Naples - the city of contrasts

NAPLES – THE CITY OF CONTRASTS

It is impossible that you have never heard something negative about Naples. The number of such stories is basically impressive – mafia, theft, dust heaps, whipping bags from women’s hands… If you start googling some information about Naples before your trip (and this is just what I’ve done) you might be able to find quite nice data base for a PhD thesis : “What might happen to you while in Naples?”.

Well, it is simply insane that each person that knows you’re going to Naples farewells you with “be careful” instead of “have fun!”. Surely, the city has some nasty reputation. However, is it well-deserved or is it another, senseless urban legend? Naples is like a controversial music star – either you hate it or love it. There is no place for indifference.

I was tempted by cheap flights (260 pln for here and return) and my enormous appetite for the original Neapolitan pizza. As a result I decided to face this crazy and shocking city. While buying my tickets in February I was really excited, however when driving to Cracov’s airport I started having some thoughts. Well, I’ve visited Naples once but only for a few hours. This time it was 3 days trip. How am I going to survive this?!

HOW TO GET FROM NAPLES AIRPORT TO THE CITY CENTRE?

Airport in Naples

We reached Naples at 10:30 p.m. and after departing we headed to Alibus buses, that are driving to city centre which is 7 km far from the airport. Below you may find its timetable.

Timetable of Alibus
We managed to get to the last course which was at 11 p.m. – it stopped at Piazza Garibaldi (near the Main Station), Immacolatella/Porta di Massa and finally (which was also our destination) Molo Angioino/Beverello, so right next to Stazione Marittima. Bus tickets are available at the tabacchi or at the driver (then it will be slightly more expensive – 5 Euro).

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Getting to our AIRBNB accommodation provided us with some wild effects. It was nearly midnight, I got quite nervous, and the only passanger of the bus that was travelling with us was a self-proclaimed king of the ride who was asking everyone where they are going, where do they live and suggested where should they leave the bus. Well, normally I wouldn’t get so scared of him if it wasn’t for his evil look – pointy ears, shiny signets on each of his fingers and the ability to speak in probably every language of the world.

After a thirty minutes long journey, around midnight we arrived at our stop which was 10 minutes walk from our accommodation.

This is how it all looked like: me and Marta in the middle of a empty street, our bags right next to us, romantic moon above us, historical Vesuvio in the background… and quite a great number of prostitutes across the road.

Angel with a guitar in Naples - street art Street-art in Naples

I guess that this short description is a best metaphor of this city – nature and beauty mixed all together with dirt and real, not idyllic life.

NAPLES IS NOT SO BLACK AS IT IS PAINTED

I wouldn’t like you to get discouraged about this amazing city located in the most breathtaking region of Italy. Naples is a city of exaggerated stories and my primal fear was basically caused by them.

Streets of Naples

To be honest – just as in other big cities, in Naples you have to be carefull and use common sense. Do not walk dark alleys, keep eyes on your purse and luggage and do not exaggerate with gold jewellery.

Morever, Neopolitans are the sweetest and most helpful Italians I’ve ever encountered. Positive vibes of locals was what I saw in this vibrant city.

Market in Naples

Well, it is trully a city of contrasts – legendary mafia on one side, and on the other are kind people. Of course there is also another and separate category of lunatic drivers who don’t use brake if they see a pedestrian crossing the street. And what makes me happy the most – pizza. The one and only neapolitan pizza which should be awarded with Nobel Peace Prize.

Unluckily I’ve spent only three days in Naples, so I couldn’t prepare some detailed city guide – such you may find on other blogs. However, I would like to show you three places that stole my heart and I will surely visit them again. A complete must have!

LUNGOMARE – PROMENADE ALONG NAPLES BAY

In my opinion, this is the most beautiful and breathtaking 10/10  place of Naples. Think of a typical Naples postcard – rocks, sea and Vesuvio in the background – does it ring a bell? This is it!

Amazing Lungomare in Naples - via Caracciolo

We had only three days to explore Naples and I have no clue why Lungomare wasn’t the part of our trip. What lead us there was a delicious pizza! On the via Caracciolo there is a annual Pizza Festival which of course became my priority during sightseeing. I’ll describe it later.

Back to Lungomare. If you want to see one of the most romantic sunsets in the world, you definitely should go there.

Moreover, it is one of the places in Naples that gives you the feeling of “casualness” and serene safety. It is a rather prestigious district, full of elegant people walking around. Time slows here down. While Naples is a place of rush and chaos, Lungomare gives you rest.

You may start sightseeing from Castel dell’Ovo, move along Caracciolo Street and finish at stunning Mergellina harbour.

VOMERO

Vomero hill in Naples

I’ve never been to other overlooks of Naples, however the view from Vomero is truly breathtaking. It is much more peaceful than in the city centre and nearby you might explore Sant’Elmo castle (5 Euro fee). I’ve heard that the view from the castle is one of the most amazing in Naples. We didn’t have time to see it, however, I really recommend you do it!

You might get to the hill by:

– Funicolare  Railway
– Underground (ticket is 1.50 Euro) – L1 yellow line stopping at Vanvitelli

Vomero district is believed to be the most luxurious and prestigious part of the city, and many premium boutiques and shops are located there among with fancy pubs and restaurants. If vibrant Naples city centre is not for you, Vomero might be your place!

CASTEL DELL’OVO

It is located on a small island that is linked with the land via 100 meters’ levee. Castel dell’Ovo is believed to present the most breathtaking view of Naples. However, before you reach it, be prepared for a little bit a climbing. It is worth going there – especially that it is for free!

The view from Castle dell'Ovo in Naples

In Naples - Castle dell'OvoPlaces to see in Naples - Castle dell'Ovo

BONUS 

Naples is full of street art! Keep a sharp lookout. The less interesting district, the more amazing paintings there are.

beautiful street art in Naples Amazing street-art in Naples

What are your favourite places in Naples? Let me know below! More travels in Italy you will find HERE

Stay tuned – soon I’ll post some more about Pizza Festival of Naples, amazing meeting with Gino Sorbillo, a short guide where to eat the best pizza in Naples and my trips to Sorrento, Positano and Pompei!

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