Naples is a big city and there’s so much to see and do that it seems impossible that one could possibly experience all of Naples in one day only – in fact, it isn’t! However, if you only have one day in Naples and want to see this beautiful, historic city in southern Italy, you should definitely go for it. You won’t get to see everything, but if you use your time wisely and do a little planning, you can see the best the city has to offer.
Of course, if you’ve never been to Naples before, you likely know nothing about the city and have no idea what attractions you should focus on and where they are located. Fear not! I’ve put together this Naples in one day itinerary with some tips and information to help you get the most out of your short trip there.
Make sure to also read my posts The Best Things To Do In Naples and Is Naples Safe?
How To Use This Naples In One Day Itinerary
The following itinerary is planned with only 24 hours in mind so you can see the best attractions and have the best experiences in that timeframe.
The earlier in the morning you start, the better. You want to give yourself enough time to wake up, prepare for the day and have a hearty breakfast to keep you going on this jam-packed day of exploring. I suggest you be on your way by 7:30 am, if you can. No later than 8:00 am anyways!
Remember, this itinerary is just a guideline. I’ve suggested the best attractions – well, at least the ones you can visit in just one day. But if your budget doesn’t allow for admission to an attraction, you can skip it and supplement it with something else. If you spot something that seems more interesting than one of my suggestions, then by all means, go for it!
Some attractions require pre-bookings and some attractions close earlier than others so you’ll need to work around closing times to ensure you get to see everything. No worries, this is all covered in the itinerary – where relevant, I point out the opening times and share links to help you book the attraction.
The Best Itinerary To See Naples In One Day
To help you out with this Naples in one day itinerary, I thought I’d share a map I have created. You can see it here. It will show the walking distance from one place to the other and – if necessary – you can also view the public transport options to move around. You will also be able to spot restaurants and eateries along your itinerary.
Castel dell’Ovo from outside
The legendary Castel dell’Ovo is your first stop on this Naples in one day itinerary. This beautiful waterfront castle was built in the 1100s and has served as a royal residence, prison, and fort. Take some photos, walk the grounds, and admire the incredible architecture and stunning views.
In case you want to walk in, keep in mind the Castle is open from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm and on Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It’s free to visit, but you still have to book your visit on the official site here.
Fountain of the Giant
Next up is the 17th-century Fountain of the Giant which you’ll find via Partenope, at a stone’s throw from Castel dell’Ovo. This beautiful fountain was produced by Pietro Bernini and Michelangelo Naccherino. As you admire its grandeur and take photos, be sure to take note of the incredible detail and unique features.
Piazza del Plebiscito
Built in the 19th-century, Piazza del Plebiscito is the biggest public square in Naples and serves as a popular meeting place for locals and a venue for city events. The architecture is quite fascinating and many people don’t realize that it was constructed using volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius. As you admire the beauty of the square, take a seat on a bench and enjoy a coffee break while you people-watch before heading off to the next attraction.
San Carlo Theater and Galleria Umberto I
Even if you don’t have any time to do some shopping during your one day in Naples, the Galleria Umberto I is still worth checking out for its amazing architecture. It first opened in the 1800s, and today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many shops and restaurants. A popular attraction situated near the entrance is the San Carlo Theater which opened in 1737. It’s the oldest, constantly-running opera house in the world.
Galleria Umberto I is open from 8:30 am to 8:30 am, but on Saturdays and Sundays it closes at 10:00 pm. While it’s free to enter the shopping area, it will cost €9 to enter the San Carlo Theater.
Also known as Maschio Angioino, Castel Nuovo, which was built in the 13th-century, originally served as a royal residence but later served as a protective fortress during conflict. Enjoy the spectacular views as you approach this stately landmark. Once inside, you’ll see beautiful rooms adorned with 13th-century artwork. The Civic Museum, which is also located inside the castle, features the Palatine Chapel and a collection of frescoes and paintings from the 15th-century onward.
The Maschio Angioino is open from Monday to Saturday from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm and on Sunday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Admission to the Civic Museum inside the castle is €6. If you also want to visit the terrace, the ruins, and the prisons (for which you will need a guide) the fee is €14 – the guided tour takes about one hour. You must book your visit in advance on the official website here – unfortunately the site is only in Italian, but it is quite self explanatory.
Capella Sansevero is a baroque chapel and museum founded in 1590. The exterior is beautiful, but the interior is even more so with significant paintings by well-known artists of the 18th century. While all of the artworks are worth a good look, one stands out from them the rest and that’s the legendary sculpture of the Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino. It’s one of the most striking sculptures of all time. You really can’t miss it, not even if you only just have one day in Naples!
Sansevero Chapel is open every day but Tuesday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. Admission is €8 and you should book your visit in advance. You can do that here.
San Domenico Maggiore Church
San Domenico Maggiore Church is a Roman Catholic Basilica featuring a stunning exterior and an even more fascinating interior. The Sacred Relics Chamber, the Aragonese Arches, the Processions and the Sacred Ornaments are some of the top things to see inside.
The church is open 10:00 am to 6:00 pm every day. It’s free to enter the church but there is a fee if you wish to go on a guided tour of the Sacristy.
San Gennaro Catacombs
One of the most intriguing attractions in Naples is the San Gennaro Catacombs. Situated underground beneath the Rione Sanità district, some of the areas of these catacombs date back to the 2nd century, making them the oldest in the city. As you explore them, you’ll see many fascinating elements including the Basilica Minore and ancient Pagan features.
