Cruises,  Italy

One Day in Naples From Cruise Ship: Amazing Itinerary & Tips

Are you looking for a one-day itinerary for Naples from cruise ship? Then you are in the right spot.

Not long ago, I have been to Naples on a Mediterranean cruise. But for this itinerary, I needed some more insider info, so I asked my friend Lisa to help me out with that.

Lisa is an Italian mom passionate about travel and writing. She writes about her travels in her blogs Rome Travelogues and I’m Learning Italian.

In this post, she’ll reveal her favorite and proven itinerary to see Naples in one day

Naples is one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. Since ou can visit Naples as a day trip from Rome, where Lisa lives, she is a recurring visitor.

But Naples is much more than just one of the best day trips from Rome by train. Needless to say, the city is the home of Neapolitan pizza, a traditional food that is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Naples teems with historical and artistic landmarks worth visiting, such as the San Severo Palace and the Toledo Metro Station.

In this post, I will also cover the essential information to have the perfect day in Naples: what to see, where to eat, and valuable tips for visiting the most stunning city in southern Italy.

And now, let’s dive into the best things to do in Naples in one day!

A serene view of Mount Vesuvius across the bay from Naples, with the calm blue waters in the foreground and the city’s silhouette under the mountain’s watchful presence

Table of Contents

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How To See Naples In One Day: Itinerary And Local’s Tips

Once you arrive in Naples, you will have to choose if you want to spend the day in the city or hike the Vesuvio with a guided tour. Both are amazing options, and this post will show you how to have the perfect day in Naples from the cruise ship.

Here’s my proposed itinerary for one day in Naples at a glance:

  • Arrive in Naples
  • Give yourself a sweet treat with “sfogliatella” 
  • Get to Spaccanapoli
  • See Naples Cathedral
  • Walk on San Gregorio Armeno St.
  • Have “pizza fritta”
  • Visit the San Severo Chapel
  • Eat Neapolitan Pizza
  • Visit Palazzo Venezzia
  • See the Piazza del Gesù Nuovo
  • Admire artwork in Toledo Metro Station
  • Stroll around Piazza del Plebiscito
  • Reach Naples seafront

How To Get To Naples From Airport/Cruise Port

The historic center of Naples is full of things to see, so I recommend you start your exploration there early in the morning.

Naples Capodichino International Airport is about 6 km from the historic center of Naples. You can get there by a short cab ride that will cost about €20.

Otherwise, you can take the Alibus shuttle, which will take you directly to the center. You can buy tickets from the automatic machines in the “arrivals” area of the airport.

The airport shuttle will drop you off at the Central Train Station in Piazza Garibaldi.

If you arrive on a cruise ship, you can simply walk from the cruise terminal to the city center. It is about 10 minutes of walking. Alternatively, you can also take the shuttle buses from the Naples Cruise Port.

Naples is a great port of call, because you can spend a day in Naples from the cruise ship without having to worry about transportation.

map showing the cruise terminal in naples next to the city center

1. Taste The Sfogliatella

An Italian traveler to Naples would start his day on a sweet note. Whether you like eating sweets for breakfast or not, you must try the city’s iconic pastries: sfogliatelle.

A nun from a convent on the Amalfi Coast invented this dessert in the 17th century. Sfogliatella is many layers of puff pastry filled with a semolina-based custard. It is best accompanied by espresso coffee. Naples coffee is said to be the best in Italy.

Tip: Be sure to ask for “caffé” and not “espresso,” otherwise they will immediately know you are a tourist.

If you arrive in Naples by public transportation, you can taste sfogliatella right near the Central Station at the pastry shop “Cuori di Sfogliatella.”

"A tempting display of traditional Neapolitan pastries, including the famous sfogliatella, in a bakery case, showcasing the variety and richness of local sweet treats."

2. Get To “Spaccanapoli”

Ask a local what there is to see in Naples and he will answer without hesitation, “Spaccanapoli.” It literally translates to “Cutsnaples.”

Spaccanapoli is a street of ancient origin, in fact dating back to the time when the Greeks founded the city in the 4th century BC.

Today it consists of as many as seven streets and connects the Forcella neighborhood to the Spanish quarters.

It is the “beating heart of the city,” as along it and in the narrow streets that unravel from it, you will discover the main points of interest in Naples. 

You will also immediately notice how much life flows along this artery and discover the warm and playful character that defines southern Italians.

3. See Naples Cathedral 

The majestic facade of the Naples Cathedral, the Duomo di Napoli, showcasing its intricate Gothic architecture and historical grandeur against a clear blue sky.

The first stop along the infamous Spaccanapoli street is the Cathedral of Naples or Duomo di Napoli. You reach it with a short subway ride from the Central Station (Piazza Garibaldi) to the Duomo stop.

The cathedral dates back to the early 14th century and stands on the site where Catholic worship began in Naples a few centuries after Christ’s death. 

