Naples Car Hire
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- There are twelve main car hire companies operating out of Paphos airport.
- The car hire centre at Naples airport is easily reached by a free shuttle bus that runs every five minutes.
- The minimum age to hire a car is 21 however there will be a surcharge if you are under 25.
- Rush hour in Naples should be avoided at all costs, it can easily add an hour onto your drive.
- Most large agencies have hire points in the city centre however prices are usually 25% higher than at the airport.
- Don’t always rely on your sat-nav when going off the beaten track as some roads might not be suitable for driving on. It’s worth having a Touring Club Italiano map of the region you’re heading to.
- The Autostrada are tolled motorways, you pick up a ticket on entry and pay on exit, if you want to avoid tolled roads then check out the Autostrade per l’Italia website.
- Naples historic quarters are full of narrow winding roads and one-way systems so make sure you know your route before heading out.
- The drink drive limit is the same as in the UK so don’t be tempted by more than on glass of wine with dinner.
- The normal speed limit on Italian motorways is 130 km/hr. The normal speed limit on main roads is 90 km/hr (outside built-up areas) and in built-up areas is 50 km/hr – unless otherwise indicated.
- Be careful where you park, Italian traffic wardens are ferocious in their ticketing.
- It’s illegal to use your phone while driving so make sure you have hands-free before taking any calls as fines if caught are steep.
- Most of the main roads have speed cameras on the so watch your speed. By the time your ticket reaches you you’ll have hefty admin fees added by both the Italian police and your car hire company.
Guide to Naples
Naples is Italy’s third largest city and boasts a UNESCO World Heritage city centre that is studded with Medieval, Baroque and Renaissance architecture. Naples is also home to one of the oldest universities in Europe. On the surface it might look a little unloved but delve a little deeper and you’ll be captivated by its charm and beauty.
With two royal palaces, three castles, and ancient ruins that include some of Christianity's oldest frescoes you’ll never be short of things to see in Naples.
Things to do in Naples
The Museo Archeologico Nazionale has one of the worlds finest collections of one of the world’s finest collections of Graeco-Roman artefacts. Originally a cavalry barracks it was established as a museum in the late 18th century by King Charles VII to house the beautiful collection of antiques he inherited from his mother. Before trying to tackle this immense museum, it might be worth investing in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples published by Electa. If you want to concentrate on the just the highlights, then audio guides are available for €5
Cyprus is set on one of the longest coastlines in Cyprus and Lara Bay definitely won’t disappoint. It’s magical white sands and jewel coloured sea is only accessible by a 4X4 but its worth the little extra effort to get there. Lara Beach is a safe place for loggerhead and green turtles to nest and if you visit between May and August there is a chance to see the turtles arriving on the beach to lay their eggs. There’s a conservation station at the beach where ecologists work year-round to protect the turtles but there are no other facilities here so make sure you pack a lunch.
The Catacombe di San Gennaro are the oldest and most sacred catacombs in Naples. They became a Christian pilgrimage site when San Gennaro's body was interred here in the 5th century. The site has been carefully restored to allow visitors to experience the mystery of underground tombs, corridors and broad vestibules, included in its treasures are some 2nd-century Christian frescoes, 5th-century mosaics and the oldest known portrait of San Gennaro.
The Palazzo Reale or Royal Palace is a 16th century monument to glory of Spain. Constructed while Naples was under Spanish rule the Palazzo Reale is home to a rich and fascinating collection of baroque and neoclassical furnishings, porcelain, tapestries, sculpture and paintings. Just one of the many highlights here is the Teatrino di Corte, an extravagant private theatre built in 1768 to celebrate the marriage of Ferdinand IV and Marie Caroline. Unbelievably the statues of Apollo and the Muses set along the walls are made of papier mâché.
Originally designed as a hunting lodge for King Charles VII and taking over 100 years to finish the Museo di Capodimonte is now southern Italy’s largest and richest art museum. Housing a huge range of works all the way from 12th-century altarpieces to works by Botticelli, Caravaggio, Titian to some more moderns works by Warhol. The museum is spread over three floors and for all but the most devoted art aficionados a full afternoon or morning is enough.
