Strung like a tiara around the glistening Bay of Naples, this southern Italian jewel has been a favourite holiday retreat since the times of the Romans. It was rocked by the eruption of smoking Mount Vesuvius – the hulking volcano that overlooks the town – back in 79 AD, and you can still seek out the villas and cobbled lanes of old Pompeii and Herculaneum frozen in time somewhere nearby. More recent centuries have imbued Naples with a certain noir charm. The city is wrapped in tales of the Camorra mafioso and the legacies of brooding artists like Caravaggio, it’s famed for its pollution-stained palazzos and feverish streets like Spaccanapoli where you’ll dodge scooters and espresso drinkers and more. Oh, and did we mention that this was where pizza was invented?
If all that’s tickled the wanderlust, be sure to get a-searching for your pad in Naples using Airbnb. The sharing service is loaded with oodles of options when it comes to places to stay in the southern metropolis. You’ll find bright, light apartments nestled deep in the historic centre, alongside luxurious villas in the nearby hills, not to mention honeymoon-ready pads clutching the UNESCO-tagged Amalfi Coast. Let’s take a closer look…
Yes. You won’t have to worry about falling foul of the law in Italia when you book an Airbnb in Naples. There are zero restrictions on the service, or at least zero restrictions that directly affect travelers. Hosts are required to register their property, pay certain duties, and notify the authorities of all guests who come their way. The upshot? You might be asked to present your ID card or passport at check-in, or pay a local tourist tax, but that’s no different than a conventional hotel.
Where should I stay in Naples Airbnb?
Naples has evolved over thousands of years of human habitation; a new settlement here, a new neighbourhood there. That means it can be pretty tricky to navigate. Some areas you should definitely get to know include the vibrant Spaccanapoli(1), which slices through the churches and old tenements of the city, and the Quartieri Spagnoli(2) – what many consider to be the beating heart of Neapolitan culture and life. Vomero(3) is on the hills just above, offering something quieter and more refined, while Chiaia(4) is the seafront retreat of hipsters and creative types. Other potential options for Airbnb stays could be the salt-washed Santa Lucia(5) area (once home to the town’s fishing fleet) and the greater Bay of Naples(6)(perfect for honeymooners with their hearts set on the Amalfi Coast).
A vision of the real south of Italy
Excellent people watching
Pizza is everywhere!
Spaccanapoli actually refers to the long, narrow alleyway that bisects the Centro Storico of Naples, but locals use it as a byword for the ancient heart of the city as a whole. Get ready to be overwhelmed, because this is one heady and frenetic district. Its main street is all age-stained cobbles that run through a montage of haunting Baroque churches, body-packed cafeterias, and ramshackle bookstores. There’s hardly space to move; scooters purr this way and that; washing lines and balconies spill out overhead. If you’re after a sampling of the real, raw south, you’ll certainly find it in these parts.
More of authentic Naples awaits over in the Quartieri Spagnoli, which forms a tight-knit grid of a barrio that runs westwards from Via Toledo. Delve in and you’ll find haphazard alleys barely wide enough for a Fiat Punto, occasionally scented with the aromas of fresh-cut buffalo mozzarella and bubbling Neapolitan ragù – the local osterias and eateries are actually fantastic. For a break, the close-by Galleria Umberto I is a turn-of-the-century arcade with beautiful boutique shops and lovely decoration.
Just a funicular ride from the grit of the Quartieri Spagnoli can transport you to the whole other world of Vomero. Languishing on the pine-spotted hills above the downtown of Naples, this well-to-do enclave of vintage villas promises to put the brakes on. The streets widen, fountains babble in the piazzas, and pastel-painted apartment blocks cast their gaze out across the cobalt waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea (you might find an Airbnb in one of those if you’re lucky!). The cloisters of St. Martin and the soaring Sant’Elmo fort are the main sights.
