What I did and saw:
Saint Elmo's Castle-
In the past, Saint Elmo's Castle has at times served many purposes. It has been a military fortress, a church, and a prison. It overlooks the city of Naples and provides some of the best views of the city below.
Via Caracciolo e Lungomare di Napoli-
Naples is situated along Mediterranean coast, and it is very nice to walk along the water. I walked past a number of resturants, street performers, and beautiful buildings such as the Castel dell'Ovo and the Castel Nuovo. The views looking out over the water are beautiful during the day and at night.
Piazza del Plebiscito-
The Piazza del Plebiscito is the main square in Naples. It is situated between the San Francesco di Paola Basilica and the Palazzo Reale. It is the site of many events, including some high end concerts. When standing in the middle of the plaza, the view is beautiful in every direction.
Galleria Umberto I (Via Toledo)-
Via Toledo is one of the main streets in Naples, and many shops are located along the street. The Galleria Umberto is also located along Via Toledo. There are shops located inside, but in my opinion the building itself is the main attraction. It is a nice place to walk though, and because it is a shopping center it is free to pass through.
Gesu Nuovo Church-
The Gesu Nuovo Church is a magnificent cathedral and one of the many beautiful buildings in Naples. It is definitely worth a visit while in Naples.
Piazza San Domenico Maggiore-
Naples has numerous beautiful plazas throughout the city, and the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore is one of them. It is a nice place to walk through, or to find a place to sit, eat, and people watch.
Where I ate and drank:
Antonio & Antonio-
Situated along the coast, Antonio & Antonio is a nice pizza place. Pizza was invented in Naples, so it is the food to try in there. While I am not a big pizza fan, the pizza at Antonio & Antonio was very good. Also, it was nice to sit by the seaside, and the service was excellent.
Twenty square meters, or Ventimetriquadri, is a great specialty coffee spot in Naples. They served me the best coffee I had while in Naples. The small, charming place serves good quality coffee, and also has a few good food options.
Gran Caffè Gambrinus-
Gran Caffè Gambrinus is an historic coffee shop located by the Piazza del Plebiscito. They serve classic Italian coffee drinks and pastries in a beatiful building.
Gino e Toto Sorbillo-
As mentioned before, with pizza being invented in Naples, it is a must to try while there. Gino e Toto Sorbillo is an historic place to get quality, genuine pizza for a really good price.
L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele-
L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele is another historic pizza place in Naples. It was featured (and visited by Julia Roberts) in the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I was also able to see the pizzas being made while I waited for mine.
Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio-
Sfogliatelle is a classic Neopolitan pastry. Sfogliatelle Attanasio is the number one rated bakery in Naples on TripAdvisor, and it is a great place to try sfogliatelle. If I am going to order something unhealthy in Naples I would get gelato (see below), but I was definitely glad to have the chance to try real, genuine sfogliatelle.
Menella Il Gelato-
As I mentioned above, if I am going to get something unhealthy in Italy, it is probably going to be gelato. While Rome has the best gelato I have ever tried, the gelato at Menella Il Gelato is some of the best gelato I've had outside of Rome. They have a couple locations in Naples, and a variety of extremely tasty flavors.
Where I stayed:
I found Plebiscito Apartment on Booking.com, and it was a nice place to stay while in Naples. The host was very nice, and it was about a ten minute walk from Plebiscito Square. The courtyard wasn't particularly nice, but the accommodation was very comfortable.
How I got around:
While in Naples I walked to many of the places I visited. I also used the metro, which has some very pretty, artistic stations (especially Toledo station). The terrain in Naples is very hilly, but it wasn't too difficult to get around.
My favorite thing:
The weather in Naples was very nice, and it is nicely located along the coast. The food in Naples is also excellent, by my favorite thing was the architecture and beautiful buildings throughout the city.
My least favorite thing:
While parts of Naples are excellent, there are many areas lacking in cleanliness and some areas seem to be a little sketchy. Also, it would be nice if there was an easily accessible beach to take advantage of the nice weather. All that being said, Naples seems to be a city many people avoid or just pass through, and I think they are missing out.
For next time:
Next time in Naples I would like to visit Galleria Borbonica and explore the undeground city of Naples. There are also many museums and many more magnificent buildings I would like to explore. I would also like to try more of the wonderful Neapolitan food.
GPSmyCity is an app that provides walking tours throughout many cities in the world. They offer a free version and a premium version. They are currently giving away premium memberships for free! Continue reading to find out more about the app and the giveaway:
The GPSmyCity app does many things very well:
Accommodates your schedule-
There is no schedule you need to adhere to with the GPSmyCity app. You can choose to do the tours whenever you wish. If you are an early riser and want to take a tour in the morning, no problem. If you want to sleep in and have an amazing breakfast, that's fine too. If you want to do a tour after dinner, the app doesn't mind. You can do the tours at any time, day or night.
Customizable to your preferences-
There are a variety of GPSmyCity walking tours available to choose from in most major cities. Also, if there is something that doesn't interest you, you can simply skip it. You can even design your own tour for many cities. If you want to spend more time at a certain site, you are more than welcome to. GPSmyCity is customizable to your preferences.
Offers options for a wide variety of cities-
There are a plethora of cities with walking tours available on GPSmyCity. Additionally, many cities that do not have walking tours will at least have recommendations and articles about the city.
