Cruise from Naples, Italy – the essential guide

Experience Italy’s awe-inspiring sites of Pompei, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast before you start your cruise from Naples to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles

While Rome is the beating heart of historic Italy, the coast stretching from the Bay of Naples and southwards offers some of the most scenic and breathtaking landscapes in the world.

And while careful planning shows you can see a lot in a few days, it is a region you will want to return to time and again.

Naples, a culture-rich city, surrounded by natural beauty

Characterized by its backdrop of Mount Vesuvius, the gritty, culture-rich city of Naples is in the region of Campania, in southwest Italy. Many visitors want a quick tour of the town and then get out to see Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast. It’s these destinations that are on most visitors’ bucket lists. And Naples is your gateway to get there.

In truth, many skip the city center altogether, but if you want to see the best of Naples, we recommend booking a guided tour with a trusted supplier. The official Naples website here will also help you plan your day.

Naples port, Porto Napoli, is south of the city, just 10 minutes on a covered passenger walkway from the center.

Port Naples – gateway to a piece of paradise

In this article, we concentrate on getting you out of the city and into Naples’ beautiful landscapes in the region of Campania.

We offer a 4-day guide for a memorable visit before your cruise from Naples. Most cruises depart from Port Naples. Check your cruise ticket to be sure, and find more details on how to get to the port at the end of this article. 

We recommend that you fly into Naples, book transport ahead of time, and stay in the city of Sorrento. It’s a beautiful place to spend a few days before you start your cruise and an excellent place to base yourself while exploring.

Transport options from Naples Airport to your hotel in Sorrento

Naples International Airport, also called Capodichino Airport, is located 15km north of the city of Naples. You can find our expert tips on booking your flights here. Transfer time by car from Naples airport to Sorrento is one hour.

Here are the transport options from Naples airport to your hotel in Sorrento.

Private transfer with a visit to Pompei on the way to Sorrento

A private transfer is our favorite way to get from the airport to Sorrento. However, it is also the most expensive option. But we think that it’s worth it. Here’s why.

The ancient ruins of Pompei, located between Naples airport and Sorrento, are a must on every visitor’s itinerary. And that makes it an ideal place to visit on the way to your hotel. That’s assuming you arrive in the morning or early afternoon.

Book a private transfer with the option of a stop in Pompei on the way to Sorrento, and your entrance tickets to Pompei will be included. You can choose to have a guide or not. If you opt to do a self-guided tour, take a good guidebook with you or purchase the audio guide at the entrance so you know what you are looking at and don’t miss anything.

There are some excellent options for tours of Pompei. And your vacation in southern Italy starts immediately, just a few hours after you land. What could be better?

Bus

When you exit the arrivals terminal, you will find the bus stops for all the city buses and shuttle to the city center.

There are two types of buses at the airport:

Alibus Shuttle – this takes you to Naples city center station (Piazza Garibaldi) and the port (Stazione Marittima).

Curreri Viaggi Airport Shuttle – these buses are a great way of getting to Sorrento. The journey to Sorrento is one hour and costs 10 euros per person. The bus makes eight stops. Pompeii is the first stop, and Sorrento is the last stop. You can purchase tickets onboard the bus or book tickets in advance. Read more detailed information on their website. You can even download a map of where the buses depart from at Naples Airport.

Taxi

Taxi stands are the arrivals terminals. Check the price with your driver before you depart. The taxi should charge a flat rate.

A taxi journey from Naples airport to the city center is around 18 euros, and to Sorrento is about 110 euros.

Follow the taxi signs at the airport to get to the official taxi cabs. This way, you will know you are getting into an approved licensed taxi.

Train from central Naples

There is no airport train at Naples airport. If you want to use the train, you would first take a taxi or bus to the central station and then a train to Sorrento. This is our least favorite option for a transfer. It takes a long time, and you have to navigate an unfamiliar (if it’s your first visit) city station and the train system.

There are no fast trains between Naples and Sorrento. You use the regional train Circumvesuviana operated by EAV. The journey is just over an hour, a distance of 25km.

Where to stay in Sorrento

These hotels are our favorites for cruise guests when visiting the city. They are centrally located, have great service, and offer an excellent breakfast. The rooms are comfortable, and the prices are fair for the town These are ideal hotels to stay in before your cruise from Naples.

  • Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
  • Grand Hotel Ambasciatori
  • Hotel Central 
  • Hotel Michelangelo Sorrento
  • Hilton Sorrento Palace

How to spend four days before your cruise from Naples

Day 1- Airport transfer, including a visit to Pompei

Exit the arrivals terminal at Naples International Airport and find your driver. Your luggage will be taken care of during your visit to Pompei. The journey time from Naples airport to Pompei is only 35 minutes.

If you haven’t pre-booked your visit with a tour guide, there are guides at the front entrance, which will give you a tour for around 15 euros per person. The site is enormous. Remember to pick up a free map at the information point. A tour guide will help you make the most of your time.

Learn about what life was like in Pompei before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and see the most famous sites, including the Large Theater, the Odean, the Forum, the Villa of the Mysteries, and the House of Faun.

After your visit, you will continue to Sorrento, where it will be time to check in to your hotel. Enjoy an evening stroll around the town. If you’re hungry and love pasta, seafood, and salad, we recommend eating at Trattoria Da Emilia, right on the marina.

Day 2 – Sorrento

Start your day at the Sorrento Cathedral (Cathedral of Saints Philip and James). It’s also an excellent central landmark to meet up with friends if you are traveling in a group and want to do different things during the day.

