Naples is the perfect start to get to know Campania region. No matter if you are going to stay for a weekend or a whole week: These area has so much to offer. Difficult to decide where to go.
Actually, this time I got prepared a little bit. I read some blog posts about Naples and surrounding before I got there to get some inspiration. I enjoyed making a plan and thinking about all the things I wanted to do. The only thing I did not like was the weather forecast: rain, rain, rain. At the end, the planing was helpful in many ways as it helped to check out the hot spots. On the other hand it spoiled the surprise a little bit and I somehow ended up at tourist destinations most of the time. I recommend to be open as well and „just let it happen“. Stop at places you like and discover without any recommendations by yourself. That is how you will make the trip your own. Anyways, here are some informations about the area and the most beautiful places I went to.
The region Campania which is located in the south of Italy is divided into the provinces Naples, Sorrento, Benevento and Casserta. Every province has its own special secrets to discover. The region includes beautiful nature sites such as the Amalfi coast (Sorrento province) along the gulf of Naples – a cute and colourful village along the cliff coast of golf of Sorrento. Furthermore, there are the two beautiful islands Capri (close to Sorrento) and Ischias. You can take a ferry to get there – the cheapest ferry goes from Naples. You will have to pay more than double the price if you get the ferry in Amalfi. Moreover, there is the famous and still active volcano Vesuvius surrounded by the ancient Pompei and a beautiful nature site. For sure there is much more to see, for example a beautiful waterfall in Casserta, but these are probably the most famous natural attractions.
Where to stay
You can either stay in Naples and go from there to explore the surrounding or move from one place to the other. Both has its advantages and both is doable easily. It is easy to find hostels in Pompeii. Although Pompeii itself is not super special, it is impressive that the locals built up a new city just next to the one that got destroyed by the volcano 2000 years ago. And they built it even closer to it. The tiny risk of the active volcano in the background ready to explode the way it used to surrounds the air of Pompeii – especially when you visited the archaeological park beforehand.
From the airport to Naples
It is super easy to get to the city centre from the airport but a bit pricey. I paid five euros for the bus ticket but there might be a cheaper option which I did not recognise. The bus ride does not take long and you will get dropped off at Piazza Garibaldi station – central station. As I arrived super early, I needed to get a coffee first and some breakfast. I went a bit away from the station as cafeterias are usually more expensive close to the station. In Italy, getting an espresso at the bar instead of sitting at one of the tables will save you some money as well. There are quite a few nice hostels in Naples. I chosed a hostel close to Garibaldi station for two nights to be close to the main station as I did not plan to stay in Naples for long and wanted to use it just as a base for my exploration.
Exploring Naples by foot
Go for a walk in Naples! There is so much to discover! The Castle Nuovo is worth a look and super old, it is built in the 12th century. You do not need to get inside to get an impression of it. From there you can go for an amazing walk along the promenade without having to spend anything. From there make your way to Castell dell ´Ovo. It is a super pleasant walk along the the Molosiglio Gardens and the Teatro San Carlo. You will walk along the promenade and pass Castell dell´Ovo, an old fortress. You can climb up the stairs and get a crazy beautiful lookout over the ocean, the harbour and Naples. And everything without any expenses. Jej!!
Mount Vesuvius – go hike an active volcalno
Mount Vesuvius (1.281 metres high) is an active volcano close to Naples and just next to Pompeii, which erupted 79 AD – 1940 years ago and covered the ancient city Pompeii in ash and killed the people living there. Barely anyone was able to survive. The whole city was covered in black ash and got preserved until now.
Climbing an active Volcano is a great experience which I have not had before. Getting up there and watching the steam coming out of the crater of the volcano, feeling the life, power and vulnerability of mother earth. The steam is full of sulfur and has its special own smell. Up from the top you will have a great view over the ancient and the new city of Pompeii and the sea as well as the crater for sure. Although it is quite touristy, it is a great experience and worth it as the Mount Vesuvius is still active and steam is coming out constantly. You can have a look straight into the crater and might wonder of the magic in our world like I did. Like the local I hiked up with just said: “water is boiling, can we put the pasta”.
To hike up, you have to pay an entry fee of 10 €, which you will have to pay on 1000 metres. Getting up the last 300 metres is an easy walk from the entry and parking spot (30 minutes). Although I wanted to hike up all the way it seems to be tricky and I decided to go for the common way and drove up till to the parking lot and go up from there.
From Naples to Mount Vesuvius by public transport
If you like to get up the Mt. Vesuvius by public transport, get a train (Circumvesuviana train) from Naples (Garibaldi Station) either to Pompeii or to Ercolano Scavi. Ercolano Scavi is closer to Naples and Mt Vesuv and a few cents cheaper as well so I recommend getting out there unless you want to drop your stuff in Pompeii. You can buy a ticket (2,80€) on one of the ticket machines at the central station (underground). From there you can get a tourist bus to Mt Vesuv parking spot. From Pompeii, you can although take one of the EAV-busses from Piazza Anfiteatro (2,70).
Pompeii! I felt like time travelling. It was so weird in a good way. Make sure to get there as early as possible to explore the ruins before the other tourists finish their brekki. Great way to avoid the crowd. I spend half the day in these old city that just stopped time on October 24th 79 AD. Wondering about that day and the life people were living here. You can really imagine it as barely anything got changed since that day. And not only can you see all the paintings they drew, the pans and pots they used but also some bodies conserved due to the ash of people failing to escape.
Sorrent is not far from Pompeii and you can take a direct train for less than three euros to get there. I went there with another traveler after exploring the ancient Pompeii as it was so easy to reach. The coast line of Sorrent is magical. It reminds a bit to the Amalfi coast but is still different. The city centre is built above the sea. You can have a great view down to the coast line and climb down. Make sure to walk all the way to the tiny harbour (great spot for sunset !). Back in the city treat yourself with some ice-cream. We got some at We love puro in Via Luigi de Maio. So yummy!!
Salerno is one of the places I did not plan to go. It is not as touristy as Amalfi, Naples and (for sure) Pompeji. You can easily walk along the promenade in the evening or go to one of the many tasty restaurants. As I am a fan of street art, I really enjoyed all the beautiful graffitis in the city. Oh my gosh, I really loved it there. The city is super tiny with less than 150 000 inhabitants and so amazing! Let me show you some of the street-art, which I really fell for.
I spend most of the time as it is a great place to start into the day and into a new adventure. I had the luck to find a local to stay with on Couchsurfing and was impressed by the rooftop many of the houses in Campania region (and maybe even the rest of Italy?). Sitting on the roof, stargazing and observing the sleeping or awakening city – mesmerizing! The perfect place to watch the sunrise.
The Amalfi coast is so damn beautiful!! There is no way but going there and checking it out yourself. I definitely recommend getting your own car for exploring, as the ride is magical and there are so many places on the way to stop. It is a magic drive !
If you are into sweets I recommend stopping in Minor to try one of the cakes in Pasticceria Sal De Riso. It is so delicious! Not the right time to count calories 🙂
Enjoy your time in Campania region if you are planing to go 🙂