Looking to spend 2 days in Naples?
Often referred to as the ‘Capital of the Mediterranean’, Naples is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in Europe.
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It is also one of the most unique, with a vibrant, chaotic atmosphere quite unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere.
This is the ’real’ Italy – authentic, colorful, and crowded, with Vespas zipping through the narrow streets and something amazing to see at every turn.
The architecture is impressive and the food scene is second to none. This is, after all, the birthplace of pizza.
Once the staple food of the city’s poor, pizza in Naples is now made in a very specific way and is some of the best you’ll ever taste!
If you are visiting this bustling city for the first time you may be wondering just what to do in Naples in 2 days.
Will you have time to see the main attractions? Which of the city’s highlights really shouldn’t be missed?
In this guide to spending two days in Naples, we’ll answer these questions and more! We’ve put together a handy itinerary with suggestions for what to do each morning and afternoon of your stay.
Naples is an exciting city to visit – and following this guide will ensure you see the very best it has to offer!
On the first of your 2 days in Naples you’ll visit some of its historic buildings, indulge in a little shopping or people-watching at the city’s beautiful mall, then see some artifacts connected to the 79AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The best place to start your very first day in Naples is at the much-photographed Piazza Plebiscito.
This is the city’s main square and – at 25,000 square meters – the largest public square in the whole of Italy. It was once used for bullfighting but is now popular for live cultural and musical events.
It is completely pedestrianized – so you won’t need to keep checking over your shoulders for Vespas as you do elsewhere in the city. Instead, you can concentrate on the spectacular architecture surrounding you!
Important buildings here include the Neo-Classical church of San Francesco di Paola, the Prefecture Palace, and the Palazzo Salerno. The most popular, however, is your first stop – the Royal Palace of Naples.
Located opposite the Basilica Reale and dating back to the start of the 17th century, this building was originally used as a residence by the Bourbon Kings.
You could choose to admire it just from the outside and it is indeed impressive, with many statues honoring the rulers of the city over the years.
But the interior of the palace is really not to be missed! It is richly decorated and just what you would imagine a royal palace to be, with a grand staircase, vast hallway, and opulent throne room.
You’ll need tickets to enter the palace, but you can visit the grounds for free.
Your next stop is one of the city’s landmarks the Castel Nuovo. Its construction dates back to the late 13th century and its name – New Castle – was used to set it apart from Naples’ other fortified buildings.
Take a tour inside and you can see some beautiful works of art, then climb the ramparts for some jaw-dropping views across the city and the bay.
It will be getting close to lunchtime now so head towards the public shopping mall of Galleria Umberto I. Beautifully designed, it is packed with stores for all budgets and regularly plays host to street performers.
There are lots of cool cafes for lunch where you can sit and soak up the lively atmosphere.
Your next stop is the world’s oldest continuously running public opera venue – the Teatro di San Carlo.
You don’t need to be an opera fan to appreciate the sheer beauty of the Neoclassical building that houses it and we strongly recommended taking a guided tour of the interior.
The sumptuous red and gold furnishings are quite spectacular and you’ll get to see the royal box, the foyers, and the auditorium.
From there it’s a short walk to Piazza del Gesù Nuovo, the lively square where you’ll find the Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo and the Basilica di Santa Chiara.
Don’t be fooled by the drab exterior of the Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo – inside it is quite stunning, with lots of colored marble and frescoes.
We also recommend checking out the cloisters behind the Basilica di Santa Chiara. Featuring gorgeous Rococò style tiling in the gardens, scenic fountains, and blossoming lemon trees, they are exceptionally tranquil.
It’s quite amazing to realize that you are still in the center of such a lively city!
Your final stop of the afternoon is at the Naples National Archaeological Museum.
Housed in a former 16th-century military and cavalry barracks, this museum was founded in 1816.
It contains some fascinating Roman remains excavated from Pompeii and Herculaneum, the regions destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
You’ll find lots of Egyptian exhibits here, too, plus marble statues depicting mythological scenes.
Spend your evening in Spaccanapoli, the UNESCO World Heritage site made up of a series of historic streets. Its name means ‘city splitter’ because this region divides Naples in half.
It’s incredibly noisy during the day – perhaps too noisy for some – but its abundance of good restaurants makes it a great place to visit when the sun goes down. The prices for dinner in this area are pretty reasonable too!
On the second of your two days in Naples you’ll see the city’s magnificent cathedral, explore what lies beneath the streets, visit some of Naples’ most famous roads, and enjoy a walk along the seafront.