It’s worth going inside the cathedral, the entrance is free, and the marquetry and frescoes are stunning. From here, walk a few minutes towards Piazza Tasso. Here you will find plenty of cafes and often a market. The main shopping street, Via San Cesareo, branches out from the square. Spend the morning enjoying Sorrento at your own pace.

In the afternoon, we recommend you walk out along the coast to the Sorrento peninsular (Capo di Sorrento) for fantastic views across the Bay of Naples. Visit the Bagni Regina Giovanna, the ruins of a Roman villa, and the secluded beach. The entire area is stunning, so bring good walking shoes, swimwear, and sunscreen and enjoy an afternoon walking the coast. It’s a bit of a hike, you need to be fit and sure-footed, but it is well worth it.

Day 3 – Capri

From Sorrento, you are just a 30-minute ferry ride away from the island of Capri. We recommend you spend a whole day visiting beautiful Capri – but don’t forget to check ferry times back from the island, so you don’t miss the last boat!

Emperor Augustus’ once private paradise and now a modern-day celebrity hideaway, Capri is a luxury holiday destination.

From the Piazza Tasso, in the center of Sorrento, the ferry terminal is a short 10-minute walk away, close to the center of the town. You need to head to Marina Piccola. There is a ticket office where you can purchase a return ticket and book the time of your return ferry.

The towns of Marina Grande, Ana Capri, and Capri

There are three towns on the island, Marina Grande, where you will arrive, Anacapri and Capri. We recommend you download a map of the island before traveling to orientate yourself.

When you arrive by ferry or hydrofoil, you are in the village of Marina Grande. This is the area of the marina and the port on Capri, where all transport to the island departs.

You can get to Ana Capri and Capri from Marina Grande. Both towns are closed to traffic in the center, so once there, all exploring is by walking. If you want to go further afield and explore the island’s coastline and nature, you can rent a scooter at Marina Grande.

The town of Anacapri

Anacapri is the quieter side of the island and the highest point. Nature enthusiasts who want to visit Mount Solaro will love the panoramic views. The bus takes 20 minutes from Marina Grande to Anacapri. Once in the town, a chair lift from Piazza Vittoria to Monte Solaro takes approximately 10 minutes.

The town of Capri

Shoppers and gourmets should spend some time in the exclusive boutiques and cafes in the town of Capri, the more busy, cosmopolitan side of the island.

Take the cable car or bus from Marina Grande to the main square, Piazza Umberto (the Piazzetta), in the center of Capri town. There are small buses available that take approximately 20 people per bus. You can buy a ticket at the ticket booth in the arrivals harbor of Marina Grande. It is walkable within about 20 minutes, but the road is steep, narrow, and winding, and in the heat, it feels a long way.

Alternatively, you can use the Capri Funicular (also referred to as the Capri cable car). The red train takes you to the Piazzetta in just a few minutes.

Visiting The Blue Grotto and Faraglioni, the trio of sea giants

When you get to Marina Grande, there are also plenty of options to book a small boat to see the fantastic illuminated caves of the Blue Grotto. This is, without doubt, the most famous attraction on Capri, together with sailing through the stunning towering rock formations of Faraglioni.

From Marina Grande, there is a private jetty where you buy tickets for a boat tour in a small wooden row boat. The entrance fee to the Blue Grotto is around 18 euros per person, and it’s usual to tip your captain.

It’s an unforgettable experience!

Day 4 -Positano, hiking Sentiero Degli Dei (Path of the Gods) and the Amalfi coast

Today you need good walking shoes and beach gear for your visit to Positano.

You can reach Positano from Sorrento either by boat or by taking the local bus, which is a bargain at just 2 euros per person. The journey is 30 minutes, and the bus route is over the hills on a winding road through small villages. The ferry costs about 15 euros per person and takes 40 minutes, giving you the added benefit of seeing this incredible coastline from the water. Either way, it’s a good journey.

Once in Positano, see everything at your own pace. Wind your way down the cliffside from the central bus stop, following the roads, staircases, and tiny alleyways to the beach. Enjoy shopping, cafes, and the scenery as you go. It’s picture-perfect. The beach is black, with coarse sand, and beach chairs are available to rent.

Back at the bus stop where Via Cristoforo Colombo joins Via G. Marconi, take the bus to the town of Amalfi and then onwards to Ravello. The journey is narrow and winding, a little hair-raising, but the view is spectacular.

Hike the Path of the Gods

The hiking trail known as the Path of the Gods stretches between Bomerano and Nocelle. It’s a distance of nearly 7 km and takes around 2 hours to complete. You’ll need good walking shoes and be reasonably fit, as climbing and staircases are involved.

We recommend you start by taking a bus from the center of Amalfi to Bomerano. From here, the hike is signposted. You will end up back in Positano. It’s hard to describe just how beautiful this hike is. But choose a good-weather day, as you’ll want to see the views which can otherwise be obscured by misty drizzle.

How to get to Port Naples

Check your cruise ticket for instructions about your departure point and your allocated boarding time. Located in Molo Beverello, the port is a 10-minute walk to Piazza del Plebiscito in the center of town.

Transport options from Sorrento to Port Naples

Taxi: As you will have all your bags and packing for your cruise with you, we suggest a taxi from your hotel. Ask your concierge to make arrangements on your morning of departure. It is the most convenient way to get to the cruise port from your cruise from Naples as you have door-to-door service. The journey time is about 40 minutes.

Ferry: Ferries and hydrofoils leave from Marina Piccola in Sorrento for the 40-minute journey across the Bay of Naples. Book the ferry directly to Molo Beverello pier, where cruise ships dock.

Train: Take the Circumvesuviana, the commuter train from Sorrento train (walking distance from the center) station to Naples central train station. Then take a taxi outside the train station to the cruise terminal.

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Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.