How to visit Naples in one day and why you shouldn’t miss it

An easy and enjoyable Naples in one day walking itinerary, including a detailed Naples map. Picturesque markets, amazing artworks and great street food.

Why visit Naples? It’s a no-brainer: because Naples is one of the most fascinating, peculiar and beautiful towns you may find in Italy, and, in my opinion, in Europe.

It’s an underrated gem you just can’t skip.

I’m not the only one to think it: the number of foreign tourists visiting Naples have been growing double digit for almost ten years.

The reason is simple: savvy travelers will find tons of art, history, culture, local diversity, beauty, sights, great food, warm people… and you’ll need to pass through Naples in any case, on your way to Pompei and the Amalfi coast.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Spaccanapoli

So why not taking a day or so and spend some time to discover this amazing town?

In this post I will answer to some of the most frequent questions about Naples and share a one day walking itinerary in Naples city center, a Unesco Heritage site.

How much time to spend in Naples?

Well… here I must contradict myself: attempting to visit Naples in one day it’s just not possible. There’s no way you can visit a town as rich and fascinating as Naples in less than two or three days!

However, one day is enough to visit Naples old city center, a Unesco Heritage site, taste some of its amazing street food and, of course, eat the original pizza! And you can easily do it on your way to the Amalfi coast and to Pompei.

It could also be your one day in Naples from Cruise ship.

You may supplement your Naples city center walking tour with the exploration of Maschio Angioino and Castel dell’Ovo castles, the royal palace, that Gallery and the Chiaia posh disctrict.

Other highlights are the national museum, where you can admire all the Roman masterpieces discovered in Pompei and Ercolano, and the Certosa di San Martino with its wonderful views.

These sights are marked on the enclosed Naples in One day Google map (click the image to open the map).

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Spaccanapoli - Naples walking tour map

Is Naples safe for tourists?

Until the beginning of present century, Naple’s reputation resonated with images of violence, organized crime, dirt, danger: very little tourists, including Italians, would ever think of putting Naples on their bucket list.

But things have changed!

Today Naples is just as safe as any other large European city, and actually safer than many US big towns (based on Numbeo 2018 crime index).

Policeman and even soldiers are present and visible in all touristic sites, and the only annoyance you should really care about are pickpockets. So mind your belongings, don’t wear expensive jewels and watches, don’t put your wallet in your trousers rear pocket, don’t leave your belongings unattended.

There’s generally a lot of people around, even at night. Just stay on the main roads, avoiding small alleys unless you are with a guide, and you’ll be more than safe.

How to visit Naples in one day?

In my view, the best way to visit Naples is a walking tour. You can do your own by just following my suggested itinerary, or join an escorted tour.

An escorted tour is a good option if you still don’t feel 100% comfortable to explore Naples on your own, and if you are interested about detailed explanations about Naples history, culture and way of life. I personally recommend this 3 hours Get Your Guide Naples Tour, I found it very instructive and convenient. It covers also the Maschio Angioino and Royal Palace and gives you an introduction to the historical center, that you can then drill down on your own.

You could also consider a food tour, to discover Naples delicacies beyond Pizza. I can recommend this good food tour from Get your Guide. It will make you taste not only Piazza, but also Cuoppi (fried street food), he different pies, the pasta omelette, the true mozzarella and, of course, the famous Naples coffee and pastries. Click here to check availability and to reserve.

If you are not interested in walking and would like to see as many things as possible in one day, an Hop on – Hop off bus is a great option. You can purchase your Hop On – Hop Off tickets in advance here, so you won’t need to queue when you get to Naples.

What to see in a one day walking itinerary in Naples: the top 15 things to do and see in Naples historical center

Here are the main sights and activities I recommend, you’ll find them plotted on my Naples in one day walking tour map.

1 -Duomo di Napoli (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta)

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Duomo di Napoli

Start your Naples in one day walking tour from Naples Cathedral, the Duomo. It’s an easy 20 minutes walk from the station.

This wonderful XIV century church is actually know by many names: the Duomo di Napoli, since it’s the most important church in town. The Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, the official name.

Bust, most of all, it is known as the Duomo di San Gennaro, since it’s here that the saint’s blood is held, and that the saint’s blood liquefaction miracle takes place twice a year. In case it didn’t happen, tradition claims misfortune will hit the town!

Actually there is a second, lesser known, blood liquefaction miracle, Santa Patrizia’s blood, taking place at the San Gregorio Armeno church. More conveniently, the miracle happens every Tuesday…

2 – Caravaggio Painting in Pio Monte della Misericordia

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Caravaggio painting

A couple of hundred meters from the Duomo, in the piazzetta Riario Sforza, stays the small Pio Monte della Misericordia church. It’s a small church that shelters one of Caravaggio’s masterpieces, the famous painting “le sette opere della misericordia”. It’s an absolute must if you love classical paintings.

