The Best Day Trips from Naples, Italy

Enjoy the sunset from the Marina Grande in Sorrento, Italy.
Enjoy the sunset from the Marina Grande in Sorrento, Italy. | © Nick Fewings / Unsplash
Photo of Elena Alston
21 August 2020

If you’re heading to southern Italy to experience Naples in all its fresco glory, you should also consider exploring the secret islands off the coast as well as important archaeological sites and rural towns just outside the city’s borders. Our local insiders recommend their favourite day trips from Naples, all of which can be done in less than 24 hours.

Ischia

Architectural Landmark
Map View
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© Giovanni Di Meglio / Unsplash
Capri may be the playground for the rich and famous, but nearby Ischia is the more traditional option for those seeking a rural touch. Just a short ferry ride from Naples, this tiny volcanic island is made up of rocks dotted with lazy lizards dozing in the sun, small fishing villages, sprawling hill towns, whitewashed houses and vineyards. The medieval Aragonese castle overlooks Cartaromana beach, where Roman remains lie beneath the sea floor. It’s a popular wellness destination, too, with more than 100 thermal springs that bubble up to the water’s surface with healing properties. Fish carpaccio and linguine alle vongole are local favourites, though the island’s specialty – a rabbit casserole made with white wine – is worth the trip alone. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker

Pompeii

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View
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© Andy Holmes / Unsplash
The ruins of Pompeii sit in the shadows of Mount Vesuvius, which last erupted in 1944. It’s an obvious choice for most tourists, with good reason. It’s a marvellous archaeological site that allows you to step back in time. Head to the Antiquarium for a guided tour if you want to get your facts straight, but we recommend taking to the dusty paths solo – the Roman mosaics and the amphitheatre beckon quiet solitude. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker

Sorrento

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
Map View

Sorrento is a coastal town that faces the Bay of Naples and winds up into steep white cliffs where lemon trees and umbrella pines grow sporadically. It’s home to the Piazza Tasso, a cafe-lined square that offers Neapolitans and visitors a respite from the heat (in the shape of iced grappa, no less). Walk down the narrow alleyways and winding tunnels into the quiet cloister of San Francesco – a courtyard used for art exhibitions and concerts during the summer. It’s the perfect day trip, too, only an hour’s drive from Naples. The Marina Grande, or main harbour, affords luscious views of a dazzling ocean and picturesque cottages painted in pastel hues. Recommended by local insider Matt Barker

Monte Somma

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature
Map View

If you’re after a day trip that will test your hardy hiking skills, Mount Somma – an integral part of the Somma-Vesuvius volcano – is a great option. Higher than Vesuvius, its top peaks clock in at 1,132m (3,714ft). It’s also much older, as Mount Somma’s caldera collapse 25,000 years ago actually led to the formation of Vesuvius and its eventual eruption. Unlike Vesuvius’s dry, arid rocks, Mount Somma is layered with lush green forests of chestnut trees, oaks, alders and maples, and, reaching the top, offers panoramic views across the Bay of Naples. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes

Procida Island

Natural Feature
Map View
Procida Island, Italy. Image shot 01/2016. Exact date unknown.
© Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Procida Island – a 40-minute boat ride from Naples – is well worth a day trip. Its small coast is lined with tiny houses painted in bright hues of baby pink, canary yellow and indigo blue, backed onto a pier filled with modest fishing boats. Black sand beaches – which are virtually empty on weekdays – ring the island, and cafes, bars and seafood restaurants are squeezed into narrow alleyways. While the island is bustling with locals, tourists are few and far between – it’s still one of Italy’s best kept secrets. Recommended by local insider Debbie Oakes
These recommendations were updated on August 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.