus for Mt Vesuvius leaves from Pompeii.

 

How to visit Mount Vesuvius independently

Herculaneum and Pompeii

Path to Mt Vesuvius
Path to Mt Vesuvius