Your first port of call today is Naples’ 13th-century cathedral. Located on the Via Duomo, it is southern Italy’s main church.
Thanks to repeated additions and restorations over the years it is a real mix of architectural styles and you can see Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque features.
Highlights to look out for include the decorations around the nave and the beautiful chapel of San Gennaro, dedicated to the patron saint of the city.
Three times a year the residents of Naples come to see if the two vessels of his dried blood contained in the church turn to liquid. It is believed to be a bad omen if they don’t and portends that a tragic event will affect the city.
Any weekend in Naples has to contain a visit to the Napoli Sotterranea, so this is where you’re headed next.
The name translates to ‘Naples underground’ and refers to the fascinating labyrinth of ancient tunnels, tanks, and cavities that lie beneath the city’s streets.
For a truly memorable experience, book a guided tour and squeeze your way through the narrow passageways with your guide, the only light provided by the candles you take with you.
Around 129 feet below the surface, you’ll come to the tufo caves, originally excavated by the Greeks and used as the water supply and cisterns of the city for hundreds of years.
Once you’re above ground again, stroll to Via San Gregorio Armeno – the most famous alleyway in Naples!
It is more commonly known as Christmas Street and you’ll soon see why – this is the place to buy the incredible nativity scenes known as ‘presepi’ created by local artists.
You can also find the figurines you’ll need to create your own, no matter what time of year you visit!
Your last stop this morning is at Via Dei Tribunali for lunch! This historic street – otherwise known as ‘pizza street’ – is THE place to visit for the very best pizza in the city.
There is also a great atmosphere and lots of cool bars at which to sit and relax ahead of your afternoon’s sightseeing.
When seeing Naples in 2 days you really must visit the wonderful castle that stands out as soon as you enter the port.
Its name is Ovo (egg) Castle and it dates back to the early 6th century BC, making it the oldest remaining fortification in the city.
There are a couple of theories as to how it got its name. Some people think it’s because of its distinctive shape.
Others, however, tell a more interesting story, claiming that a magical egg was placed into its foundations by the Roman poet, Virgil!
The castle is free to enter but there isn’t a lot to see inside. The real appeal is to climb the ramparts and take a walk around its stone walls.
The views across the Mediterranean sea are stunning and you get an incredible feel for the history of the region. You are also free to explore the Borgo Marinaro – the little island on which the castle stands.
A lovely way to end the afternoon is with a stroll along the Lungomare Santa Lucia.
This pedestrianized seafront promenade is 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long. It gives you some wonderful views and plenty of opportunities for photographs of Mount Vesuvius and Capri.
If it’s a nice sunny day you might opt to spend some time on one of the free beaches, or you could hire a boat and see Naples from a different perspective.
Alternatively, rent a bike or relax among the tranquil greenery of Naples Villa Comunale Park.
The food in Naples is exceptional and a wonderful restaurant to try is La Taverna dell’Arte, located on a small side street near Naples’ main university.
It puts its own take on Neapolitan classics and – along with its exceptional starters and mains – serves traditional desserts and homemade liqueurs.
Are 2 Days In Naples Enough?
There is so much to see here that you could easily spend longer, but 2 days in Naples is enough to see the main highlights of the city and experience a taste of its atmosphere.
You’ll definitely need two full days though, so consider adding an extra night if you arrive late on your first day or have an early departure time.
Where To Stay In Naples
Here are some of our favorite places to stay in Naples, with a suggestion to suit every budget!
Best Budget Accommodation
Tric Trac Hostel has a great location, excellent breakfasts, and plenty of activities for guests to enjoy. There are also some common areas where you can mix with other guests and make new friends.
Best Mid-Range Accommodation
Located in the stylish Chiaia district near Via dei Mille, this comfortable hotel is close to the Ovo Castle and within easy reach of good restaurants and trendy designer stores.
The immaculate rooms are spacious and an à la carte or Italian breakfast is offered daily.
Best Luxury Accommodation
For a true taste of luxury, reserve a room at the beautiful Relais Della Porta, located close to the city’s main attractions.
Decorated in contemporary style, the rooms are stunning and spacious. A delicious buffet breakfast is available each morning of your stay.
Final Thoughts On This Itinerary For Two Days In Naples
I hope you’ve found this guide useful and that it has helped you plan exactly what to do in Naples in 2 days. This bustling, brash, and incredible city truly has something for everyone and we hope you enjoy every moment of your stay.
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