Chic Chiaia is where Naples gets to its most edgy and cool. A district of artisan bakeries and bespoke salumerias, it’s for those with a taste for the boho side of life. Cultural draws within its boundaries include the curiosity-evoking Palazzo delle Arti Napoli complex and the 1800s Museo Pignatelli, while a wealth of Italian mezze spots mean endless Aperitivo and seafood and more. Airbnb in Chiaia tend to be among the most expensive in town, but loads have enticing sea-view terraces and balconies.
Beautiful seaside rentals over on the Borgo Marinari
Excellent seafood restaurants
Quite a walk from the old heart of the city
Nearby main roads with lots of traffic
Poking into the Bay of Naples with the strong bulwarks of Ovo Castle, Santa Lucia has a long history as the merchant quarter of the town’s fishing folk. These days, the seafood markets have been replaced with seafood bistros, and there are sleek coffee shops lining the palm-speckled boulevards by the water. You can still smell the salt, though, and bag Airbnb rentals that are only a stone’s throw from the Med. Check out the places that string the quays of the Borgo Marinari for some of the most atmospheric rentals in town.
Naples city is the anchor of the greater Bay of Naples, which arcs southwards for just shy of 25km past pebble beaches and little towns. These days, an efficient urban metro line links the whole of the bay with the Stazione di Napoli Centrale, costing just a handful of dollars each way. That means you can escape to Airbnbs all around the nearby coast and still visit the downtown with ease. Some will put you near the fascinating ancient history digs of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Others could whisk you to romantic Sorrento, where cobbled alleys and pastel-painted seafood restaurants are the backdrop to a honeymoon favorite that’s also the gateway to the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri.
You certainly shouldn’t forget you’re in Italy while staying in this opulent apartment in the southern depths of the Quartieri Spagnoli. Classical statues bearing vases and iron-wrought spiral staircases are just two of the flamboyant touches that adorn the interior. The exterior, meanwhile, is Naples through and through – think paint-peeling walls and weathered timber door frames. A full kitchen, fast WiFi, and a trusted Airbnb Plus rating all add to the mix.
Perched up in the green hills that overlook the glimmering Gulf of Naples and the district of Vomero, Casa Rosa offers two full stories of living space. The second floor hosts the master bedrooms with their views of the water, while the first gives a classic Italian family kitchen and an open terrace covered in a canopy. There’s free WiFi and air conditioning throughout to boot.
Take the family up and over the Vomero hill to enjoy the slower, less hectic pace of life that unfolds away from Spaccanapoli. That’s where you’ll find this elegant and uber-modern residence, which actually has enough space for up to 12 guests at any one time. There’s a good-sized kitchen for those homecooked meals in, along with three – yep, three! – complete bathrooms.
Joined at the hip to a centuries-old church in the streets between moody Quartieri Spagnoli and the gritty Spaccanapoli, this flat can host groups of 15 people over five bedrooms with 10 individual beds (a mix of pull-outs and sofa beds included). Inside is simple but chic, with polished concrete tones in the kitchen and lots of communal eating space. But it’s the solarium and terrace that really take the biscuit, mainly due to the panoramic views of the Neapolitan tenement blocks unfolding all around.
While Naples is by no means the most expensive of Italian cities, you can still find yourself forking out a whole bunch of euros for a hotel near the centre. Airbnb is a good alternative for those looking to save cash. The cost of an entire flat or apartment in districts like atmospheric Spaccanapoli or well-to-do Vomero can often be lower than a suite in a hotel. What’s more, Airbnb hosts regularly offer enticing discounts on weekly or monthly stays that can knock even more off the cost – 50% in some cases!
Of course, you’ll need to factor in the extra services you get at hotel that you don’t get in a private apartment rental. Things like on-demand room service, breakfast buffets, half-board packages, and on-site concierges are rarely part of the deal on Airbnb. In Naples, establishments like the Palazzo Salgar on Via Nuova Marina do come with frills on top. For example, there’s a sauna, daily housekeeping, and even on-request airport transfers.
The birthplace of pizza nestles under the cloud-shattering tops of Mount Vesuvius with its crooked palazzos and amazing ancient history sites. It’s a town that warrants as much time as you can give it, so be sure to check out Airbnbs in Naples to find a pad to call your own for the duration.