Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Soumya
A walking tour of Naples, Italy is the best way to get started with this southern Italian city. Whether you are in Naples for one day or several more, nothing can beat the allure of a walking tour that takes you through the heart of Naples, shows you some of the best attractions, and ends with anecdotes and facts that give you loads of local insights.
I have always been a big fan of walking tours. Naples in Italy is one of those European cities that totally blows you away in terms of what you can experience while strolling here. Plus, Naples is extremely walkable with narrow, charming lanes where you can discover several hidden gems. That makes a Naples walking tour one of the best things to do in Naples.
On this fab, self guided walking tour of Naples, we will amble through the Historic Center (that is a UNESCO heritage site) and see some famous landmarks such as the Archaeological Museum, Chapel of Sansevero & the Veiled Christ, the Royal Palace of Naples, and much more.
If you are looking for the best guided walking tour of Naples, have a look at our recommendations below. If not, skip ahead to our section on how to plan the best DIY Naples walking tour.
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Looking for the Best Guided Walking Tours of Naples?
If you are looking for the best guided walking tour of Naples, don’t worry. We have you covered. Here are the Top 4 Naples walking tours that have the best reviews in the market.
Top Walking Tours in Naples, Italy
- Naples Downtown Walking Tour + Veiled Christ Entry (Bestseller!)
- Walking Tour of Naples with Underground Ruins (Highly Rated!)
- Free Walking Tour of Naples Old Town (Tips encouraged.)
- Naples Street Art Tour (Unique artsy side of Naples!)
Of course, if you are a second-time/seasoned visitor to Naples, you’ll want to venture out of the Historic Center which is why I have more recommendations for you down there on other unique walking tours that might interest you.
- Best self-guided Naples walking tour itinerary
- Archaeological Museum – 1st stop on Naples walking tour itinerary
- Veiled Christ at Sansevero Chapel Museum
- Napoli Sotteranea or Underground Naples
- Naples Cathedral
- Church of Gesu Nuovo
- Castel Nuovo
- Galleria Umberto I
- Teatro di San Carlo
- Royal Palace of Naples
- Piazza del Plebiscito – Last stop on Naples walking tour
- Interactive map for Walking Tour of Naples
- Travel tips for Naples walking tour
- More ideas for Naples walking tours
- Naples walking tour FAQ
- Loved this Naples walking tour itinerary? Pin it for later!
Best self-guided Naples walking tour itinerary
We started our Naples walking tour at the National Archaeological Museum and ended it at Piazza del Plebiscito, the most happening square in Naples.
Of course, we got some food first to prepare for the long day ahead. We had some coffee and desserts at the Leopoldo Cafebar right next to the Archaeological Museum. Trust me, their desserts are delicious especially the babas. They have several branches across the city but this branch near the museum serves gluten-free options too.
I have an interactive map at the end of the walking tour itinerary which provides you complete directions to all the attractions that we saw on our excursion. Just click on it to open it in Google Maps and gain access to the directions.
Archaeological Museum – 1st stop on Naples walking tour itinerary
The Archaeological Museum, also known as MANN, is a must see on any visit to Naples. It is one of the best museums in all of Europe and a treasure house of ancient artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum as well as medieval ones from the Farnese and Bourbon collections.
The building dates back to the 16th century. First, it was used as army barracks. Then, it became a university. It was transformed into a museum only in 1777.
Highlights of the Naples Archaeological Museum include the Farnese Hercules, a fresco depicting the Battle of Alexander & Darius (pictured above), the Bronze Runners, and the Secret Cabinet. The Secret Cabinet, much like the Lupanar in nearby Pompeii, is full of erotic displays from the ancient Roman towns. The museum’s Magna Grecia collection is also a must-see.
I have to warn you that exploring the MANN in detail can take you a minimum of 2-3 hours. If you don’t have that kind of time during your walking tour, I recommend you come back later or see only the highlights mentioned above.
- MANN is open Wednesday – Monday, 9:00am – 7:30pm. Some collections may have different opening hours. Check on official website here before you visit.
- Book your entrance ticket for MANN here.
- Reserve your private guided tour of MANN here.
Veiled Christ at Sansevero Chapel Museum
From the Archaeological Museum, head to the Chapel Museum of Sansevero via Via Santa Maria di Constantinopoli. The chapel is a 10 min walk from the museum.
The Chapel Museum of Sansevero is a 16th-century church that is home to the renowned sculpture of the Veiled Christ.
The Veiled Christ is a remarkable marble sculpture that shows the dead Christ covered with a thin veil. Giuseppe Sanmartino created the entire thing out of marble but it seems so lifelike. You can literally feel the pain of Christ from within the veil and see the throbbing pulse on his forehead and body. Honestly, the Veiled Christ was unlike any other sculpture I had ever seen earlier.
- Sansevero Chapel Museum is open Wednesday – Monday, 9:00am – 7:00pm. Check for updated hours on official website here.
