48 Hours in Naples Itinerary: The Highlights for Two Days
Having spent a month in Italy, from Tuscany down to Sicily, we can say that Naples is one of the coolest cities in the country! Foodie travelers will love this flavorful destination but there is plenty more than just good eats in Naples. World-class sculptures, castles and some of the most breathtaking churches in Italy, there is a lot to discover here in Campania!
With only 48 hours in Naples, you have a lot to see and a lot to eat! We’ve nailed down a two day Naples itinerary to help guide you around the city, take a mini day trip and find some amazing food!
Day 1 – Getting Your Feel (and a Taste) of Naples
Morning – Free Walking Tour
No 48 hours in Naples is complete without a free walking tour! Start your day off with a friendly (and likely funny) local guide who will show you the popular sites around town plus share some local tips like where to eat!
After the tour, you’ll know your way around Naples, know how to use public transport, and be able to plan your 48 hours to your heart’s desire!
However, Naples is quite a large city and there are multiple options for your walking tour. We used (and highly recommend) Napoli That’s Amore. You need to book online in advance but don’t worry, it’s still free. The reason for the online booking is to keep groups from getting too large, ensuring you have a good experience on your tour!
Don’t forget to tip your guide!
Afternoon – Street Food, Artwork and a Castle!
After the morning tour, which has a fair share of walking, you’re going to be hungry!
It turns out the coolest street in Naples, Spaccanapoli, is loaded with street food.
Literally, Spaccanapoli means “Naples splitter” because literally, it splits the city. You can get a great view from above but more on that below!
Not only is Spaccanapoli fun to just wander around, peeking in shops here and there, but it is packed with all kinds of Neopolitan delights.
What food should you be on the lookout for?
Cuoppo – Fried fish in a cone
Fried Pizza – Yes, this is deep fried pizza and it’s a delicious monster
Pizza a Portafoglio or Wallet Pizza – A pizza folded in half (like a wallet), perfect for exploring and eating.
Fancy an afternoon drink? Grab an Aperol Spritz and Go for around 5 euros!
If street food or deep fried isn’t calling your name, then check out our post on what to eat in Naples for some more recommendations! However, be forewarned, Neapolitans really like fried things! As our walking tour guide said, “If you can eat it, you can fry it!”
As you fill your tummy and admire this famous avenue, you’re not far from one of the most iconic sites in town, the Veiled Christ, which takes us to our next thing to do during your 48 hours in Naples!
Veiled Christ in the Museo Cappella Sansevero
There are many attractions in Naples but Museo Cappella Sansevero is a must-see! Inside you’ll find some of the most exquisite artwork you’ll ever set eyes on.
While there are many sculptures lining the walls, you’ll notice the crowd forming around one large horizontal sculpture near the center of the room, the Veiled Christ.
Unfortunately (or fortunately), no pictures are allowed inside and there are several guards ensuring this rule is followed.
How the artist, Antonio Corradini, made it so smooth, so intricate, so detailed, all from marble, we’ll never know. Having traveled extensively in Europe and seeing so many works of art, this has to be one of the most beautiful and intriguing we’ve ever seen. When you’re looking at it you get a feeling that he’s alive.
But there’s more to Museo Cappella Sansevero than just sculptures, head down to the basement to get a glimpse into some creepy history. Without spoiling the surprise for you, we’ll just say the owner of this chapel was an interesting fellow.
Entry is 8 euros and this is a popular attraction in Naples so if you’re visiting in the peak tourist season be prepared for a bit of a wait. There was only a 5-10 minute wait during our visit in September.
It’s closed on Tuesdays!
The perfect place to end a long day of exploration before dinner, Castel Sant’Elmo has the best view in Naples!
There are multiple castles in Naples but we think Castel Sant’Elmo is the one you should visit! Not only is this medieval fortress worth the trip up the hill but you can see all of Naples below, including Spaccanapoli, as well as Vesuvius and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Entry is 5 euros but if you go after 4:15 p.m. then you can pay half the price!
Since it’s quite a climb up the hill (about 15-20 minutes from central Spaccanapoli), Castel Sant’Elmo may not sound that appealing near the end of the day but trust us, the trek up is worth it! You can meander along peaceful back streets and catch some more local life on your way up as well as get some enticing views.
If walking up sounds like too much then take the funicular! However, you’ll still have about 10 minutes of walking to do after the ride up.
Evening – Dinner at Tandem
Hands down one of the best Italian meals we’ve had in all of Italy, Tandem offers an authentic Neapolitan experience and is the perfect ending to a fun-filled first of two days in Naples.
Order the genovese and thank us later. Onions simmer for hours in white wine and the final product with octopus is to die for. The ragu is also exceptional so if you’re with a group, be sure to try a little bit of everything. Don’t forget to wipe your bowl clean with bread!