Entance is from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday – Saturday, 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM on Sundays. You’ll need to purchase a 7,00 € entry ticket.

3 -San Lorenzo Maggiore and its underground excavations

Naples in one day walking itinerary - San Lorenzo

From the Pio Monte della Misericordia church continue walking along via dei Tribunali until Piazza San Gaetano. Many things to be seen here, the first one is San Lorenza Maggiore Church.

It’s a beautiful and imposing XIV century Gothic church, the first one to be build by King Charles I d’Angiò.

Under the church you can visit the remains of the Neapolis Roman Forum, and fascinating introduction to a Pompei visit.

Entry ticket 9 €.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Neapolis underground

4 – San Gregorio Armeno Nativity Scenes market

Naples in one day walking itinerary - San Gregorio Armeno Christmas Market

From Piazza san Gaetano starts Via Gregorio Armeno, Naples Nativity scenes market.

It’s a fascinating dive into one of Naples most ancient and important traditions. You can actually visit the workshops and admire the nativity scenes artists at work. It’s surely one of the highlights of your Naples Walking tour!

There is also a XVIII century huge nativity scene (as large as a room!) that you can admire for just 1 €.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - XVIII century nativity scene in San Gregorio Armeno

To know more about Naples nativity scenes market read my post: Naples nativity scenes market: San Gregorio Armeno

5 – Napoli sotterranea – underground Naples

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Underground Naples

Getting back in San Gaetano square, on the left side of the church, you will notice the entrance to Naples underground tour.

It’s a fascinating itinerary that will bring you 40 meters underneath modern town, to discover the old Roman aqueducts and tanks. Just unbelievable. Actually these huge spaces have been forgotten for century and were rediscovered before WW II, in order to be used as shelters against the allied bombing.

They are now one of the most interesting and fascinating  city center attractions. The visit take 1:15 hours and also includes a visit to the remains of the Roman arena. You can pre book your ticket here at no extra cost, skip the line and make sure you get the time slot you want.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Underground Naples tour

Entry tickets cost 10 €, guided tours start at the hour:

Guided tours in Italian:
10:00 AM -11:00 AM -12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Guided tours in English
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM -2: 00 PM – 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

6 – Time for a Pizza?

Naples in one day walking itinerary - the original Naples Pizza

You may start to be hungry by now, and willing to taste a true Napoli Pizza. There are many places where you can have one in this area, unfortunately most are touristic and crowded.

I suggest you get a little bit off the beaten path and get a pizza at the La figlia del Presidente. This is were the locals go, hardly any tourist here and the Pizza is delicious and cheap!

7 – Spaccanapoli street

The name is a popular usage and means, literally, “Naples splitter”. The name is derived from the fact that it is very long and from above it seems to divide the city in two.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Spaccanapoli

This street is the southernmost of the three decumani, or east-west streets, of the grid of the original Greco-Roman city of Neapolis.

Today, the street officially starts at Piazza Gesù Nuovo and is named Via Benedetto Croce. Moving east, the street changes name to Via S. Biagio dei Librai and then crosses Via Duomo (named for the Cathedral of Naples) and moves beyond the confines of the old center of town.

Spaccanapoli is the main promenade for tourists as it provides access to a number of important sights of the city.

On top of the main sights you can find along this unique street, however the main attraction in my view is to just look around and observe the local life, especially the small details. You will surely enjoy!

And if you are superstitious, don’t get away without “corno” (horn), the traditional Naples lucky charm, the perfect remedy against bad luck!

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Naples Lucky charm

8 – Edicola di San Domenico Maggiore

Naples in one day walking itinerary - San Domenico Maggiore obelisk

Walking along spacca Napoli you will get to the San Domenico Maggiore square and its Edicola, kind of Baroque obelisk. This is one of the most lively places in this area, especially at night. A perfect place to take some rest and to taste Naples traditional pastry: the Babà!

Naples in one day walking itinerary - the Babà, delicious local pastry

9 – Cappella Sansevero e Cristo velato – veiled Christ museum

Naples in one day walking itinerary - cappella San Severo

This is another highlight of your Naples tour.

The amazing San Severo chapel host one of the most amazing and probably the best known work of art in Naples and one of the greatest sculptures of all times: the Veiled Christ.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - veiled Christ

That said, all the chapel is impressive, as well as the story about his owner, the Di Sangro Prince.  You can get a preview of what you’ll discover by watching this video.

