Hostelworld Guide for Naples

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Naples is like an amalgamation of various Italian cities - it has the attitude of Milan, the sights of Rome, the passion of Venice and the culinary delights of Florence. It is noisy and slightly intimidating, but it is equally intriguing and extremely engaging. Plus it boasts one of the most spectacular settings in Italy, overlooking the Bay of Naples. Many who stop here only do so for a number of hours before going further south to Capri or Sorrento, as Naples is the gateway to both destinations. But if you are travelling to Naples, spend a day or two here before shooting off. You won't regret it.

 

 

In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop






 The Essentials


 Climate


Getting There

By plane: Naples' Capodichino Airport is 8km from the city centre. The 'Alibus' connects it with the city centre, stopping at Piazza Garibaldi in front of the train station and at Piazza Municipio by the port.

By train: Trains from other parts of Italy terminate in Stazione Napoli Centrale at Piazza Garibaldi.

By bus: Buses travelling to Naples from other Italian cities terminate at Piazza Garibaldi in front of the train station.

Getting Around

By metro: There are two underground lines operating across the city centre from Piazza Garibaldi to Mergellina on the other side of the city. They also go to the city's outskirts.

By tram: Of all the trams operating in Naples, there are two that are of most use to tourists - #1 which runs from Stazione Centrale along the waterfront to Piazza Vittoria and #29 from Piazza Garibaldi to the city centre down Corso G Garibaldi.

By bus/funicular: Naples' buses are always busy and, as they are difficult to figure out, you probably won't use them during your stay. The funiculars connect the city centre with Vomero, the neighbourhood in the hills in the west of the city.

 Useful phrases

Hello: Ciao / Bonjourno
Goodbye: Ciao / Arrivederci
Please: Per Favore
Thank you: Grazie
You're welcome: Prego
Yes: Si
No: No
Of course: Certamente
Excuse me: Scusa
How are you?: Come stai?
Open: Aperto
Closed: Chiuso
What is your name?: Come ti chiami?
My name is...: Mi chiamo...
How much?: Quanto costa?
The bill please?: Il conto per favore.


Naples enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The summer months are extremely hot and dry, with temperatures sometimes soaring above 35°C. It gets considerably cooler during winter months, with an average temperature of 10°C. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to visit.

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 Good to know...

Language: Italian
Currency: Euro
Electricity: 220 Volts, AC/50Hz, 2-pin plug
Area Code: +39 (Italy), 081 (Naples)
Emergency Codes: Ambulance 118 / Fire 115 / Police 112/113
Time Zone: Central European Time
Central Post Office: Piazza G Matteotti, just off Via Armando Diaz
Main Tourist Office: Piazza del Gesú Nuovo

Consulates

USA: +39 (0)81 583 8111
UK: +39 (0)81 423 8911
Canada: +39 (0)81 401 338
Australia: +39 (0)6 852 721*
South Africa: +39 (0)81 552 5835
Ireland: +39 (0)6 697 9121*
Germany: +39 (0)81 248 8511
China: +39 (0)6 841 3458*
Spain: +39 (0)6 684 0401*
France: +39 (0)6 686 011*
New Zealand: +39 (0)6 853 7501*

*Embassy in Rome

 
Hostelworld Guide for Naples www.hostelworld.com

 Cheap Eats


 After Dark


A Taverna do Ré, Via Fondo Supportico di Separazione, Piazza Municipio 2/3 Given the fact that this osteria/pizzeria enjoys a location across from Castel Nuovo, you would expect its prices to be higher. But €10 here will get you a carafe of wine and pizza or pasta in extremely pleasant surroundings. Open daily from 12.30pm-midnight.

 And then there was pizza...

There are many variations of pizza, but Naples is the city that gave birth to the famous Italian speciality. Neapolitans take their pizza very seriously, and only restaurants that display the 'Vera Pizza' sign should be trusted - these pizzerias make their pizzas the traditional way. Naturally, most places offer lots of types, but don't leave the city without tasting an authentic Neapolitan Margherita.

