With plenty to keep visitors exhilarated for weeks, Naples is an undeniable dazzler of a destination. Better still, if you’re looking to enjoy a whole lot of unforgettable Italian experiences from one base, stacks of attractions await in the vicinity of this vibrant city. From exploring Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, to visiting charming towns and idyllic Amalfi Coast islands, read on to discover the 10 best day trips from Naples.
1. Explore Pompeii — one of the best day trips from Naples
Once a sophisticated Roman trading town populated by moneyed patricians, Pompeii was buried beneath metres of ash in the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Today Pompeii offers unparalleled insights into the lives of Roman citizens during the imperial era — from domestic arrangements and social conventions, to class and commerce.
The scale of the site means you’ll want to devote an entire day to it. Highlights include the Forum, one of Pompeii’s most important official buildings, and the luxury villas of Via di Mercurio. Then there's the epic amphitheatre — one of the oldest and most intact of its kind in Italy.
Grandest of all, though is the recently-restored Villa dei Misteri (Villa of the Mysteries). Perhaps the best preserved of all Pompeii’s palatial houses, the villa’s name derives from a series of paintings in one of its larger chambers. These depict the initiation of a young woman into the Dionysiac Mysteries, a cult that was outlawed in the early imperial era.
All that considered, there’s no question that visiting Pompeii is one of the best day trips to take from Naples.
How to get to Pompeii
Take the Circumvesuviana train from Naples to Pompeii Scavi-Villa dei Misteri. This lies just outside the western Porta Marina entrance to the site. The journey time is just 35 minutes.
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2. Uncover chic Capri
Jutting out of the sea just off the far end of the Sorrentine peninsula, the chic island of Capri has long been the most sought-after area of the Bay of Naples. In fact, Capri — home of the mythological Sirens — was the private love island of Roman emperors.
Today, Capri’s allure lives on in its beautiful beaches and lush interior landscape. And all this is accessible via a 45-minute fast ferry from Naples. Nestled between two mountains, Capri Town is centred on the small, but perfectly formed Piazza Umberto I. Usually known as “La Piazzetta”, this pretty people-watching spot is peppered with cute cafes. Behind La Piazzetta, you’ll find a maze of charming streets, and steps leading to a domed seventeenth-century church, Santo Stefano.
Elsewhere, there are elegant old villas to explore, with the Arco Naturale and Grotta di Matermania on hand for natural beauty. A 25-minute stroll from Capri Town, this impressive natural rock formation lies at the end of a high, lush valley. To reach it, follow Via Botteghe out of La Piazzetta, then branch off up Via Matermania.
How to get to Capri
Head to the main port in Naples, the Molo Beverello, at the bottom of Piazza Municipio. Here you can board ferries, hydrofoils or catamarans to Capri. The fastest option takes 45 minutes.
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3. Be awe-inspired by the Amalfi Coast
Spanning the southern side of Sorrento’s peninsula, the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) lays claim to being Europe’s most beautiful stretch of coast. The Amalfi Coast, is considered one of the best day trips from Naples.
Unless you’re planning to spend an entire day in Sorrento (more on doing that later), you could opt to soak up the scenery on a road trip. By car or bus, it’s an incredible, winding ride, with some of the most spectacular stretches lying between Salerno and Amalfi.
Love epic walks? Head to the well-marked Path of the Gods (Il Sentiero degli Dei) that undulates along ridges and sheer karst walls. The 6km trail starts from the main square in mountaintop Bomerano (634m) – reachable by bus from Amalfi – and ends in Nocelle (440m).
How to get to the Amalfi Coast
From Naples, take the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, Salerno or Vietri sul Mare. If you’re heading to a different specific town, Sita buses serve the area.
4. See scenic Sorrento
Just over an hour by train from Naples, the cliff-top resort town of Sorrento presents itself as a magnificent maze of medieval alleys and sweet-scented piazzas. Its inspired location and pleasant climate has long drawn creative types. For example, Ibsen wrote part of Peer Gynt in here, and Maxim Gorky lived in town for over a decade.
On a day trip from Naples, you could opt to stroll the glorious gardens of Villa Comunale, or perhaps visit the Museo Bottega della Tarsialignea. Housed in an ancient mansion in the artisanal quarter of the old town, this showcases Sorrento’s speciality of inlaid woodwork.
Away from the centre, savouring seafood down on the sea front is one of the best things to do in Sorrento. Or just sit back and sip something cool to a soundtrack of gently lapping waves.
How to get to Sorrento
Trains between Naples and Sorrento run roughly every 30 minutes and take just over an hour. In addition, buses run between Naples airport, the city of Naples itself, and the Amalfi Coast. The ride to Sorrento takes around 1.5 hours.
5. Head to Herculaneum
Love history? Then Herculaneum is one of the best day trips from Naples. The ash-buried city of Herculaneum might be smaller than its sister city of Pompeii, but it's less crowded, and its ruins are better preserved, too. The pyroclastic material that covered Herculaneum carbonized, preserving organic materials like food, paper and wood.
This, and the presence of hundreds of petrified humans, gives the site an undeniably haunting atmosphere, with relatable domestic scenes frozen in time. In its heyday, Herculaneum was a residential town, much smaller than Pompeii. As such, it’s a more manageable site, more easily taken in on a single visit.
