Naples has so many historic buildings and scenic views that visiting it all in a few days is impossible. Luckily, the panoramic sightseeing bus tours offer a perfect introduction to all there is to see in the Neapolitan capital. Between line A, which retraces the Places of Art, and line B, which is dedicated to views of the Gulf of Naples, you’ll discover the history and curiosities of the city as churches, neighbourhoods, and monuments glide by through the window.
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What are sightseeing bus tours
Sightseeing buses are a great way to discover a new city. Audio guides and stops at strategic points quickly let you know the main sights. Some buses have an open top deck for a truly immersive experience and run on clear days.
ORGANISE YOUR TRIP TO NAPLES
Get the Naples Pass to save money. The card gives you access to attractions like the underground city tour and the Catacombs of San Gennaro, and unlimited public transport during its validity.
To stay connected in Italy, remember to buy an Airalo eSim online, with data and phone coverage for your trip to Naples.
Generally, sightseeing bus tours are run by tourist offices or companies such as Big Bus and City Sightseeing. You can get on and off at any stop along the route while your ticket is valid. Depending on the size of the city, one or more lines following different routes are included in the ticket. Or longer tickets are available.
In Naples, the City Sightseeing bus ticket is valid for 24 hours and allows you to ride on buses that follow both routes. Line A, ‘Luoghi dell’Arte,’ is dedicated to the places of art and stops mainly in the historic centre. Line B, ‘Le Vedute del Golfo, ‘ runs around the Gulf of Naples and is dedicated to the most beautiful views.
Why visit Naples with a City Sightseeing tour
Discovering Naples by sightseeing tour on the open-top bus was an excellent experience. Although I stayed in Naples for several days, I could see everything with a means of transport to take me to the main points of interest and sights. The panoramic sightseeing bus itinerary helps identify buildings and monuments the first time you visit Naples. In fact, as a tourist, it can be challenging to identify the most important buildings while walking along Spaccanapoli just with your guidebook.
I recommend the line B route, the Vedute del Golfo, before visiting Herculaneum and Pompeii. The audio guide offers much information about Vesuvius and the Campi Flegrei, two must-see around Naples. Although there have been no eruptions since 1944, Vesuvius is still active and is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to the large number of people living on its slopes.
The sightseeing bus tour is also perfect for family trips. My son loves travelling on sightseeing buses, especially the open-top ones. When he was younger, he just loved the bus, but after three and a half years, he started to be interested in the audioguide stories. Even if I went alone on the sightseeing bus to write this post, I recommend it if you plan to visit Neapolitan city with your children.
The Naples tourist bus routes
The Naples tourist bus follows two different routes. The first circulates through the historic centre and districts of Naples, with stops in front of museums and monuments. The second is a panoramic route to admire Vesuvius from the hill of Posillipo.
Both lines of the Naples City Sightseeing bus depart from Piazza del Municipio, a short walk from Castel Nuovo. You can then take both tours in sequence, leaving for the second route when the first bus has finished.
Line A ‘I Luoghi dell’Arte’ of the Naples City Sightseeing bus: monuments and museums
The Naples sightseeing bus line A route passes the main monuments and attractions of the Neapolitan capital. The route of the panoramic bus is circular, and the stops are:
- Largo Castello – Piazza Municipio
- Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo (Church of the New Jesus)
- Piazza Dante – Decumani
- Museo Archeologico Nazionale (National Archaeological Museum) – Galleria Principe di Napoli
- Basilica of Santa Maria della Sanità
- Museo and Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Osservatorio astronomico
- Santa Maria Incoronata
- Teatro Bellini – Mura Greche
- Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina
- Castel Capuano – Porta Capuana
- Piazza Bovio/Università
What to see along the A line of the Naples tourist bus
Near Piazza del Municipio, you will come across several landmarks, including the Maschio Angioino, also known as Castel Nuovo, the San Carlo Opera House, and the Umberto I Gallery. Continuing, the irregularly shaped Piazza del Gesù showcases the creative spirit of the Neapolitans and is home to the Church of Gesù Nuovo and Santa Chiara.
As the route advances, you will pass Palazzo Doria, where Garibaldi announced his annexation to the Kingdom of Italy. The Piazza Dante stop is a convenient starting point for reaching the Decumani, which are the main streets of Naples and not Roman areas despite their name.
Near Piazza Dante, you can find the Foro Carolino, an architectural wonder designed by Luigi Vanvitelli as a monument for King Charles III of Bourbon. It currently houses several educational institutions in the Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II. On its façade, you will find the only clock in Europe that shows the equation of time, i.e., the time deviation indicated by a sundial.
The tour on the City Sightseeing bus takes you to the Archaeological Museum of Naples, a majestic red and grey building similar to many other buildings in Naples. Inside the museum, you can appreciate the exquisite frescoes and mosaics from the excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii. The Galleria Principe di Napoli is located nearby, with its iron and glass roof that reminds visitors of the commercial galleries in Milan and Turin.
From the centre to the other districts of Naples
The tourist bus passes by the house where Giacomo Leopardi died before reaching the upper neighborhoods of Naples. From there, tourists can enjoy a panoramic view of the famous buildings in the Sanità district, including Totò’s house and the church of S. Maria della Sanità. The church is hard to miss with its green and gold dome made of majolica tiles produced using a technique imported by the Aragonese.
