1. The Amalfi Coast
It's the face that graced a thousand travel brochures – the Amalfi Coast is the archetypal idyllic Italian destination, characterised by colourful villages perched on cliffsides meeting the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. It's also the ideal spot for day trips from Naples. Salerno, only 30 minutes from Naples by Frecciarossa train, is considered the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. From Salerno, it's easy to find buses that trace the stunning coastline to the beautiful Amalfi Coast villages, including Positano, Ravello, Praiano and Atrani. But if you'd rather skip the scenic bus trip, you can take a direct train from Naples straight to the charming Amalfi Coast town of Vietri sul Mare, known as the “Ceramics Capital of Campania”, in about an hour.
One of Europe's biggest hitters, day trips from Naples to Pompei are on Italy's absolute must-do list. As little as 41 minutes from central Naples by Trenitalia train, the ancient ruins of Pompeii are one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. Buried by over 5 metres of ash during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, the ancient city was largely preserved against the elements and offers a rare snapshot of daily life in the Roman Empire with its temples, private homes, baths, and forums. Wander through its excavated stone streets and get a feel for how the Romans really lived.
3. Herculaneum and Mount Vesuvius
Much less famous but no less important or impressive is the ancient city of Herculaneum, which was also buried under volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The nearest train station to the ancient ruins of Herculaneum is Portici-Ercolano, no more than 20 minutes away by train from Naples. Another great reason to choose Herculaneum for day trips from Naples is that it's the best place to climb Mount Vesuvius. Whether you do that by shuttle bus, guided tour, your own two legs, or a mixture of the three, Herculaneum is only 9 miles from the summit of Mount Vesuvius, so you'll have plenty of options.
Situated on the southern tip of the peninsula facing the city, across the Gulf of Naples, Sorrento has an entirely different feel from Naples despite being only one hour away by train. It's a picturesque concoction of colour, with brightly painted facades of houses, bars and restaurants framing the glistening blue water. And did we mention the golden sandy beach? Looking back up the coast towards Naples and Mount Vesuvius, Sorrento has excellent views, which in combination with its collection of churches, beautiful buildings and quaint streets makes it a great place to spend a day. You can also take the 30-minute ferry from Sorrento across to the island of Capri.
Ancient ruins, modern festivals, amazing food, great shopping, and beautiful architecture – Rome is hardly a city that needs an introduction. Start with the imperial heart of Rome and take in the grandeur of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine. Have a walk around the historic centre and enjoy the beautiful sights of the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo. Don’t forget to stop by the foaming and massive Trevi Fountain – they say that if you throw a coin in there and make a wish, it’ll come true!
The Italian capital is among the easiest of day trips from Naples, with the fast-train service connecting Rome and Naples in a little over one hour Frecciarossa with high-speed trains.
6. The Phlegraean Fields
Situated just west of the city, the Phlegraean Fields volcanic region offers something different for day trips from Naples. This area has 24 volcanic edifices and craters, many of them found underwater, and plenty of hydrothermal and geothermal activity. Only 15 minutes from Naples, Pozzuoli is the centre of much of this hydrothermal activity. This is also the location of the Solfatara crater – a dormant volcano that still lets off jets of sulphurous fumes and is said to be the mythological home of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
The Royal Palace in Caserta was originally constructed as the main residence of the King of Naples and modelled after Versailles in France. Still today, it's one of the largest royal palaces in the world, with 1,200 rooms and a park consisting of several gardens, water fountains, cascades, and features. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 for being a prime example of Baroque architecture. It feels like a different world from the wonderful craziness of Naples, yet it's only 35 minutes by regional train from Napoli Centrale.
8. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park
Kayak into sea caves, swim at the beach, scale the cliffs, or hike up into the hills to find ruins of medieval villages. If you want to escape a bit further than the well-worn route between Naples and Pompeii, venture just a little bit further on (1h 47m by Trenitalia's regional train from Naples) and you'll be rewarded with a big breath of fresh air. Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park is enormous, covering 700 square miles of pristine forest, unspoilt beaches, and dramatic rock formations. It's also an area rich in archaeological history – the important ancient Greek cities of Paestum and Velia and their impressive temples formerly sat on the fringes of the park.
Situated almost halfway between Naples and Rome, Gaeta has been inhabited since antiquity. It was one of the first towns along the Appian Way, the series of roads built by the Romans to connect their city with Brindisi at the south-eastern tip of Italy. As a result, Gaeta has its fair share of Roman ruins – most importantly the impressive mausoleum overlooking beautiful Serapo beach from Mount Orlando. Gaeta is also the location of Grotta del Turco, the “Turk’s Cave”, a large ocean cave at the base of the aptly named Montagna Spaccata (Broken Mountain). The closest railway station to Gaeta is Formia, 49 minutes by regional train from Naples. From there you can take a 15-minute bus to Gaeta.
If you want a change from the coast, Benevento is a great escape from the city for a day trip. Situated at the confluence of two rivers, 50 kilometres inland from Naples and 130 metres above sea level, Benevento offers awesome views, superb historical sites, and a different pace of life from Naples, 1h 29m away by regional train. Its Roman Theatre and the Arch of Trajan are two ancient archaeological sites that shouldn't be missed. The majestic, marble-white Santa Sofia Church is worth a visit, and Benevento also has one of the best zoos in Campania!
So, whether you want a day at the beach or to dip into history, you'll find plenty of places to explore easily with day trips from Naples. To start booking or to find out more, have a look at our Journey Planner or Trains in Italy pages.