Everyone calls it Duomo of Saint Gennaro because one of its chapels is dedicated to the patron saint of Naples, a Christian martyr from the 4th century AD. 

The spirit of Saint Gennaro is believed to have saved the city several times from natural disasters, such as earthquakes and eruptions of the nearby volcano Vesuvius.

The cult of St. Gennaro among the Neapolitan people is strong and is celebrated 3 times a year when the “miracle of St. Gennaro” occurs. During this occasion, the church is packed with the faithful and non-faithful. 

The archbishop of Naples extracts from a reliquary two ampullae with relics of the saint’s blood and shakes them, incited by the faithful: in a few minutes, the blood liquefies in front of the jubilant crowd.

Inside the cathedral, you can access the San Gennaro Chapel and the Museum of the Treasure of San Gennaro (€12), where priceless devotional objects donated by the people and noble families are kept.

To return to the contemporary, enjoy the beautiful mural depicting Saint Gennaro by Jorit Agoch at the intersection of Via Forcella St. and Via Rocci St.

The stunning frescoes adorning the dome of a Neapolitan cathedral, a masterpiece of artistry displaying religious scenes in vibrant colors and exquisite detail.

4. Walk on San Gregorio Armeno St.

Return to Spaccanapoli, which here takes the name Via di San Biagio ai Librai St. 

The next stop on the itinerary among the best things to see in Naples in a day is the city’s most characteristic little street.

Here, you will find dozens of artisan workshops displaying nativity figurines. The nativity scene is a staple of Neapolitan and Italian Christmas traditions. It is a miniature reproduction of the nativity scene of Jesus in Bethlehem in wood and other materials.

The specialty of Neapolitan nativity artisans is to reproduce, alongside traditional characters, current characters, and symbols in a satirical key.

4. Have “pizza fritta”

The Via di San Gregorio Armeno is slightly uphill. Once you have walked it and admired the workshops, turn back onto Spaccanapoli.

It’s time to devote yourself to tasting one of the typical Neapolitan street foods, “pizza fritta,” a kind of fried sandwich with tomato, mozzarella and ricotta cheese inside.

Tip: Try it at Antica Pizza Fritta da Zia Esterina Sorbillo, it costs € 5. Be prepared to wait a few minutes in line before enjoying this local specialty.

6. Visit the San Severo Chapel Museum

If you are a lover of sculpture, your next stop must be the San Severo Chapel Museum.

It was built in the late 16th century and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who appeared here and performed miracles.

The noble Sansevero family built the chapel over several generations. During the second half of the 18th century, the chapel took on its current appearance.

In the center of the building, you will find the Veiled Christ, an incredible work of art by sculptor Giuseppe Sanmartino.

The white marble sculpture depicts Christ lying on a bed and covered by a shroud.

The rendering of the shroud, that is, the veil, is one of Italy’s masterpieces of sculpture.

Tip: You must purchase a €10 ticket to enter the San Severo Chapel. Reservations are required. It is essential to book well in advance because this is one of the most popular places in Naples.

7. Eat The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza

After viewing all these works of art, you will need to recharge with something tasty. I recommend you do it with one of the best foods in the world: pizza.

Naples is the home of pizza, and one of the best pizzerias in Naples is a short walk from San Severo Chapel on Via dei Tribunali St.: Gino and Toto Sorbillo.

The classic Pizza Margherita costs €5.50 and the others a few euros more. I assure you that Naples is the place in Italy where pizza costs the least.

Culinary scholars for decades have tried to understand why Neapolitan pizza is so good and unparalleled.

Some think that the water in this city is special and that this water mixed with flour and genuine ingredients makes magic.

A person slicing into a delicious, authentic Neapolitan pizza, showcasing the classic simplicity of tomato, mozzarella, and basil on a perfectly charred crust.

8. Visit Palazzo Venezia

The hours pass quickly in Naples. You are already planning your next trip because you have realized that one day in Naples is not enough.

Continue along Spaccanapoli, named here after Benedetto Croce, one of Italy’s greatest philosophers.

The architecture of the buildings facing this street, all from different eras and different from each other, is fascinating. Some have a truly irresistible decadent tone, such as the Palazzo Venezia.

This ancient palace dates back to the early 15th century, when it was the diplomatic residence of the Republic of Venice to the Kingdom of Naples.

Inside there are many rooms, some used for art and craft exhibitions, and a roof garden where you can enjoy coffee and drinks.

Admission is sometimes subject to a fee of €10 or €15 if there are events.

The entrance to Palazzo Venezia in Naples, adorned with Christmas decorations, inviting passersby to explore the cultural exhibitions within the historic building

9. See Piazza And Church of Gesù Nuovo 

Walk another stretch of the street that cuts Naples in half to see the Piazza and Church of Gesù Nuovo. The church has a very distinctive facade made of ashlar-worked pepper stone.

As for the square, in the center stands a marble obelisk with a bronze statue of the Virgin Mary.

