HOWTOMAKETHEMOSTOFNAPOLIIN48HOURS

How to make the most of 48 Hours In Napoli Italy: A Travel Guide In The Most Epic City Ever

48 hours in Napoli travel guide

2022 has been very generous to me. I got to visit places that had been on my wish list forever. Rimini, Majorca, Ronda and Napoli. I had first set foot in Napoli in early 2000, only driving from the airport to the Amalfi coast. That didn’t give a sense of Napoli, and I had missed out since. So the idea of travelling to Napoli by train from my parents’ house in Alsace at the end of the year sounded like the perfect trip. I love travelling by train, and the Swiss and Italian landscapes didn’t disappoint. I’m taking you on a journey to Napoli by train where I share how to make the most of Napoli in 48 hours

DAY ONE DOMODOSSOLA

We chose to stop in Domodossola in Italy to spread our train journey. We figured travelling from Basel to Napoli in one day was too much. So why not stop in the Italian Alps? Although I had never heard of Domodossola before I set foot there, the landscape was a mix of Swiss alps chalets and Italian architecture set in solid stones.

Domodossola is a cute little medieval town set in the Piedmont region in the heart of the border between Italy and Switzerland. The main square is Piazza del Mercato, surrounded by shops and restaurants where you can enjoy drinking a coffee or dining al Fresco. Italians enjoy sitting outside, whatever the weather.

The town is easily walkable on foot, and you can explore further by walking to the Sacred Mount Cavalry. You also have the option to take a scenic train route to Lugano, with a train departing from Domodossola train station.

This small town was the perfect stop to extend our travel to Napoli, changing trains in Milano Centrale.

Napoli Day One – Exploring the Old Town

I didn’t know what to expect from Napoli. However, I recently watched the series My brilliant friend on Amazon Prime from the books by Elena Ferrante, which gave me a specific idea of Napoli.

You will first notice the motorbike scooters navigating the city and the sense of chaos when trying to cross a pedestrian crossing without getting run over. Everywhere was crowded, with a strong sense of celebration in the air. The weather was mild, and even though we were in Winter, everyone had this urgent need to sit outdoors to conjure the darkness and early sunset. I love the Italian culture of Al Fresco dining and, to my delight, hadn’t realised this was also a thing in Winter. 

Being in Napoli for a short time will make you choose from a selection of landmarks. I didn’t tick everything on my list, and I’m planning another visit, probably in the Summer or Spring. Our first stop was Piazza Del Plebiscito. This is one of the squares featured in My Brilliant Friend, so it was easily recognisable. 

Next to the square is the archaeological museum. Even if you don’t wander inside, walk through the buildings to the gardens for a panorama over the Port of Naples. From there, you are very close to the famous Galleria Umberto I. The Galleria was part of the “Renaissance” rebuilding of the city just before World War One. 

We walked towards the Quartieri Spagnoli from the Galleria, the most epic area of town. Wandering in the narrow alleyways will take you back to the Napoli of the 1950s. The hanging washing lines, the food stalls, and the local restaurants seem to have stayed the same unless you notice the valse of Japanese motorbikes scooters instead of the traditional Vespas. Crowds tend to gather in the main tourist area, and if you’re brave enough to move higher up, you will encounter less of the masses. This area of Napoli is the way to get a feel for the city and the Neapolitan way of life. Let yourself immerse yourself into the narrow streets, standing under the washing lines of laundry drying in the city’s air. 

There are several restaurants for lunch or dinner; you might have to queue to find a table. Some of these restaurants have been around for a long time, sharing their nonna cuisine to delight their clients.

Castel San’t’ Elmo

From the Quartieri Spagnoli, you can walk up to the castle. Be warned, there are about 400 steps to walk up, but the panorama is well worth the effort. Of course, I didn’t realise I had to walk up so many steps. Otherwise, I might not have taken a walk, which would have been a shame because the view up there is stunning. You will also capture some unique city views while walking up there. Just take your time, make some stops and brace yourself for that gorgeous view waiting up there. I immensely enjoyed that walk as it allowed me to uncover the city at its heart. A city tour bus can be a great way to discover a city. Still, nothing beats walking through the narrow streets, being open to new panoramas and letting yourself be surprised by the unique views to uncover just around the corner. Make sure you’re wearing some comfortable shoes and walk that path.

View Over Napoli From Castel sant’elmo
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Napoli Day Two – Posillipo

I dedicated a day to uncovering the Marechiaro and coast along the Posillipo area in Naples by foot. Not entirely, though. I travelled by bus to Marechiaro. Bus travel is cheap and accessible once you understand how to navigate the bus app and buy tickets online, as you can’t buy a ticket inside the bus. The bus journey took about 30 minutes, and we got off at Boccacio Casale to walk down the road to Marechiaro. There is no pavement on this road, so be wary of the cars. We walked by villas which mainly looked like holiday villas. It was so hot at 18 degrés it was difficult to believe it was December and not March. Watching the sea against the blue sky made it even more delightful.

Coming down to Marechiaro, you will find a few places to have lunch outside while watching the sea. We watched some fishermen on a boat, and you could spot a few sailing ships in the distance. Some people even bathed in the sea, if all felt like a gorgeous holiday.

