Naples is one of the biggest cities in Italy. While it is worth visiting because of its own merit, there’s no denying that one of Naples’ biggest draws is its surrounding area. The best day trips from Naples are some of the best places to visit in all of Italy, and Naples is the perfect hub to visit them from.
Whether you’re looking for striking Roman ruins or an idyllic coastline, Naples has it all within just a couple of hours. There are few Italian sights as famous as the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, after all! This post will break down the top 10 best day trips from Naples to check out on your next trip.
For more information on visiting Naples, be sure to read my in-depth Naples Travel Guide.
Procida is the smallest island in the Bay of Naples, but that doesn’t tell the full story. This little island packs a punch, and is the favorite among many locals. Just a short ferry ride away, it is a great day trip from Naples.
The island is best known for its raw beaches and colorful buildings. Its past is also very unique, having at different times served as a hunting retreat for Bourbon kings, a private residence for a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, and even a prison. Nowadays it is a wonderful retreat from the business of Naples, and is much less visited by tourists than the other islands on this list.
9. Mt. Vesuvius
One of the most infamous volcanoes in the world, Mt. Vesuvius is one of the most popular day trips from Naples. Visitors often head to the volcano to hike around its trails and check out the crater in its center. While the volcano is still active, it is safe and fairly easy to hike.
The main hiking trail on Mt. Vesuvius is located about a 35-minute drive southeast of Naples. Since it is one of the most popular activities in Naples, there is an abundance of tour providers that offer guided trips from the city to the volcano. From the top you will get some of the most magnificent views of Naples and its surrounding bay!
Everyone knows about Pompeii, but many fewer people know about Herculaneum. Located 20 minutes outside of Naples, Herculaneum is another Roman village that was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Herculaneum is very well-preserved, and it should be on any history buff’s to-do list while in Naples.
In fact, Herculaneum is even better preserved than Pompeii. This city was covered in volcanic ash almost instantly, which caused many buildings to stay entirely intact – including second floors! While Herculaneum is much smaller than Pompeii, it might actually be the better of the two sites to visit.
Salerno is the only major city on this list, and it is a truly special place. It is most known for its Lungomare Trieste seafront promenade, but there is so much more to do in this city.
Another major highlight is Salerno’s Duomo, or cathedral, which is recognized as the most beautiful Medieval church in all of Italy. It houses relics of St. Matthew and St. Gregory VII’s tomb. The Provincial Archaeological Museum is also a favorite stop for a lot of visitors, filled with prehistoric and Roman artifacts.
Located about 40 minutes north of Naples is Caserta, a small city known for its stunning palace complex and charming downtown area. This small city is very easily accessed by train from Naples Central Station, which is part of what makes it one of the best day trips from Naples. You can take a quick train 43 minutes north out of Naples and arrive right in the heart of the town.
In the old town, or Caserta Vecchia, you can check out the cathedral and age-old architecture. The town is very tranquil and offers visitors a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of Naples.
The Campania region is known for its stunning landscapes and architecture, and the Reggia di Caserta combines both. This former palace is recognizable by the stunning promenade leading up to its entry. Nowadays, the Reggia di Caserta is a wonderful place to visit, filled with gorgeous frescoes, luscious gardens and fountains, and period-specific furnishings.
While Italy is packed with stunning ruins, few are quite as glorious as Paestum. Located about two hours south of Naples, Paestum is known for having some of the best preserved Greek and Roman temples in the world. Much like Agrigento in Sicily, Paestum’s temples are very intact and the grounds are expansive.
While Agrigento is epic, I think Paestum blows it out of the water. While I am not an ancient history aficionado, Paestum feels better preserved than Agrigento and there is much more to see.
If you visit Paestum, I highly recommend hiring a guide. There is a ton of valuable information to be learned here, and trying to do it on your own jeopardizes much of that. There are several cafes and restaurants located around the ruins, as well as a museum about burial art.
Of the three islands on this list, Ischia is many people’s favorite. While the beaches here are as stunning as any other island in the area, the real gem is the island’s famous church. The Chiesa del Soccorso is a beautiful white church located on the edge of Ischia’s beautiful coast.
Like the other islands around Naples, Ischia is filled with epic cliffs, peaks with beautiful views, and gorgeous architecture. The island is also known for its thermal baths, which are a fun experience to check out.
The ferry to Ischia from Naples takes anywhere from 50 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the boat and the company with which you travel.
3. The Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most recognizable sights in all of Italy. Its fame has spread all around the world, and it’s known as one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The Amalfi Coast is probably the most popular day trip from Naples.
The Amalfi Coast is not just one town. While there is a town called Amalfi, the coast runs for tens of miles in both directions from there. Amalfi itself is a pretty small town that sits along the coast, and it isn’t even the best place to visit.
Places like Sorrento and Positano are larger tourist draws than Amalfi itself. Whether you want to soak in the stunning cliffside views or you want to go for a swim, you’re more likely to find a great experience in one of those two places. One of the best ways to enjoy the Amalfi Coast is to rent a convertible and take your time slowly driving along its windy dangerous roads and stopping in the small towns along the way.
As arguably the most famous Roman ruins other than the Coliseum, Pompeii simply can’t be skipped. Pompeii is a large Ancient Roman city that was destroyed in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Some of the ruins are incredibly preserved, and the size of the city is what draws in such large crowds.
While many ruins around the world showcase temples and monuments, Pompeii is different. Pompeii is preserved as an entire town, including bars, hotels, brothels, and more. While Herculaneum is actually better preserved, Pompeii is more famous due to its size and the degree to which it has been excavated.
The most popular island in the Bay of Naples, Capri is an absolute must-visit on any trip to Naples. Often viewed as an exclusive retreat for the wealthy, Capri is dotted with world-class boutique hotels, incredible restaurants, and stunning beaches. No matter where you go on the island, you’re bound to find both natural and man-made beauty.
One of the highlights of Capri is the famous Blue Grotto. This is an area just off the coast with gorgeous blue water and a famous sea cave. Visitors charter boats and wait in line for hours to take a dip here.
Another highlight of Capri is Anacapri, which is a major mountain on the island. Visitors can take a ski lift to the top, where there is a relaxing bar that offers up the most beautiful views on the island. The trip up is nerve-wracking if you’re afraid of heights, but the anxiety is worth it.
To get to Capri, you need to take a ferry from Naples. The ferry takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 80 minutes. The ride time depends on the type of ferry you book and which company you book it with.
Buy your tickets to and from Capri in advance, as the ferries do tend to fill up during the busy season. While Capri is one of the best day trips from Naples, it is also one of the busiest. Waiting to book tickets can lead to a frustrating day!