There is a curious folk legend about this obelisk, erected in the early 19th century with taxes on the Neapolitan people.

It seems that at sunrise and sunset, looking at the back of the statue of the Virgin, the features of the Devil appear!

An ornate obelisk towers over a bustling piazza in Naples, surrounded by classic European architecture and the vibrant daily life of the city.

10. Admire Artwork in Toledo Metro Station

It’s time to leave Spaccanapoli and add some contemporary art to this itinerary through Naples’ historic center.

Head to Via Toledo, specifically to the Toledo metro station. It is worth buying a metro ticket and walking down to the platforms and then immediately going back up.

So from the escalator, you will enjoy the spectacle of the ceiling decorated with thousands of tiny tiles in many shades of blue. The work of Catalan architect Oscar Tousques Blanca makes Toledo Metro Station the most impressive in the world, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The decoration represents the ocean.

Via Toledo is also one of the city’s shopping streets. Take advantage of it if you are in the mood.

A traveler stands before a vibrant street mural spelling out 'Naples' with colorful and artistic flair, capturing the city's lively urban culture.

11. Stroll Around Plebiscito Square

Continuing on Via Toledo toward the waterfront, you will encounter Piazza del Plebiscito. Concerts are often held in this large space, over 25k square meters. 

Every year, on December 31, Neapolitans gather here to attend the concert that opens the New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

The Piazza is named after the day the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, of which Naples was a part, joined the Kingdom of Italy.

The Piazza del Plebiscito is overlooked by the Basilica of San Francesco da Paola and the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace was the center of power in southern Italy for more than 3 centuries. If you want to admire its majestic halls, gardens, terraces, and works of art, you can purchase a €10 ticket.

Twilight descends on Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples, with the colonnaded facade of the Basilica Royal lit in the tricolor, and ancient stone lions standing guard

12. Reach Naples Seafront

Walk a few minutes from Piazza del Plebiscito to reach the waterfront.

If you still have time, walk to Castal Dell’Ovo, a medieval castle on the water from which spectacular fireworks start on the last night of the year.

If you don’t have time, you can still admire the profile of the volcano Vesuvius, which watches over the city silently. The volcano is, however, not entirely asleep. 

Perhaps this volcano, with its heat, makes Neapolitans so welcoming and creative. Say goodbye to it as the countdown to your next trip to Naples begins.

A spectacular New Year's Eve fireworks display at Castel dell'Ovo in Naples, illuminating the night sky above the ancient fortress with bursts of light

How to Get Around in Naples from Cruise Ship

Naples’ historic center teems with art, culture, and delicious food. The only way to explore it properly is by walking.

If you have trouble walking about 2 miles in a single day, then you can use the subway, but consider that it is very crowded.

Since you can walk from the cruise port to the city center, there is no need to arrange transportation on one day in Naples from cruise ship.

Where to Eat in Naples

In my one-day itinerary in Naples, I suggested a great pizzeria near Spaccanapoli.

If eating pizza is your main goal on a visit to Naples (as it is for me), then go to Antica Pizzeria da Michele on Via Cesare Sersale, not far from the Duomo.

This pizzeria has made the rounds thanks to the movie Eat Pray Love by Julia Roberts.

Despite having lots of food on your cruise ship, you should still get at least a slice of pizza on your one day in Naples.

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Wrap-up | One Day in Naples From Cruise Ship

I guess by now, you will be looking forward a lot to your port of call Naples on your Western Mediterranean Cruise.

Naples is no less than Florence and Venice. In fact, you have to consider that the food is better and cheaper. Even if you do not love pizza, there are many other tasty typical dishes to discover. You will only have time to taste a few of them if you spend a couple of hours in Naples.

Moreover, the locals are very welcoming and are a reason to visit the city.

If you are afraid that one day is not enough time to see the city, you are right, but it will be enough to fall in love with Naples. A famous local saying goes, “See Naples and then die,” meaning that once you have visited Naples, you will have seen enough of the world’s beauty.

If you want to see more of Italy, why not head to Florence or go on a Northern Italy Road Trip?

FAQ: One Day in Naples From Cruise Ship

Is Naples walkable from Cruise Port?

Yes, Naples is walkable from cruise port. It takes you about 10 minutes to reach the city center from the port, and exploring from there is easy. It is very much recommended visiting Naples on foot.

How do you get to Naples from Cruise Port?

From the Naples cruise port, you can easily get to the city center. Just walk for about 10 minutes along the scenic waterfront. You’ll pass by the Castel Nuovo, a cool old castle. Or, hop on a bus or tram for a quicker ride. These drop you right in the heart of Naples, where all the action is!

Is it worth going to Naples for a day?

Naples in a day is a whirlwind but totally worth it. You get to see lively streets, taste amazing pizza, and soak in rich history. Don’t miss the historic center, a UNESCO site, and try to sneak a peek at Mount Vesuvius. It’s a packed day, but you’ll get a great taste of Italian charm and culture!