The city by the Bay, and it's volatile population of whom many live in overcrowded and poverty stricken areas of the city do not make good publicity for the city of Naples. And certainly, Naples is a city that does not conjure up the magic of Rome or Venice in a glance. It's a city that needs to be explored and understood before one can truly begin to delight in the uniqueness of its people and the folklore that make the city of Naples so different from the other Italian cities.
Naples is the ideal base to explore the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, & the Phlegrean Fields. As well as the Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast. The city itself also boasts the very impressive National Museum of archaeology where you'll find many of the important remains from Pompeii. Naples also boasts probably the best of Italian cuisine which is no minor feat, and you'll find the restaurants and trattoria's offer the best value to diners of all major Italian cities.
For American's visiting the Spaccanapoli area of the city, you'll get an idea of how many inner-cities use to look like in your home country as you navigate a labyrinth of narrow alleys with lines of laundry stretched from one edifice to another above your head.
A tourist in Naples has to take more precautions than a tourist in Rome or other parts of Italy. Valuables and passport should be left at your hotel or in a safe place. In Naples, you need a sense of humour and patience to handle the never ending play of the Neapolitans as they go about their daily lives. There are no half-measures, every emotion seems to centre around the pain or pleasure of that particular moment.
Naples is a city where you probably have to be more aware of your own personal security. In most Italian cities the biggest danger is a pick-pocket. In Naples, serious crime is a serious probems. Gangland warfare between various clans left over a 100 victims in 2005, and there are still frequent sporadic acts of violence that leave the rest of Italy speechless. Most of the crime is limited to the suburbs of the city, but when exploring Naples on foot always make sure you take the well-trodden path and avoid in particular the Spaccanapoli area after nightfall.
A little preparation can go along way in Naples. You should consider taking a city tour of Naples with a local expert guide to get a thorough introduction to the city through which you can make the most of your stay in the city of the bay. The more information you have on the city, the more as a tourist you can enjoy the city by the bay.
How to get to and from Naples
You can arrive in Naples by bus, train, air or by road. Most tourists arrive in Naples from Rome on either a day excursion or en route to discover other parts of Campania. If your primary destination is Naples try to avoid driving unless your hotel as parking. Naples is only a two to three-hour drive from Rome, but finding parking can be a nightmare, and if you accidentally enter certain parts of the city in a car you could spend a life-time trying to get back out again. Especially if your hotel is located around the Spaccanapoli area of the city.
Train is probably the best way of arriving into Naples, especially from Rome. The Stazione Centrale is the major hub for trains heading south from Rome. Try to avoid using night trains starting or finishing in Naples, as there have been many nightmare stories about insect-infested sleepers where passengers have been awaken by all-manner of insects crawling all over them. Best to use day trains, especially the High-Speed Freccia Rossa trains that guarantees a certain level of hygiene.
In front of the main railway station at Piazza Garibaldi you'll find the buses operating as far away as Germany, although you also find domestic services to cities like Bari and other parts of the South of Italy. For local buses to Pompeii and other nearby destinations you need to go to Via Pisanelli which is located near the town hall of Naples.
The Capodichino Airport is located five-kilometres from Naples and is southern Italy's major airport. Alitalia, British Airways and many low-cost airlines fly into the airport, and if you are travelling further south you might want to consider flying to avoid possible delays and the discomforts of travelling within an infrastructure that has been abandoned by central government. To get to and from the airport you can use the # 14 bus which operates from the Stazione Central approximately every 30 minutes.
For those heading to the Amalfi Coast or further a field we can assist you with transfers to & from the Capodichino Airport. For the Amalfi Coast consider one of our transfer tours that would include a guided tour of Pompeii en route to your hotel from Naples airport.
Transportation in Naples
The city of Naples is built into a natural amphitheatre facing the crystal blue waters of the Bay of Naples. Within the centre of the city there are many hills that can be visited by using Funicular railways, as well as for travelling down to the waterfront. Don't think about driving around by yourself by car or moped unless you want to encounter all the Italian car-driving stereotypes in the form of the passionate Neapoltan drivers and their rather unique hand gestures.
The Stazione Centrale, the main railway station of Naples acts as the hub for bus transportation around the city. The #14 Bus which operates every 30-minutes connects the centre of Naploi with the Capodichino airport. The # 110 connects the railway station with the national archaeological museum, and the #R3 connects the city centre with the Riviera di Chiaia.
Trams are also used for transportation in the city of Naples, and the #1 or #1B operates from the railway station along via Garibaldi to the Riviera di Chiaia. You'll find taxi stands through-out the city, take note that taxi drivers will probably ignore you if you try to flag them down when they're driving. So either find a taxi stand or telephone ahead of time to reserve their services.
Using Naples as your base, you might consider using boats to travel further a field. Ferries and Hydrofoils depart from Naples to Capri, Sorrento, Ischia and other destinations on the Bay of Naples. These services depart from the Molo Beverello which is located near the Castel Nuovo. Another point of departure is Mergellina where you'll find regular services to the Islands.