Further up the hill is the Museo e il Real Bosco di Capodimonte, a splendid public park with the royal palace of the same name. It is famous for its collection of paintings by Elisabetta Farnese. Also on the hill is the Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory, the oldest scientific institution in Naples.
Guided tours of underground Naples are available not far away. These include the catacombs of the Fontanelle Cemetery and the Catacombs of San Gennaro, where the Neapolitan saint was first buried.
Returning to the center of Naples, the City Sightseeing bus route passes the Duomo where the blood of San Gennaro is preserved. The saint is famous for the miracle that occurs three times a year, during which the blood changes state and becomes liquid again during the ostension to the faithful. The liquefaction of St. Gennaro’s blood is considered a good omen, but apparently at least eight other saints in the city are capable of producing the miracle of the blood urbis sanguinis.
Line B ‘Le Vedute del Golfo’ of the Naples City Sightseeing bus: around Posillipo hill
Line B of the Naples tourist bus is dedicated to Vesuvius and the panoramic views along the Gulf of Naples, passing through the Megellina and Posillipo districts. The circular route includes the following stops:
- Largo Castello – Piazza Municipio
- Piazza Vittoria – Via Calabritto
- Palazzi storici (Historical buildings)
- Mergellina – Piazzetta Leone
- Capo Posillipo – Veduta Panoramica
- Discesa Marechiaro
- Parco Virgiliano
- Veduta Panoramica
- Viale Dohm
- Piazza Vittoria
- Castel dell’Ovo – Borgo Marinari
- Stazione Marittima – Molo per le crociere dirette alle Isole del Golfo (Pier for cruises to the Gulf of Naples Islands)
What to see along the B line of the Naples tourist bus
Starting from Piazza del Municipio, the route of line B of the Naples City Sightseeing bus heads towards the elegant district of Chiaia. The district’s name derives from the Spanish word ‘playa’ which means beach. Chiaia used to be an aristocratic district, but over time, it has become a bourgeoisie and shopping district while retaining its elegance.
If you visit Chiaia, you must check out the historic Marinella shop, which is a symbol of male elegance. Famous public figures such as Winston Churchill, Aristotle Onassis, Gianni Agnelli, Luchino Visconti, and Albert of Monaco have worn its ties. The Galleria Borbonica exit is also nearby, one of the many routes of Underground Naples.
The Naples City Sightseeing bus continues along the Gulf of Naples, where you will experience the beauty of the Villa Comunale Park. This large park overlooking the sea housed the Anthon Dohrn Zoological Station, the first aquarium in Europe.
As you travel to the Mergellina district, you will notice the chalets on the seafront and the characteristic Neapolitan kiosks where you can enjoy a pizza, a coffee or an ice cream. In addition, on the seafront, you can see the small boats moored at the marina and the hydrofoils leaving for the islands. On the other side, you will find a series of elegant historical buildings, including the headquarters of the US consulate.
Practical information about Naples sightseeing bus tours
Visiting Naples on the panoramic tourist bus is a wonderful experience. Both lines depart from Largo Castello, adjacent to the Piazza del Municipio and Castel Nuovo. The Naples sightseeing bus can pass through the ZTL areas, so it is also convenient for getting to museums and attractions, as you can get on and off at any stop.
The Naples tourist bus runs between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm. The whole tour of line A takes about an hour, while line B is a little more. You can complete both routes in a day, but consider that the duration may vary depending on the intensity of Neapolitan traffic.
How much costs a ticket for the sightseeing bus in Naples
The Naples City Sightseeing tourist bus ticket is valid for 24 hours from when you board the bus. It costs €24 per person for adults and is reduced to €12 for children aged five and under. I recommend you buy your tickets online before you leave so you don’t have to queue at the ticket office and secure your seat even on busy days.
The audio guide of the Naples sightseeing bus tour
As you ride on the tourist bus in Naples, an audio guide will entertain you with historical insights, interesting facts about the city, and traditional Neapolitan songs. The audio guide presents information about Greek literature and mythology references in a light and enjoyable way. Moreover, it is particularly fascinating for its account of the curious relationship between Neapolitan people and superstitions.
During the journey, you can admire the stunning view of Mount Vesuvius and visit a museum while learning about the habits of the Neapolitans, such as their preference to carry a red chilli with them due to their belief in its good luck properties. The guide will also explain that the authentic pizza Margherita is made exclusively with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and oregano.
It is worth noting that the bus driver will give you a pair of sealed earphones to listen to the audio guide. You can use any headphones or earphones with an audio output jack, just like the ones you use for your mobile phone or computer. I recommend using your own headphones to avoid using disposable ones.
Where to stay in Naples
Naples boasts numerous accommodations, from hotels to seaside flats. With my frequent visits to Naples, I can suggest several options. For an authentic experience in the historic center, consider The Idyll Boutique Apartment in the Spanish Quarter. This charming flat features parquet floors and a fully equipped kitchen, conveniently close to major attractions. Alternatively, the upscale Relais Della Porta, situated on Via Toledo, places you a short distance from landmarks like the San Carlo Theatre. Last but not least, the Santa Chiara Boutique Hotel, located near the Dante metro stop, offers a continental or Italian breakfast to start your day.
Exploring Naples with the sightseeing bus tour is a truly captivating experience, and I highly recommend taking it. Share your thoughts in the comments if you’ve embarked on this adventure in Naples or enjoyed a City Sightseeing tour elsewhere.