The area around Naples is so rich that choosing where to go can be daunting. There’s simply too much to see. We decided to visit the very best: Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. Since we didn’t have much time, we had to plan very well how to move from place to place. In addition, we hate to rush through places. Therefore, we did the following Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii 5 day itinerary. Of course, it doesn’t cover everything, but we are sure that you will get to experience what this fantastic region has to offer. Prepare to be dazzled!
- 1 2 Days in Naples
- 2 2 Days in the Amalfi Coast
- 3 1 Day in Pompeii
- 4 Moving Around
2 Days in Naples
The Centro Storico is the area that begins at Plaza Garibaldi (where the train station is), goes all the way to Via Toledo, Corso Umberto I to the east, and Via Foria. Incredible heritage packs the area; so much, that UNESCO included it in its World Heritage Site list. Everywhere you look, you’ll find something beautiful and historic. Hence, all you have to do is relax and walkabout. Begin your walk at the Santa Caterina a Formiello Church, one of the most important Churches of the Neapolitan Renaissance. To the right on Via Carbonara, you will find the San Giovanni a Carbonara Church (15th Century Gotic). Continue along Via Luiggi Setembrini to get to the Donnaregina Contemporary Art Museum.
Next to it is the Church di Santa Maria Donnaregina Vecchia. Walk along Via Vecchia to see the Cathedral Santa Maria Assunta (Neo-gothic with 4th Century mosaics) and the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro. In front is the Monumental Complex San Lorenzo Maggiore (museum, church, and The Ancient Neapolis’ Forum). The Museo Cappella Sansevero is on narrow Via Francesco Di Santis. Nearby is the gorgeous Obelisco di San Domenico, on Via Benedetto Croce which takes you to the Church of Gesù Nuovo (the stone façade is impressive) on Gesù Nuovo square. The Monastery di Santa Chiara is in front. From there, it’s a 5-minute walk to the Monumental Complex di Santa Maria la Nova.
The Quartieri Spagnoli is the area that goes from Via Toledo to the base of the hill, the Park Quartieri Spagnoli to the north, and the spectacular Piazza del Plebiscito to the south. Begin your walk at the Toledo metro station. Don’t forget to enter the station, it’s one of the nicest in the world. Walk along Via Montecalvario to reach Foqus Foundation Spanish Quarter, an abandoned building converted into a thriving community center. The 15th Century Santa Maria Della Concordia is two steps away, on Via Sepulcro. Football fans will be happy to know that the Maradonna graffiti is on the next street. The other place you mustn’t miss is the Zevallos Stigliano Palace, a lavish 17th Century baroque palace with frescoes by Caravaggio.
Though technically not part of the Quartier Spagnoli, the area around the Piazza del Plebiscito is heritage central. Begin your walk at the Galleria Umberto I, a 19th Century iron and glass shopping center. Two blocks from there, to the east, is the splendid Castel Nuovo, the medieval fortress in front of the port. Go back to the Piazza, and you will see the 17th Century San Carlo Theatre. On the piazza, you have to check the grandiose Basilica Reale Pontificia San Francesco da Paola and of course, the Royal Palace of Naples. Behind the Basilica is the Bourbon Tunnel, essential in understanding Naples’ last 500 years.
Santa Lucia + Chiaia
Santa Lucia is the area south of the Piazza dei Plebisicto, on the coast. Chiaia is next to it, under the hill. The sea promenade is a favorite amongst locals. Begin your walk at the Circolo Canottieri Napoli and walk along Via Nazario Lopez, the sea to your left, gorgeous buildings to your right. The promenade changes its name at the beautiful Fountain Della Immacolatella to Via Partenope. Both the Borgo Marinari and the superb Ovo Castle are in front. Walk about the Porticiollo di Santa Lucia, you won’t be able to stop taking pictures. Via Partenope takes you to the center of Chiaia, Piazza Vittoria. Take Via Calabritto to reach the Piazza Dei Martiri. Everything in that area is gorgeous!