If you’re in Naples a must-do day trip is Pompeii, it’s a half day tour in which you’ll get to explore Italy’s most famous archaeological site. You’ll learn about the horrific Mount Vesuvius eruption that coated the city in volcanic ash. See the town’s ancient piazza and Forum, the thermal baths and Pompeii’s ancient brothel, the Lupanare, and discover Pompeii’s haunting highlights. If you’re visiting with family then consider the Family Treasure Hunt instead, you’ll still get to experience Pompeii but it’s more engaging for little ones.
If you’d like to experience Naples like a local then take a look at one of the Walking Street Tours. Follow your local host through narrow alleyways, discover the story of the city through its street art, visit a spooky graveyard and more! The guides can be tailored to whatever you want so don’t be afraid to ask.
Nightlife in Naples
Whilst the centre of Naples in packed with history and culture head out to the seaside quarters of Chiaia District and Bagnoli for numerous pubs, bars, and clubs that offer the trendiest Naples nightlife to tourists and locals alike.
The Bourbon Street Jazz Club is the sister club of the world famous bar of the same name in New Orleans. With a 1920’s vibe, live jazz and delicious cocktails this small but delightful bar has garnered some die-hard Jazz fan throughout Naples. They also host jam nights every few weeks enabling upcoming artists a chance to shine.
Nabilah is one of the coolest beach bars around. Not only is its location sensational they hold concerts with some of the largest international artists, fun pool parties and excellent sushi bars. Locals and tourists alike flock here over the summer months and you’re pretty much guaranteed a great time. You’ll probably need either a car or taxi to get here as its not easily reached on public transport so make sure you plan your trip and allocate a designated driver.
Tucked down one of the oldest and narrowest streets in the heart of the old town, Moses Club offers an excellent variety of music ranging from rock to revival. Spread across several underground levels, it’s a haven for those than enjoy late nights and dancing. If alternative music is your thing and you are after a lively all-nighter, then this is the place for you. Sadly, it’s in one of the less reputable areas of town so it’s best to head here in a group.
In stark contrast to the above Swig Chiaia is located in one of the most upmarket areas of Naples and you won’t be surprised to hear that its décor and vibe reflects this. The club is known for its huge selection of cocktails, its vibrant and welcoming atmosphere and neon signs hanging around with brilliant music playing in the background. The dance floor is huge. Swig Chiaia is a good place to end the night after bar-hopping.
Eating out in Naples
Unsurprisingly Naples has a rich and delicious culinary scene. Blessed with rich volcanic soils and bountiful seas it’s here that you'll find the country's best pizza, pasta and espresso. Eating out in Naples in an experience that you will never forget.
Palazzo Petrucci opened its doors in Naples back in 2006 and soon established itself as a serious contender in the incredibly competitive restaurant market right in the centre of the city. Chef Lino Scarallo has managed to create a menu where the basics of Naples’ culinary heritage are reinvented and offered in new and surprising ways. They only use the highest quality seasonal ingredients to bring you plates that are not only pleasing on the palate but on the eye too.
La Stanza Del Gusto is another restaurant that prides itself on only using the very best that the local area has to offer. Step into the ground floor of this colourful two floor restaurant and sample a cheese board and some perfectly chilled Italian wine, or for something a little more formal but relaxed head upstairs and taste the famed lamb tagine or salt cod.
What trip to Italy would be complete without an incredible pizza? Concettina Ai Tre Santi is an incredibly popular restaurant that won’t disappoint. Make sure you get here by noon (for lunch) or no later than 7.30pm for dinner to avoid a long wait for a table. Wood fired pizza bases topped with artisanal delicacies are the most popular menu items here but there are a few other seasonal choices if you want something different. There is a takeaway option next door, but the pizza doesn’t pack the same punch as you get in the restaurant.
If you find yourself craving a sweet treat or just need something to cool down in the summer sun then head to Il Gelato Mennella. Free from anything artificial and packed with punchy flavours and velvety smooth textures the gelato from Mennella is unlike anything else you’ll have tried.
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