While backpacking solo for the first time, I spent a month in Italy and visited Naples. Considering It was only my fourth day as a solo female traveler I was obviously scared. I had heard many things about the city and how it wasn’t safe to travel, specially for a newby, but I really wanted to visit the Amalfi Coast.
I started my trip in Rome, a city I had been before, in order to gain some confidance as a solo traveler for the rest of the trip. While in Rome, I started to panic about going to Naples. The feedbacks online were sometimes scary, my mother was begging me to go some place else, and I couldn’t figure out what to do next.
Traveling to Naples, Italy
Before I even start to tell you about my experience in Naples, I want to tell you the conversation I had while I was still in Rome. The owner from my hostel in Rome was from Naples. When I told him I was going to Naples alone, this is what he told me.
Him: So where are you going after Rome?
Him: Ah! I’m from Naples!
Me: Great! Can you tell me how it’s like?
Him: It’s a nice city. But you’re meeting friends there?
Me: No…I’m going alone.
Him: (disaproval face) Oh…that’s not good. Naples alone is not very safe.
Me: Why? (starting to freakout)
Him: Well…no, it’s ok! It will be entertaining! The only problem of Naples is the shooting! They shot all the time.
Me: (totally freaking out) WHAT? Like, with guns?
Him: Yes, yes! But you’ll be ok. They don’t shoot tourists, just themselves. They have Mafia code.
Me: OH MY GOD, I’M GOING TO DIE!
Him: Don’t worry, you’ll be back. But not with your bags. Maybe you should take a fake backpack.
ME: (TOTAL FREAK OUT)
This conversation got me searching for options to avoid Naples. I sat in front of the compter for hours, trying to find another place to go instead. I didn’t want to go to a place where a local just mentioned shootings and having my bags stolen.
After a long time tryint to work out a new itinerary, I came to the conclusion I had to go to Naples. I had paid for the hostel already, and I really wanted to visit the Amalfi Coast. The real journey was about to start and I had to forget about my fears, take a leap of faith and believe I was going to be ok.
Are you ready? – A guy at my dorm asked me
No…but I have to go…
Arriving in Naples, Italy
After almost getting out at the wrong station, I got out of the train so scared all I wanted to do was cry.
I held my bags so hard my hands got super red. I decided it was a good idea to make a badass face so nobody would approach me.
To get to the metro I had to leave the train station with beggars and streets sellers all over the place.
Speak to no one, look to no one. Please don’t cry!
Almost there, just need to find the hostel now. No, not this way. Oh God! Lost! I am lost in Naples and I am going to die, right after someone steals my backpacks.
Need to check the map, so I need to get my phone. Brilliant idea! Get in the pharmacy! The guy just looked at me and said “Signorina?”. I’m almost crying with 15kg of bags on me “I need help…“. I think I might have looked like a lost puppie because he smile at me, came out and got me in the right direction to find the hostel. I managed to get lost again, only thirty meters away from the hostel but I eventually found it.
RELIEF! I’M ALIVE! AND MY BACKPACKS TOO!
It was the biggest relief to find my hostel in Naples. It felt AMAZING! I was happy to see that not all hostels were as terrible as the one I’d stayed in Rome. I was staying at La Controra Hostel and it was fantastic. Everyone was really friendly, rooms were nice and comfortable and I felt safe at all times. This made me realize that choosing the cheapest hostel is not the way to go.
3 days in Naples
During my three days in Naples I only spent a few hours exploring, or trying to. On my first day when I arrived I was exhausted from all the stress so I stayed in the hostel the rest of the day. The second day I took a day trip to Pompei. The last day was the day I had been waiting for as I was meant to visit the Amalfi Coast. It never made it there. I got as far as Sorrento, which broke my heart. I wrote another post about it, so you can read the story on how I missed the Amalfi Coast entirely.
The only day I had to get to know Naples a bit more was after I returned from Pompeii. I was on my way to the hostel when I got out of the metro and decided I couldn’t leave without at least taking a walking in the center of the city.
Because it was Sunday, everything was closed. It was cold and only a few people were in the streets. I didn’t have a map and with my camera in my hand i started to get very nervous. I got lost in some smaller streets but suddenly something told me to go back. I’m sure it was just me freaking out about nothing, but as a solo female traveler I thought it was a good idea to follow my gut. If something doesn’t feel right, turn around and leave.
So, is Naples dangerous or not?
There’s no right answer for this. So, whatever you read next is only based on my experience. Plus, remember this was the very first time I was traveling alone, so all the small things seemed scary at the time. And the converstaion I had with the owner of my hostel in Rome, who was from Naples, didn’t really help.
Did my backpacks get stolen? No! Did I watch any shootings happening? No! Did I have anyone approaching me in a bad way? No!
The truth is nothing bad happened to make me feel unsafe while in Naples, Italy. In fact, people even helped me when they saw I was about to cry in the middle of the street.
I think Naples has it’s own way and it feels like another country inside Italy. It’s messy, noisy, dirty at times, chaotic, but it still deserves a chance.
Should you go to Naples? Yes, if you do it with an open mind.
Naples has a lot to offer, and you have to see with your own eyes and forget about what other people say about this city.
“Travelling is discovering everybody is wrong about other countries“
Don’t be a chicken! Or be a chicken but go to Naples anyway. I promise if you’re careful with your things and yourself -like you’d be any other place you travel to -, you’ll be ok. Plus, the people in Naples were very friendly and always helped me with a smile.
If you are not comfortable staying in Naples, but you still want to vist there are other options. You can always stay in Sorrento, which is actually very central and will give you easy transportation to Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Vesuvius. If not, you can always visit Naples as a day trip from Rome. Sure it would be a long day, but possible.
Overall I’m happy I didn’t give up on the idea to visit Naples in Italy. Did things go smoothly? Not at all, but I didn’t quit. And going even being so scared gave me strength for the rest of my solo trip in Europe.
Did you visit Naples? Is it in your bucket list? Let me know!