Okay, before we begin, and I tell you how to visit Naples as a day trip from Sorrento, I don’t really like Naples. In fact, I kind of hated it. But I still want to share my tips for having a day out there from the beautiful seaside resort of Sorrento or as a potential day itinerary if you are spending a bit longer in the city. I’ve found it is a subjective city where you either love it or hate it, and I fell into the latter.
Despite disliking it, I did manage to have a full day out there and I didn’t actually cry once. I based (okay, followed word for word) Sam Sparrow’s AMAZING advice on Naples and what to do there after reading her fantastic blog post about Naples approx 1838464 times before I visited. Naples is an intense city that felt incredibly different to Rome, which I expected, but it is definitely a lot more gritty, raw and a tiny bit unsafe.
I think that is where a lot of my problems stemmed from – being a solo female traveler in a city filled with creepy men leering at you all the time, groups of them every street corner and shouting ciao bella at you every five seconds. Like piss of, go away. It just made me feel quite unsafe and I couldn’t ever relax and soak up the city as I’ve done before. However, Naples …
GETTING THERE & GETTING ABOUT
I got the Circumvesuviana from Sorrento train station which costs 3.90€ for a single ticket, takes around an hour and ten minutes and runs every half or so. I heard horror stories about this train line but after being on it for four or five journeys it is not that bad. Some of the stations between Sorrento and Naples are a bit sketchy but I felt generally okay most of the time.
It is supposedly really bad for pickpocketing but I was just very careful with my bag and had nothing in my pockets, especially when I was standing on the journey home for a while. To catch the train back to Sorrento I got on at Napoli Garibaldi, which is the platforms below Napoli Centrale but it is easily signposted within the station.
I explored Naples on foot as it is a city filled with narrow windy streets and I was only concerned with visiting things in the Centro Storico which was about a twenty five minute walk from Napoli Centrale. I don’t think I’d bother with public transport unless you really don’t want to walk as I always find public transport (Italian more so) stressful and not a great experience whilst walking gives you an opportunity to see more of the city.
WHAT TO DO
First up I visited the Napoli Duomo as I always visit cathedrals when I travel. I’m not religious in any capacity but I like looking at the artwork and religious styles within the buildings. Naples Cathedral is beautiful and it is pretty big so it is easy to spend a while here. It is free entry but to use the toilets it costs 50 cents and honestly, don’t bother unless you are going to wet yourself. I paid 50 cents for the good privilege of using a toilet with no toilet seat, no loo roll, no hand towels and the bloody door handle fell off the first time I closed the door. Literally, that alone put me off Naples as a whole.
I also bought a ticket for the 12.00 tour in English of the Napoli Sotterranea (Naples Underground) which I chose to do after reading Sam’s recommendations. I had never done an underground tour before but we explored a Greek-Roman aqueduct which was incredible and it was a great way to spend an hour and a half. The tour guide was very informative and I loved seeing the pools filled with water. It costs 10€ to do and I loved it.
Finally I visited the Naples Archaeological Museum which was my reason for being in Naples in the first place. It is a beautiful building and for EU citizens under 25/26 you can enter for a reduced rate of 6€. It stocks loads of sculptures and statues from the archaeological sites of Pompei and Herculaneum as well as things from the Baths of Caracalla in Rome which were of interest to me. It was super cool to see the Tyrannicides in real life and the Farnese Bull is incredible.
I didn’t eat anything fun and Italian in Naples as I was so exhausted with the city and just wanted to get back to the coast that I had a McDonalds. Of course after I’d sat down, some man came and sat a chair down from me and tried to speak to me in Italian so I scoffed my burger, grabbed my chips and promptly left. Please just let me eat my Big Mac in peace okay.
However, if I hadn’t been on my own or hadn’t disliked Naples so profusely I would have visited L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele which Sam recommends in her post. The pizza is apparently out of this world!
I probably spent about five and a half hours in Naples in total, not including the hour and ten minutes spent on the journey there and then the same back again to Sorrento which made it a pretty long day.
I’m not saying don’t visit Naples – it might be right up your street. I definitely felt uncomfortable a solo female traveler which was definitely where all the issues I have with Naples stem from. A couple of people I’ve spoken to about Naples really liked it after spending a few days there so maybe you need a while to love it. But from beautiful Sorrento it is so easy to do in a day trip and then you can escape back to the seaside!
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