After setting off at 4am (for our 6am flight), we finally arrived in Naples at around 9am local time. Although our main focus of the trip was on Sorrento, we wanted to break things up a bit and stop off in Naples, which made sense since we flew in and out of the city en route.
I’d read online that Naples was a bit of a hidden gem among the popular Southern Italian coastal cities and towns, one which is often overlooked in favour of the more ‘touristy options’. So, keen to explore ‘the real Italy’, we booked a one night stay at the beginning of our trip and another one night stay at the end, both at the Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli hotel (which I’ve written a full review on here).
The journey from the airport took less than 10 minutes but as always, was ridiculously priced and we ended up forking out 25 euros for a very short ride. Although this left a rather sour taste in my mouth initially (as the taxi driver’s meter said 15 euros but he shouted at me in Italian and demanded another 10), arriving at our beautiful hotel immediately rectified any issues we’d had.
Located near to the Garibaldi station, which is very convenient if you’re passing through and planning to head onto Sorrento, the immediate proximity of the hotel is largely quite a run-down area – with lots of beggars roaming the streets, rubbish strewn and people approaching you asking for things in Italian (I figured this out via gestures, rather than me tackling the language barrier). It was a little intimidating at first, however as long as you keep your wits about you, I’m sure you’ll be fine.
We decided to get our bearings a bit – in addition to tracking down a local pizzeria (or trattoria as they’re more commonly known), since the main reason we’d booked our stay in the city was the carb delights it is famed for! This took a little longer than expected however we found the best pizza restaurant around (in our opinions), a gorgeous little place with white chairs and tables in the Domenico Maggiore square (you’ll know it if you see it). It wasn’t overly luxurious or fancy but the menu was incredible and the pizzas were honestly the freshest you’ve ever tasted. They even offered gluten free which was a huge bonus!
I opted for the marinara pizza, a mix of fresh tomatoes, homemade pomodoro sauce, garlic and olive oil while Sion chose a rather monstrous looking Calzone, filled to the brim with all the favourite pizza toppings you could ever wish for. Despite having these two ginormous pizzas and a drink each, the bill came to just under 20 euros – which was even more unbelievable. If you’re in Naples, I’d definitely recommend a trip here!
After a quick freshen up at the hotel, we stepped back out into the soaring heat for another wander – this time to the marina, located at the south of the city – home to the giant cruise ship port – where we thought we’d find an abundance of things to do, pretty shops and restaurants and a nicer (more chilled) atmosphere than the inner city.
As we strolled along the pedestrian path, we had to be very careful as everyone seems to be zooming around on one of these…
Although I’m sure they’re more controlled and safe than they appear, locals will literally squeeze as many family members on the mopeds as humanly possible (I thought the maximum was 2 under I spotted a family of 5 whizzing past – all while arguing at the same time). Make sure you watch your back as these were the bane of our trip there and although I understand that they’re cheaper than running a car – I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt or caught in the middle of several passing at the same time (this almost happened on several occasions).
Unfortunately, as you might notice a bit of a recurring pattern – we were really disappointed by the marina, which hosted nothing other than a very overpriced cafe (11 euros for two Sprites anyone?). We decided to re-think our strategy, pulled out our trusty map and walked in various different directions before making the lengthy journey back to our hotel.
The one positive thing I noted about Naples is the gorgeous architecture, which isn’t always given justice because of the rubbish on the streets and general tired looking windows – however I found a couple of gorgeous front entrances, including this adorable secret garden style door!
We decided to go to the supermarket and buy fruit, veg, meat and rolls for dinner rather than another huge pizza (we were still full from lunchtime) – in addition to hoping that we could use the leftovers for our packed lunch the following day. With a two hour train journey to Sorrento on the horizon, we got an early night – ready for the second day of our Italian adventure!
I’m sorry today’s update has been rather negative – however I wanted to give an honest view of how we found Naples than sugar-coat it and provide anyone hoping to visit the area with false hope. I’m sure the area itself isn’t all bad and I was really glad we’d visited, as it gave us a different viewpoint in comparison to the next stops on our trip however if you’ve only got a limited amount of time, I’d definitely recommend investing it in Sorrento as there’s far more to do, see and it feels much calmer.
Of course, when you stay in a busy city, it isn’t going to be as chilled as say – a popular honeymoon destination – however I didn’t feel completely safe while walking the streets and I had a rather scary experience at the train station the following day when a man reached to grab my purse while paying for our tickets. If you’re on the hunt for the best pizza around, you’ll definitely find it at selected places in Naples however as a relaxing, chilled and picturesque destination, I’d perhaps advise elsewhere. Our hotel was absolutely stunning and if we hadn’t have stayed in such beautiful surroundings (interior wise) I think I would have felt like it would have been a wasted journey.
The next Italian adventure update will be far more positive – I promise! We arrive in the stunning Sorrento, a place I’m already dreaming of returning to!
Have you visited Naples? What did you think? Have I got the wrong impression perhaps?