Adventures in Naples

Travelling is always my absolute favourite thing to do, I love exploring new places and discovering different cultures. This Summer I headed to Italy with my family. So I decided to put a little itinerary together of what we got up to while in Naples, kind of as a diary for me and as some recommendations if you're planning on visiting.




The Flight and Arrival
We flew from Belfast International to Naples Airport with Jet2 Airlines. This was my first experience with Jet2 and it was very enjoyable, the seats were comfortable and the flight attendants were friendly and helpful, the whole service is very professional. The flight was just over 3 hours which meant I had plenty of time for my favourite in-flight activity, reading. And they didn't even play that Jess Glynne song once!



We arrived at Napoli Airport at around 6pm, after we collected our case we headed to get an Alibus (my limited italian knowledge, based entirely on the lyrics of il canto by il volo, tells me that this means wings bus) to Garibaldi Station as this was near where our hotel was based. This service was also great, it was waiting at the stop as we arrived and only took about 25 minutes.

The Hotel
We stayed in a hotel called 'Grand Hotel Europa' which is just around the corner from Garibaldi Station which is the main train station in Naples, you can get most places in the surrounding area from there so it was a good place to be based. The rooms were nice and spacious with an en suite bathroom (with a bath!). Our room had Native Americans on the wall while our parents room had cowboys. 




We also had a little balcony off our room which allowed me to get these dream shots! (My sister took a lot of convincing to actually take these, whereas I have zero shame about posing in public)




Day 1: Naples
We spent our first full day in Naples, staying in Naples and exploring. We got the metro from Garibaldi and headed to Municipio which is fairly central and near to the main shopping street of Via Toledo. 


We did a bit of shopping and then headed to the Galleria Umberto to look around because I had heard it was beautiful and I can confirm said statement, it is STUNNING.




After that, we headed to Piazza Plebiscito, which is another really pretty part of the city, to take some photos. 


We then walked to the harbour and then back towards the Castle Nuovo which has super cool exposed crypts that you can walk on! It cost €6 each for us to go in but the guy at the reception desk let the four of us in for the price of three because we were from Belfast and not London.



We also went to the BEST place for dinner but more on food later!

Day 2: Naples 2.0
When we go on holiday we always like to go to church. We found a local Anglican church called Christ Church Naples which was lovely but en route there it started BUCKETING with rain so we sought shelter in the first open building we could find which just so happened to be the funicular railway station! *cue me singing funiculi funicula ALL DAY*.

After the church service finished we headed back to the station and caught the funicular up to the Vomero region. Two things to see in Vomero: Castel Sant'elmo and Villa Floridiana

We walked up to Castel Sant'elmo first, and let me just tell you, it's a hike. You can also get another funicular up there but we discovered that later. You need to pay into the castle but you don't need to go to the castle. Just follow the signs and then keep walking and you'll arrive at the viewing gallery. Look at the views!



After this, we walked back down the big hill and headed to Villa Floridiana. This is a strange place. It's a public park but it's a little run down so it doesn't really look like much from the first impression however as you keep going you discover its secrets. 

Firstly, it's full of cats! There's literally cats roaming around everywhere, they're all stray but they're all used to people visiting the park so they're all tame and well maintained.


Secondly, The Turtle Pond. Upon first glance, it just looks like a normal pond but if you look closely, it's full of turtles just swimming about, minding their own business. We probably stayed here for about 5 minutes just watching them.



Thirdly, The viewing gallery 2.0. More views of Naples, but this time from the other side. Just as pretty, but less of a hike than to Castel Sant'elmo.



Day Three: Pompeii
I might get hate for this but Pompeii was just NOT my jam. It was cool to see and everything but nothing prepared me for how VAST it was. I was expecting to just see a couple of streets and the mummified bodies but there are SO MANY streets it just never ends.



 There's also no shelter so I'm pretty sure my opinion of it was tainted a lot by the fact that it was too hot and I really just wanted to sit down, have lunch and drink a lemon granita.



I think if I went back on a day that wasn't as hot and also had a map (we tried to do everything ourselves, definitely recommend using a map, you can download one for free online) I would probably have enjoyed this experience more.


We'd initially also planned to do Vesuvius as well but the bus to the summit does its last trip at 2.30pm and we missed it. There was probably another way to do it but, to be honest, we were tired and couldn't really be bothered looking.

Day Four: Naples Underground
We'd originally intended to go earlier on in the week but we hadn't looked up tour times. Tours typically run at 10am,12pm and 4.30pm for an hour and are run in both Italian and in English. 

