Campania is a region that captivates travelers with numerous cultural treasures and an impressive landscape. Its center is the metropolis of Naples, in whose old town visitors can feel authentic Italian city life and get to know the incomparable cuisine of the region. In the Bay of Naples are the three small islands of Ischia, Capri and Procida, which – like those to the north – are a true paradise for seaside vacationers. In the south, the dreamlike beaches and the beautiful nature of the Amalfi Coast also attract tourists.
No wonder that excursions are among the most popular Campania activities, because in this part of Italy there is simply an incredible amount to see and experience. Among them, of course, are the many Roman ruins that tell of Campania’s turbulent history. The literal “highlight” of a vacation in Campania is a trip to the mighty Vesuvius – for sure-footed holidaymakers this involves a climb to the mighty crater of the volcano at an altitude of a good 1,200 meters. From there you can enjoy an overwhelming view over the region.
Capri is still one of the most beautiful destinations in the Gulf of Naples and delights travelers especially with its striking rocky landscape. Thanks to the exciting, varied sights, the island offers both history buffs and recreational vacationers and nature lovers a diverse program with countless highlights.
Capri is traditionally considered an attractive vacation spot and was already highly valued in Roman times for its pleasant climate. For this reason, travelers come across several archaeological sites on the island that give an impression of its turbulent history. In particular, Villa Jovis, where Emperor Tiberius resided in the 1st century, is an exciting excursion destination for those interested. On the path of history, guests also walk along the Via Krupp, which was built on Capri by the famous entrepreneur and leads to the picturesque gardens of Augustus.
Those who want to spend their vacation on Capri can also expect incomparable natural spectacles and imposing rock formations. World famous is the Blue Grotto, which travelers should definitely experience during their stay on the island. Many visitors are also very impressed by the Arco Naturale, which was formed naturally and consists of limestone. In the course of a hike, guests explore the mighty rock arch and take in the magnificent panorama of the Mediterranean Sea.
Along the coast towards Palinuro, the historic town of Pisciotta is gracefully perched on a mountain that dominates the sea. A medieval town formed around the “Palazzo Ciaccio” in the 10th century. The narrow winding streets paved with countless stone steps lead along the rows of houses dating back to the 16th century, giving a real and genuine Italian flair.
Pisciotta’s location affords a heavenly view of the blue Mediterranean Sea and the magnificent Cilento coastline. Surrounded by countless olive trees that wind their way to the coast. At the foot of the hill of the old town lies the lively fishing village of “Marina Pisciotta” in a bay with long sandy beaches.
The Palace of Caserta is one of the largest castles in Europe. The palace was commissioned in 1751 by the Bourbon King Charles VII of Naples, a son of the Spanish king, who wanted a seat of government in Italy. However, after the monarch was crowned King of Spain in 1759, he handed over the building project to his son, Ferdinand IV, King of Naples.
The gigantic castle extends over an area 250 meters long and over 180 meters wide. It has four courtyards and 1,200 rooms.
Particularly worth seeing are the vestibule, with its Doric columns, the marble lease staircase over 18 meters wide, the palace chapel in the style of the Versailles chapel, and the royal halls and chambers. These include the Hall of the Halberdiers, over 20 meters long, with a ceiling fresco, the stuccoed Hall of the Life Guards and the marble-clad Hall of Alexander. There is also the bedroom of Ferdinand II, the library and the magnificent throne room, with gold decorations and ceiling fresco.
The palace is surrounded by a 100-hectare mountain park, modeled on the park of La Granja. The Baroque garden, laid out on a hill, is decorated with numerous water basins and cascades. In the northeast of the park there is also an English landscape garden.
17. Cilento National Park
The Parco Nazionale Cilento and Vallo di Diano is the second largest national park in Italy and is located in the province of Salerno, in Campania. It was established in 1991 and extends from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Vallo di Diano at the foot of the Apennines. The National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
The center of the National Park is formed by the towns of Marina di Camerota and the smaller Palinuro. The landscape of the Cilento is very varied. On the coast, cliffs alternate with sandy beaches. The interior, on the other hand, is hilly and crossed by several river valleys. Parts of the Calore Gorge are protected as well as the highest mountain, Monte Cervati, which is 1,898 meters high. Special are the two underwater reserves “Parco Marino Subacqueo” and east of Marina di Camerota the Baia degli Infreschi.