After lunch, we decided to walk back to town along the coast, but first, we had to walk back up. It was not like the 400 steps to the castle, but it was quite a hike. The walk along the sea was the perfect opportunity to uncover more of Napoli’s landscape. We walked by orange and lemon trees, gorgeous villas dressed towards the sea and some beaches like Bagno Elena. We returned via the Capo di Posillipo, a marina where the New Year’s eve ambience was full gear with lots of food and drink stands. We continued to town along the golf of Napoli to prepare for the New Year’s Eve Celebrations.

New Year’s Eve in Napoli

We hadn’t booked a restaurant for the night, so we found a table at a wine bar in the middle of the Quartieri Spagnoli. The atmosphere on the streets was pretty incredible and very joyful. A group of 30 years old came with their portable music player and danced on the streets. Petards were thrown all around us until we had to take cover inside the small wine bar as the throw of large bangers became unbearable. The whole city was under smoke when we came out, but there was still a charming atmosphere with many people on the streets rallying towards the concert on the main square and the techno party near the seaside.

We left Napoli early the next day to travel by train to Como.


Como in the Winter

When I think of Como, the name that comes to mind is George Clooney’s villa, vintage rosewood motorboats on the lake navigating in glorious sunshine. I had forgotten that it was only January, and Como looked different from what I had envisioned. It was foggy when we left on the train from Napoli and dark and murky when we arrived in Como. It gave the city quite a mysterious feel along the lake, with the street lights surrounded by fog. We thought the town would be dead on January 1st, but it was lively, with many people enjoying a drink or dinner sitting outdoors. The Christmas lights were still on everywhere, creating a lovely feel in the city to bring some shine into the gloomy night. We went to see the lake during the day before taking the train back to Basel. It was still misty and foggy, beautiful nonetheless. I had never realised how big the lake was. You could take several ferry boats to travel to the various places along the lake.

Travelling by train to Napoli was a fantastic experience. Adding a stop on the way there and back was the perfect way to give us some rest after a train journey. We uncovered amazing landscapes travelling through Switzerland via Lago Maggiore on the Way to Napoli and Lugano on the Way back. Napoli was even better than I expected. I love places with budding energy, chaos and lots of people, and Napoli was precisely like that. The best way to discover the city is to walk around and let yourself surprise by the streets on every corner. It was lively in the evening, with many people standing outside having a drink. More than 48 hours are needed to uncover Napoli as there are so many places to discover, like Pompei and the Vesuvio and travelling to Sorrento and Capri on the Amalfi Coast. I felt pretty happy with what I had seen of Napoli in 48 hours, but I will plan a visit back. It’s the perfect excuse!

Domodossola Address Book Places to Stay and Eat

We stayed at a very cosy hotel called Nicomat Rooms with a charming host, Anna. It’s bang in the centre of town, the room was decorated with taste and very homely.

Places to Eat: Many were fully booked, so plan. 

Atelier Restaurant e Bistrot – we wanted to try this one for lunch, but it was fully booked. It’s a small restaurant with sittings inside and outdoors with traditional Italian food.

Ristorante Con Camere La Meridiana

A Mediterranean cuisine restaurant under Spanish influence. We didn’t get a table, but the menu looked very promising.

Terminus

We were early, so we managed to get a table. Terminus is like a family restaurant offering traditional pasta and firewood pizze with secondi as meat and fish. The service was excellent.

Napoli Address Book Places to Stay and Eat

We stayed at Poerio Boutique Stay, in the Chiaia area in the middle of town. This hotel is just a building with rooms that don’t serve breakfast or food but will happily share recommendations. The location is ideal as you are in the heart of town with many places to dine and wine. If you love fashion, unique independent fashion boutiques can be uncovered all along Poerio Street.

There are lots of places to go for a drink and eat around Poerio street

Places to eat:


For Breakfast, head to Bar Rivalya Filangieri. They offer a great choice of pastries, cappucini, fresh juice and more. Make sure you try the Napoli speciality, the Sfogliatelle, which are small pastries with the same texture as a croissant filled with custard mixture. 

For Lunch 

There are many traditional places to eat in the Quartieri Spagnoli, and you might queue for up to 30-40 minutes to get a table, but it will be worth it!

On the first day, we had lunch at Trattoria Da Concetta via Speranzella. They offer a great option of seafood, the pasta was al dente, the restaurant had a great atmosphere, and we could hear the cooks singing in the kitchen.

On the second day, we had lunch at the Fish Bar at Marechiaro. A welcoming place that mainly serves pasta and fish. It was lovely to sit outdoors in the sunshine. 

For Dinner

On the first evening, the hotel recommended a lively place in Chiaia called Signora Bettola via Vico Satriono. The location of the restaurant is lovely. We enjoyed the great decor and service with a wide choice of traditional Italian food full of flavour and unique recommendations.

On the second evening, we went to Umberto, a restaurant that has been around for over 100 years! Even if we had to wait 40 minutes, you couldn’t taste more home-authentic Neapolitan food like this with traditional recipes from the nonna. The restaurant was full of locals enjoying a night out. The servers looked like they had been working at this restaurant for years. Everything spoke of Italian tradition.

Como Address Book Places to Stay and Eat

Our stay in Como was short. We stayed at Albergo Del Duca a hotel with a restaurant in the town centre. The staff was very attentive and friendly. We had dinner in the restaurant in the evening, they serve pizza along with pasta and fish.

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