Vomero is Naple’s fancy neighborhood. The best way to get there is to take the funicular that leaves from Piazzetta Duca D’Aosta on Via Toledo. It takes you to Piazza Fuga on the hill. You can also take metro line 1 and get off at Vanvitelli. Once on the hill, follow the signs that take you to Saint Elmo Castle. The views from the castle and the hill are stunning, especially during sunsets. Go back to Piazza Vanvitelli and walk along Vomero’s main commercial drag, Via Alessandro Scarlatti. Get lost amongst the fancy streets of Vomero and go back with another funicular. Close to Piazza Vanvitelli is the funicular station Cimarosa that takes you to Parco Marguerita in Chiaia.
Best Hotels in Naples
We stayed in two of the best hotels in Naples. As you know, we love hotels and staying in different neighborhoods. First, we spent a night at Hotel Nunú, ideally located on Corso Umberto Primo I. The hotel is just a step away from all you have to see in the Centro Stórico and the Quartieri Spagnoli, but on a well lit safe street. Our comfortable room had a balcony and double glazed windows. Then we spent another night at the fabulous Eurostars Hotel Excelsior on the coast. This is one of the best hotels in Naples, built in 1908 but updated with modern-day conveniences. We loved our room and the views from the terrace. Even if you don’t stay there, go up for some coffee or delicious Italian desserts.
2 Days in the Amalfi Coast
Day 1 – Amalfi Town
Of our 2 days on the Amalfi Coast, one we spent in Amalfi Town. The best time to visit Amalfi is spring or fall. The weather is great and there are no crowds. Begin your walk by the sea, in the Piazza Flavio Gioia. Walk along the Via Lorenzo D’Amalfi, the town’s main drag. You will soon reach Piazza Duomo, the epicenter of Amalfi. The incredible Cathedral of Saint Andrew Apostle is there. The temple is from the 9th Century and supposedly homes the remains of Saint Andrew brought from Constantinople in 1206. The interior is as impressive as the façade, and the views from the stairs unforgettable. Don’t forget to check the cloister and archdiocese behind. Another not to be missed place is the Belvedere Cemetery, up on the hill. Incredible views will reward your effort. Once done with these jewels, all you have to do is wonder about Amalfi’s narrow streets. Each and every single one is beautiful.
Day 2 – Positano Town
Positano Town lies on the slope of a hill. Via Pasitea crosses the entire town. However, to walk up and down, it’s best to use the narrow alleys that connect the town. Yes, you will exercise. In reality, Positano feels more like a village, so there simply isn’t a route we can recommend. It’s best to get lost. No worries, you will get everywhere and see everything. The Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption can be considered the center. Close to the church is the Roman Archaeological Museum, which showcases roman ruins, frescos, 17th-century catacombs, wall paintings, crypts, and tones of artifacts. Don’t leave Positano without checking its beaches. Fornillo is amongst the nicest in the Mediterranean, and Spiaggia Grande is the town’s main beach.
Best Hotels in Amalfi & Positano
We stayed at the elegant Residence Hotel, directly on the coast, in the center of Amalfi. It’s a historic palace converted into a luxury hotel in the 1950s. Our beautiful room had views of the sea and even a hot tub! Since its just 50 meters from the beach and at the entrance of Amalfi town, you can walk everywhere. In Positano, we spent a night at the Positano Art Hotel Pasitea and had a great time. All rooms have a balcony with splendid views over the coast and hills. You will recognize it from the lush plants and flowers that cover the façade. Yes, the location is great, walking distance to everywhere.
1 Day in Pompeii
No matter how many times you’ve seen it on TV, Pompeii will still surprise you. The place rocks! Not only the ruins, but Mount Vesuvius is impressive too. Take note that Pompeii is pretty big, so checking it out completely could take days. That said, to get a good picture, you need at least 1 day in Pompeii. Since a big chunk of visitors comes from Rome, try to arrive early in the morning to beat the crowds. Likewise, the afternoon light makes Pompeii even prettier. Though countless tours can take you around Pompeii, you can tour the ruins on your own. The map they give you when you enter is all you need. We walked freely, up and down, and stopped wherever we wanted. Don’t forget to bring water in a recyclable container, a hat, and sunscreen in summer. In winter you will need a coat.