- You can get your entrance tickets at the museum. Or join this guided walking tour that includes entry to the Veiled Christ chapel.
Napoli Sotteranea or Underground Naples
Next, we walked to Napoli Sotteranea, located on Via dei Tribunali. Napoli Sotteranea is the entrance to the underground city of Naples. You can take guided tours here to explore the subterranean city. A guided tour lasts around 2 hours. So, plan for it if you wish to do it on the same day as your Naples city walk.
We did not do it on the same day, rather came back to it on Day 2 in Naples. I have an entire post on how to explore Naples’ underground city. In fact, there are 5+ amazing tours of underground Naples and some of them take you through real hidden gems. Check them all here.
It is fascinating to explore underground Naples that is home more than 2500 years of history. From ancient Roman markets and burial sites to a theater where Emperor Nero himself performed, subterranean Naples holds many secrets.
- Napoli Sotteranea is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm.
- Tours happen in English and Italian. You can book your guided tour of Naples Underground here.
The next stop on our Naples walking tour was the stunning Naples Cathedral or the Duomo which is just a couple of minutes away from the Sotteranea.
Known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta or the Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary, this beautiful Gothic church was built in the early 14th century and houses the relics of Saint Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples. It is believed that the blood of the saint (stored in a vial here) liquifies during certain festivals. Now, that’s a real interesting fact about Naples, isn’t it?
The Royal Chapel of San Gennaro dates back to the 17th century and displays beautiful Baroque style. I loved the interiors of the cathedral, especially the dome that is exquisitely decorated. There is a museum called the Treasure of San Gennaro that houses several religious relics such as bronze busts, silver and gold jewelry.
- Naples Cathedral and the Treasure of San Gennaro are open from 9:30am – 6:30pm, every day.
After marveling at the treasures of the Naples Cathedral, we walked to Spaccanapoli via Via dei Tribunali. Spaccanapoli is one of the most important streets that runs through the center of Naples’ Historic Center.
In the interactive map that I have provided below, you can see Spaccanapoli as a point but honestly, it is actually a group of streets that takes you through the heart of the city. Historically, the Spaccanapoli has connected the Duomo or the Naples Cathedral with the Gesu Nuovo.
You’ll pass a number of Baroque and Renaissance buildings while walking through the Spaccanapoli including the Venice Palace, the Church of San Domenico Maggiore, and the Santa Chiara monuments. You’ll also find hundreds of quaint Napoli shops selling everything from fridge magnets to packets of colorful pasta. In case you are planning to do some souvenir shopping in Italy, the Spaccanapoli is just the perfect place for it.
If you are hungry, as you will be after so much walking around, you’ll find a number of pizzerias here to dig into some authentic Neapolitan pizza. A couple of good places to try pizza are the San Gennaro Pizzeria and Pizzeria Vesi.
Church of Gesu Nuovo
As we walked ahead on the Spaccanapoli, we reached the Church of Gesu Nuovo which was the next stop on our Naples Walking Tour.
Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo or the Church of New Jesus is an interesting religious building in Naples. The outer facade is sombre with geometric patterns and hundreds of small pyramids covering the entire wall. This design is unique and especially remarkable because you won’t see this anywhere else in Southern Italy.
The interior, on the other hand, is opulently decorated and highly detailed. The nave and the vaulted ceilings are full of beautiful frescoes depicting stories from the Bible.
Originally, the church was built as a palace in 1470. It changed hands several times and was finally taken over by Jesuits in the 20th century. Today, it is one of Naples most important churches.
- The Church of Gesu Nuovo is open from 7am – 8pm everyday, with a break from 1-4pm in between.
- It is free to enter the church.
After finishing our visit to the Church of Gesu Nuovo, we headed straight to Castel Nuovo or the New Castle. Castel Nuovo is a Medieval Renaissance style fortress built in the 13th century. Located right by the port, the castle provides some stunning views of the city and the Naples Bay.
Inside the castle, you can admire the beautiful frescoes of the Palatine Chapel and check out a collection of Naples art from the 17th – 20th centuries. In the Armory Hall, you’ll find Roman ruins under the glass floor.
- Castel Nuovo is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Saturday.
Galleria Umberto I
Naples’ famous shopping complex, Galleria Umberto I is just a few minutes away from Castel Nuovo.
Built in the late 19th century, Galleria Umberto I is an impressive glass-domed shopping arcade built in the Renaissance Revival style. Apart from being a shopping hub, Galleria Umberto I has become something of an iconic photo spot for tourists. It constantly reminded me of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.
Image courtesy: xenotar via Canva Pro
Teatro di San Carlo
Next up on our walking tour was the San Carlo Theater, the world’s oldest opera house. Yes, Naples has the distinction of being home to Teatro di San Carlo which is the oldest (and continuosly active) opera venue in the world. There’s no way you can leave Naples without visiting this magnificent theater.
