When in Paris…jetset to Italy for a weekend. Charles de Gaulle (CDG), the international airport in Paris is spectacular, low-budget airlines fly in and out of it daily. For those travellers who spend more than a week in Paris and desire to add another country to their list, I recommend either taking the tube to England or checking the low-budget flights out of CDG. For me, I utilized Expedia’s hotel and flight deal. I imput the weekend I was free, and checked most Western Europe airports to see what the best deal would be for a flight and hotel, I landed on Naples.
A weekend away from the Paris city life and overdosing on bread was just what I need. The flight was short and sweet, and the Napoli Airport was gorgeous. When I arrived in the airport, there was a huge floor to ceiling glass window in which one could see Mt. Vesuvius, the iconic volcano. I do recommend, however, taking the bus that departs regularly to Plaza Garibaldi rather than a taxi, one is € 5 the other is € 40.
After I arrived at my hotel (also recommend splurging on a nice hotel as Naples is a very diverse city), my afternoon tour picked me up. Dinneround, a new tour company and one I greatly recommend, picked me up from my doorstep and took me to Volcano Solfatara, and ancient volcano crater in Pozzouli, Italy. I was able to hike to the crater and explore the crater itself. My first time in a real volcano! What I did not anticipate was the heat, I could feel the heat even through my shoes, and the smell. The smell of sulfur lingered throughout the entire crater. The coolest part was seeing the volcanologists on site monitoring the temperature in the crater.
After the tour of the volcano, my guide from Dinneround showed me an amazing view of the Bay of Naples, a view I will never forget.
Like all good travelers in Italy, when I returned to Naples, I had to search for the best place to try authentic Italian pizza. My yelp! search yielded a pizzeria that was within walking distance with four and a half stars, Pizzeria Dagaetano 1964. It was the best pizza I had ever had! Moreover, I also learned Italians eat dinner later than Americans do, so when I walked in at 6:00 PM to order my dinner, the staff gave me weird looks. But, the pizza was great!
The next full day was dedicated to the ruins of Pompeii, a site I have wanted to see since I read the Magic Tree House Series in third grade. I booked my tour of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast through Viator (has amazing tour options). The morning started out great, I was picked up from my hotel, had made friends with some fellow Americans on the tour who were travelling as well, and was able to take a mini bus tour of Naples, including around the bay. The bay was neat, the drive to Pompeii was beautiful, even Pompeii was amazing! However, like many travellers, I had gotten too excited at the sites and did not drink near as much water as I should and the hot Italian sun was pounding on me all afternoon. This resulted in my getting dehydrated and having to leave the ruins at Pompeii only thirty minutes into the guided tour. What I saw of Pompeii fulfilled my childhood dream. It was everything I had expected and more. The guide was very knowledgable of the site ( I am a Classics minor and was able to verify his facts were correct). My advice is when you visit Naples to definitely visit Pompeii. However, remember to drink lots of water! Apparently quite a few tourists to the site get dehydrated. Drink, drink, drink ! And if you feel like your up for an extra challenge, do not take a guided tour to Pompeii, take the Cirumvesuvia, the train system that wraps around Mt. Vesuvius. It is an easy hop on from Plaza Garibaldi and exit right outside the entrance to the ruins at Pompeii. Plus, it will allow you more time to explore the site at leisure.
That right there, was my trip to Naples in a nutshell.
Day 1: fly in, Volcano Solfatara, authentic pizza
Day 2: Pompeii ruins (do not forget water!)
Day 3: morning flight back to CDG