Its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, mouthwatering cuisine, and picturesque landscapes have made Italy one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world.
Naples, the third-largest city in Italy, is on many tourists’ bucket lists. I mean, who doesn’t want to relive the pizza scene from Eat, Pray, Love? I do. Yum, I can eat that cheesy pizza right now. But are you wondering, if Naples Safe?
However, Naples has gotten a bad reputation for being a bit of a dangerous city. Overall, Italy is a safe country to visit to, but precautions are always important.
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Why is Naples Considered Dangerous?
The main reason that Naples doesn’t have the greatest reputation is due to the Camorra, the 400-year-old Mafia that originated in Campania, Naples region.
It’s been active for many decades and is involved in a range of criminal activities, including drug trafficking, extortion and money laundering. However, it’s important to note that the majority of people in Naples and Campania are not involved in the Mafia, and the region is home to a vibrant and diverse community. Despite the negative reputation associated with the Camorra, Naples is a bustling city with a rich history, culture, and cuisine, and is well worth a visit for those who take necessary safety precautions.
Is Naples Safe to Visit?
It’s a beautiful place to visit, but like any other big city, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers and take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. In this blog post, I will share tips and information on traveling to Naples and how to stay safe while exploring the city.
Getting to Naples
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Naples is by plane, with flights landing at Naples International Airport. From there, you can take a taxi, bus, or train to the city center. If you are traveling from other cities in Italy, you can also take a train or bus. It’s essential to book your transportation in advance to avoid any inconvenience. When we visited Sorrento, we drove from Rome to Naples airport. This ended up being a bad idea because the diesel price for the gas ended up being more expensive than if we had purchased the 2 train tickets. So, if you fly into Rome, I recommend taking the train to Naples from Rome. Remember to always check flights and bundle deals at places like Expedia and Booking.com. I also recommend checking out travel routes on the Rome2Rio app or website.
Should You Stay in Naples?
Many tourists either stay only a few nights in Naples or stay on the coast and make a day trip to Naples. The reason is that they want to explore the beach areas more. And although it’s physically not that far, the traffic can be crazy, and some of the ferries end their routes early. Some areas in Naples are a bit run down and you can find dirty streets filled with graffiti, which is a shame.
As for the city’s run-down appearance, there are several reasons for this. Naples has been facing several challenges, including poverty, unemployment, and political corruption, which have contributed to the city’s deterioration over the years. In addition, the city has been struggling with issues such as trash management and lack of investment in public infrastructure, leading to run-down streets, buildings, and public spaces.
However, despite these challenges, Naples remains a vibrant and colorful city, with a rich history and cultural heritage that continues to attract tourists from around the world.
Neighborhoods to Avoid
“Pickpocketing is still common, and there are instances of nastier violent crimes, but Italy is rated as the third-safest country in Europe, and Naples is not even top of the list within the country. You should be vigilant but not worried about crime in this city.”
In Naples, some of the neighborhoods that are considered unsafe and should be avoided, particularly at night, include the central train station, the port, and the neighborhoods of Scampia and Secondigliano. These areas have a higher crime rate, including theft, pickpocketing, and drug-related activities, and it’s best to exercise caution if you need to travel through them.
Areas to avoid:
- Scampia, which is located North of Naples
- The San Giovanni a Teduccio district
- Piazza Garibaldi near the train station – be vigilant here
- Quartieri Spagnoli or Spanish Quarter
- Centro Direzionale
- Rione Traiano district
Spanish Quarter and Forcella are often described as sketchy areas of Napoli. Although the area isn’t dangerous at all, there is a little caution on the roads around. The Garibaldi Piazza is also known for mugging and pickpocketing.
Some Common Petty Crimes in Naples
Petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and theft, are common in Naples, especially in tourist areas. Here are some known petty crimes in Naples and tips on how to avoid them:
- Pickpocketing: Petty theft is a common occurrence in busy tourist areas, such as train stations, markets and crowded streets. Keep your valuables close and secure, and be vigilant when in crowded areas.