Best Hotels in Pompeii
Staying in Pompeii is a great option. Since most tourists leave in the afternoon, you will have the place just for you. No, you can’t enter the ruins, but you can see them from hotels and restaurants, admire Mount Vesuvius, and take in the vibe. Plus, you can be the first one in and the last one out of the premises! The best hotels in Pompeii are near the Archeological Park. Hotel Vittoria, in front of the entrance and 5 minutes from the train station, has comfortable rooms, some with direct views of the ruins. Their terrace is perfect for admiring the ruins while sipping coffee. Hotel Forum has a brilliant location too, in front of the ruins. They have a lovely garden with lemon trees, and the rooms are big. Ask for one on the top floors so you can see Mount Vesuvius.
How to Get From Naples to Amalfi Coast
The trip from Naples to the Amalfi coast is an attraction in itself. Therefore, be sure to grab a window seat to the left of the bus, where the driver is. You have to take the train at Naples Central Train station on Garibaldi square to Salerno. From Salerno’s train station is a 1-minute walk to the bus stop where you have to take bus 5120. The bus drops you in the center of Amalfi. As soon as you exit Salerno’s train station, ask for the bus ticket booth. The trip lasts approximately 2 hours. You can also take a bus to Salerno. They take a bit longer than the train and leave from Via Ferraris Galileo.
How to Get From Amalfi Town to Positano
To go from Amalfi to Positano, you have to take bus 5070. Take note that you can’t buy the ticket on the bus. These are sold next to the stop. Once again, the trip offers incredible views, so grab a window seat. Buses leave from the center of Amalfi, on the coast, and drop you off on Positano’s main road. Be sure to ask your hotel for the exact bus schedule. To go to Positano back to Naples, take bus 5070 to Sorrento and then the train to Naples. The bus departs from the corner of Via Marconi and Viale Pasitea. Bar Internacionale sells the tickets, delicious pastry, and real Italian coffee. Perfection!
How to Get From Amalfi Coast to Pompeii
As you can tell from the area’s map, from Pompeii to the Amalfi coast you have to loop around the hills. Thus, it’s like a circle you can take either way. That said, the fastest way to get from the Amalfi Coast to Pompeii is through Sorrento. Take bus 5070 to Sorrento, and then the train to Pompei Scavi station. The journey lasts 2 to 3 hours. We took the train to Salerno, where we hopped on the bus to Amalfi to spend the night. The next day, we took the bus to Positano. After one night there, we took the bus to Sorrento and finally, the train to Pompeii. Since there are different trains and buses, be sure to ask your hotel the night before. You won’t have a problem, there are several options, and everyone is super helpful.
How to Get From Pompeii to Naples
To go from Naples to Pompeii, you have two direct options. The fastest one is to take the Circumvesuviana line that leaves you in Pompeii Scavi Station in front of the archaeological park access gate. This is quite useful in summer! Trains leave from Napoli Porta Nolana and do stop at Napoli’s Piazza Garibaldi. Porta Nolana is one stop before Garibaldi towards Pompeii. Trains leave every half an hour, and the trip lasts 35 minutes. The other option is to take the Metropolitano from Piazza Garibaldi Station. It takes 38 minutes and leaves you in Pompei Station, a 10-minute walk from the entrance to the ruins.
There is one extra option that’s perfect if you want to go in early in the morning. It’s the Regionale train that goes from Piazza Garibaldi Station to Pompeii Station in approximately 40 minutes. Please take note that Garibaldi Station and Napoli Central Station are in the same compound. We are talking basically about the same station. It’s huge and can be a bit confusing. In any case, you won’t have any trouble going from Naples to Pompeii. Whenever you are ready, go to the information booth in the station’s main lobby and ask for help. They will tell you which trains depart when.
Schedule and Routes
Depending on your schedule, it may not be convenient to go from the Amalfi Coast to Pompeii. If you are not an early bird, you can get to Pompei in the afternoon, so you will have just half a day to visit the ruins. That said, you can spend a little longer in Amalfi or Positano, arrive in Pompeii late, sleep, and go early the next day to the ruins. Likewise, you can decide to go from Naples to Pompeii, spend the night, and then go to Amalfi. Or base yourself in Naples and go to Pompeii for the day. Whatever the case, be sure to enjoy the three places. We guarantee you: Naples, the Amalfi Coast, and Pompeii are the best Italy has to offer.