Naples has a whole history regarding the underground systems so there are so many interesting things to discover. Deffo recommend going here! It was so fun and informative and our guide was great! The pictures below give you a rough guide as to how deep and narrow it is.




Day Five: Amalfi Coast
I'd seen pictures of Positano and 100% knew that it was somewhere that I wanted to visit. A picturesque town set into the cliffs, what's not to love! 

We booked a tour with Tempio Travel from Sorrento so we left bright and early to get the train from Naples to Sorrento. Upon arrival in Sorrento, we were greeted by our tour guide who then showed us to the bus and we proceeded to the Amalfi Coast. Oh, and the bus was air-conditioned which was a BIG plus. We made a couple of stops along the way for photo opportunities because, HELLO!


We then proceeded onto Positano and when we first caught a glimpse of it from the bus I got a lil overexcited!



We then disembarked from the bus and we had an hour and a half to explore the town. CUE PHOTO TIME. A warning though, you can tell, Positano is very hilly and there's very little shade so if you don't deal well in hot weather it might not be the most enjoyable experience ever but it's STUNNING so the views 100% make up for the hike.




After visiting Positano we headed through some more villages around the Amalfi coast until we arrived in Amalfi itself. There we got a little boat tour to see the rest of the Amalfi coast, beyond Amalfi.



Now, I was expecting to love Positano but Amalfi caught me completely by surprise, it's seriously the CUTEST little town. I mean it had to be somewhat important if the whole coast is named after it, right. I'd say Positano is great to look at but if you really want the Amalfi coast experience you NEED to come to Amalfi.



We then boarded the bus after 2 hours in Amalfi and headed back to Sorrento, and then grabbed another train back to Naples. All in all a Good day.

Day Six: Procida
We had initially planned to spend today in Rome but alas it was proving to be FAR too expensive to justify us taking a day trip so we decided pretty last minute to take a ferry out to Procida instead!

This was a bit of a weird one, there's a lot of beaches so if you want to spend the day at the beach this is a great place to do it because it's out of the way so you'll actually get some space to yourself However, I did not want to go to the beach so my dad and I explored. The island is only four square kilometres so we basically walked the whole thing!

I'd been scouting for lemon trees all week and finally found some on a street in Procida which was VERY exciting for me.



We also walked down to the harbour on the other side of the island which was cute! 



All in all, Procida was cute but probably not as cute as I was led to believe. Maybe if we had a bit more time and the weather was less hot, we might have discovered a little more.



Day Seven: The last day
We packed up our stuff in the morning because we had to be out of our rooms by 11am. For our last day in Naples, we decided to explore more of the local area and head to the botanical gardens that we had spotted on a map. However, en route, we discovered a little market in the street. Look at all that fruit. If we weren't leaving we probably would have bought some.

It truly wouldn't have been me on holiday if we didn't go to botanical gardens and Orto Botanico Napoli did NOT disappoint! THEY HAD A CACTUS GARDEN! LOOK AT IT! I'm in love and I need one immediately!



They also had loads of other plants all laid out in sections so you knew exactly what you were looking at. They even had a garden full of biblical plants which was very cool! 




100% recommend this botanical garden if you like me are a botanical garden lover! However, it's only open until 1.30pm so make sure you get there early!

The Food
I said I'd come back to the food. Napoli is the home of pizza so naturally, there are a LOT of pizza places. Our favourite, however, is called 'Scungizzo's'. Seriously, we literally ate here every other night and I even bought their t-shirt merch we loved it so much. You can get a pizza for 5 euro and pasta for even less and oh boy, oh boy is it good. If you're ever visiting Naples, make sure you check out Scugnizzo's, It's located right near Garibaldi Station.



A large portion of my days were spent drinking Lemon Granita, there is nothing better on a warm sunny day than some Lemon Granita, Trust me. Also, there truly is no bigger let down than thinking you're coming up to a granita kiosk and it being tripe.



Overview
I really enjoyed this trip! I'd heard stories about pickpocketing before I arrived but I didn't experience anything, just watch out for men serenading you and expecting you to pay them. Naples is a little dirty and the traffic is WILD so if you are anything like me and enjoy safe road crossings you will not enjoy the road experience in Naples. However, Naples is also fairly cheap, and easy to get around which is a huge positive if you're on a budget. If you've ever visited Naples, I'd love to know your thoughts!

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