The national park region is still largely unaffected by mass tourism. However, the coastal areas are often very crowded during the high season. In the low season in spring and fall, however, tourists experience largely empty beaches and towns. In addition to relaxation, the national park also offers many attractive hiking routes and cyclists also get their money’s worth here.
The Phlegraean Fields (Campi Flegrei) are an area of high volcanic activity extending west of Mount Vesuvius over 150 square kilometers. They belong to the so-called supervolcanoes of the earth. Two thirds of the Campi Flegrei are below sea level. At a depth of ten kilometers, they share a magma chamber with the mighty Vesuvius.
In the middle of the “Burning Fields” lies the town of Pozzuoli, with one of the most spectacular eruption craters: Solfatara, which is only 1.7 kilometers from the town center. Already 4,000 years ago, the volcano, which is still active today and whose crater circumference measures over 2,000 meters, spewed its hot breath into the sky.
The hot, volcanic springs of Pozzuoli were already appreciated as spas in ancient times. Originally founded by Greek settlers around 500 B.C., the town was then under Roman rule. The port of Puteoli, as the town was called in Roman times, played an important role for both commercial and passenger traffic. Historical illustrations show that the harbor pier was elaborately designed and decorated with arches and columns at that time.
Salerno nestles between rolling hills and the glorious blue shimmering Tyrrhenian Sea. The city is the perfect size to explore on foot. The beautiful medieval old town invites you to lose yourself in the winding streets. Many of the century-old buildings have been recently restored. Cafés, bars and restaurants ensure that you can immediately settle down in particularly pretty places to watch the colorful hustle and bustle. Salerno, with its many students and language students, is considered a young city and has a correspondingly pronounced nightlife.
Not to be missed in the old town is the Romanesque Cathedral of San Matteo – the jewel of the Centro storico. Rather inconspicuous from the outside, it surprises with a magnificent underground crypt. Here the relics of St. Matthew the Evangelist are kept and it is the burial place of St. Gregory VII.
The promenade Lungomare Trieste, almost two kilometers long, leads from the old town under a canopy of palm trees towards the water – to the tourist harbor at Piazza Concordia. Markets or events take place along the promenade again and again on weekends.
The old town and the Gulf of Salerno are best overlooked from the terraces of the Giardino della Minerva. The small botanical garden with medicinal herbs and flowers was created in the 18th century by the doctor Matteo Silvatico and is still in full bloom today.
For over seven centuries Ischia was occupied by different peoples and rulers. They left behind buildings and customs that you can still encounter on the island today. On the green volcanic island of Ischia in the Adriatic Sea, culture, history and the Italian way of life come together in a fascinating blend.
Its year-round mild climate and fertile volcanic soil make Ischia glow in lush green. Natural forests, olive and lemon groves, and vineyards define the island’s irregular appearance. The inhabitants of the island conserve resources and largely refrain from interfering with nature. They use the natural conditions and thus create products are of excellent quality.
Local specialties and seafood can be found in the many taverns and trattorias as well as in the markets. The enchanting beaches of Ischia Porto, Lacco Ameno, Forio, Maronti in Barano and Serrara Fontana attract locals and visitors alike in the summer.
Ischia has been known as a health resort for decades because of its many thermal baths. If the weather does not permit a stay at the beach, the thermal baths invite you to wellness and relaxation. In splendid gardens, connoisseurs will find thermal facilities of the highest standard.
The ancient archaeological site of Herculaneum is less known than its famous neighbor Pompeii, but no less impressive. In Herculaneum, the visitor can wander through the Roman alleys, admiring well-preserved public buildings, stores and homes.
Herculaneum was probably founded by the Greeks; however, from 307 BC it belonged to the Roman Empire. With only about 4000 inhabitants, Herculaneum was significantly smaller than the city of Pompeii at the time of the devastating eruption of Vesuvius. However, due to the magnificent villas and houses, archaeologists assume that Herculaneum was a very prosperous place where many rich Romans spent the hot summer.
The volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD completely buried ancient Herculaneum. The first excavations were carried out already at the beginning of the 18th century; however, the high costs and the location of the ruins in the populated area make the excavations very difficult until today. Large parts of the city are still buried.
Because of the different phases of the eruption, the buildings of Herculaneum are impressively well preserved. The two-story houses and stores give the visitor a vivid impression of everyday Roman life.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Paestum is one of the most important excavation sites in history, as temples from Roman and Greek times, an amphitheater and an almost 5 km long city wall from different historical construction phases were discovered here.
Paestum was founded by the Greeks around 600 BC under the name of Poseidonia. In the course of time, magnificent buildings were erected here, the remains of which are still visible today. These include the imposing Temple of Hera, built around 540 BC, the Temple of Athena and the Temple of Poseidon, built around 450 BC.
In addition, one can still find a comitium and an amphitheater, as well as the remains of other public buildings. The almost 5 km long city wall from different construction phases and its four city gates are also still well preserved.
If you want to enjoy an interesting combination of antiquities and seaside pleasures, choose Paestum as the base for your vacation trip, because fine sandy beaches stretch for about 40 km: space enough to spend a day at the sea, swimming, snorkeling or diving in the Gulf of Salerno. It is also a great place to go for a walk or a bike ride along the coast.
On an imposing tufa terrace, high above steeply sloping cliffs, lies the city of Sorrento on the peninsula of the same name on the Gulf of Naples.
Sorrento, or Sorrento as the city is called in Italian, bore the name Surrentum in ancient times. It derives from the legendary Sirens, mysterious mythical creatures of Greek mythology, who are said to have once roamed the area and bewitched the sailor Odysseus.
The city was founded by the Phoenicians as early as the 7th century BC. Later it was first under Greek, then under Roman rule. Wealthy Romans liked to spend the summer months in the coastal town. In the 12th century, the Normans seized power in Sorrento.
In addition to the enchanting panoramic location, there is much else to discover in Sorrento. The “Bagno della regina Giovanna” (Queen Joan’s Bath), a natural bathing pool protected from the open sea by high cliffs, is the perfect place for a royal swim. At the fishing port “Marina Grande” some good fish restaurants are waiting for guests.
A stroll through the beautiful old town leads to the Filippo e Giacomo Cathedral, with its famous bishop’s throne, the 16th century pulpit and some valuable paintings. Other sacred buildings worth visiting are the Franciscan monastery of San Francesco and the churches of Santa Maria del Carmine and Sant’Antonio.
10. Mount Vesuvius
Its sinister silhouette rises menacingly behind the city of Naples. It lies there like a sleeping dragon. Always ready to raise its head and spew glowing lava far across the land. Vesuvius – Campania’s mountain of fate.
Vesuvius is Europe’s only still-active volcano, located not on an island but on the mainland. It is located in a zone where there has been volcanic activity for hundreds of thousands of years, between the African and European continental plates.
The ancients regarded Vesuvius as the entrance to the underworld and the realm of the dead. Giants and the fire god Vulcanus were said to be at home here. In the Middle Ages, too, many a mysterious legend surrounded the mountain: demons, it was said, stoked the fires of hell here. The sulfur exhalations of Vesuvius were even cited as proof of the existence of hell and purgatory.
The most famous, spectacular and devastating major eruption was the Pompeii eruption in 79 AD, which was described in detail by Pliny the Younger. The eruption caught the people of Vesuvius cold, because the volcano had been considered extinct since 800 BC. A momentous mistake, as it now turned out: It was August 24 when the towns of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae were completely destroyed and buried by meter-thick masses of dust and ash.
Dreamy villages, green fig and citrus trees and crystal blue water: Procida is a paradise for those who want to spend their vacation far away from the hustle and bustle.
The island of Procida, only 4.1 km² in size, is located off the coast of the Italian region of Campania in the Gulf of Naples. It is of volcanic origin and inspires vacationers with its beautiful vegetation, the original villages and the small dreamy bathing bays. The main town of the same name, Procida, has a year-round population of about 10,000; in the summer months, however, it is mainly Italians from the nearby metropolises of Naples and Rome who come here to enjoy their vacations.
