Are you thinking of renting a car in Naples but worry that this may not be a good idea? Despite common misconception, car rental in Naples is easy and not nearly as expensive as you may think.
While having a car in the city per se is hardly necessary (and in fact you may find it a bit of a burden), you may find that – especially if you have a family – this is the most convenient (not to mention flexible) way of getting to nearby places such as the Amalfi Coast, Caserta and other places to visit on a day trip.
Curious to find out more? In this post, I share what you need to know about renting a car in Naples and add some very useful tips!
No time to read the entire post? Then just cut through the chase and simply check out Discover Cars. They are my recommended comparison site for renting a car in Naples. You can check them out here.
Make sure to also read my post A Guide To Renting A Car In Italy.
Should You Be Renting A Car In Naples?
Italy is a beautiful country with many world-class destinations to visit including Naples, situated in the southern region of Campania. It is known for its Neapolitan cuisine, vibrant arts and culture, historic architecture and incredible scenery, which includes Mount Vesuvius looming high in the distance. Naples is a Mediterranean gem and a beautiful city to explore on your next trip to Italy.
The city is home to many attractions including the Naples National Archaeological Museum, Castel Nuovo, Royal Palace of Naples and San Carlo Theatre, but the city also makes for a great starting point to launch a road-trip adventure.
The Amalfi Coast is about an hour away from Naples, and a scenic area popular with foodies, history buffs and people looking to trade in an urban landscape for a relaxing day trip to the coast.
Caserta, home of the beautiful Royal Palace, is a 40 minutes drive on the highway. And Vesuvius National Park a quick 30 minutes drive.
Make sure to read my post The Best Day Trips From Naples.
While the best way to explore Naples is on foot, you may find that to explore its surrounding areas is with a car and there are many good reasons for renting a car in Naples.
Sure, public transportation is available and you can walk to many attractions in the city proper, and in fact you can use the train to reach Sorrento and Caserta. However, having a car provides you with the flexibility and freedom to go where you want when you want.
When depending on public transportation, such as buses and trains, you’re on a schedule and this can eat up a lot of your time that can best be spent enjoying the sights. Besides, local transportation can at times be slow; it can run late and it may be unreliable on certain days.
If you are thinking of hiring a taxi or a private driver for a day trip or even a multi-day road trip to the Amalfi Coast, it may be actually quite expensive.
If you’re traveling with a lot of luggage, renting a car in Naples means you can have your belongings with you at all times and not have to worry about carrying them everywhere or having to find somewhere to store them while you explore outside the city.
If you want to explore places like the Amalfi Coast, Vesuvius, and other lesser known destinations in Campania, the best way to enjoy the sights along the way, and to get around at your destination, is to have a rental car at your disposal. You’ll then be able to travel in comfort and convenience.
Have I convinced you? Go ahead and check the prices of car rental in Naples on Discover Cars here.
What You Must Know Before Renting A Car In Naples
Where to rent a car in Naples
While there are quite a few rental car agencies around Naples, the best place for renting a car in Naples is from one of the agencies located at the international airport upon your arrival. Some of the rental car agencies at the airport include Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Thrifty, Sixt, Dollar, Alamo, Firefly, Budget and Enterprise.
Some of these rental agencies are right outside the main terminal, while others are just a short shuttle ride away on the airport grounds. When leaving the arrivals area, go through the sliding doors, cross the road and walk roughly 30 meters to reach the shuttle bus stop. The shuttle service is available from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm.
There are also many rental car agencies located in the city proper, including the downtown area, if you prefer to rent elsewhere.
You may be wondering why I do not recommend local companies for car rental in Naples. Is there even any? Nowadays, all companies are affiliated with a multinational corporation – and that actually applies to the rest of Italy and in fact the rest of the world.
If your trip involves flying into Naples, but departing from another airport in another city, you can return your car rental to an agency in another location. If you plan to return it to an agency at the Naples International Airport, just follow the “Autonoleggio” signs and you’ll be directed to the correct drop-off location.
Check the prices of car rental from Naples airport and how much it would be to drop off in a different location on Discover Cars here.
