Naples has a slightly bizarre ‘love it or hate it’ reputation within the travel industry. Some see the city as having a unique charm and character when compared to the almost obsessively clean cities in other countries, while others see Naples as a filthy crime ridden hole. Whichever side of this debate you happen to be on almost everyone agrees that Naples makes a great base for exploring the deliciously appealing sights of the wider Campania region.
Perhaps the most famous of the day trips possible from Naples is to Pompeii, the once thriving Roman city buried in an eruption of the adjacent volcano Vesuvius. The ancient ruins have been a popular sight for visitors since they were unearthed by classical scholars in the Victorian era, just as European tourism was enjoying its first boom of popularity, but only for the very wealthy of course. Today visitors can wander the ancient streets, visit many of the buildings and tour the fascinating museum that details the city and the excavations. Pompeii is a mere thirty minutes from Naples on a train.
Towering over Naples, and constituting a threat to the city’s very existence, is the volcano Vesuvius. The climb to the peak is an incredibly popular trip from Naples for more able bodied visitors although the view from the top, on a clear day, makes it more than worth the effort. The ominous crater still smokes slightly and the route passes lava flows from the last eruption in the 1950’s. The lower slopes of the volcano are very fertile and wine made from the grapes grown there can make an attractive refreshment once you have descended.
Castellammare di Stabia, a small seaside town along the coast from Naples, makes a great place to get away from the noise and bustle of the big city. The town has some picturesque buildings as well as a castle to explore which is very popular with younger visitors. The seafront is also a great place to stroll and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to duck into if the sun is too strong. The town is famous for its seafood so visitors are highly recommended to try it, perhaps with a glass of local wine.
All of the above suggestions for day trips from Naples can be reached by using the Circumvesuviana train line that runs from Naples Central train station to Sorrento. Although I haven’t mentioned it above, Sorrento is also a good place for a trip out of Naples, although I think Castellammare di Stabia is more interesting and relaxing. The trains run frequently and the entire run to Sorrento takes only an hour.
3 Options for Accomodation in Naples:
Hotel Mercure Garibaldi – Situated in the historical centre of Naples, rooms from € 44/£ 37/$ 54
Hotel Piazza Bellini - Elegant accomodation in Naples from € 85/£ 73/$ 105
Hotel Zara – Cheaper accomodation in Naples, near the central rail station from € 35/£ 30/$ 43
Photo of Naples by Stuck in Customs