Prices at Tandem are very cheap and the food is high quality (like most of Naples restaurants). Have your fill of Neapolitan cuisine but save room for dessert!
Of course, we’re going to direct you back to Spaccanapoli, which is very close to Tandem, to grab some gelato. It’s not Italy without gelato. If you’re wanting a true Neapolitan dessert instead (more on that in day 2) then feel free to indulge!
Day 2 – Exploring Pompeii and Discovering Naple’s beautiful churches
Morning – Pompeii
Being so close to one of the best preserved Roman cities, there’s no excuse not to visit Pompeii! It’s easily reachable by public transport and doable in a morning, leaving more time for you to explore the rest of your 48 hours in Naples proper.
There are different ways to plan your visit, whether it’s on your own or with a tour. You can find tours galore for Pompeii and a simple internet search will turn up pages of results.
However, we think Pompeii is more relaxed and more enjoyable on your own and of course, cheaper! In fact, we detail our visit to Pompeii on a budget and help you figure out how to get there, explore the ruins and understand some major attractions inside.
Pompeii is a major tourist attraction and there will be a lot of people, no matter the season or time of day, so be prepared! As well as being crowded, you’ll do quite a bit of walking so wear appropriate footwear that you don’t mind getting a little dusty.
But don’t exhaust yourself! There’s still the rest of your 48 hours in Naples to explore afterward!
We highly recommend bringing something to eat with you. There are food stands outside the entrance and there is a cafe/restaurant within the ruins but it’s nothing to drool over. It’s also more expensive than elsewhere. Pack a sandwich or some snacks to help get you to lunch back in Naples!
Afternoon – Beautiful Churches of Naples
Even if you’re not one to seek out the churches in Italy, the Duomo di Napoli (Naples Cathedral) is breathtaking. Besides the immaculate interior and facade, a vial of San Gennaro’s (Saint Januarius) blood rests inside.
Three times a year, a celebration is held for San Gennaro and his dried blood liquefies. These festivals take place during May, September, and December. While we haven’t visited a saint’s festival in Naples we did attend one in Sicily and can say it’s a very moving and unique experience. So if you can plan your 48 hours in Naples around this festival then make it happen!
Besides the cathedral, you have some of the most amazing churches in Italy: Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, Monastero di Santa Chiara and San Domenico Maggiore. The free walking tour talks about all of these and there are some fascinating stories to be heard!
The best part about visiting churches in Naples, besides the spectacular architecture and art?
Traveling along Spaccanapoli through Old Town, you’ll find all three we mentioned except the Duomo. However, there are many more than just the ones we mentioned!
If you want an escape from the crowds then be sure to walk to the back of Monastero di Santa Chiara where they have a gorgeous cloister. Entrance is 6 euros and you’ll find yourself in beautiful and peaceful gardens. It’s a good place to catch your breath during a very busy 48 hours in Naples, but also admire!
Evening – Pizza in Naples…Finally!
Okay, we’ve yet to mention Naples’ Pizza. That’s a major fail on our part but we thought we’d save the best part of 48 hours in Naples for last!
This is the original town of the pizza pie and it would be a shame not to eat it while you’re here! Even if it’s the simple but classic Margherita or an extravagant, mountain pile of toppings, it’s hard to go wrong.
And you’ll find pizzas at most pizzerias to be dirt cheap. We’re talking anywhere from 5-8 euros for an entire pizza! Be prepared to eat it the Neapolitan way with a knife and fork!
There are some great pizzerias scattered about town that aren’t touristy but still close to Spaccanapoli and Old Town.
Pizzeria Giuliano and Pizzeria 900 were our favorites. Giuliano especially. Keep in mind you can order fried pizza here too! Bring an appetite!
Baba for Dessert
Ok, we said we were saving pizza as the best for last but no 48 hours in Naples is finished without first indulging in the extremely sweet Neapolitan dessert of baba.
It’s soaked in rum, filled with goodness, and topped with cream or sauce. Just one walk down Spaccanapoli and you’ll see loads of these in shop windows. They’re inexpensive and begging to be devoured.
We tried the chocolate-filled baba and loved it, even though we fell into a food coma right after. It was actually filled with Nutella (as will likely always be the case) but it was still delicious.
If you haven’t caught on yet, Spaccanapoli is pretty important for 48 hours in Naples! It takes you through Old Town, the churches, up to Castel’SantElmo and is surrounded by yummy eats! We could have spent much longer than 2 days in Naples just wandering this happening street.
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About the Author: We’re Darah and Garrett from Where Food Takes Us, two mistake-prone wanderers with a mad love for food. We quit the 9-5 life to move abroad. Now, unexpectedly, we’re digital nomads who teach English online. Life is full of surprises!
We believe in sharing budget-friendly advice to help you have an amazing time for less! We hope our fellow wanderers can find our words useful and in turn feel inspired to travel and eat the world!