Which car to rent in Naples
The size and type of car you rent will depend on many things including your budget, where you plan to go with it and how many people will be traveling in the car. If there’s four of you traveling, each with luggage, an economy car may be too small.
If you plan to only use the car to get to the Amalfi Coast and other places near Naples, and you are traveling with a small group, your best option is to rent a small vehicle. You’ll be stopping and going a lot, so you want something that’s easy on gas, as well as easy driving on the busy streets of the Amalfi Coast, and for parking.
Alternatively, you can rent an electric car because you’ll be able to drive it in the ZTL zones of Naples (more about that below) and take advantage of the reserved parking spaces with charging stations for these types of vehicles.
If you’re planning to take any longer road trips, a larger car is best for comfort and storage space. Whatever vehicle you’d like to rent, the agencies at Naples International Airport have every type of car you can imagine, from very small minis to giant SUVs.
Here are my expert tips to pick the best car for your needs:
Choose fully prepaid cars – this means you don’t have to pay anything on arrival.
Pick a supplier with 8.0 or higher ratings – customer reviews matter!
Take care to notice the amount required for the deposit. Remember the main driver must have a credit card. You can also select for companies that only request a debit card.
Choose Full-to-Full fuel policies so that you don’t have to pay unexpectedly high fuel charges.
Beware of the allowed mileage — unlimited is the best option for long trips.
Read the pick-up instructions carefully. Pay attention to the location types — locations in the terminal are more convenient than shuttle buses to the pick up place.
Remember that unless you have an EU driver’s license you’ll need a valid international driver’s license to drive anywhere in Italy. This obviously applies too when renting a car in Naples.
Whichever car you are thinking of renting, I recommend going through a comparison site such as Discover Cars to get an idea of the prices of car rental in Naples. You will also be able to check out the reviews of the various car rental companies.
Check the prices of car rental in Naples here.
When renting a car in Naples – whether you plan to pick it up at the airport or in town – it’s worth noting a couple more things. First of all, not all car rental services have unlimited mileage.
This is an important thing to check before renting a car, especially if you think you will be driving around a lot. I recommend renting a car with a company that gives you unlimited mileage in order to avoid any surcharges for going over the mileage limit.
Make sure to check the fuel policy too: some car rental companies will give you the car on a full tank and ask that you return it on a full tank, others won’t do that.
Useful Things To Know About Driving In Naples
Driving to and from the airport in Naples
Naples International Airport (NAP) is 3.1 miles (5 kilometers) away from Naples City Center and, on average, the drive takes about 12 minutes – provided there is no traffic.
While there are a few different routes you can take, the quickest way to get to the city while avoiding tolls is to drive on Viale F. Ruffo di Calabria (which is the road the airport is located on) and turn at Via Oreste Salomone until you reach Via del Riposo. Next, follow Via del Riposo, Via del Campo and Via Don Giovanni Bosco until you reach Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi and turn at Via Alessandro Poerio.
Driving in Naples
Like any city, especially if you’re unfamiliar with it, driving in Naples for the first time can be tricky. The most confusing thing about Naples is the number of roundabouts that are in the city. I am used to it because many cities – including my Cagliari – are set up this way now. But if you are coming from North America, chances are roundabouts will be a nightmare for you.
The best way to get through a roundabout is to remain calm (seriously, I know some may panic!), pay attention to the signs and ignore aggressive drivers who try to push you out of the way. You will have to give way to those coming from your left. If you miss your exit, just go back through until you find it.
In general, traffic in Naples is hectic and congestion is common and the streets in the downtown historic area are very narrow. Although many drivers drive fast, the speed limits in the city tend to be quite slow at around 18 m/h (30 km/h).
It’s best to stick within the speed limits as many roads are monitored with speed cameras. Be aware that there are many scooters, bicycles and pedestrians on the roads.
Check out my post What You Need To Know About Driving In Italy.
ZTL areas may put you off from renting a car in Naples. As you get to know the city, you’ll likely hear the term ZTL used and you’ll have no idea what it means. The ZTL, or Zona Traffico Limitato as it’s officially known, is a limited traffic zone.
