Using Naples’s public transportation system can save you a lot of time and take you to incredible parts of the city. For example, the city’s hilltop peaks, where the Gothic castle Sant’ Elmo stands, and Capodimonte Palace, which houses the world-famous Farnese collection and is surrounded by one of the largest and most relaxing parks in Naples. From the shores of Naples Bay, these impressive sites may look far away, but public transportation will get you there in a few minutes. Likewise, getting from the central train station to your hotel can be easily done using public transportation.
To begin, let’s acknowledge that Naples’s transit system is in a bit of disarray. There are several forms of transit; the most important are the buses, the Metro, and the Funicular.
Tickets and Prices
The first thing to know is that you must buy your tickets at a tobacconist and that these tickets are valid for all of Naples’s inner-city transportation—Metro, Funicular, and buses—for 90 minutes from the time of validation. You can validate your ticket two ways: by inserting it in one of the validation machines on the buses, or by inserting it in the turnstiles at entrances to the Metro and Funicular. You must validate your ticket before using public transportation. An all-day ticket costs 3.10 euros on weekdays and 2.60 euros on weekends, and these can also be bought in one of the city’s tobacco shops. I highly suggest buying several tickets in advance to save you from having to search for a tobacconist later.
You can get just about everywhere in Naples on the buses that leave from the central train station. A list of these buses, along with a helpful map, can be secured at the tourist office in the central train station. Two of the best buses are the R2 and 201, both of which can be found in the piazza directly in front of the central train station. To get to the bus terminals, walk straight out of the train station through Piazza Girabaldi; you’re sure to run into them.
The Metro is divided into three lines, but Line 1 and Line 2 are the most useful. Line 2 leaves from the lower level of the central train station. Its popular destinations include the National Archeology Museum in Piazza Cavour and the swank Chiaia shopping district (the Amedeo stop). The most important stops on Line 1 are Piazza Dante, the Vomero shopping district (the Vanvitelli stop), and the National Archeology Museum. The Cavour stop is the only Metro stop where you can easily transfer between Line 1 and Line 2.
The Funicular is a rather strange form of transportation. It takes you to some of the best sites, but its three lines are isolated from each other. All three take you to the Vomero neighborhood, but none of them take you to the same stop. The most important Funicular line goes from the Augusteo station on Via Toledo to the Fuga stop on Vomero Hill. This puts you in proximity to the Vomero shopping district, Castle Sant’Elmo, and the beautiful Villa Floridiana park, which is home to the Museo Duca di Martina. Castle Sant’Elmo can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, looming on the cliffs.
I highly recommend taking the short bus ride up to Capodimonte park, which is home to Museo di Capodimonte. The park is enormous and offers spectacular views of the city, Mt. Vesuvius, and the Bay of Naples; it’s easily my favorite park in Naples. To get to Museo di Capodimonte, take the C63 bus, which leaves from the National Archeology Museum, and get off at the Porta Grande stop.
Naples’s public transportation is safe during daylight hours, when it is well populated. I wouldn’t take it late at night. Always be aware of pickpockets, who commonly patrol the buses. Keep purses and bags attended to at all times
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com