How to do Naples on a Budget: Sun, Pizza and Ancient History
by Morgan Jones
First stepping into Naples is almost like stepping into another world. The bright, blue sky and sweltering humidity make it feel like paradise. The cars, scooters and people flying around brings a certain intensity to the place. But amongst all the chaos and contrasting serenity, it all seems to work together to make an excellent city for tourists on a budget.
Making Your Way Around Busy Naples
When you first arrive in Naples – whether it be the airport, bus or train station – you will soon realise that public transport is very limited. In the centre of the city, there are lots of public buses and lots of trains going to the outskirts and surrounds of the city, and you can also get a bus from the airport to the centre. But since most of the roads are tiny cobblestoned walkways, you will probably end up walking around most of the time – perfect for someone on a budget!
Walking around a city can be a great way to explore it. Everything to see and do in Naples is located within a reasonable walking distance if you are staying near the city centre. Just make sure that you dedicate certain days to certain areas of the city that you want to see, otherwise, you will be too exhausted to explore this amazing city. Walking is also a great way to save lots of money, and there’s always plenty of places to stop for a drink on the way.
Just remember that every footpath is also a road for motorcycles and cars – you will often hear them beep their horn at you from behind as a warning – and they will try to get through, no matter how big the crowd is! Be polite, and the majority of locals will also be, and be careful of pickpockets!
Eating Famous Pizza
Love pizza? Well, you’ll be in the right place! The city of Naples – and Italy in general – is known for its absolutely delicious pizzas. On every street corner, you will find somewhere that is selling famous Italian Pizza, some of them good and some not so good – according to the locals. So where can you find these ‘good’ pizza places?
Perhaps one of the most famous pizza places in Naples and Italy is located along ‘Via dei Tribunali’, one of the main tourist streets right in the heart of Naples. ‘Sorbillo’ is owned by one of the oldest families of pizza makers in Naples, and specialises in traditional pizzas. You will have to wait about 30 minutes to an hour, but it is definitely worth the wait and it is also not too pricey for its great quality pizzas. You can even leave your name at the door and come back later if you like – giving you lots more time to explore the city.
A 360 View of Naples
The highest point in Naples is perfect for those of you who are after that perfect panoramic shot. It is situated atop of a medieval castle – ‘Castel Sant’Elmo’- and provides a stunning 360 view of the city and its surrounds. It is not particularly difficult to reach or expensive, and luckily there is a cable car to take you to almost the top.
You can take the cable car from ‘Monte Santo’ to ‘Via Morghen’, where the castle is only a short 10-minute walk away. You will have to buy tickets to enter the castle, but they are very cheap and are definitely worth the view. The castle itself is a spectacular structure to admire from even the outside. Dating back to the 1200s, the castle is a definite site to see. It is enormous and can be seen from miles away. From its structure, you can tell how ancient it is, but it has been well preserved.
After walking through many of its enormous corridors, you will eventually reach the top… and the view is stunning. On a clear day, you can even see the famous Mount Vesuvius and all along the coastline! The 360 view is a perfect opportunity for photos and is something to admire for hours.
A visit to Pompeii is an absolute must if you decide to visit Naples. Who doesn’t love exploring ancient ruins of the people before us? Pompeii is a very famous ancient city that is trapped in time. In 79 AD, it was covered by a thick layer of volcanic ash from the volcano Mount Vesuvius. The city was discovered in 1748, and since then has been dug up an excavated as an archeological site.
Visitors from all over the world come to visit Pompeii to see and study its ruins. Pompeii showcases many aspects of a typical ancient Roman city. Although the city has been destroyed, many aspects of ancient structures still stand today. In the archeological site, you can still see a Roman Forum, an Amphitheatre, ruins of marketplaces, and famous temples. You are even able to see many ancient objects and some human remains which are trapped in time through the process of casting. Whether you are interested in Roman history or not, it is a site that is definitely worth your time!
It is only a short 40-minute train ride out of the city, from the Napoli Centrale Station. To get in it only costs around EUR15, which is fairly reasonable considering that you can spend hours inside the archaeological site. In total, you will probably need at least 3 hours inside to see and understand it’s ancient history and structure. Because of this, you should definitely dedicate a whole day to this amazing site, in order to really take your time to explore it properly.
Naples By The Sea
The coastline of Naples is by far one of the most scenic areas in the city. Watching the boats zoom around, the sea calmly rolling in against the harbour, mischievous seagulls flying low after a grab at food, happy families walking along the harbour, and of course the cheap street vendors… what more could you want?
Along the seaside, there are also two famous castles dating back to the 12th and 13th century – Castel Nuovo, and Castel dell’Ovo. They are a spectacular site to admire, both castles standing tall along the Naples coastline, and from the top, you are also able to take an awesome panoramic photo. But the whole atmosphere of the Naples coastline is an experience in itself. The happy and relaxed atmosphere filled with tourists and families is something wonderful to be a part of.
Naples is the perfect place to visit if you are someone who is on a bit of a tight budget. If you are planning to travel more of Italy it can be a great starting point to gain insight into Italian culture, history and lifestyle. Not to mention it has amazing food and spectacular sights to see!