How to get to Herculaneum
From Naples, your best bet is to take a bus. With a journey time of around 15 minutes, the Naples to Herculaneum service departs from Napoli - Via G. Ferraris ex garage Grilli bustop.
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6. Be entranced by Ischia island
Largest of the islands in the Bay of Naples, Ischia (pronounced Iss-kee-a) rises out of the sea as a series of pointy green hummocks. Towering over the island, Monte Epomeo is Ischia's highest peak. This rugged, dormant volcano is thick with a forest so lush, it could almost be in Central America.
While Capri has attracted countless crowds of rich and famous visitors for centuries, Ischia’s thermal springs and spa hotel tend to draw a loyal clientele of wellness tourists. On a day trip from Naples, you could head to Ischia’s mountainous interior to visit La Mortella, an exotic garden created by the British composer William Walton and his wife Susana. The medieval castle of Ischia Ponte is also well worth a visit.
Alternatively, hit one of the beaches. Spiaggia dei Maronti is arguably the best beach on the island, with Chiaia Beach also popular for its crystal-clear waters.
How to get to Ischia
As with Capri, head to the main port in Naples, the Molo Beverello, at the bottom of Piazza Municipio. Here four companies operate the Naples-Ischia ferry route, with around 30 daily crossings. The journey time is around an hour.
Want to spice up your trip? Discover unusual things to do in Naples.
7. Potter picturesque Procida island
Despite being the island closest to Naples, Procida has yet to see the volume of tourists who flock to Capri and Ischia. As a result, if you fancy escaping the city, catching a ferry to Procida is one of the best day trips from Naples.
Corricella, the island’s most atmospheric spot, featured as a lost-in-time island town in the Oscar-winning film Il Postino. A picturesque little harbour overlooked by pastel-painted houses, it’s known as the “Borgo dei Pescatori” as it’s still used by local fisherman.
In the main, Procida’s appeal lies in its opportunities to eat excellent seafood and swim in relative seclusion. If it’s the latter you’ve come for, head to Spiaggia del Pozzo Vecchio beach. This spreads beneath a bowl of cliffs just beyond the island’s cemetery. Further south, you’ll find the island’s longest beach, Spiaggia di Ciraccio, a two-minute walk to the west of the pretty, yacht-crammed marina of Chiaiolella.
How to get to Procida
Ferries from Naples to Procida depart from the Calata Porta di Massa pier. Two companies — SNAV and Caremar — offer crossings up to 20 times a day. Depending on the vessel, the crossing will take 40 minutes or an hour.
8. Stroll Salerno
Capital of Campania’s southernmost province, the lively port of Salerno is a lot less chaotic than Naples, and well off most travellers’ itineraries. As such, if you’re looking to mix things up, Salerno is a top day trip from Naples.
During medieval times, the town’s medical school was the most eminent in Europe. More recently, it was the site of the Allied landing of 9th September 1943, which reduced much of its centre to rubble. Today Salerno reflects a hodgepodge of architectural eras, from the ramshackle old medieval core on the west of town, to the cutting-edge modern to the south.
In terms of grand sights, visit seventeenth-century Palazzo Pinto. Inside, the Pinacoteca Provinciale di Salerno displays fifteenth-century altarpieces and works by Neapolitan Baroque artists.
Then there’s the Duomo, an enormous church built in 1076 by Robert Guiscard and dedicated to St Matthew. Meanwhile, the seafront promenade is a pleasant place to stroll, and offers a good supply of shops, cafes and restaurants. Love your grub? Find out where to scoff the best pizza in Naples.
How to get to Salerno
High-speed trains run between Naples’ Centrale station and Salerno and take around 30 minutes. Almost 40 trains run between Naples and Salerno each day.
9. Find peace among the Paestum ruins
Want more history beyond the hotspots of Pompeii and Herculaneum? Take a day trip from Naples to Paestum.
Located around 45km south of Salerno, this ancient site was founded by Greeks in the sixth century BC, then colonised by the Romans in 273 BC. By the ninth century, a combination of malaria and Saracen raids had decimated the population and left the buildings deserted. Consumed by thick forest, the site wasn’t rediscovered until the eighteenth century.
Today it’s a haunting, open place that Shelley once described as “inexpressibly grand”. Though many of its ruins are unrecognisable, it’s home to three golden-stoned temples that are among the best-preserved Doric temples in Europe. Just across the road, a splendid museum displays Greek and Roman finds from the site.
How to get to Paestum
Trains from Naples to Paestum depart from Napoli Centrale. The journey takes around 1 hour 15 minutes.
10. Meander mighty Mount Vesuvius
Visible from just about everywhere in the Bay of Naples, visiting Mount Vesuvius is one of the very best day trips from Naples. The only active volcano on mainland Europe, it’s dominated the lives of residents since AD 79, when it first erupted and buried the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
From the car park, it takes about twenty minutes to reach the summit. After climbing up barren crimson gravel, you’ll be greeted by the Martian-esque landscape of the crater and occasional curling gusts of smoke.
How to get to Mount Vesuvius
Two daily EAV buses depart Naples’ Molo Beverello (9.10am & 10.25am), arriving at Piazza Garibaldi 10 minutes later. It takes about an hour to reach the top. Buses return at 12.30pm and 2.15pm.