From the hectic and intriguing city of Naples, to the postcard-perfect coastal towns tumbling down steep mountain-sides into the azure Mediterranean sea along the Almafi Coast, it is easy to spend two or three weeks (or more!) exploring this region.
Capri, Sorrento and the towns of the Amalfi Coast are popular with tourists (for good reason) and things can get particularly crowded in July and August. If you can, visit in the shoulder season – April to May or September to October when the weather is still likely to be warm and sunny, but the crowds will be thinner and prices slightly lower.
Naples Attractions & Activities
One of the world’s most important and best preserved Roman sites, Pompeii was a town which was buried in ash by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This meant that when archaeologists dug it out centuries later they found houses, frescos, mosaics and even artifacts that were almost in the same condition as they had been at the time of the explosion. For the visitor today this means you can visit a real Roman town and get fascinating insight into the architecture, as well as a true sense of how daily life was for its inhabitants.
Pompeii can be easily visited in a day trip from either Naples or Sorrento. You can get there by organised tour, or the public Circumvesuviana train route which runs from Naples to Sorrento, with the station for Pompeii lying roughly mid-way.
This vibrant city may be one of the most underrated places in Italy – many tourists pass straight through on their way to the more popular destinations just to the South. However, Naples itself has a lot to see – its cobbled and winding streets – the city center was established in 470BC is a UNESCO World Heritage site – hide many attractions, as well as a chance to get a real sense of every-day Italian life.
You may simply wander the city’s ancient streets, discovering countless Medieval churches, and small piazzas, the perfect place to have an espresso and observe Neapolitan life. The Naples National Archaeological Museum features a wealth of artifacts relating to the history of the area, including some beautiful mosaics taken from Pompeii and Herculaneum, another Roman city covered by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. History fans can also visit the fourteenth century San Martino monastery located in a hilltop neighborhood which is perched high above the city and looking out over the sea. Naples also has a lively seafront promenade , where you can sit and enjoy fresh seafood and local wine at one of its many cafes.
Perhaps most importantly, Naples is famous for being the birth place of Pizza. There are wood-oven pizzerias seemingly on every corner, more than one claiming to be the very restaurant itself which invented the dish centuries ago. Regardless, it is very easy to find authentic and delicious pizza at reasonable prices all over the city.
The island of Capri is the stuff of legends – the fabulous and famous have been visiting this elegant getaway for centuries. It has attractions and activities to suit a variety of tastes – from luxury shopping to historic sites and natural wonders. Capri can be visited on an day trip from Naples, Sorrento or Positano, or you can stay in one of the elegant hotels on the island.
Famous sites on Capri include the legendary Blue Grotto, a cave with unusual iridescent blue water which can only be visited by boat, and the Faraglioni rock formations. For a spectacular birds-eye view of the island, ride the chairlift to the top of Mount Solaro and admire the sweeping vistas.