The purpose of these zones is to cut down on traffic congestion and protect historic buildings from environmental pollution. ZTL zones are clearly marked with white signs that have an open red circle.
If you plan to spend time exploring an area that has one of these zones, it might be best to just park your car in a designated place and explore on foot. Walking is a better way to see the city anyway.
You’ll find such zones in the Centro Storico, Mezzocannone and Piazza del Gesù areas of the city and these zones are reserved for local drivers who have an exclusive permit to use them. It’s strictly prohibited to use them without such a permit and the areas are monitored by cameras.
Access to the ZTL to those who don’t have a permit is permitted only at certain specific times of day (there usually is a sign pointing that out at the various gates).
It’s important to avoid accidentally entering these areas because you could be fined for doing so. The first thing you should do before driving in Naples is to get familiar with where these zones are and the best routes to avoid them.
If you’re using a GPS to get around, make sure that it shows where these zones are and you don’t choose a route that includes any of these zones.
If you get lost and think that following another vehicle is a good idea, think again because if that vehicle is local, it just might be headed for one of these exclusive zones.
If you do find yourself accidentally inside one of these zones, you may be able to prevent a traffic violation ticket by informing any police officer who may be in the area – though don’t count on it!
Parking in Naples
Naples is crowded and full of narrow streets and with so many cars and so little space, parking can be a headache if you don’t know where to find the best spots. Before you even arrive in the city, make sure to inquire about parking at your hotel when you book and perhaps consider skipping any hotel that does not offer parking.
Having a parking spot reserved before you even arrive in the city is a good start. At least you know you have somewhere to park as long as you are booked at that hotel.
Most of the parking in Naples is paid and those prices vary widely depending on the area of the city and what type of parking it is. Paid parking is marked with blue stripes and paid car parks usually charge a high rate for full-day parking. You’ll find some closed, guarded parking garages downtown where you won’t have to worry about theft or damage.
Brin Car Park is one of the cheapest at $11.00 (€10) per day. There are 800 spaces here so you should have no problem finding one if you arrive early in the morning. Supergarage is located in the city center and costs $22.00 (€21) a day. It’s located near a metro stop so you can leave your car there all day and explore on foot or via public transit.
If you prefer to avoid driving and parking in the city center, there are some paid parking garages on the outskirts. The airport is a popular option and it only costs $11.00 a day to park there. A shuttle is available to take you to the city center for $5.50 (€5).
You may actually want to keep this in mind if you are thinking of renting a car in Naples to get out of the city. It’s easier to pick up your car at the airport and then drive out from there, than picking it up in the center of town.
ANM Car Parks are centrally located in places that are close to public transit options so you can park your car and hop on a bus or train to explore the city. These car parks are only open during the day and charge a very low rate of $1.66 (€1.50) per day. For the most part, parking outside the city is a lot cheaper and you’ll avoid the hassle of driving in city center traffic.
While they are very hard to find because they are taken quickly, there are some free parking areas around the city center as well. Free parking is marked with white stripes. If you’re lucky enough to find one of these spots, it’s best to park there and stay there for the day because if you move for any reason, you’ll never get the spot back again.
Keep in mind that if you park in a free spot, you’ll likely be approached by an unofficial Car Park Attendant. These attendants are not hired by the city or by anyone. They “work” independently and will tell you that you’re required to pay them a fee for watching your car while you’re gone.
While you don’t have to pay them anything, it’s a good idea to give them a few dollars. Besides, with them in the area, it’s unlikely anyone will attempt to damage or break into your car so the small fee may actually help you.
When it comes to the safest places to park in Naples, anywhere with an official parking attendant is safest although these parking areas usually cost a bit more. No matter where you park, make sure to hide any valuables or take them with you and always lock your doors and close your windows.
Also, remember not to park in any areas that are marked with yellow stripes as these are reserved for disabled people and you need a permit to park there.
Likewise, don’t park where you see a “divieto di sosta” sign (it means that parking is forbidden) and avoid stopping your car in the middle lane (which is actually something Italians always do). It contributes to slowing down traffic, even if you are gone for just a minute to pop inside a store nearby!