As coastlines go, there aren’t many that are quite as spectacular as Italy’s Neapolitan Riviera, which is why it needs to be on your ‘to visit’ list of 2019 holiday destinations. You don't have to expect spectacular prices either, with our clever search engine you can find a price on a cheap holiday that suits you.
Idyllic, peaceful, offering some of the best cuisine in Italy and gorgeous weather, the Neapolitan Riviera is a beauty spot that is captivating – whether you are a first-time visitor or a regular traveller to the area.
The Neapolitan Riviera is a term you may not have come across before, but don’t let that stop you from considering it as a unique and unforgettable holiday destination. Starting at Sorrento, a lovely, lively town with a plethora of bars and restaurants, and stretching all the way along the coast of Campania, taking in the Bay of Naples, Amalfi, and Ravello on its way, there is plenty to do here, and plenty to experience.
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With the Neapolitan Riviera taking in so many different towns and villages, there's plenty of choice when it comes to the best of the best places to visit. One place that should not be missed has to be Pompeii. This fairly nondescript town near Naples is actually of huge historic and architectural importance – it is here that the volcano Vesuvius erupted, coating the entire town in lava and hot ashes, freezing it in time. It is still possible to visit the site of this infamous natural disaster and it is certainly recommended that you do.
Another attraction that must not be missed is the Duomo in Amalfi. It’s an inexpensive trip too, but one that will stay with you for many years to come. You’ll see the ‘Cloister of Paradise’ where the noblemen of the area were buried, and there is also the stunning Byzantine mosaic, as well as a number of lovely frescoes. And this is also where the bones of St Andrew – Jesus’ first disciple – are said to be kept.
No matter which area of the Neapolitan Riviera you are staying in, whether you’re making a real adventure of it and journeying along its entire length, there are great restaurants and bars to try out. Some are located right on the edge of the many magnificent beaches in the area, and when the weather calls for it (and let’s face it, when does it not?) you can sit outside and enjoy the cool(er) night air as you sip good wine, try exclusive and exciting cocktails, and eat some of the most interesting and delicious food around.
Most of the restaurants in this area of the Neapolitan Riviera are traditional Italian or modern Italian (sometimes with a twist), and they do, for the most part, use fresh local produce. However, if you are in the mood for something a little different, such as Indian, Chinese, Thai, or even sushi, you should be able to find something that suits you and your appetite.
Although possibly more honeymooning couples come here than families, that’s only because it is such a perfect place for them. For families, it is just as much fun, with plenty to do on a daily basis from exploring the beautiful countryside to pottering around museums to having a day on the beach. Children of all ages will be welcome in the restaurants, although some of the later nightclubs and bars do have an age and/or time restriction. Ice-cream is everywhere in this part of the world and for a real experience, Gelateria David in Sorrento offers classes on ice-cream making, definitely fun for all the family. A trip to Pompeii will enthuse children and parents alike and while in Naples a trip on the funicular railway is a must. The Napoli Sotterranea is a guided underground tour by candlelight that takes you through tunnels beneath a Roman theatre, Greek quarry and a Roman cistern.
Water sports are, of course, the main draw for those who love a bit of action and adventure on their holidays. If you want to learn how to dive then the beaches on this particular stretch of Italian coastline are renowned for it – with waters so clear and calm, there is no other place as great for getting to grips with this new skill. Sorrento is perfect for kayaking and boat trips along the coast are an excellent way to see the area. There are a number of hiking and camping expeditions in the gorgeous countryside along this part of the coast, or you can take to a bike – pedal or engine- and explore this way. Sorrento Bikes tour handles all the tricky negotiating for you and bikes and equipment are all available for hire.
It could be said that the Neapolitan Riviera is entirely made up of beaches, beaches that run back to back along the full length of the coast. And that is true. However, there are some beaches that are more popular than others, and these may be the ones that you choose to visit first as you wind your way along the Italian roadways.
The first is Arienzo Beach in Positano. This could well be one of the prettiest of all the beaches along the Neapolitan Riviera and is ideal for relaxing on for hours at a time, especially since Arienzo faces in a southwesterly direction, and therefore gets the sun all day long. Why not take a stroll along this lovely stretch of sand and try to take in as much of the scenery as you can? It’s a challenge that everyone can afford to take on, and enjoying a glimpse at the impressive villas that line the shore is always a treat.