Built in 1737, during the Bourbon era, the San Carlo Theater has an opulent auditorium that could once seat 3,000+ people. It has hosted many famous names in the world of music and dance, including Luciano Pavarotti, Carla Fracci, and Igor Stravinsky.
An interesting fact about this landmark is that each of the 184 box seats in the theater have a mirror that points towards the king’s box. It seems that everyone attending a concert here was expected to mirror the king’s reaction!! The sheer vanity!!
- San Carlo Theater is open from 10:00am – 6:00pm every day.
- You can buy online tickets on their official website here.
Royal Palace of Naples
Right next to the San Carlo Theater is the Royal Palace of Naples or the Palazzo Reale that dates back to the 17th century.
This imposing landmark was one of the palatial residences of the House of Bourbon and features an exquisite Throne Room, grand royal apartments, an impressive Hall of the Ambassadors, and the Palatine Chapel. The double staircase that leads you to the living apartments is stunning.
- The Royal Palace of Naples is open from 9:00am – 8:00pm, Thursday – Tuesday. Check for updated opening hours here.
- Get your online entrance tickets to Palazzo Reale here.
Image courtesy: edella via Canva Pro.
Piazza del Plebiscito – Last stop on Naples walking tour
The last stop on our walking tour of Naples was the happening public square of Naples, Piazza del Plebiscito. Actually, both Royal Palace and San Carlo Theater are located on the piazza but we chose to visit them first and then come back and relax at Naples’ largest square.
Piazza Plebiscito literally translates to the “square of the people”. It is the perfect place to people-watch and soak in the vibes of Old Town Naples. Bordered by the Royal Palace and the Church of San Francesco di Paola, the piazza is also the best place to learn about Naples’ architecture and history.
We wrapped up our long day with some coffee at Gran Caffe Gambrinus, a 19th-century coffee house that has always been the haunt of politicians and intellectuals in Naples. They serve good coffee and desserts but be prepared for the crowds.
Interactive map for Walking Tour of Naples
Travel tips for Naples walking tour
- Since there is going to be a lot of walking around, be sure to get your best walking shoes. Naples is not very hilly, though. So, there won’t be much climbing involved.
- Get your skip-the-line ticket for the Naples Archaeological Museum here beforehand so that you don’t waste crazy amount of time at the ticketing queue.
- Be sure to reserve your Naples underground tour here if you plan to go on one during the day. You’ll need to modify your walking tour itinerary depending on the schedule of your underground tour. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a walking tour like this one that includes underground ruins.
- If you are planning to visit many attractions in and around Naples during your trip, getting a Campania Artecard is highly recommended.
More ideas for Naples walking tours
You can curate your own walking tour of Naples, Italy like we have done above or join a highly-rated guided tour listed below. There are many kinds of city walking tours available in Naples. Some may appeal to first-timers whereas others may excite repeat visitors.
- Naples Downtown Tour with Veiled Christ Entry: A good old walking tour of Naples Historic Center that includes entrance to the Veiled Christ at the Chapel of Sansevero, this guided tour is a clear winner and one of the most popular ones in the market. → CHECK OUT THE NAPLES DOWNTOWN TOUR HERE
- Origins, Cults, and Legends Tour of Naples: See a different side of Naples on this walking tour with an expert archaeologist guide who lets you in on Naples’ secrets and historical anecdotes. Highly rated at 4.9/5, this historical tour of Naples is one of the best ways to experience the city. → BOOK YOUR LEGENDS WALKING TOUR HERE
- Walking Tour of Naples with Underground City: This one allows you to see two amazing things in Naples and those are the Historic Center and the ruins of an underground city in Naples. It is fascinating that Naples had an entire shadow city functioning underneath in the Greek and Roman eras. → BOOK YOUR NAPLES WALKING TOUR WITH UNDERGROUND RUINS HERE
- Naples Maradona Tour: Yes, Naples has a unique walking tour dedicated to the famous football player, Diego Maradona. You can follow in the footsteps of Maradona and discover murals, photographs, and statues relating to Naples’ favourite player. There’s even something called the Temple of Maradona with his relics!!! → CHECK OUT THE MARADONA TOUR HERE
- Naples street art tour: Discover the creative side of Naples on this popular street art tour. Uncover some of the best murals and graffiti in the Spanish Quarter. → CHECK OUT THE STREET ART TOUR NOW
Naples walking tour FAQ
Yes, Naples Italy is a totally walkable city. The Historic Center of Naples where most tourist attractions are located is mostly flat and easy to walk around.
Yes, Naples is easy to walk around. There are no steep climbs and no tough corners to deal with in the Naples Historic Center. Be sure to get a good pair of walking shoes and you’ll have fun exploring Naples on foot.
You can walk through the Historic Center of Napoli that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the most iconic landmarks of Naples. Our self-guided walking tour of Naples takes you through several attractions between the Naples Archaeological Museum and Piazza Plebiscito.