Naples is full of activities, excursions, history, and people. We got there and suddenly found that there was so much to do and so little time. This area of the Mediterranean, overlooked by Mt. Vesuvius, is also covered in geological history. We spent some time at the island Capri, explored parts of mt. Vesuvius, wandered around a castle and more. So much to do, and so little time, but I’ll break it down.
What we managed to do:
– Island of Capri
Famous for the blue grotto, we took a ferry from Naples to try and go see it. Unfortunately it was closed due to rough seas, but we hear it is rare to be there on a day it is open. We took a tour around the island and passed the grotto entrance, which was almost fully covered by water. We did get to see the beautiful green grotto, full of emerald waters created by the yellow sandbar. The island itself is beautiful and relaxing (and also expensive), we kept thinking it didn’t feel like Italy and almost more Greek as it was covered almost entirely by white homes. After eating some limoncello gelato, we skipped the hike up to Villa Jovis (Tiberius’s place) and headed home.
Lots of cool artifacts, got in a couple fights with Italians (about the arte card, see below for more). Should go see if before heading to the ruins.
-Mt. Vesuvius on horseback
Highly recommend, and very affordable too! Check it out here, http://www.horseridingnaples.com/ It was one of the highlights of our trip!
An ancient ruins right under Mt. Vesuvius path lies Herculaneum, or in Italian “Ercolano.” You can see frescos still in tack, wood that has turned to charcoal, and all the aspects of an ancient Roman city. This city was covered in lava after the volcano blew, so was preserved in a different way than Pompeii.
-Royal Naples Free Walking Tour
See cover photo. Legend has it, this castle was built on an egg… See top photo for the castle.
-Walked Around Old Town Naples City Center
We made time to go Nov 1st, the day after daylights savings ends. Nov 1st is also the day that things close at sunset, which happens to be around 5pm. We got to Pompeii just before 4, thinking we would still have a couple hours (til 7:30pm) to explore the grounds. Nope, last entrance at 3:30 and we spent half an hour on the train for nothing. It was rather disappointing, but we made a plan. Our train didn’t leave til almost 1pm the next day. We would wake up early, catch the train there, and spend our morning exploring. We took the wrong train, but still managed to make it to Pompeii in the morning with time to explore!
What we wished we could have done:
-Castel St Elmo
-Explored more of Naples
-Eaten more pizza
We only got pizza once, and not even a famous place. We did go to a traditional Neapolitan kitchen (by accident) and had some of the most amazing food. Campognola, check it out.
Day trips to do:
-Hot springs lake
-Positano on the Amalfi
-Climbing up Vesuvius on foot
Naples is, for whatever reason, known for being a place full of scam artists and pickpockets. While we didn’t get scammed the traditional way, we still felt scammed by the institution. We bought the Campania arte card, which was supposed to give us free entry into a few places and discounted entry into the rest, including transportation. First problem with this card was we wanted to buy the “young card,” meant for those between 18 and 25. It included almost everything for free and was a hefty discount in comparison to all the other options. Thing is…. in the fine print it wrote that you had to be an EU citizen, but was marketing towards everyone who was young.
1st disappointment: Fine print information.
The card was supposed to last 3 days, I figured that was 72 hours. We bought it around 5pm on the first day and used it to go to the museum. The 4th day, although still within the 72 hour range, we tried to use it for the metro and it didn’t work. Same with Pompeii, except she tried to tell me that the 72 hours was already over (which it definitely wasn’t).
2nd disappointment: Not timed, on a end of the day basis.
In the end we probably didn’t save much. €12 for the museum, €11 for Herculaneum, maybe around €10 for transport…. comes out to about the same cost. We would have been better off researching our options a little better, finding a travel only card, and looking for free things to do, like the Castelle d’ovo.