There's something to be said for a city with a bad reputation. Naples, one of the biggest cities in Italy and the biggest in the south of the country, doesn't get the tourist numbers of places like Rome, Florence, or Venice, and it's not because this isn't a beautiful city. But Naples has a bad reputation among travelers and among Italians that keeps many people away. In the past, the city has been synonymous with organized crime, corruption, and squalor, so for many people, visiting Naples was simply not on the radar.
That's a shame because Naples is an incredibly beautiful city. Rich in Roman ruins, fascinating religious sites, and close to some of the top attractions in Italy, including Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, Naples has everything you need for a fantastic holiday. And its bad reputation is overblown. Visiting Naples is perfectly safe so long as you follow basic common sense precautions.
The city's relative lack of popularity with tourists has benefits, too. You'll find prices here far cheaper than they are in Rome, let alone Florence and Venice. Southern Italy is far less wealthy than the north, with the result that Naples has a much lower cost of living, and that translates into cheap accommodation, cheaper food, and more affordable attractions for visitors.
If you want to save money but still have a beautiful Italian trip, Naples is the perfect place to make your travel budget stretch further. Visit Naples with the help of our budget tips, and you'll find you can have as good a time here as in any other Italian city, but for a fraction of the cost. And there's more than just the price to recommend the city. Everything you want from an Italian vacation can be found in the tourist zones of Naples.
To make your trip easier and safer, leave your bag behind at a Bounce luggage storage in Naples. As you travel from one historic site to another, enjoying the major attractions of the city, you'll have a much easier time if you're not carrying more than you need to. And knowing your bags are safely looked after in a luggage storage near Naples Airport or close to the city center leaves your hands free to enjoy what may be Italy's best street food scene, too.
Cheap places to stay in Naples
Naples gets most of its visitors in the summer when the cruise ships disgorge crowds of travelers who may only stay in the town for a day or two or just as often rush out of the city as quickly as possible to visit Capri or the incredible Amalfi Coast. However, Naples' warm climate makes it a great place to visit at any time of year. Spring or fall, when the kids are in school, is one of the best times when you'll find some great deals on hotels, and the streets are crowded with locals more than they are with visitors.
Naples' subway system isn't all it could be. As with most ancient Italian cities, Naples suffers from the fact that anywhere you try to dig in the city, you'll come across some priceless archaeological remains. Still, the subway is a better way to get around the city than the bus network, which can be unreliable at times. And you absolutely don't want to drive in Naples. One aspect of the city's bad reputation that is not in any way overblown is the chaotic traffic the city is known for.
For that reason, and because Naples is quite a cheap place to stay by Western European standards anyway, it's better to stay close to the heart of the city. You'll be able to walk to most of the major attractions and take public transit to the others, and if you want to get out of the city, it's easy to catch a train from here to just about anywhere else in Italy. You can learn more about the different neighborhoods of Naples with our handy neighborhood guide.
B&B Rest a Napoli
The area around Napoli Centrale train station and Piazza Garibaldi is one of the worst in the city. The best tactic is to get away from the station as soon as you can and head for the historic center or Centro Storico, a maze of narrow streets and colorful old buildings that contains plenty of affordable hotels like this one. You couldn't ask for a better location, with busy Via Toldeo, the city's main shopping street, just steps away. You'll have access to some of the best street food and sit-down restaurants in the city, and you'll also be well within walking distance of major attractions like the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, and walking tours of the underground tunnels beneath the city. There are plenty of free sights to enjoy in this area, and cheap hotels like this one are practically everywhere.
Even in the middle of August, a double room in this unbeatable location will only cost you around $100. That gives you a private room with its own bathroom and includes breakfast. If you're feeling fancy, you can splurge for a room with a balcony which is only $10 more. And for those traveling alone and at the mercy of the double room supplement, they also offer rooms with single beds for only $75. This is a fantastic way to keep travel costs down while visiting Naples on a budget.
Besides its rich history and street life, one of the best things about Naples is its natural surroundings. Located on the glittering Bay of Naples, the city has grown up in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, and almost every street presents a new and stunning view of this gorgeous area. It's only a short walk from the downtown neighborhoods of the Centro Storico and the Spanish Quarter to the lungomare, Naples' seafront promenade that comes alive every Sunday with local families taking the traditional Italian walk. And in this more laid-back area, you'll find some great options for affordable places to stay.
The historic façade of this hotel hides a bright and modern interior, and the location right on the shore can't be beaten. You can walk right into the downtown area from here or enjoy some phenomenal oceanfront parks and great seafood restaurants. Plus, it's only a seven-minute walk to the nearest Metro stop, which can get you just about anywhere in the city you want to go. Being able to walk to the bustling center of one of Italy's major cities and also being able to walk the beach gives you a little taste of everything on your vacation.
Even in the middle of August, you can get a double room with either a queen bed or two single beds for around $110. Astonishingly, that room comes with a balcony facing the sea. You'll also get air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi, so this hotel provides everything you need for a memorable stay.
