Is Naples Safe? If you are traveling to Naples soon, and especially solo, you have probably been wondering.
Naples is a beautiful Italian city with a real Italian feel. But it does have a bad reputation. Even Conde Nast Traveler stated in an article that “its gritty image keeps many visitors away.” Indeed, it does have a reputation as a hotbed of crime.
To be fair, it’s one of Italy’s biggest cities, and like many cities it has the same problems that come with that: mugging, pickpocketing, and violent crime. More uniquely to Naples is the Camorra, the 400-year-old Neapolitan Mafia, which has historically caused problems for the local populace and government.
Until around the 2010s, the Camorra were more active, but the city remains something of a stronghold for the group, with large-scale arrests made in recent years. However, it isn’t particularly something that would affect tourists that much anyway.
But sadly Naples does still have a bad image as a hotbed of crime. However, the city is safe for tourists – or at least as safe as any other well-trodden tourist destinations. Visitors should have a hassle free time enjoying everything that Naples has to offer, soaking up the life and energy of the city.
Curious to find out more? Continue reading, let me answer your question “is Naples safe?” and share a few useful safety tips.
Is Naples Safe?
Naples is a fantastic place to base yourself in Italy. You can use it as a jumping off point to explore nearby Pompeii and Herculaneum, head out on road trips, or simply stay put and indulge in the local food scene.
While most visits to Naples are trouble free, the city is certainly not without crime. However, it’s almost certainly the Camorra or Mafia that make the headlines rather than rampant crime itself. A report in 2009 suggested that the Camorra still had a powerful hold over the city. Though still active, they are much less prevalent than they used to be.
The existence of the Camorra may affect people’s view of the city, but the threat of crime in general isn’t necessarily greater than any other city in Italy. On a province-wide survey of crime in Italy in October 2021, Naples comes in quite low, with Milan topping the list; even Florence, Rome, and Turin rank higher than Naples in terms of its crime. According to this data, Naples registers 3,581.5 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants for the year 2020, Florence has 4,277.3 per 100,000 and Milan was first with 4,866.3.
The same report mentions mafia-related crimes in Campania, the region including Naples. Though the number of mafia associations have declined, there are still related organizations that exist. In 2019, the southern region of Campania – not Naples, which is somewhat in the middle – reported the largest number of crime associations. Only ninety-three crimes associated with mafia organizations were reported in the same region in 2018.
Yet more stats show that Milan topped the list for thefts in Italy in the year 2020; Naples was ninth.
Interestingly, the crime stats for many U.S. cities completely outstrip the danger levels and safety ratings for Naples. To compare the U.S. and Italy: in 2018, Italy reported a homicide rate of 0.57 per 100,000, while in the same year the U.S. recorded 4.96 per 100,000.
Even the statistics show that Naples is not nearly as dangerous or unsafe as people think it is. However, that doesn’t mean you can just wander around Naples without a care in the world. It’s still a big city and you should take the same precautions that you would take in any city in the world.
Is Naples Safe? Actual Dangers And Annoyances In Naples
Naples is as safe as many other tourist destinations in Italy, and is packed full of interesting places to see. Having said that, there are obviously some things you should know about before you make the trip — just so you know what to avoid or keep an eye out for while you’re there.
The driving standards are not the best
When people wonder “is Naples safe?” they are probably thinking of crime, or petty crime at least. But it’s driving they should be considering!
There is some notoriously bad driving going on in Naples, and because of that I would not recommend driving in this city at all. Its historic center is particularly infamous for its traffic, and it can be hectic even for pedestrians trying to cross the road. And there are a lot of scooters — even in areas where they shouldn’t be allowed. They sometimes ride on the pavement, don’t stop at red lights, and go the wrong way on one-way streets.
If you really do want to drive yourself around in Naples, then I would say that it is best to drive around during the day. After nightfall, driving becomes even more of a headache and it can be difficult to work out where it is you’re actually going.
Parking also adds to the frustration. There is a real lack of official car parks around the city, which means that illegal parking touts can take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.
Some areas are less safe than others
Much like any other city in Europe, not all areas in the city are equal. Though much of the city is completely safe for tourists to explore, the same cannot be said for some parts of Naples. Generally, the more unsavory and perhaps unsafe places are located towards the outskirts of the city, but chances are you won’t be going there anyway; there are no tourist sights and no reason to visit.
Scampia in particular is seen as a dangerous area to live, while Forcella is often considered to be totally under the control of the Camorra. For tourists, the most edgy area that you’ll most likely pass through is the area around the main train station; Garibaldi Square can also be a little unsafe after dark. In areas such as these, it’s best not to hang around or look lost.