Among the most beautiful villages on the small island of Procida are the towns of Terra Murata and Chiaioiella, as well as the old port of Corricella, which became internationally known as the setting for the films “The Postman” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley”. If you go exploring on foot or by bike, you will discover high vantage points that offer visitors a breathtakingly beautiful view of Procida, the neighboring islands and the Gulf of Naples. Gourmets will get their money’s worth in the numerous fish restaurants.
Pompeii was an ancient city in Campania, located on the Gulf of Naples.
In 79 AD it perished during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The eruption of the volcano and the sinking of Pompeii was gradually forgotten over the years. In the 18th century, however, the lost city was rediscovered and began its second history. Pompeii thus became a central site for researchers and archaeologists, and today is one of the best preserved ruined cities from antiquity.
As soon as you enter Pompeii, you immediately feel the historical and long history of the city. The idea that this place was buried for over 1500 years by over 20 meters high ceilings of ash from the volcano, almost takes your breath away.
Pompeii offers culturally interested people a unique experience. The ancient atmosphere and the historical story of Pompeii give goosebumps to every visitor.
The UNESCO cultural heritage Pompeii is an impressive excavation site with thousands of years of development. Every walk through the thermal baths, theaters and along the former city walls is unique.
Also the visits to the typical dwellings of Pompeii allow to imagine how people used to live in Pompeii. This makes a trip to Pompeii a unique experience.
7. Amalfi Coast
Steeply sloping coastline, azure sea and charming villages that literally take your breath away with their unique location: the Amalfi Coast is considered one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Italy. Those who spend their vacations on the Amalfi Coast experience nothing but nature, culture and pleasure.
The Amalfi Coast is the southern coast of the Sorrento Peninsula. It stretches from Sorrento in the north to Salerno in the south and is easily accessible by car via the panoramic Amalfitana coastal road.
The ideal vacation time for the Amalfi Coast is in spring and autumn, when temperatures are still pleasantly warm and the masses of summer tourists have started their journey home. Among the most famous places on the Amalfi Coast are Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi itself.
The impressive mountain ranges on the Amalfi Coast are part of the Parco Regionale dei Monti Lattari National Park. This nature reserve is of unique beauty and can be explored on numerous panoramic paths.
Among the most beautiful trails is the “Sentiero dei Dei”, the so-called Path of the Gods, from the village of Agerola to the village of Nocelle, which offers fascinating views of the entire Amalfi Coast, the island of Capri and the Cilento. Perhaps the most beautiful hiking trail in southern Italy, it can be done in about three hours even by beginners.
Pastel-colored cottages that cling to the steep slope in terraces high above the sea; winding stairways and alleys that wind down to the shore – this is the enchanting view that visitors to the village of Positano on the Amalfi Coast enjoy.
Archaeological findings prove that Positano was already inhabited by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, the town was part of the Duchy or Republic of Amalfi. After the town lived mainly from fishing until well into the 20th century, tourism developed from the 1950s.
The old town center is located above today’s state road 163. The churches of Santa Maria Assunta, with its distinctive dome, Madonna del Carmine and Madonna delle Grazie are particularly pretty.
In the alleys of Positano, numerous small stores invite you to take a stroll. Colorful linen and cotton fabrics characterize the handmade, ornate textiles from the region, widely known as “Positano Moda” and offered in the small boutiques of the city.
Below the town lies the harbor, Marina Grande, and Positano’s beach. The bay is popular with bathers and water sports enthusiasts alike – from sailors to surfers to divers. There are some good fish restaurants at the harbor.
Small but mighty – this is how the town of Ravello on the Amalfi Coast can be described. It rises at an altitude of 300 meters above the sea and that alone provides an incomparable view. If you have a little patience, you may be able to spot dolphins from the Terraza dell’Infinito. But a walk through the town also promises a romantic flair and plenty of charming discoveries.
As small as Ravello is, with the number of impressive churches, the coastal town can easily rival other Italian cities. If you set out for a walk through Ravello, you will come across the churches of San Giovanni del Toro, San Francesco and San Pietro, among others. Some of the sacred buildings are only small but have a very special charm.