Da Michele, Via Cesare Sersale 1 Of all the pizzerias in Naples, and there are many, Da Michele is arguably the city's best known. Deciding what pizza you want won't take long; there are only two to choose from - 'margherita' and 'marinara'. Whichever one you go for, treat yourself to extra mozzarella. Open Mon-Sat from 11am-11pm.

Sorbillo, Via Tribunali 32 Opened in 1935, Sorbillo battles it out with many other pizzerias for the coveted title of 'best pizza in Naples'. Here there are numerous pizzas, all as mouth-watering as the other. It can be extremely busy, particularly around lunch time, so be prepared to wait for a table. Open Mon to Sat 12 noon-3.30pm & 7pm-midnight.

Gelateria della Scimmia, Piazza Carità 4 Due to its southerly location, it can get quite hot in Naples, making an ice-cream the perfect remedy when you begin to get too warm. There are 'gelaterie' all over the city, but this one off the bustling Via Toledo is the best and most famous in the city. Open daily from 8.30am-11pm (until midnight Fri & Sat).


Aret' A Palm, Piazza Santa Maria La Nova This small, dark bar on one of Naples' busiest squares is a popular hangout with locals and students. Most converge on the square itself, but step inside and the friendly barman will do his best to strike up a conversation with you in his best broken English. Open daily from 6.30pm-2.30am.

Superfly, Via Cisterna dell'Olio 12 Like other bars on the lively Via Cisterna dell'Olio, Superfly is small and can get packed in minutes. When this happens the crowd spills out on to the street. A jazz bar with an upbeat atmosphere, its only downfall is that it closes for some summer months. Open daily from 7pm-2.30am/4am at weekends; closed mid June-mid Sept.

 Gay / Lesbian Naples

Naples' gay activity isn't as open as in its European counterparts, but there are still a number of gay bars and clubs around. Letterario IntraMoenia (Piazza Bellini 70) attracts a very mixed clientele. New Age (Via Atri 36) attracts a gay/lesbian crowd, while the city's only exclusively gay venue is Bar B (Via Giuseppe Manna 14).

Madison Street, Via Sgambati 47 Packed to the rafters every single weekend, Madison Street is Naples' biggest nightclub. The chart and dance music from the speakers keeps the soles of the Neapolitans glued to the floor. If you venture in you may feel your shoes become a little bit sticky too. Open Tues & Thurs-Sat from 10pm-4am.

Botany's, Via A. Manzoni, 216 If you're looking for a hotspot with good drinks, good people and good music, you could definitely do worse than Botany's. It attracts hippies, trendsetters and everyone in between. Open daily from 4pm-2am

Bar Lazzarella, Calata Trinita Maggiore 7-8 Another small bar in the popular Piazza del Gesù Nuovo area, this hangout is popular with students. Thanks to its location connecting the piazza with Via Monteoliveto, it's a great place to people watch. Open daily from 4pm-2am.

Enoteca Belledonne, Vico Belledonne a Chiaia 18 Just like Italy is a great place to sample good ice cream, it's just as good a place to sample good wine. This wine bar in Naples' trendy Chiaia district is one of the nicest wine bars in the city. Open daily from 10am-2pm & 6pm-midnight.


 Don't Miss


 Mark Your Calendar


Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Piazza Museo, 19 Built in the 17th century, this is Naples' best-known museum and home to innumerable archaeological arterfacts. Here you will find one of the world's best collections of Roman, Greek and Egyptian relics. It also houses paintings and frescoes from Pompeii. Open Wed-Mon from 9am-8pm; admission €6.50.

Naples' Catacombs Three of Italy's best preserved catacombs can be found in Naples - Catacomba di San Gaudioso, Catacomba di San Severo and Catacomba di San Gennaro, the best-known of the three. All are equally macabre and different from any other attraction in the city. Opening times and admission prices vary.

Mount Vesuvius Visible from almost anywhere in Naples, Mount Vesuvius looms over the city, reminding the Neapolitans of what could happen one day. Even though it hasn't erupted in over 100 years, that one fateful eruption in 79AD that buried Pompeii is arguably the best-known eruption of all time. Check with tour operators for details of day trips.