- Theft from cars: Cars parked in the streets are vulnerable to theft, so it’s best to park in a secure lot or garage.
- Street scams: Be wary of street vendors who offer cheap goods, as they may be counterfeit. Also, be cautious of people who offer to help with directions, as they may try to distract you while an accomplice steals your belongings.
- Fake police: Be wary of people posing as police officers who ask to see your passport or wallet. Always ask for identification and only show your documents at official police stations. Also, don’t let the police offer to help you while you are at the ATM machine.
- ATM fraud: Be cautious when using ATMs, as skimming devices are sometimes attached to the machines to steal card information. Only use ATMs in well-lit and secure areas, and protect your PIN number when entering it.
By being aware of these crimes and taking basic safety precautions, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to petty crimes in Naples.
Ask the Naples Locals
Whether you are staying in hotels or hostels, it always pays to talk with locals who work at the hotels and nearby restaurants. When visiting Naples (or any other city), seeking local advice can be a wise decision because it provides you with a more nuanced and accurate understanding of the area. Locals are intimately familiar with their city and can provide insights and tips on the best things to do and see, as well as areas to avoid. This is the best, but least-used, method for making decisions about your itinerary, ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip.
Locals in Naples, for example, can recommend the best neighborhoods to stay in, the most authentic local cuisine to try, and the most interesting cultural and historical sites to visit. They can also give you advice on how to avoid tourist scams and stay safe in the area. By speaking to locals, you can gain a more intimate understanding of the city and have a more authentic travel experience.
Where to Stay in Naples?
As per Petite Suitcase:
For most travelers, staying in a hotel near the Castel dell’Ovo, by the port, or close to Via Toledo are excellent choices.
Many tourists opt for the historical center, as it is one of the largest historical centers in the world. Piazza del Plebiscito is a great area for families. If you want nightlife, then check out the Vomero neighborhood.
Here are other areas to stay in Naples:
- Spaccanapoli is the historic center of Naples, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Posillipo District
- District of Mergellina
Here are five boutique hotels that I would recommend for staying in Naples:
- Palazzo Alabardieri Hotel: This elegant hotel is located in the heart of Naples and offers stunning views of the bay. It features spacious rooms, a rooftop terrace, and a restaurant serving traditional Neapolitan cuisine.
- Hotel Il Convento: This charming hotel is housed in a restored 17th-century convent and is located in the historic center of Naples. It offers a quiet and peaceful setting, with lush gardens and beautifully decorated rooms.
- Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel: Quaint boutique hotel in Naples. Located along Spaccanapoli, the location is good, with many sights within walking distance.
- Hotel San Francesco Al Monte: Offering panoramic views across the Gulf of Naples, the San Francesco al Monte is a restored 16th-century monastery.
These boutique hotels offer a unique and personalized experience for travelers and are a great way to explore the city and experience its rich culture and history.
Safety Tips & Common Sense
- Have your camera strapped on your neck and not on the side of your body.
- Be careful when using ATMs, as there is talk of there being cameras to get tourists’ pin numbers.
- Put your extra cash inside your shoes or a harder-to-access place.
- Use the hotel’s safe to put away extra cash and passports.
- Carry a copy of your passport.
- Use a front fanny-pack belt for guys, and don’t store things in the back pocket.
- Don’t carry your phone in your back pocket.
- Be careful with any random street vendors coming up to you to distract you.
- Watch your drinks if meeting new people at bars.
- Ask for local advice on where to eat and where to avoid going at night.
Traveling light makes it easy and less stressful, and you won’t look touristy. Taking only one suitcase and one bag will not only help make the trip easier and safer, it’s easier to use public transportation and travel faster in cities without carrying heavy luggage. See my post: The Best Advice for Packing Light.
Is it Safe to Walk Around Naples at Night?
Walking around Naples at night can be safe in some areas, but exercise caution and avoid going into less well-lit or isolated areas. After dark, some neighborhoods, particularly those outside of tourist areas, can be dangerous. It is best to stick to well-lit, busy streets and avoid walking alone late at night. If you’re not sure about an area, take a taxi or another mode of transportation.
