Naples is a whirlwind of an Italian city, with delicious street food, ancient history, Camorra connections and a huge volcano as a neighbour. A visit to the third largest city in Italy means you’ll get to experience the raw Neapolitan spirit first hand.
The city itself dates back to the 6th century BC, when it was founded as an Ancient Greek colony called Neapolis – but Greek settlers had been living here for more than a thousand years before that. With its staggering history, Naples boasts numerous monuments from throughout the ages, such as the fresco-filled city cathedral and the stunning subterranean Roman ruins. And, of course, there’s the ancient wonder of Pompeii just a train ride away.
Map of the best places to stay in Naples
1. Historical Center · 2. Quartieri Spagnoli · 3. Chiaia · 4. Posillipo · 5. Around Central Station · 6. Vomero · 7. Port of Naples
Staying in Naples is easy, thanks to a number of different hotels from family-run bed-and-breakfasts to opulent hotels. Getting around is easy too, thanks to numerous buses and a comprehensive metro system. So what are you waiting for? Have a look at the best places to stay in Naples.
See also: Naples,Italy Hotel Deals
The amazing Centro Storico of Naples is the perfect setting for your trip to this exciting city, especially if you’re only in the city for a few days. Hotels here range from stylish yet traditional opulence to chic boutique city stays.
Naples boasts one of the largest historical centers of any city in the world, and with a grand total of 448 historical monuments, there is a whole lot to see. Staying in this area means all of the amazing sites will be right on your doorstep and you’ll be able to spend much of your time admiring the layers of ancient history, as well as life in the center of lively Naples.
The historical center is a labyrinth of winding lanes, pleasant piazzas and baroque churches that ooze atmosphere. Make sure to visit the underground Greco-Roman ruins and stroll along the iconic Spaccanapoli shopping street. Amazing architecture is everywhere in this magical area and it’s easy to soak up the charm of Naples simply by walking around the old streets. It’s almost as if they are an open-air museum.
One of the poorest areas of Naples also happens to be one of the most authentic areas of the city to stay in if you want to experience real Neapolitan life. Crime is still an issue in Quartieri Spagnoli, but as long as you stay vigilant, staying safe shouldn’t be a problem.
Named for the garrison of Spanish soldiers stationed here in the 16th century to put down rebellions, Quartieri Spagnoli is full of history, culture and good food. Beautiful churches dot the area, such as the Rococo-style Sant’Anna di Palazzo and the 1560 Santa Maria della Mercede a Montecalvario. Here is also where you’ll find Naples’ answer to Paris’ catacombs: Napoli Sotterranea.
Try pizza fritta (fried pizza), a tasty local delicacy, at the many food stalls around this buzzing district. Street food here is, like the area itself, authentic. Staying here is affordable, thanks to quite a selection of 3-star hotels and simple bed-and-breakfasts.
Elegant Chiaia is located along the seafront in an upscale area full of high-end shopping and swanky bars. The sought-after district is where you should base yourself if you are looking for a little glamour and a lot of style. Hotels in Chiaa are housed inside period buildings and usually feature large rooms with fantastic sea views, and often feature relaxing gardens and rooftop terraces with views across the city.
Chiaia’s shopping scene is fantastic for fans of designer brands; chic Neapolitans flit in and out of places such as Prada and Armani and then head for lunch along the sea. There is also the chance for more authentic shopping in the selection of independent shops, along with fascinating antique shops and interesting bookshops.
Make sure to take a walk along the Villa Comunale, the 18th-century royal garden. As evening falls, join in with the stream of people as they saunter away from Palazzo Reale, with its two bronze horse statues, and head towards Passeggiata.
This southern area of Naples has been popular with wealthy inhabitants ever since rich Romans started building their villas here. That tradition has continued through the ages to this day, making Posillipo a well-to-do residential area, and noticeably calmer than the rest of the city. The Italian president even has a place here, known as the Villa Rosebery. If you want to stay in this area, book a room at one of several midrange bed-and-breakfasts.
Here you can even catch a glimpse of how the elite used to live, thanks to a number of surviving villas clinging to the coast; one of the more famous is the Villa Donn’Anna, built in the 1640s. But the star of the show is the amazing archaeological park, home to the stunning Imperial Villa, dating back over 2,000 years. This building is even connected by a tunnel to other villas of elite Romans, and makes for a great day of historical exploration.
Basing yourself in the immediate vicinity of Napoli Centrale is great if you’re planning to travel by train (to nearby Pompeii, for instance). It’s also the location of the underground station of Napoli Piazza Garibaldi, making it extra convenient for getting around the city. Staying here is easy, thanks to a few budget options practically on the doorstep of the station, with others dotted around the area, too.
The nearby Piazza Garibaldi itself is as lively as any square in Naples. It’s good to start the day with a coffee here, so get yourself to one of the cafes here, such as the great Bar Mexico, and sip on a coffee as you watch life go by.
But if you find that area around Napoli Centrale isn’t very fascinating in itself, and can be a little tourist-centric (watch out for scams), it’s just a quick and easy walk east from here to the beautiful Centro Storico.
This central, urban area of Naples is famous for its hills, unusual for a city that’s almost always mentioned for being a coastal town. Being the geographical uptown of Naples it has always played host to the city’s middle classes similarly to Posillipo, but not quite to such an extreme of wealth. That does mean, however, that you’ll be able to find a number of midrange hotels here, and few luxury options, too.
There’s a lot going on in this district. You’ll find a historic market in the area of Rione Antignano (particularly good at Christmas). Roads leading off from Vomero’s octagonal Piazza Vanvitelli offer a mix of street food and international franchises, local shops and big name brands. Piazza Fuga is a good place to start if you’re looking for nightlife, with some cool lounge bars nearby, but Via Aniello Falcone wins the day. It’s a long road filled with bars, some open all night.
Naples has a busy port with cruise ships and cargo ships docking here from all over the world. The port is actually one of the busiest in the whole of the Mediterranean sea, but despite its large size, it’s situated close to historic parts of the city.
A convenient place to base yourself if you are arriving or leaving Naples by the sea, it’s possible to walk from the port area to more interesting and touristed districts. The Piazza Municipio is an easy walk, as are a selection of historical churches and decadent palaces as well as the San Carlo opera house. The authentically Neapolitan Quartieri Spagnoli is also reachable on foot and boasts tasty local street food. Hop on the metro at Municipio and you’ll be able to travel around the city with ease.
Staying in the port area might mean missing out on a little of the city’s charm, but you’ll be able to get a room with views of the sea. There is a selection of mid-range options near to Piazza Municipio itself with a few more expensive offerings close to the waterfront.