 A city in ruins

Pompeii Victim of probably the most famous volcano eruption ever, Pompeii has to be seen to be believed. As you wander around the streets of the ancient city, it is hard to fathom that it was once completely buried. Highlights of Italy's number one tourist attraction include Teatro Grande and Anfiteatro. Open daily from 8.30am-5pm/7pm; admission €11.

Piazza del Plebiscito This imposing piazza on the fringe of the Chiaia district is Naples' most impressive square. It got its name from the 'plebiscite' (vote) taken in 1860 that made the city part of the Kingdom of Italy. It is bordered on one side by the Royal Palace and the other by the Church of San Francesco di Paola.


March/April - Settimana Santa Each Easter in Naples and its nearby towns, a series of processions and 'passion plays' (plays depicting the death of Christ) mark the holidays.

May - Festa di San Gennaro Every year a number of celebrations mark the life of San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples. The city's Duomo is where most celebrations take place while there is also a procession where a statue of the saint is marched through the city.

May - Three Gulfs Cup Each year many of the world's most breathtaking boats sail into Naples for the annual Three Gulfs Cup. The race starts in Naples and ends in Capri.

May - May of Monuments For the month of May a host of concerts, dance performances and more are staged throughout the city. Many of the city's museums and monuments are free for the month also.

June - Cornetto Free Music Festival In the past this popular music festival has attracted names such as Sting, the Black Eyed Peas and Beck to Italy for free concerts. Always held on a Sunday, they take place in Piazza del Plebiscito.

July - Neapolis Festival Held down at Naples' Arenile di Bagnoli, the annual 2-day Neapolis Festival is one of Italy's biggest music festivals. Each year a mix of Italian and international acts entertain thousands.

September - Pizzafest This annual festival dedicated to everything pizza fills the Neapolitan air with the smell of pizza for ten days. The event leads into the year's second Festa di San Gennaro.

September & December - Festa di San Gennaro The feast celebrating Naples' patron saint takes place again in September and for a third and final time on December 16th.

December - Christmas in Naples The Chiaia district is the centre for Naples' Christmas celebrations every year. From mid-December on the city hosts Christmas markets, concerts and more.

December - Capodanno Thousands converge on Naples' Piazza del Plebiscito for Capodanno (New Year's Eve) every year. The evening begins with a concert and ends with a fireworks display.

 
Hostelworld Guide for Naples www.hostelworld.com

 Neighbourhood Watch


 Retail Therapy


Centro Storico Like all 'old towns' in Central Europe, Naples' historical centre is pleasant to stroll around and extremely appealing to the visitor. It is also home to many of the city's main attractions, and in particular its churches. Il Duomo and Chiesa del Gesù Novo can both be found here.

 The hills have eyes

Vomero This part of town is worth visiting if only for one thing - the views you are rewarded with over the Bay of Naples when you arrive. Accessible via the city's funiculars, it is also home to attractions such as Castel Sant Elmo and the Certosa di San Martino. And if you feel like an espresso when you're up there, look no further than Piazza Vanvitelli.

Chiaia If your visions of Naples are of smoggy streets awash with people getting mugged and others selling knock-off goods, Chiaia will erase those thoughts in seconds. Its main thoroughfare Via Chiaia has shops filled with the latest designer gear, while many of the city's chicest bars and clubs can be found here too.

Mercato Mercato will most likely be the part of Naples you are first greeted with, as this is where the city's central train station is located. Its boulevard Corso Garibaldi, which stretches from Stazione Centrale to the port, can be a shock to the senses upon first arrival. Mercato is also where you will find one of the city's best known markets in Piazza Nolano (see 'Retail Therapy').

Quartieri Spagnoli If there was one area which could be blamed for giving Naples the bad name that it has, it could be Quartieri Spagnoli, or 'Spanish Quarter'. Located just west of Via Toledo, it is one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in Europe. Why am I informing you of the city's most dangerous district? Because it is just as famous as any in Europe...


Via Toledo Overrun with shoppers every weekend, if you have a lot of patience when it comes to shopping then you have to hop from store to store on Via Toledo. You could easily spend a whole day there, treating yourself to anything from a new pair of trainers to a spanking new suit! The neighbouring 'La Pignasecca' market on Via La Pignasecca is great for bargain hunting also.

