The Best Day Trips from Naples

via di Mercurio with Mount Vesuvius Photo by Carlo Mirante

Napoli is a fascinating city in itself, but it’s also an excellent starting point to visit some of Italy’s most ancient historical sites and archeological treasures. While most use Rome or Florence as a base camp for day trips, these amazing day trips from Naples prove that no traveler to Italy should skip over la bella Napoli – or the towns around it!

Pompeii

via di Mercurio with Mount Vesuvius Photo by Carlo Mirante

via di Mercurio with Mount Vesuvius Photo by Carlo Mirante

Perhaps the epitome of a Naples day-trip, Pompeii is a town completely frozen in time by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Once a booming trade town, today Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best possible way to see what life in ancient Rome was like. The sections of the city open to the public are extensive, so go to explore Italy’s history and see into an era you can only imagine. Be prepared to walk a lot, and bring water as there is little shade.

How to get there:
Take the bus from Piazza Esedra in Naples or the Circumvesuviana train to the Pompeii Scavi stop. The ruins can easily be reached by foot from the station and won’t be hard to find – this is, after all, the most popular day trip from Naples so even in low season you won’t be the only one making the journey.

If you’re interested in a guided tour, check out our Best of Pompeii Group Tour, our Private Pompeii & Naples Archaeological Museums Tour or our Private Pompeii & Vesuvius Full-Day Tour, using only the best local archaeological tour guides.

Herculaneum

The courtyard of a rather elegant house. Photo by Andrew Fogg

The courtyard of a rather elegant house. Photo by Andrew Fogg

Like Pompeii, Herculaneum was also destroyed in the 79 AD eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. The site is much smaller than Pompeii, but, unlike the more famous sister city, it was mainly buried in pyroclastic flows, meaning that wood from house frames, roofs, beds and other objects has also been preserved. A town whose story is intimately connected with the Greek hero Hercules, Herculaneum is worth a visit to see the opulent houses and lavish lifestyle of a wealthy neighborhood in ancient Rome. We’d mostly recommend this day trip from Naples to visitors who have already seen Pompeii.

How to get there:
Take the the Circumvesuviana train to the Erculano Scavi (Scavi means excavations). It is about a ten minute walk along the street in front of the station to the excavations.

Vesuvius

Get up close to the Mount in the distance for a prime view across the bay. Photo by Justin Ennis

Get up close to the Mount in the distance for a prime view across the bay. Photo by Justin Ennis

The cause of all the problems along the Bay of Naples in 79 AD, Vesuvio, mainland Europe’s only active volcano, has been “sleeping” since 1944. Just five miles from Pompeii, complete your trip with a visit to the famous volcano – just be prepared for a hike! A 4,000 foot summit, you can get nearly to the top by car, bus or taxi. From there, it’s an approximately 30-minute hike to the top for a view across the beautiful Bay of Naples. Or, for a truly fascinating look at Vesuvius, try our VIP Vesuvius Volcano. Down Into The Crater tour for a close-up look inside the crater itself.

How to get there:
To reach Vesuvio, take the the Circumvesuviana train to the Ercolano station.

Paestum

Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. Photo by PA ARSE (flikr)

Paestum was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. Photo by PA ARSE (flikr)

While Campania, the region of Naples, is chock-full of Roman ruins, Paestum stands out as the best-preserved Greek ruin on the peninsula and the best-preserved Doric temples in the world! Another benefit? Paestum is farther off the beaten path than Pompeii, meaning you might even find yourself wandering alone among the Greek ruins – stones even older than the Colosseum! We’ve written an entire post about why we love Paestum. Check it out to see why you’ll love it too!

How to get there:
From Naples, take the train until Stazione di Paestum. The site is a 15 minute walk going straight on from the station. You can also access Paestum by bus on the napoli-salerno-paestum-agropoli-vallo della lucania line.

Caserta

The Royal Palace gardens. Photo by Nicola

Take a day-trip just to see the Royal Palace and its gardens, and another for the city of Caserta! Photo by Nicola

Located just north of Naples, Caserta is most known for its 18th Century Bourbon Royal Palace, with gardens said to be comparable to those of Versailles. The Royal Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and located directly in front of the train station, making Caserta a perfect day-trip from Naples.

How to get there:
Take a Rome-bound train directly to the Caserta railway station, a hub for regional traffic. Bonus, the train also stops at Capua, another popular town in Campania. There’s also a CTP bus from Naples’ Piazza Garibaldi to Caserta. 

Salerno

Salerno Panorama. Photo by Sabrina Campagna

Take in the coast from Salerno. Photo by Sabrina Campagna

After long days exploring Campania’s archeology, many travelers want to head down the coast to the beautiful Almafi Coast. While many travelers often use Sorrento as their gateway to the Almafi Coast, we argue that you should choose Salerno instead. Salerno has big, beautiful beaches, lower prices and fewer tourists.

How to get there:
Salerno is a major station for trains heading to the south of Italy. There are frequent trains from Naples to Salerno, or you can go by bus from Corso Garibaldi in Naples. 

Amalfi Coast

sorrento photo by James Burke

The entire coast seems like a postcard, but each town has something unique to offer. Photo by James Burke

Though Salerno is technically a part of the Amalfi Coast, the entire coastline is really worth seeing. Choose to see the stretch. Rent a car and stop along the way at Amalfi, Minori, Maiori, Vietri sul Mare, Ravello and Positano. Or, if you’d prefer to see the sights unencumbered, take a bus from Sorrento to Salerno and back. There’s plenty to explore along the coast. Read here for some of our favorite sights!

How to get there:
We’ve written an entire article about it: How to get to the Amalfi Coast.

Rome

Photo by Gina Mussio

Zip up to Rome from Naples on the high speed train. Photo by Gina Mussio

Though most make their way to Naples from Rome, sometimes even just for a day trip, why not try the other way around? Start your Italy tour farther south in Naples, before making your way to Rome. Though Rome definitely requires more than just a day to visit, even a day is better than nothing and it serves as a great next move from your full-immersion to Italy that Naples surely provides.

How to get there:
Trains run roughly every thirty minutes to Rome from Naples.

 

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