Once a luxe retreat for emperors, the Bay of Naples still entices with quick access to made-for-postcards seaside resorts a stone’s throw from the heart of exuberant Naples. Too many riches await: Choose from ancient ruins, island paradises, utterly perfect, wisteria-wreathed Italian towns tumbling down hills, or plunge into Napoli itself.
What We Love
Positano: Take an excursion to this impossibly picturesque Amalfi Coast town with its pastel houses cascading downhill toward the beach. Wind through narrow alleys with a gelato in hand, while window shopping the fashion-forward boutiques.
Neapolitan Street Life: Embrace the madness and join the teeming crowds to explore noisy markets, solemn cathedrals, and colorful piazzas. Shop the chic boutiques — and don’t leave without having a true pizza Napoletana in its birthplace.
Best Known For
Pompeii: A 40-minute train ride from Naples, this strollable time capsule provides an up-close look at the everyday Roman life of 2,000 years ago. Every detail was preserved by the catastrophic Vesuvius eruption of 79 A.D.
Capri: This delicious island rising out of the Mediterranean (40 minutes by hydrofoil from the Naples marina) is famed for its iridescent grottoes (sea caves). Explore the town and enjoy its namesake treat — a Caprese salad.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: Naples dates back to 470 B.C., when it was settled by Greek explorers. Today, the center of town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and landmarks include the 13th-century Castel Nuovo.
Pizza Lovers: A fresh pie slid from the blazing oven by a practiced pizzaiolo here in pizza’s birthplace? It’s the real deal and it doesn’t get any better.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It’s Intense: Naples is a frenetic, raucous city, which can be jarring for newcomers. Accept the chaos — and be very careful crossing the street.
It’s Broiling Hot: The sun attacks with a vengeance in summer months, so bring a hat, sunscreen, and lots of water.
Dana McMahan is a Detroit-based contributor to ShermansCruise who also writes for the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post.