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Island Hop from Naples to Some of Italy’s Best Beaches

29 June 2023
by Giadzy
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How to navigate the best beaches in the bay of Naples

On any vacation to Naples, you’ll probably wander the cobblestoned streets, see historic sites like Pompeii, and eat plenty of pizza. But did you know you can also go island-hopping? With its coastal seat at the center of the Campania region, Naples is the gateway to the Bay of Naples and all of its islands. Be sure to sneak some time into your itinerary to soak in the sun’s rays from southwestern Italy’s sandy beaches.


Now, you don’t have to stray far from Naples to enjoy a breathtaking beach day. On the mainland side, head to Spiaggia della Gaiola, about 40 minutes from the city center. It’s one of the most popular beaches in Naples; here, you can sunbathe on the soft sand or explore an underwater park. Designated as a Marine Protected Area, Gaiola Underwater Park is perfect for snorkeling or diving to see marine life and even ancient Roman ruins preserved on the seafloor. Be sure to get there early to snag a spot before the crowds come in.


But if you’re up for a ferry or boat ride, some of the most picturesque islands in the world are just offshore in the Bay of Naples. While some of them are well-known tourist destinations, others are hidden gems waiting to be discovered by you.


Before you embark on your Italian beach escape, here’s a quick rundown on everything you need to know about navigating the best beaches from Naples.


How to Get There

Getting to these islands from Naples is easier than you think. There are three main options for your journey: the ferry, which is the most affordable choice, a high-speed hydrofoil, which will get you to your destination even quicker, or hiring a private boat. If you’re going from Naples to Capri, the ferry can be less than $20 per person one-way and takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes, while the hydrofoil can get you there in under an hour for only a bit more (about $25 per person one-way). If you want a true movie star experience, opt for a private charter or speed boat. The price tag is much steeper (around $1,000), but the memories—and pictures!—are worth it. For some of the smaller islands where ferries don’t go often, a private boat might be necessary.


The Best Beaches in the Bay of Naples

There are approximately 20 islands off the coast of Naples. Here are five worth considering on your next trip to Naples:

 Marina Piccola Beach Capri

Capri: Marina Piccola Beach

There’s a reason why everyone stops here during their Italian getaway. From the towering faraglioni rock formations to the famous Blue Grotto, this island is teeming with breathtaking natural landscapes. For the best views of the faraglioni, head to Marina Piccola Beach, where you can sunbathe in style and get a glimpse of the limestone spikes jutting out of the crystal-clear ocean. Literature buffs can also take a trip to Lo Scoglio delle Sirene, a massive rock nearby where Homer’s enchanting sirens tried to lure Odysseus in The Odyssey.

     Spiaggia delle Fumarole Ischia

    Ischia: Spiaggia delle Fumarole

    In the mood for a little R&R? Travel to Ischia, the largest island in the Campania region, to enjoy its famous volcanic hot springs. While you can find thermal baths all over the island’s resorts and spas, we suggest visiting Spiaggia delle Fumarole. There, you can get a panoramic view of the beach while enjoying a natural thermal bath experience. Do as the locals do and bury yourself in the warm sand—they say it has therapeutic powers that can treat body ailments.


    Procida: Chiaia Beach

    Procida: Chiaia Beach

    While this may be the smallest island of the region, it’s packed with old-world charm. Take a stroll through Marina Corricella, an ancient fishing village, to admire the pastel-colored houses sitting across the port. Or climb up to Terra Murata, the island’s highest point, to get a beautiful view of the Bay of Naples. Nearby, you can luxuriate in the deep blue waters of Chiaia Beach. While it’s easily accessed from Marina Corricella, it’s fairly isolated, so you can take in the soft sounds of waves crashing on the shore in peace.


    Nisida: Grotta di Seiano

    Nisida: Grotta di Seiano

    This small volcanic islet was used as a military base in the 1500s and was home to a military prison during World War II. Today, you can see remnants of those structures while also enjoying the rocky cliffs and lush vegetation. Since it is a volcanic island, you won’t see your traditional sandy beaches here. Cross the stone bridge that connects it to the mainland near Posipillo and visit Grotta di Seiano, an enchanting sea cave where you can touch the rock formations and take a dip in the turquoise waters.

     Ponza: Chiaia di Luna

    Ponza: Chiaia di Luna

    If you want a more isolated destination, don’t miss out on the beautiful island of Ponza. It’s about a three-hour ride from Naples, with limited ferry departure times. Known for its cozy cafes, rugged coastline, and crystal-clear waters, this is where true Italians like to vacation. Any spot along the island’s coast will give you stunning views of the bay, but we suggest heading to Chiaia di Luna, a crescent-shaped sandy shoreline on the western side of the island. Nestled beneath its towering cliffs, you’ll be able to watch the sunset like never before.


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