Via Chiaia Chiaia's main street is where you will find Naples' swishest stores. Unsurprisingly, they are usually frequented by the city's swishest people. Pedestrianised and never too packed, Via Chiaia is also lined with a number of restaurants and cafés making it the perfect place for people watching.

 A classy place to shop

Galleria Umberto I, Via San Carol Built as part of an urban renewal scheme after a cholera epidemic in 1885, Naples' busy Galleria Umberto I is one of the city's most beautiful buildings thanks to its glass and iron roof and mosaic floor. This makes it worth a visit whether you are planning on treating yourself to a gift or not. Centre open 24 hours daily; shop times vary.

Mercato di Porta Nolana Always lively and always busy, Mercato di Porta Nolana is a real feast for the senses. Primarily a food market, a lot of the stalls here have tables full of fresh fruit, meat and, in particular, fish. But there are other stalls that sell clothes so pop down and you might pick up a bargain. Open daily from 8am-6pm.

Via Tribunali Home to two of Naples' best-loved pizzerias and a number of the city's churches, Via Tribunali in the heart of Naples' Centro Storico is also a great place to shop. This narrow street has shops aimed at tourists filled with the usual titbits along with those for the locals, specialising in everything from baby clothes to picture frames.


 Budget Tips


 A Day in Naples...


Visit Castel dell'Ovo Built in the 12th century by the Normans, Castel dell'Ovo's role as a fortress dwindled after Castel Nuovo was built a century later. After that it became the seat of the Royal Chamber and of the State Treasury. Today you can walk to the top of the castle where canons face the city. Open Mon-Fri from 9am-6pm, Sat & Sun from 9am-1pm; admission free.

 Statue Park

Chill out in Villa Communale Overlooking the Bay of Naples is Villa Communale, the city's most famous park. While it isn't the biggest park in the world, it is where you will find a series of statues, some very famous within Naples. Inaugurated in 1871, it is also home to the city's aquarium. Open daily from 7am-midnight; admission free.

Catch some rays Naples is a city that boasts a lot of sunshine. It is located in the south of Italy after all. Thus, if your funds are running low, or you fancy doing nothing else but lying in the sun for a couple of hours, take it easy and enjoy some sunshine on Naples' beach. Located in front of Villa Communale, it attracts large crowds at the weekend.

Visit Naples' churches Many of Naples' most beautiful buildings are its churches and entrance to most is free. This includes Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo with its unique façade, Chiesa di Sant'Anna dei Lombardi, famous for its Renaissance art, and the city's celebrated cathedral, Il Duomo.

Go to Naples' aquarium Founded in 1877, Stazione Zoologica in Villa Comunale is home to Europe's oldest aquarium. It is an important research centre for marine life and inside you can see hundreds of species found in the Bay of Naples. Open Mon-Sat 9.30am-7pm/5pm, until 2pm on Sundays; admission €1.50.


Begin the day with an espresso in Naples' best-known café 'Gambrinus'. It is said the espresso was invented here. Watch life go by on Piazza del Plebiscito and Via Chiaia.

After breakfast, take the funicular from the bottom of Via Toledo to the Vomero district for unforgettable views over the city.

There are many places that compete for the title of 'best pizza in Naples', but it is hard to beat the pizza in Sorbillo on Via Tribunali. They have loads of types to choose from.

Located at the top of Via Toledo, Museo Archeologico Nazionale houses one of the world's best archaeological collections. Take a couple of hours to wander its hallways.

Take a stroll down Via Chiaia, the pedestrianised street in a suburb of the same name. If you want to splash out on a new item of clothing, this is a good place to do it.

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Follow Via Chiaia down through Piazza dei Martiri before reaching Villa Comunale. Take a leisurely stroll through Naples' best-known park.

Enjoy a meal in 'A Taverna do Ré', a great restaurant with a great location across from Castel Nuovo. Try some pizza or pasta...or both!

Take the short stroll to Piazza Santa Maria La Nova, one of the hippest squares in the city. Down a beer or two in the company of the city's students.

Finish the day off dancing the night away in one of the city centre's many nightclubs. There are many in Naples but Madison Street on Via Sgambati is the city's biggest.

 
Hostelworld Guide for Naples www.hostelworld.com