The bustling downtown of Naples is a fantastic place to explore, but it can lead to a kind of sensory overload. If you want to escape the noise and the heat, head uphill to the trendy neighborhood of Vomero, where you'll find this budget hotel. You'll also find some of the most interesting bars and restaurants in Naples and a lively, modern atmosphere that makes this a great place for nightlife but also a good place to unwind. And from this hilltop neighborhood, you'll have spectacular views of the city as well as access to some of the top attractions here.
The Scarlatti Residence offers a double room in the middle of August for around $80. That includes free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Even a deluxe family room here will only cost you around $130, so it's an exceptional bargain in this popular area.
Cheap things to do in Naples
Naples is absolutely packed with great things to do. If you love history, you'll love the city, as you can explore some of the best artifacts found in Pompeii at the Naples Archaeological Museum or encounter Renaissance art and architecture in the many churches of the city. But wandering through the charming streets of Naples is an attraction all by itself, and one that needn't cost you a dime.
Pio Monte della Misericordia
This church, founded in 1601, is famous in the art world for holding one of the masterpieces of the famous Renaissance artist Caravaggio. You can visit the church for free, but the art gallery that contains work by Caravaggio, among many other notable painters, is separate from the church. Still, it only costs around eight dollars to go inside and see the work of one of the greatest painters in the history of European art, so it's a real bargain that won't hurt your daily budget too much.
One of the most iconic buildings in all of Naples, this castle offers breathtaking views of the bay from its seaside location. This was the original site of the Greek settlement of Neapolis back in the sixth century BC, and although the current castle only dates back to the 15th century, it's still a great place to explore the history of Naples and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding area. Perhaps best of all, it's completely free to visit. You don't need a ticket; just walk right on inside.
It's something of a cliché, but in many ways, the best thing to do in Naples is just wander. Unlike other Italian cities, Naples isn't completely overrun with tourists, and you'll still find the sidestreets mostly full of locals conversing in the Neapolitan dialect. Neapolitans live their lives on the street, so wherever you go you'll be able to soak up the unrivaled atmosphere of this beautiful town.
Cheap places to eat in Naples
There are so many cheap places to eat in Naples that you could spend a lifetime in the city and never visit them all. This is the birthplace of pizza, which was originally developed as a street food, and it's still served that way in the city now, as well as in sit-down restaurants. In fact, sampling the best street food in Naples is a great way to enjoy some of the best cuisine in the city as well as the most affordable.
Trattoria da Nennella
With singing waiters carrying plates between tables, this traditional trattoria drips with quaint Italian charm. Plus, its prices are as old-fashioned as the service. You can treat yourself to a traditional multicourse Italian meal, including a drink for around €15, so eat like the Italians do and enjoy your experience at this unique restaurant.
Osteria Il Gobbetto
This is Neapolitan cuisine at its most unapologetic. Specializing in fresh-caught seafood, this restaurant offers seabass for two for $20, and a pasta dish costs around seven or eight dollars, with a main around the same price. It is about as traditional as it gets and is well worth checking out on your trip to Italy.
Antica Pizza Fritta da Zia Esterina Sorbillo
If you can make your way past the crowd of locals outside, you're in for a treat. This hole-in-the-wall food counter serves deep-fried pizza that is meant to be eaten on the go. The pizzas cost between three and five dollars and certainly won't leave you hungry.
Cheap bars in Naples
With a relatively young population by Italian standards, Naples has tons of great bars to explore. Check out these affordable places if you're looking for a drink:
The Aperol spritz is a proud Italian afternoon tradition and is practiced as religiously in Naples as it is anywhere else. This bar is known for its cheap prices, as you'll notice from the crowd of locals outside on any given afternoon. A spritz costs just one dollar, though if you'd prefer a glass of wine, that's also only one dollar.
Located close to the university, this bar is popular with students for more than just its location. Featuring live music and an extensive scotch selection, this bar also offers domestic beer for four dollars a bottle, glasses of wine starting at three dollars, and cocktails beginning at six dollars.
Another student favorite, this popular bar spills out onto the street, offering handcrafted cocktails starting at eight euros each.
Bonus budget tips for Naples
Stay in budget accommodations: Naples has a variety of budget accommodations, including hostels and budget hotels. These options can be significantly cheaper than traditional hotels, and they offer a chance to meet other travelers.
Eat like a local: Naples is known for its delicious food, and there are many affordable options for budget travelers. Try street food like pizza and arancini, or visit local markets for fresh produce and seafood.
Visit during the off-season: Visiting Naples during the off-season, typically from November to February, can be significantly cheaper than during peak tourist season. Additionally, the city is less crowded, making it easier to get around and explore.
With great free things to do in Naples and remarkably affordable accommodation, food, and drinks, there's really no good reason not to come here. Leave your bags behind at a convenient luggage storage and follow these tips to enjoy one of the world's most beautiful cities on a budget.