Scams do occur
While not actually unsafe, scammers can present a real annoyance and easily put a dampener on your vacation. They come in all shapes and sizes: from being overcharged for meals in tourist trap restaurants to being sold fake designer goods.
Be wary of pickpocketing scams, often committed by groups of children. They may approach with a petition for you to sign, or some other distraction technique; just ignore, otherwise they’ll use your lack of awareness to dip into your pockets while you’re engaging with them.
Safety Tips For Visiting Naples
To help you get through your trip to Naples as safely as possibly, I’ve listed a whole lot of safety tips below so that you can have the best time without worrying. Visiting Naples is pretty much like visiting any other city – nothing is overly dangerous, it’s just about using your common sense and trusting your gut. It’s advice that you’d follow for most big cities in the world anyways.
Don’t flash your belongings
Walking around with a fancy DSLR camera, or constantly having your smartphone out, is a good way to advertise just how many things you have to potentially steal. Another thing that can make you look like a walking billboard for pickpockets and other criminals is wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, or designer clothes.
Keep an eye on your stuff
When you’re on vacation it’s normal to slip into a more relaxed and easy-going mindset. In Naples you can totally have that laid-back feeling, but don’t forget about your belongings. Make sure to keep your valuables close to you at all times. This means no slinging your bag over the back of your chair at a terrace cafe, or leaving your expensive smartphone on display on the table at an eatery. You don’t want to ruin your holiday by dropping your guard for a moment and having your passport go missing!
Avoid dodgy areas at night – especially if poorly lit
Dodgy areas aren’t nice to walk around during the day, so these are places you should take extra care to avoid at night, too. It can be easy to wander into the wrong area of the city using a maps app like Google Maps, so make sure to always opt for the most brightly lit, least seedy looking roads to walk along.
Traveling light is actually a good way to avoid looking like a tourist. Rather than being laden down with a suitcase and multiple bags, having just one modestly sized backpack will not only make for a more comfortable journey between the airport and your hotel, but it will also be safer. You can get on and off public transport more smoothly, and travel around the city more rapidly — and without the annoyance of having to lug around heavy baggage, too.
Check out my post The Best Tips To Pack Light.
Know a few Italian words to ask for help
No matter what country you travel to, it’s always really helpful to brush up on a little bit of the local lingo before you travel. Not only will this make things run a little more smoothly when you’re checking into your accommodation, ordering at a restaurant, or asking for directions, but it could also come into good use if you need to ask for help.
If you need to call for help, knowing what to say in Italian will get attention much sooner. Having local emergency numbers saved in your phone is also a good idea just in case you need to call for help.
You should read my post How To Learn A Foreign Language. Another post you may want to read is The Most Useful Basic Phrases In Italian For Tourists.
Beware of touts
Generally speaking, if a stranger in a city comes up and talks to you, it’s usually not something you should pay any attention to. It would be another thing if it were a tiny village and a friendly, curious local approached you to start a conversation, but cities are different.
If somebody wants you to come to their restaurant, or come and see some things that they’re selling, politely decline. Chances are it’s either a scam or they’re otherwise planning to rip you off somehow. If someone seems persistent, ignore them, and walk into a busy shop to ask for help.
Ask for local advice
Whether you’re staying at a hotel or a hostel, it always pays to ask the staff for their opinion or advice. You might want to ask about a local, authentic restaurant that you should pay a visit to, or you could even ask them about certain areas that perhaps you should not be going to. With some local knowledge, you can both enrich your trip to Naples and also help to avoid things that otherwise may have tripped you up.
Take care of your property when using public transport
Crowded public transport can be an easy venue for pickpockets and other petty criminals to operate. For this reason, you should always keep your belongings close to you — and in eyesight — while you’re on public transport. For example, it’s best to switch to wearing a backpack on your front and/or hold onto it, rather than keep it on your back.
Otherwise, make sure you have nothing in your pockets to steal in the first place, and keep hold of any handbags or shopping bags you may have.
Choose a safe bag
Pickpocketing is sadly an issue in many big cities and Naples is no different. You can help to deter would-be pickpockets by choosing a bag that isn’t easy to dip into. Make sure any backpack you use can’t be unzipped easily, or choose a bag that is worn across the body so you can keep your things safe. If you’re walking along a road, it’s also a good idea to wear your handbag on the side of your body that’s not next to the road otherwise a motorbike driver could nip past and snatch it in seconds.
Try to blend in
One of the easiest ways to avoid being a victim of petty crime in Naples, like anywhere, is to blend in with the locals. Not only does that mean not dressing like a tourist (maybe skip the shorts and flip-flops), but it also means not acting like one either.
