Exploring the city between visits to pizza restaurants? Naples boasts a unique combination of coastal beauty, Renaissance finery, Roman remains and foodie favourites. We asked our local insiders for their top local picks.
If you’re looking to scratch that spooky, underground itch without getting caught up in hordes of tourists, head to the Bourbon Tunnel. Originally built as a secret escape route for the city’s royal family in 1853, it connects the Royal Palace to the Villa Vittoria. After being used as an air-raid shelter during World War II, the tunnel became a dumping ground for all sorts of unwanted debris, from fascist statues to lines of vintage cars and scooters, untouched since the 1970s. Atmospheric and fascinating in equal measure, a guided tour is a must. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker
Medieval meets modern at the Donnaregina Contemporary Art Museum, somewhat ironically housed in a restored 13th-century palazzo. Enjoy exploring the historical building while taking in contemporary works from the past 100 years, with permanent collections displaying the likes of Franz West, Anish Kapoor and Marina Abramović. There is a strong focus on recent local art movements and the museum also attracts some high-profile exhibitions. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker
The opera season at the Teatro di San Carlo runs from January to May, with ballet taking over until June. Culture enthusiasts will jump at the chance of a behind-the-scenes look at this grand, prestigious opera house – a 30-minute guided tour is a fantastic way to explore the theatre’s 300-year history and majestic architecture, with centuries-old anecdotes woven in for good measure. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker
Need a break from all that sightseeing? Relax in the Neapolitan sun and gaze out over the gorgeous views of the Bay of Naples and Bay of Pozzuoli from the Parco Virgiliano. You’ll be able to see the islands of Ischia and Capri in the distance, making a perfect backdrop for running, walking and cycling (you can hire e-bikes for a lower effort activity). For an idyllic evening, look out for the outdoor concerts the park hosts during summer. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes
The Cimitero delle Fontanelle is a network of natural caves, tufa mines and Ancient Greek and Roman tunnels. They were used to bury 40,000 Neapolitans who died in the Great Plague of 1656 when space ran out in the city’s churchyards, and in the centuries since, a cult has developed around these towering piles of skulls. You’ll find rosaries, candles, gifts and requests for favours dotted amongst the remains, as secret prayers for favours, health and even lottery winnings. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes
What better way to experience Naples’ famously gorgeous coastline than by kayak tour? Get out on the water and paddle your way around the bay with Kayak Napoli, powered by all that delicious pasta you’ve been eating. Kayak, canoe and paddleboard excursions are all available, and beginners are welcome aboard too – full instruction is provided. With a variety of tours, including sunset and full-moon paddles, visits to marine nature reserves and coast-hugging routes that take in the city’s Roman villas there’s something that will appeal to everyone. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes
Pizza was invented in Naples. This alone makes it pilgrimage worthy for any foodies, and if you’re visiting for the cuisine, a Cookly cooking experience should be a top priority during your trip. Get hands on, and learn how to cook your favourite Italian staples, taste local wines and visit produce markets, all guided by local residents eager to share their love of food with you. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes