Walking in Naples is an experience of its own! You can see so many things while wandering around on those tiny streets. Naples is a bit grotesque. It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time, but even if you’re in the worse neighborhood in the city, these narrow, cobblestoned, colorful streets have their own charm and magic that’s making it so special and beautiful.
I’m not going to lie to you, my Italian friends were trying to dissuade me the most about visiting Naples! They did manage to keep me away for two years, but then in 2018, I decided not to listen to them and visit it. They kept saying how unsafe and dirty it is, but I just wanted to see it for myself! And what a great decision that was!
I honestly loved this city. I was worried a little bit about my safety, to be honest, but nothing bad happened and I really enjoyed every moment. And the food… The food is just amazing!
Now here are my 8 favorite free things you can see in Naples!
1. Via San Gregorio Armeno
For some real Neapolitan vibes, it’s really worth trying to get lost downtown on the narrow streets. There are interesting things to discover in places you’d never think about. The Via San Gregorio Armeno is the street where you want to go for a street full of shops, boutiques, and workshops.
2. Castel Sant’Elmo
The Castel Sant’Elmo is a medieval fortress located on a hilltop near the Certosa di San Martino. This place is offering one of the greatest views above Naples towards the Vesuv volcano. Besides the view, it features a museum, exhibition hall, and some administrative offices of Naples. You can climb up there, but you also have public transport available. – This was the view from my b&b. If you want to see where to stay in Naples, continue reading!
3. Via dei Tribunali
The colorful, noisy streets of Naples are a great way to explore and see how life really is over there. It’s however suggested to watch out for pickpocketers and not to wander around by yourself on these streets during the night. Just to be safe. On Via dei Tribunali are some great take away pizzerias and shops.
4. Port of Naples
The Port of Naples is one of the largest ports in Italy and also one of the largest seaports in the Mediterranean. It’s near the center of Naples, so it’s really easy to walk down there or back. For the view itself, it’s great to walk by it. If you’re looking for the easiest and possibly cheapest way to get to Capri, along the Amalfi Coast or Sorrento, the Ferry boats are the best to pick. Just check online for the Ferry boat terminals.
The port of Naples is another unique experience, especially if you took the taxi to get there. It’s very tricky to take taxis in Naples, if you’re not asking the necessary questions, you’ll be easily overcharged. Before you get in the cab ask the driver for how much would he take you, so you know from the first second what you’re getting into! About the port itself, the first and most memorable thing I can say is that I got lost trying to find my ferry boat last minute.
5. Castel dell’Ovo
One of the free things to do in Naples is visiting the Castel dell’Ovo. It’s the oldest castle in Naples, built by the Normans in the 12th century. The belief says that the Roman poet called Virgil placed a magical egg in the foundation of the castle. When the egg breaks, so will the castle, so will Naples. Walking up on the ramparts will reward you with a beautiful view of Naples and the Vezuv volcano. Castel dell’Ovo means egg castle by the way.
6. Via Toledo
I’ve been staying on Via Toledo with a balcony and view to the street. Via Toledo is basically a shopping street, with international and Italian brands, cafes, restaurants and pasticceria’s (pastry shops). It’s crossing the whole center leading straight down to the sea and the Piazza del Plebiscito, that we’ll discuss further down. What I loved the most when on a warm summer night I’ve been sitting on the balcony, watching the Neopolitan noisy life on the streets. The funniest part was when I realized that on the other side the old ladies were doing the same from their balconies… Well, what can I say?
7. Piazza Gesù Nuovo
This piazza is one of the most famous squares in the historic center of Naples. It was once the western entrance of the city, and it was transformed in the 16th century to kind of how it looks today. Three things you’ll find here: the Church of Gesù Nuovo, the Church of Santa Chiara and, the spire of the Immaculate Virgin in the center.
8. Piazza del Plebiscito
Piazza del Plebescito is the largest square in Naples, also one of the MUST things to see in Naples. Whichever way you look, the view is show-stopping. You can see on the northwest side the vine-covered slopes that lead up to Castel Sant’Elmo. On the east side, the Palazzo Reale shows off its oldest facade. And to the west stands Pietro Banchini’s neoclassical Basilica di San Francesco di Paola, which is the facsimile of the Pantheon in Rome. The road through the piazza leads you down to the seaside with the Castel dell’Ovo on the right, the port on the left. Make sure you check also the best restaurants in Naples Italy!
Where to stay in Naples?
I’ve already mentioned that I’ve been staying on Via Toledo. One of the safest and coolest streets in the historic center. This lovely b&b is called:
Salotto Borbonico (9.4 ratings on booking.com)
One of the many reasons I loved this place is because its location. It’s in the center, and the center of the center, so it’s great. If you remember my picture of Castel Sant’Elmo and Via Toledo, I took them from the balcony of my room! The prices are absolutely reasonable to the service level, and very cheap considering the view! Have a look at the link! Also, we’ve got a full list of the best places to stay in Naples!
When I visited Naples, I was most worried about my safety. Because of this, I wanted to discuss the topic a little bit, so if you want to know more, head to the article linked below!