This means things like trying not to look lost, walking confidently between different destinations, and not talking loudly amongst yourselves in English or your own language while wondering around dodgy areas. As I mentioned earlier, don’t wear any expensive, sparkly jewelry or the like — you will likely be making yourself a potential target.
Have copies of important documents
Rather than carry around your actual passport or ID with you, a photocopy of it will be all you need. It just isn’t worth taking such important things out with you while you’re exploring the city; if they were stolen from you, it would be a real headache!
This also means that, just in case you lose your passport somehow, you at least have a record of your passport number and photo in case you need to use those details. You should also make copies of things like your bank/credit cards and driving license.
Have a battery pack for your phone
We all love using our phones when we travel, they’re great for snapping pictures, looking for directions, and looking for places to eat. But all of that use can quickly run down a phone battery in a few hours. Make sure to bring along a battery pack for your phone so that you can keep it going throughout the day. It could really make the difference if you’re lost in a part of the city you don’t know, need to call a cab, or ask for help.
Is Naples Safe For Solo (Female) Travelers?
When it comes to traveling by yourself, and as a woman too, there are unfortunately things that we need to pay extra attention to. While Naples is safe for solo female travelers to explore, there are a few things that you may want to consider before your trip.
Traveling as a woman often comes with heightened levels of risk, particularly with things like unwanted male attention, bag snatching, and even something as simple as secure accommodation in a safe location.
However, that doesn’t mean you won’t have a completely safe (and fun) trip. Usually it is best to follow any kind of tips that you would do for any part of the world traveling as a solo traveler – this, plus a little bit of common sense, and you’ll be fine.
Avoid isolated areas
Keep away from parts of the city and streets that are deserted. Don’t go wandering off by yourself down back alleys, or through sketchy looking areas that are unlit and away from crowds. Stick to well-trodden areas that are busy with all kinds of people – couples, families, etc.
Let people know your plans
It pays to make sure that your family and friends back home know how you’re getting on and what you’re doing on your trip. If you’re heading out for the night somewhere in Naples, you may want to consider dropping someone a message or sending someone a text just to let them know where you are.
Don’t tell everyone your details
However, not everybody needs to know what it is you’re doing. If you get to chatting with someone in a bar, they don’t need to know everything about you: if you’re married, the itinerary for your trip, or where you’re staying. Telling a few white lies isn’t a bad thing when compared to your safety.
Know how to get home after a night out
Having a plan of how to get home rather than winging it and risking getting lost, or worse, is a good idea. This means things like having a few local taxi companies stored on your phone, or getting to grips with any Naples taxi apps. Working out your route on public transport, and knowing what time the Naples metro stops is something you should also do, if you’re not getting a taxi.
Read reviews for accommodation
Not all accommodation is equal. As a solo female traveler, make sure that you spend some time before your trip researching the area in which you want to stay. Not only that, but you should ensure that you read reviews from other female travelers who have stayed at the same hotel. Any word about anything slightly dodgy at the hotel or hostel should be taken as a warning sign; only go for places with glowing reviews.
Check out my post Where To Stay In Naples.
Take part in a tour
If you’re traveling to Naples for the first time by yourself, then taking a tour could be a fantastic opportunity to get to grips with it without any worry. There are a whole different array of tours you could join, from bar crawls to historic walks — even cooking classes.
Not only is it a safe way to experience the city, it’s also a good way to meet fellow travelers, too. As with accommodation, however, you should always read reviews of tours and ensure that they have been well reviewed by travelers before you.
Connect with other women
There are a lot of ways that you can connect with fellow female travelers before and during your trip. You could ask advice and tips from locals, or from travelers who have been there before, in online communities and Facebook groups that are female-only spaces specifically geared for women who travel. It’s a great way to get to know the city, and to make a few friends as well.
Conclusions: Is Naples Safe?
Yes, Naples is actually safe. Of course, there are some nuisances — you may be approached by touts during your stay, or you may have a close shave with some high-octane Neapolitan traffic — but generally you should be fine visiting. It’s bursting with life, color, and fun.
And if you ever need help, don’t worry: people in Naples possibly have the biggest hearts you can imagine. They’ll certainly go above and beyond to help you out if you need it.
If you are still planning your trip to Italy, make sure to read these posts:
- How To Get From Rome To Naples
- A Great Itinerary To See Naples In A Day
- A Guide To Renting A Car In Naples
- The Best Day Trips From Naples
- The Best Places To Visit In Italy
- The Best Italy Itinerary
- What To Do And What To Avoid When Planning A Trip To Italy
- The Best Local Travel Tips For Italy
- What You Must Know About Driving In Italy
- How To Order Coffee In Italy
- A Guide To Tipping In Italy
- What To Have For Breakfast In Italy