Just like Naples itself, the coastline comes with all manner of surprises to delight and bemuse. There are, of course, sands where you can drop by with a beach towel and relax. But the beach where locals use the soaring heat of the sand to cook fresh mussels can be a head scratcher. Private beaches charge a premium, some bays are only reachable by boat and one comes with the remains of an ancient sunken city. Our best advice? Pack a sense of adventure with your beach towel. In Naples, beach life is far from boring.
Mainland Naples Beaches
Gaiola Beach (Spiaggia della Gaiola)
There’s no easy way to say this. Enjoying Gaiola Beach comes with the most dreaded of all holiday phrases: an early start. This protected marine area is only accessible to a certain number of people at any given time. And, though the beaches here are free, you’ll need to bring ID. Gaiola’s also a craggy, rocky-strewn outcrop. Now we’ve got all of the bad news out of the way, you might be wondering what’s so special about this Naples beach. Well, it is the best spot for snorkelling near Naples for a few reasons. Yes, the waters are clear, the marine area’s protected and the cliff face is scenic. But the real draw? An underwater park swimming with marine life that’s taken up residence among sunken Roman ruins. There’s also the chance to kayak, swim or snorkel past the only island off Naples that’s rumoured to be cursed. One for adventurers? Definitely.
Unsurprisingly, time spent at the most prestigious Naples beach comes at a price. And, at Bagno Elena, the Euros really start to rack up. €15 a day, €10 for an umbrella, €20 for a sun bed and €1 for a hot shower. There’s also a €15 fee for the changing rooms. Which does somewhat answer the question: Can you put a price on a beach where Oscar Wilde, Admiral Nelson and Wagner (the composer) are rumoured to have frolicked? Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s the best place for a dip within walking distance of the centre of Naples. We’ll casually throw in the frankly glorious views of the Palazzo Donna Anna – a 17th century showstopper, but add a word of caution to say the sun-bleached, wooden slats on the solarium are looking a little sea-weathered. Ultimately, you’ll need to travel a lot further to find a free beach – and further still to find one as laden with history.
Orbzii tip: On weekdays, after 2pm, admission prices drop to just €10 – and children ages 0-11 always go free.
Baia di Trentaremi
If you have a very different definition of ‘exclusive’ when it comes to beaches, you’ll love Baia di Trentaremi. Only accessible by boat – or kayak, there are, understandably, zero facilities. You do get to swim in the shallow inlet, and scramble over the rock fall. Which leads to a very important point. It’s clear from the bay that rock fall here is ongoing – so do be wary if you’re straying close to the cliffs. An idyllic bay to drop anchor in, if you’ve hired a boat for the day.
Orbzii tip: If you want to explore the Bay of Naples, with a skipper, have a chat with Liberty Naples – their vintage skiff can carry up to 8 people to the bays or beaches of your choice.
Miseno and Miliscola Beaches
They might be a 45 minute drive away from Naples, but the beach complexes of Miseno and Miliscola really pack in the coastal essentials. A sheltered lagoon harbours a beach club and several restaurants – though, you might want to explore further before pulling up a chair. Follow the sands east and you’ll find the entire strip of coastline dotted with cafes, bars and snack stops – that also come with opportunities to hire loungers and use various facilities. The beach is broken down into different areas – Lido Enea, Lido Virgillio, Lido National … and so on.
Though they all neighbour each other, the service provided varies – along with the vibe. Parking is reasonably easy to come by and, though the roads behind the beach are a little shabby in places, the waters are clear, the sands stretch suitably into the distance and, at night, the beach parties are legendary. Don’t miss the sunsets – with Procida and Ischia in view, it’s a sight worth staying for.
Orbzii tip: Through the summer, hourly shuttle buses run between Vomero, Naples and Miseno. First bus leaves Vomero at 8am and the last bus leaves Miseno at 6pm. Expect to pay for premium sand space – though there are free beaches here too.
Il Gabbiano Marechiaro
If you’re going to pay for a parcel of Naples coastline, pay for a spot at Il Gabbiano Marechiaro. From the brilliant-white beach towels to the immaculately kept terraces, this beach club’s a cliff-perched gem of a spot. Terraces ladder down to the sea, each one offering a different experience. Swim in the gleaming salt-water swimming pool, sunbathe on the solarium or sip drinks on the plump – and pristine, sofas. On the lower terrace, you can access the sea, take in the views of Capri over the Bay of Naples, or bask on the rocks. Despite the craggy surroundings, the waters are sheltered – and calm enough for little ones. If you’re still unsure, there’s a children’s swimming pool on the terraces too. A snack bar, restaurant and bar round out the facilities. It might not have the historic might of Bagno Elena, but it more than goes toe to toe with it in every other regard.
Procida: Chiaiolella Beach
On the south west coast of Procida, you’ll find a whole host of beaches. Some are free, some are pricey little numbers that charge for a spot on the sands. Happily, Chiaiolella Beach is a free stretch of Italian coastline that has something for everyone. Calm, shallow waters make swimming safe for all ages – but equally pleasant for snorkelers looking to spy something on the sea bed. If you want to up your beach game from beach towel to something a little more elevated, loungers and umbrellas are available to hire. And, if sand in your antipasti-based picnic is a deal breaker, the shoreside pizzeria will be more than happy to help. There’s also a small promenade that meanders all the way to the Ponte di Vivara if you want to stretch your legs.
Ischia: Le Fumarole Beach
We’ve covered sandy spots to roll out your beach towel on. So let’s look at something a little different. Le Fumarole Beach is a must, especially if you’re intrigued by the history of Naples volcanoes and their geothermic ways. Though, be warned, the sands here get hot. We’re talking over 100 degrees, in places. Naturally, you’re not here to sunbathe – though it can be an option. You’re here to cook a meal – yes, really. Or, you can dig yourself a sand bath and benefit from the, reportedly, healing powers of the volcanic thermals. On the recipe front, expect mussels to be ready in 20 minutes. Alternatively, if you happen to have brought a whole chicken to roast, you’re looking at around 90 minutes. Visit at night when the only heat provided comes from the sands, and – if you’re concerned about your sand cooking abilities, bring a picnic and watch how the locals cook instead.
Orbzii tip: If the steam vented sands at Le Fumarole are a bit too quirky, Ischia’s Maronti Beach delivers on all the quintessential aspects you expect from Italy and its beaches.