August, the month for holidays and, in particular, beaches. This year, Italy’s become a particular hotspot. If Naples is your destination of choice, you will be able to combine a cultural getaway with a seaside holiday, alternating between museum visits and mornings at the beach or a bite to eat with sunset cocktails by the sea.
So, where are the best beaches around Naples?
Here’s my personal ranking, including the places closest to my heart.
If you want to stay in the city, the easiest beach to reach is at Mergellina Even in April, many locals take to the rocks to sunbathe or go diving near the Castel dell’Ovo.
Whilst the water there is not the cleanest, as it is very close to the port, there is only one little beach near the Rotonda Diaz, which gets busy very quickly. I’d highly recommend it, even just to catch some rays whilst taking in some of the most beautiful views of Naples.
If you want to relax at the beach and have a swim with a view of Mount Vesuvius, I suggest you kick back somewhere along Via Posillipo, where you’ll be spoilt for choice for beach resorts to spend a lovely day at the seaside.
The first beach resort, Bagno Elena, is right at the bottom of the hill on Via Posillipo. It has a beach with sun loungers, parasols, and a sun deck with parasols but no sun loungers.
If you go up the hill all the way up to Parco Virgiliano, you will find countless beach resorts. Some have long sandy beaches, and others are pebble beaches, such as Rocce Verdi, which you can access through Villa Fattorusso. The resort owes its name to the tuff rocks by the sea and seaweed, which have taken on a greenish colour, making the surrounding water appear turquoise.
The beach resorts are easy to reach by Metro Line 1, getting off at Mergellina, and then getting a number 150 bus to Via Posillipo.
Carrying on up Posillipo hill, you come to the little fishing village of Marechiaro, where you can hire a small boat to reach the rocks and have a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Posillipo.
There, you will also find the famous fenestella, a window with a view of the sea, and Mount Vesuvius and Capri, which inspired Salvatore di Giacomo in one of his best-known songs ‘Marechiare’. Nowadays, when the moon rises, there is always a fresh carnation on the windowsill of the famous Fenestella di Marechiaro (which he sings about in the song). There is also a commemorative white marble stone in the shape of a piece of paper with a part of the musical score, discovered way back in 1922, which you can still see today.
Almost at the top of Via Posillipo, near Parco Virgiliano, there is a steep descent that leads down to Gaiola Underwater Park, a protected marine zone that stretches 41.6 hectares, from the village of Marechiaro to the beautiful Trentaremi Bay. Take the plunge and discover underwater shipwrecks.
Gaiola is one of the smallest islands in Naples. It is located right opposite Posillipo hill and is shrouded in mystery and legends, such as Virgil the Magician, where the island is cursed, or the old mysterious man, Publius Vedius Pollio, who, so they say, bred moray eels in tubs dug out of the tuff, which he fed the odd clumsy slave to now and again. Whether these are real stories or just legends, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Naples, with its crystal-clear waters, and I would absolutely recommend you go there, either to swim or to dive.
Another place that you can reach without straying too far from the city and the Fuorigrotta area is Bagnoli, on the border with Pozzuoli. Discover its famous pier, which offers fantastic views of the islands in the Gulf of Naples, giving you the feeling that you are way out at sea, as you meander the 900-metre construction.
Bagnoli also offers beach resorts with sun loungers, parasols, and swimming pools, where, late in the afternoon, you can enjoy a drink with DJ mixes set against the coastal backdrop.
Even though swimming is not an option, due to being an area that was previously the site of the Italsider steelworks, which closed down in 1993, almost all the beach resorts are have swimming pools and sun decks.
Just a few miles from Naples, as you approach Rome, is the municipality of Baia, where you will find one of the most beautiful protected marine zones in all the Naples area. Here, you will find a range of beach resorts with swimming pools, so do as the locals do; spend the day there and watch the sunset while listening to some music.
Not far from Castello di Baia, there are some great diving spots and places to do unforgettable canoe trips, even at night.
This area is in the Campi Flegrei archaeological park, where you can visit the beautiful Baia Sommersa, an underwater city, discovered in 2002, with luxurious villas and Roman buildings under the sea owing to bradyseism, the columns and mosaics of which are still intact.
Many locals, mainly from the areas around Vesuvius, often go to the beach on the Sorrento Coast. It is easy to reach with the circumvesuviana, the little train that departs from Naples Piazza Garibaldi station, and goes as far as Sorrento, making stops at Meta, Seiano, and Scrajo, all of which are also seaside resorts.
In each of these coastal resorts, there are both free beaches and beach resorts with sun loungers and parasols, as well as areas where you can sunbathe on the rocks.
Among the most famous and popular areas around Naples is the Amalfi Coast, a destination for tourists from all over the world. Just an hour from Naples by car, its truly unique villages and views offer an exclusive seaside holiday. It is made up of 13 towns that form the province of Salerno, all overlooking the sea and bordered by Vietri and Positano.
You can reach it from Naples, either by taking the motorway to Salerno, taking the Castellammare di Stabia exit, and then carrying on towards Positano, or by passing the Salerno exit and turning off directly at the Vietri Sul Mare junction.
The best idea is to hire a car so you can move freely between the various towns along the Amalfi Coast because they are all so unique.
Alternatively, from the Molo Beverello at the Port of Naples or the Port of Pozzuoli, you can take a hydrofoil that will take you to one of the three islands in the Gulf of Naples in just 50 minutes: Capri, Ischia, and Procida for a day trip or to stay for a few days. The three islands are all different from each other and are all worth a visit.
Capri is best known for its Faraglioni (three towering rock formations) and is also the most touristic, despite there being only two rather small beaches.
Ischia is the largest island and the most visited by Neapolitans on their holidays. There are lots of sandy beaches there, some with beach resorts and several thermal baths.
Procida, nominated for European Capital of Culture for 2022, is the least touristic and has maintained its identity as a fishing island over the years.
If this has made you miss the beach, grab your towel and buy a Volotea flight to Naples!