Day 1 – Castel Nuovo, Galleria Borbonica, Old Town
After settling in, putting on some comfortable shoes and grabbing sun lotion and a water bottle (especially during summer) head straight to Castel Nuovo. There is so much history to find out about this place and the best way to do it is definitely through one of the guided tours inside the Castle. There are a few different tours, each one focusing on a different aspect of the historical sight. Archaeological details with real preserved skeletons from centuries ago (every kid’s favorite part!), royal families that used the castle, details of its construction, Mediterranean power struggles and attempts to invade Naples, the list goes on and on. Top all of that with a visit to the Terrace where you get a panoramic view of the city (ideal for photography loving moms) and you can even see Capri Island.
- There will be stairs to the underground, but an elevator is available to get to the terrace. Strollers can be left at beginning of the tour for free.
- Use the restroom at the beginning of the tour.
Then, walk to Galleria Borbonica. I recommend buying tickets in advance so you know what time you are going underground and plan around the rest of your visit accordingly. Allow yourself to travel through different ages. These galleries date back from Ancient Roman times and had many different uses across the centuries. You will learn about the Bourbon dynasty, World War II and how Naples was the first city in Italy to offer resistance to Axis powers.
- If travelling in summer I recommend doing this tour in the hottest hour of the day. It’s always cool underground and it will be a nice break from the constant heat.
- Even though this tour is subterranean you will not find yourself in cramping little spaces.
- There are some stairs but not many, strollers will be kept for free at the beginning of the tour.
Exploring the alleys of the old town (Spaccanapoli) is a must-do in Naples. Previously a dirty and sketchy-looking neighborhood the city is pouring a lot of money to make the region more palpable for tourists. It hasn’t lost its authentic feels and is very cool to stroll around with many opportunities to get real gelato, Italian coffee or an Aperol Spritz after seeing some beautiful fountains and hidden churches.
- Being one of the main destinations for the thousands of tourists that arrive daily in Naples from cruises the narrow streets can feel quite crowded early in the afternoon. The later you go in the day the more comfortable it will be for you and your family to calmly walk and spend some time checking out the hundreds of cute shops selling all kinds of stuff from cheap magnets and souvenirs to nice authentic jewelry.
Day 2 – Day trip to Pompeii
- Alternatively you could appreciate a day trip to Capri instead (Amalfi Itinerary).
A day trip to Pompeii is the perfect way to spend your second day in Naples. The train ride will be about half an hour long. Once in Pompeii, you can get to the archaeological site by either taking one of the van/taxi services (you can bargain!) or walk for about 20 minutes to one of the entrances. You can easily spend the whole day there. If you are arriving back to Naples after it is dark, I would recommend getting a taxi from the Central station to your hotel/airbnb.
- Go early and avoid long lines at the entrance.
- Audio guides are only available at the Porta Marina Gate (the busiest entrance point). Tour guides can be found at all gates.
- Have lunch in the restaurant inside the archaeological sight. Although hard to find a table to sit you will find a variety of pizza, pasta, sandwiches for a fraction of the price they are sold outside.
Day 3 – Gran Caffé Gambrinus, Via Toledo, Piazza del Plebiscito, best pizza in town.
Having breakfast at Gran Caffe Gambrinus will be the best way to start your day. If you haven’t heard, coffee shops in Italy charge less at the bar than if you were to sit down at at a table. Do it like the locals and grab coffee and one of their delicious pastries at the bar – it will be 50% cheaper. After breakfast check out Piazza del Plebiscito, a spacious area where you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere while your kids run around. Then, walk down to Park Giardini del Molosiglio, just 2 minutes away, and enjoy a nice view of the famous Mount Vesuvius volcano.
As the afternoon approaches make sure to walk up and down Via Toledo. There you can find some Italian shops, restaurants and the best ice cream in the city: Mennella Il Gelato. Walk to Via Monteoliveto and find a little shop called Ceramiche di Vietri. This precious hidden gem sells authentic handmade ceramic items like plates, bowls, vases and mugs. They do a great job packing it to make sure it will not break on your flight back home, they also ship worldwide if you don’t have enough space in your luggage.
*Visit Galleria Umberto I, a commercial center so beautiful inside that has been used as scenery for many films.
Have dinner at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Reasonable prices, generous portions and delicious pizza (try the calzone too!). There is no other way to end a trip to Naples than eating authentic Pizza Napolitana.