From Ravello it is also not far to the beaches of the Amalfi Coast. This coast is characterized by small and white sandy beaches where the water slopes gently. The combination of culture, Italian beauty and beach vacations is what makes Ravello such an incomparable place.
Praiano in the province of Salerno in Campania is a real insider tip. Unlike other villages on the Amalfi Coast, the idyllic village is not yet overrun by tourism. Here, vacationers still enjoy leisure, historic architecture and breathtaking views of the coast.
The village does not have its own beach. However, there is access to the sea at the bay Marina di Praia and at some other places. Characteristic for this picture-book town are its countless stairs. There is no road leading to many places here, but they can only be reached on foot, over a multitude of steps.
Worth seeing in Praiano is the 16th century church of San Gennaro, crowned by a majolica dome, whose beautiful forecourt is also decorated with the colored tiles. Also, the Baroque church of San Luca Evangelista, with a floor of majolica tiles and various statues and paintings inside.
Praiano also boasts two impressive caves, which can be reached by boat from the Marina die Praia: Grotta di Suppraiano and Grotta dell’Africana.
But perhaps the greatest attraction of Praiano is the town in its entirety and with its very special atmosphere: with the little houses that climb up the hillside, the incomparable sunsets and the fantastic view of the coast of Positano and the sea.
The fjord of Furore was cut into the rocky landscape over time by the Schiato stream. In the midst of the lush and colorful nature is the picturesque village of Furore with nearly 1,000 inhabitants. Both the fjord and the village are a real highlight in southwestern Italy and are definitely worth a visit.
Fjords can be seen especially when vacationing in Norway, and you wouldn’t necessarily expect this in Italy. In fact, the Fiordo di Furore is an absolute exception in the Mediterranean. A beautiful beach is embedded in the fjord, but you can’t walk on it because of the danger of falling rocks.
However, this does not detract from the beauty of the fjord, because after all, you still have a fantastic view of it. The landscape around Furore has much more to offer. The village is surrounded by vineyards and lemon groves and is ideal for hiking and biking.
Furore is one of the typical villages on the Amalfi Coast. The cube-shaped houses are whitewashed in pastel colors and have been cleverly arranged on individual terraces in the rugged rocks. The higher parts of the village can be easily reached by stairs. In fact, goods used to be delivered to the beach of Fiordo di Furore and then carried up to the village.
2. Sant’Agata dei Goti
In the hills of the province of Benevento, northeast of Naples, travelers will find the medieval village of Sant’Agata dei Goti, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding area. With centuries of history and interesting traditions, there is plenty to discover here. Narrow streets, historical monuments and churches abound in the village, which has also served as a film set on several occasions.
A walk to the bridge over the river Martorano should be planned in any case, because the view of the old town is impressive from there. Visitors should also not miss a visit to the imposing Palazzo Ducale, the former residence of princes and noble families. And in the evening? Be sure to stop at one of the excellent pizzerias in the lively squares of Sant’Agata dei Goti!
Whatever the traveler is looking for – beach walk, archaeological sensations, culinary highlights or eventful shopping tours – Naples delights its guests. But one may also simply “just” relax perfectly here, at the foot of the famous Vesuvius.
The Naples region is the most inviting example of the typical Italian, warm ambience. It is not for nothing that UNESCO declared the beautiful, well-preserved old town of Naples a World Heritage Site. Small alleys wind between historic buildings and lead to world-famous buildings such as the Cathedral of San Gennaro, attracting tourists for the annual Miracle of the Blood.
Countless small artisan workshops and souvenir stores offer material reminders of an unforgettable stay in the heart of the port city. In addition to famous attractions such as Castel Nuovo, Santa Chiara, Palazzo Reale and Galleria Umberto, there are dozens of underground catacombs and unique museums to explore.
For lovers of culinary delights, Neapolitan cuisine offers a unique flavor fireworks of spices and fresh ingredients. Probably nowhere else in Italy are delicious pizzas, homemade pasta and fresh seafood served in a grandiose and loving way. The inhabitants of Napoli, as they call their city, are rarely rich, but all the more warm and welcoming to guests from all over the world.