No payments (or guilt) required-
Unlike GPSmyCity, most "free" walking tours are tips-based. At the end of the tour the guide will typically ask for a tip for the previous hours. Although it is called a free tour, it is customary to tip the guide. If you don't you will look like an inconsiderate jerk and will likely feel guilty about not tipping. However, this is not the case with GPSmyCity, where tipping is not even possible.
Lack of human interaction-
There is very little that GPSmyCity does not do well. However, because it is an app and not a human being, there is no guide to ask specific questions to while on your tour. Also, you do not get the entertainment value of an in-person tour (but as mentioned earlier, you also don't have to pay for that interaction and entertainment).
GPSmyCity is a great app for travelers. It provides a great way to see many cities around the world and gives you many options. I can't think of a good enough reason not to download it. If you haven't downloaded it already, you can get it at their website or from your phone's app store.
GPSmyCity has offered to give away ten year-long premium memberships. In order to have a chance at receiving one of these memberships you need to make a comment to this post with each of the following 3 things:
If you make a comment to this post with each of those things included you will have a chance to receive year long access to the premium version of GPSmyCity.
What I did and saw:
Vesuvius is an active volcano that is most famous for destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum as recorded by Pliny the Younger. It is currently a tourist attraction, and I was able to walk to the top and look down the volcano. While there is no lava to be seen, it is a very impressive site. It also provides some views of the surrounding area (which it has previously destroyed) and the coastline. Due to the fact that the surrounding area is very densely populated, Vesuvius is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world today.
Pompeii and Herculaneum-
Pompeii and Herculaneum were the two most significant cities destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Due to the nature of their destruction, the locations are very well preserved. They provide a glimpse into what life was like in that area in the first century AD.
Giardino della Regina and Parco Superiore-
Portici offers some people green spaces to enjoy. The Giardino della Regina is part of the park and gardens of the Palace of Portici. It is free to enter the area, but there is a cost to enter the palace, museum, and botanical gardens. The Parco Superiore is a large park with many places to sit and enjoy the surrounding nature.
Where I ate and drank:
Da Giuseppe Al Granatello-
I had an amazing meal at Da Giuseppe Al Granatello. There is no menu at the resturant, but the owner sits down at your table, explains what they have, and makes suggestions based on your preferences. This ensures that the food is incredibly fresh and well made. It is definitely worth a try if you are in Portici.
Pasticceria De Vivo-
Located in Pompeii, Pasticceria De Vivo has been serving Italian pastries and gelato since 1955. There gelato (like many places in Italy) is delicious.
Antica Gelateria Gallo-
Antica Gelateria Gallo is another great Italian gelato place in Portici.
Where I stayed:
Fabric Hostel was a nice place to stay while in Portici. Apparently amatuer musicians will often stay there and do performances in the common area. The kitchen did not have many things to work with, but the staff was very kind and provided me with very nice welcome packet that had recommendations for my time in the city.
How I got around:
I used the regional train to arrive in Portici. Once in Portici I used the local train (which is probably the worst train system I have been on so far) to get to places like Pompeii, and I used the public bus to go up to Vesuvius. I walked to Herculaneum from my hostel and walked from place to place while in Portici.
My favorite thing:
My favorite thing about the Portici area was getting to go to the top of Vesuvius and seeing the history in Pompeii and Herculaneum.
My least favorite thing:
My least favorite part of Portici was the regional train system. It could use a significant update. However, it was not too expensive and still got me where I wanted to be.
For next time:
Next time I am in the Portici area I would like to get down to the Almafi Coast area to see places like Sorrento and Positano.
My Hostel Routine-
As I have mentioned before, staying in hostels can be a great resource to utilize when traveling and many of them have excellent facilities (you can find hostels on sites like Hostelworld and Booking.com). When staying at a hostel, these are the things I do to try to get the most out of my stay:
Obviously the first thing I need to do when I get to a hostel is check in. Before I get there I need to know the check in times, as they can vary a bit from place to place, and I need to make sure to have my appropriate ID (usually passport) and method of payment with me. I also need to know how to get there, which I find out either through the booking website, the hostel website, by using Citymapper or Google Maps. When checking in I also usually ask for local recommendations for things to see, do, eat, and drink. I will also ask about things like towel rental and the WiFi password.
Once I get my room key I go to my room to get myself set up. If necessary I make my bed, as some hostel beds are pre-made by the staff, while others just have clean sheets sitting on the bed (also, while most hostels include sheets in their price, some charge an extra fee and make you “rent” the sheets). Then separate anything I will need at night, like my toiletry bag, a bottle of water, and phone charger, and set them aside in my locker. This eliminates the need for me to turn on the lights (and wake up and annoy anyone who may be sleeping in the room), and allows me to get right to bed when I get back.
Once I am at the hostel, I will introduce myself to my roommates, and will also usually go into the hostel common area and introduce myself to a few people there. As a natural introvert this was incredibly hard for me to start doing, but it has allowed me to hear some interesting stories and meet some cool people. I will also check to see if there are any hostel events that will be happening during my time there.
Go out and explore-
Many hostels are well located, and usually the main reason I am staying in a hostel is to see a new city. Once I am all checked in and all set up I love to go see and experience a new place! Sometimes I will even go with some of the people I have just introduced myself to and we go out and explore.
Other hostel tips-
Be quiet when people are sleeping. Don't be the person having a loud conversation at 3am or the person ruffling through plastic bags at 5am (packing cubes tend to be more convenient anyway!).
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