Trip to the Mount Vesuvius, in Naples, Italy
Mount Vesuvius has a brooding presence in Naples – wherever you go, you can’t miss its iconic flat top, which glows rust red at sunset and dominates the coastline. There are plenty of organized tours up to the dormant crater of Vesuvius, but the expenses can add up, so don’t be afraid to tackle this one by yourself. The easiest way to do this is to take a trip to Pompeii on the local train line, and then from Pompeii station, catch a local bus to the volcano which takes around 55 minutes. Ask at the station kiosk and expect to pay around €10 return for the ticket, which will bring you to Mount Vesuvius park, dropping you part way up the slope. From here you’ll have to hike the last half-mile up the volcano, about a 15 / 20-minute walk. Totally worth it for those views!
Sampling street food in Naples, Italy
Naples was the city which invented the pizza – and you can’t walk far in its atmospheric streets without spying a street food vendor or full-blown pizzeria trying to tempt you with what might be the best pizza in the world.
Neapolitan pizza is typically deep-pan with a thick crust, but they’ve got dough-making down to a fine art here so the pizza base is surprisingly fluffy and light. L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is one of the most famous pizza joints in the city (long before it featured in Julia Robert’s film, Eat Pray Love!). Located on Via Cesare Sersale, in the buzzing heart of the city, they only have two choices of pizza – tomato and mozzarella or tomato and anchovy – but they’re both perfect.
Visit the Veiled Christ, in Naples, Italy
Napoli has some incredible museums and galleries, including one of the world’s best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples. Or visit the stately monastery complex at the National Museum of San Martino, just outside the city, with breathtaking views of Naples. Of course, in case you’re focusing on other aspects of the city (like the food!) and you don’t have time to take in a lot of cultures, one outstanding recommendation is visiting the Veiled Christ in the San Severo Chapel Museum, right in the city’s heart. This incredible statue of Christ after death was carved from a single piece of marble by Giuseppe Sanmartino in 1753. Somehow, he makes the marble appear gossamer thin, like a shroud covering the body. Just incredible.
Sail to the island of Capri from Naples, Italy
Capri is one of the most famous destinations along this coast, and for a good reason. There’s something magical about this lofty isle, which can be reached from two different ports in Naples, Molo Beverello or Calata Porta di Massa.
High-speed connections take 50 minutes to an hour, costing around €20, while the slower boats take 80 minutes and cost €12-€15. You’ll probably want to hop in a taxi when you reach Capri to reach the bustling town, which is laid out along the cliff tops. In summer months, catch a boat to visit the island’s famous Blue Grotto, or take the chairlift up to Mount Solaro. It’s also famous for its shopping and upmarket people watching!