San Gennaro Catacombs are open every day but December 25th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is €9 and includes a guided tour that departs every hour. Advanced bookings are mandatory.
For a guided tour of the Catacombs of San Gennaro, click here or here.
Palace of Capodimonte
Once a lavish summer escape for local royalty, the Palace of Capodimonte is a beautiful, historic landmark housing the Museum of Capodimonte. Within this museum are period furnishings from the 1700s and beautiful porcelain items, artworks and sculptures.
The Museo di Capodimonte is open every day except on Wednesday from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm. Last admission is at 6:30 pm. On Friday, it is open until 10:30 pm. Admission is €10.
While the above attractions are the top things to see in Naples, if you have time (for example if you are spending more than a day in Naples), there are a few more attractions that are worth checking out including the Napoli Underground, Certosa San Martino, and the fabulous Archeology Museum of Naples.
Practical Tips to Enjoy Naples In One Day
Guided Day Tours of Naples
Following my Naples in one day itinerary is the best way to independently see the city, but it does require a lot of planning when you take into account pre-bookings and finding your way to each attraction. If you don’t have a lot of time to work with and would like an easier way to see the city in a day, taking a guided city tour is the next best thing!
There are many tours that include all or most of the above attractions and the price will depend on the type of tour you choose.
One great tour that you can take that includes attractions in both Naples and nearby Pompeii is the Naples City and Pompeii Half Day Sightseeing Tour which includes stops at many of the historical center’s top attractions and the highlights of the ancient ruins of Pompeii. You can book this tour here.
Another option could be a private walking tour of the city that takes you around to the main sights, including the Roman ruins. You get to see almost all the attractions in this itinerary and it’s quite budget friendly. You can book it here or here.
If you prefer a bike tour, you may want to consider this one.
Where to eat
Even if you have a day in Naples, you will be able to try many of the delicious dishes available in this city – there is no such thing as going hungry! You may want to opt for street food for lunch – cuoppo (mixed fried calamari, seafood and vegetables) is easy to get, as well as sandwiches, gelato, arancini. Pizza is obviously an option too and the legendary Sorbillo has various spots in town – the most famous one is in Via dei Tribunali, the heart of the historic center.
Make sure to read my post What To Eat In Naples.
Where to stay in Naples
If convenience is of utmost importance to you, the historical center is the best area to stay if you plan to spend the night in Naples. This area is close to many major attractions and you’ll have easy access to restaurants, shops, and public transportation options. This is also the best area to stay for first-time visitors.
Below are a couple of great accommodation options to look into.
Art Street Hotel
This lovely hotel features a lounge and guest rooms with private balconies, free Wi-Fi, and air conditioning. You’ll enjoy a buffet breakfast each morning as well.
Albergo del Golfo
This hotel serves an Italian breakfast every morning and you’ll have access to complimentary Wi-Fi.
Hotel Piazza Bellini & Apartments
Situated in a historic building from the 16th-century, this nice hotel features free Wi-Fi, buffet breakfast, air-conditioning and a lovely courtyard.
For more options, check out my post Where To Stay In Naples.
Using a Naples Pass
The Naples Pass allows access to more than 100 attractions at a discounted price. There are several options available and the price starts at €46 for a three-day pass.
You can purchase a Naples Pass here.
How to get to Naples
Naples International Airport is well-connected to many American cities (usually via Rome) and European cities (direct flights with regular or budget airlines). There are buses connecting the airport to the city, but depending on what time your flight lands or how much luggage you have, the best way to get from the airport to the center city is with a private transfer.
You can book your private transfer from the airport to the city here.
If you’re traveling to Naples from Rome or another Italian city, you can take a high-speed train right into the city. You can check the timetable and purchase train tickets directly on Trenitalia.
How to move around Naples
Naples is a highly-walkable city, especially if you make your base in the historical downtown center where most of the top attractions are located. If you prefer to use a bus, metro, or funicular to get around, you can purchase a day ticket for about €4 and it’s good until midnight of the day you purchase it. There are ticket machines at the central train station, or you can get tickets at kiosks (a kiosk locally known as “edicola”) scattered around town. This cuts down on having to look for change every time you get on a bus.
Head over to my post A Guide To Renting A Car In Naples.
Other Useful Tips
And finally, here are some loose ends to consider before you start your visit to Naples.
Wear comfortable shoes
if there’s one very important piece of advice you should take seriously, it’s to wear comfortable walking shoes! Naples is a very walkable city, but there are hills and you want to be comfortable as you make your way from place to place as efficiently as possible.
The Napoli Centrale Train Station is located in a convenient location and has a luggage storage service that is available from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm 365 days a year.
Get a Data Plan
If you’re using a smartphone to help you in your travels around Europe, you’re going to want to be able to access the tools you need, such as Google Maps, when you need them without being overcharged. Unlock your phone so you can get a local SIM card or set up a temporary travel data plan with your provider.
Be aware of scams
No matter where you travel, you’ll find scams and Naples is no exception. The most common scam to be on the lookout for is the one where you’ll be asked to take someone’s picture and as you’re handing the camera back, the owner will let the camera fall to the ground and blame you for the damage which they’ll demand you pay for. Another common scam is pickpocketing where one person will distract you while another one steals from you.
Get Travel Insurance
Although you may only be on a short trip, accidents and surprises happen. Be prepared with the right travel insurance package to keep you covered in case of emergencies.
You can check out the price of an excellent insurance here.