The San Severo chapel is open every day: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm (closed on Tuesdays). Last entry 30 mins before closing, entry ticket 7:00. 

Since the chapel is rather small, queues can be long, better to reserveyour tickets in advance on their web site.

10 – Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo

Naples in one day walking itinerary - chiesa del Gesu nuovo

Your next stop is the Gesù Nuovo church, one of the most famous in Naples.

The original and sober facade, actually the converted 15th-century facade of Palazzo Sanseverino, hides the extraordinary baroque extravaganza of the interior.

The church flanks the beautiful Piazza del Gesù Nuovo, a favorite late-night hang-out for students and locals. At its center soars the lavish Guglia dell’Immacolata, an obelisk built between 1747 and 1750.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - piazza del Gesu Nuovo

11 – Santa Chiara church and cloister

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Santa Chiara cloister

A few steps away, Santa Chiara and its wonderful cloister are your next stop.

The monumental complex of Santa Chiara is one of the most important buildings commissioned by Carlo I d’Angiò for the Franciscan order.  Built in 1340, it is a rare example of Medieval architecture in Naples.

The fine cloister outside the church is richly decorated with majolica tiles and it is a pure gem of the eighteenth century. Pillars are nicely decorated by vine shoots, flowers, lemons while the seats are decorated with scenes of the city and country life in the eighteenth century.

A lovely place miles away from the bustling old city.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Santa Chiara cloister

Access to Santa Chiara is free, opening hours every day 7:30 AM 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM-  20:00 PM

You need to purchase a 6 € ticket for the cloister, opening hours 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM from Monday to Saturday,  10:00 AM – 2:30 PM on Sunday.

12 – Street Food at Cicol’e Ricott

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Naples delicacies shop

Time for food break!  Proceeding straight after Piazza del Gesu nuovo, in Via Domenico Capitelli, 5, you will find the amazing Cicol’ e Ricott’ delicacies store.

This is one of the best places I found to taste local foods. You point your finger, chose what you want, pay and either bring it home or eat it on the tables just outside. In this case, you can also ask for a glass of excellent local wine!

13 – Quartieri Spagnoli – the Spanish quarter

Naples in one day walking itinerary - the Spanish quarter

Passing Toledo road, you will get to the Spanish Quarter.

This is a neighborhood of dark and small alleys, laid out in the 1600s when the Spanish ruled the Kingdom of Naples.

Today is still a jam-packed quarter of humanity, bustling with noises, smells, colors, scooters and in general Mediterranean happy confusion. In short, the stereotype of Naples as you would expect it.

The Spanish quarter is probably the most characteristic and chaotic part of Naples and it’s definitely worth seeing. It is also the potentially less safe area to visit, so keep an eye on your purse and belongings and don’t wander around there at night.

Naples in one day walking itinerary - the Spanish quarter  Naples in one day walking itinerary - street life in the Spanish quarter

14 – Toledo Metro Station

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Toledo Metro Station

Toledo Metro station is part of Naples Metro stations Art Stations program, which involved major artists such as  Anish Kapoor, Gae Aulenti and Sol LeWitt.

Toledo Station is themed around water and light and is probably the most amazing of all Naples Metro Stations. TheTelegraph included it in its Europe’s Most Impressive Underground Railway Stations list.

From here you can take the underground back to Napoli Station, just a few stops away, if you want to stop your walking tour at this stage.

15 -Savor Naples street food

Naples has some really amazing street food, so don’t lose the opportunity to try whatever stimulates you: you won’t be disappointed!

Naples in one day walking itinerary - Naples street food Naples in one day walking itinerary - Naples Street Food

If you still have time or if you are staying one more day in Naples, you can continue to the Maschio Angioino castle and to the Palazzo Reale area (yellow pins on my map) or visit the Certosa di San Martino and the Museo Archeologico (red pins on my map).

If you are spending some days in the area you may also be interested to have a look at my posts: Amazing Amalfi coast: best itinerary to discover Amalfi, Positano, Ravello and Capri walking itinerary: breathtaking Faraglioni and Natural Arch.

Enjoy your Naples in one day walking itinerary!

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2 Replies to “How to visit Naples in one day and why you shouldn’t miss it”

  1. Hi! Thank you so much for such cool article! At first when I got to Naples I was petrified, I didn’t expect such a rush, motorcycles everywhere, and crazy drivers. But despite all of this, Naples is a perfect city with mouth-watering food, amazing and smiling people.

    1. It’s a fascinating town, really different from the rest of Italy. I’m glad you liked it eventually!

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