Safe at Night in Naples: Key Recommendations for Visitors
- Plan your route: Before setting out, familiarize yourself with the area and plan your route so that you can avoid dark and deserted areas. Stick to well-lit and populated streets, and consider using a map or GPS to guide you.
- Travel in groups: If possible, travel in a group at night, as there is safety in numbers. This can help you feel more confident and secure, and can deter potential attackers or thieves.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and be mindful of your surroundings at all times, particularly in crowded areas. Keep your valuables close and secure, and be wary of anyone who tries to distract you.
- Use trusted transportation: When traveling to and from nightlife hotspots, consider using a trusted taxi or ride-hailing service rather than walking. Make sure the vehicle is licensed and the driver is reliable before getting in.
- Trust your instincts: If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe at any point, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
By following these guidelines, you can help ensure a safe and secure nightlife experience in Naples. Whether you’re out for a night on the town or going for a leisurely walk, it’s always important to stay alert and take precautions to keep yourself safe.
Know a Few Italian Words to Ask for Help
When traveling abroad, there’s always something to learn before going. Not only can this improve your experience when you check out of a place of work or order food and directions, it’s also useful when you need some extra assistance. Having emergency numbers on the phone is an easy solution when someone is in need. Here are a few numbers in Italy to save.
Here are some of the most important Italian words and phrases to know if you feel you’re in trouble while visiting Italy:
- Aiuto! (Help!) – A straightforward way to signal that you need assistance.
- Polizia! (Police!) – Used to signal the police or call for their attention in an emergency situation.
- Dove è l’ospedale più vicino? (Where is the nearest hospital?) – To ask for directions to the nearest hospital if you need medical assistance.
- Ho bisogno di un medico. (I need a doctor.) – To request medical assistance in case of an injury or illness.
- Parlo inglese. (I speak English.) – To indicate that you can communicate in English, if your Italian is limited.
- Non capisco. (I don’t understand.) – To signal that you need further explanation or assistance in a language you understand.
- Ho perso il mio passaporto/portafoglio. (I have lost my passport/wallet.) – To signal that you have lost your valuables.
- Mi hanno rubato. (They have stolen from me.) – To signal that you have been a victim of theft.
It’s always a good idea to carry a pocket-sized translation guide or have a translation app handy while traveling, especially if your language skills are limited. Knowing these key phrases can help you communicate effectively in case of an emergency and ensure that you receive the assistance you need.
Exploring the City – Tourist Sights
Despite the potential dangers, there’s plenty to see and do in Naples that is safe and enjoyable. Here are some of the top attractions and activities to experience while in the city:
- Pompeii: The ancient city of Pompeii, located just a short train ride from Naples, is a must-visit for anyone traveling to the area. The well-preserved ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the past and are a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage.
- Naples National Archaeological Museum: This museum is home to an extensive collection of artifacts and works of art, including items from Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other ancient Roman cities.
- Castel dell’Ovo: This historic castle, located on an island in the Bay of Naples, offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
- Mount Vesuvius: The towering volcano that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum is still active today, and visitors can hike to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding area.
- Piazza del Plebiscito: This large square in the heart of Naples is surrounded by historic buildings and is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
Naples driving standards are not the best
Several factors contribute to Naples’ dangerous driving standards. For starters, the city’s roads can be narrow and winding, making navigation difficult, especially for those unfamiliar with the area. Second, many Naples drivers are known for their aggressive and reckless driving habits, such as speeding, tailgating, and disregard for traffic laws. Visitors may find it difficult to feel confident and secure on the roads as a result of this.
In addition, the high volume of traffic, particularly in the city center, can lead to congestion and slow-moving vehicles, making the roads more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike. Furthermore, the general state of disrepair of some of the roads, along with the lack of adequate road signage, can make it difficult for drivers to navigate and can increase the risk of accidents.
Hopefully this has helped you to be aware of the driving conditions in Naples, and my overall guidance would be to drive very defensively if you choose to rent a car and explore the city by road.
If you want more info on driving in Italy, check out my post – The 411 of Driving in Italy.