Citara Beach is exactly the kind of beach you would imagine when thinking of a traditional, family friendly, bucket and spade kind of place. It can be found on the island of Ischia, which is situated in the Bay of Naples. The sand is soft and velvety, an inviting brown colour that is more honey than golden. Although it is very popular, it never feels too crowded due to its size. As a bit of a bonus feature, the Poseidon Thermal Gardens are just next door, and you can go there to take a dip in a pool warmed by volcanic hot springs.
Next is Acciaroli in Cilento. This was Ernest Hemingway’s particular favourite beach in the area, and the enormous stretch of pale sand leading down to the crystal clear sea almost seems unreal – but it is there to be enjoyed. Somehow, despite its beauty and its literary connections, Acciaroli is one of the least visited beaches along the Neapolitan Riviera, so if you prefer to steer clear of crowds, this one’s for you.
Then there is Furore Beach, which can be found halfway between Positano and Amalfi. Italy has very few fjords, and Furore was created within one. This means that it is unique, and also rather narrow (just 25 metres wide). Because it is so unusual, it can get busy, and with so little room to move it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you get there early and are prepared to share your space with a variety of friendly locals and visitors, you’ll have a wonderful time there.
The last beach that deserves a special mention is Duoglio Beach in Amalfi. It’s small but it’s close to the town, so it’s perfectly accessible should you not have a vehicle. Well, ‘perfectly accessible’ may not be entirely accurate – anyone who does want to visit does need to climb down (and up again) 400 steps to get there. But it is well worth it. If you have sea legs then you may wish to climb on board one of the regular boats from Amalfi that will also bring you out to Duoglio, where you will see many divers preparing for their next trip.
The good thing for many people who go on holiday at the Neapolitan Riviera is that is it a somewhat more sophisticated place to spend some time. That doesn’t mean it isn’t suitable for families or teenagers, it just means that, when it comes to nightlife, it is less about techno raves, and more about relaxed ways to have some more grown-up fun. Just like in the caves at Africana, Praiano. This incredible nightclub has been created inside a huge natural cave, giving it a truly unique and absolutely atmospheric feeling. It’s right on the seafront, and there are different themed nights that include live acts who do anything from burlesque to circus skills. You can even have dinner there.
Another great place to while away the night is the Miami Bar Room in Naples. This is a cool, chic, exclusive club that is decorated in an Art Deco style, giving off a definite James Bond kind of feel. Cocktails are the order of the day (evening) here, and there are many to choose from.
For a more romantic night out, you can enjoy a candlelit drink at Franco’s Bar in Positano. This champagne and oyster bar is only open from May until October, so be sure to go if you are in the area at the right time.
And of course, if you do want something a little rowdier, there is a fabulously fun Filou Club. There aren’t too many other places where you can show off your karaoke skills in quite such elegant surroundings!
Forget Paris and Rome – the Neapolitan Riviera is the place to go to treat (and impress) your other half. Built on a feeling of romance and beauty, this area of Italy is packed full of places that are there to make you both feel special.
For a romantic night out, you can enjoy a candlelit drink at Franco’s Bar in Positano. This champagne and oyster bar is only open from May until October, so be sure to go if you are in the area at the right time. La Marinella in Sorrento is located on a cliff top and while drinking cocktails or wine you look out over spectacular coastline., a perfect backdrop for a romantic evening.
Music is an important part of the culture of the Neapolitan Riviera, and that is evident in the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. From classical music to jazz, from rock to baroque, there is always something exciting happening in this beautiful part of Italy. For events all year round, head to Naples, in the summer months you will find lots of outdoor theatre and spectacles; Open Estate a Napoli includes outdoor film screenings, theatre and music. Giffoni Film Festival is held in July and August in Giffoni Valle Piana, near Salerno, the festival is all about children’s cinema and has a jury of children and lots of high profile names in the film industry – well worth checking out. The Napoli film festival is in June and hosts lots of screenings and is building in popularity.
For classical music head to Ercolano in July where classical concerts are hosted in neoclassical villas.
Traditional Catholic festivals are still celebrated with much ceremony across the region, the Festa di Sant’Anna – celebrating the patron saint of the town – is celebrated for a week in Sorrento with food and music throughout.
Of course, one of the most monumental cultural sites on the Neapolitan Riviera is open all year round, the incredible site of Pompeii, a wonder of the world, is an absolute must to tick off your bucket list.
Check out our top hotels in Neapolitan Riviera or some of our most popular cheap holiday destinations in Neapolitan Riviera: