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I'm not being cynical but I believe that the best thing to do in Naples is to get out of it as it is quite a dodgy city. Get out by either having a hydrofoil ride to Sorrento or the Isle of Capri, a train ride to Pompeii or best of all a train ride to Ercolano (Herculaneum) which is by far the best of the excavated cities. Just go to the Railway station and the lower section and get the Circumvesuviana Train to Ercolano.
In Messina I would suggest a bus or taxi to Taormina a really beautiful town about 25 miles away, (unsure about a rail trip) or even up Mount Etna. .... Neil
We Have visited Naples three times now and find it an appealing city, there is an excellent open top bus tour, one of these goes right up to the Capo de Monte museum and the other one does a panoramic trip along the coast road. both these tours are easily doable by lunch and the terminous is only a short stroll from the port. Naples is a lively place and yes, like any other large city you have to watch what you are doing ,but it's well worth looking around even from the safety of an open top. If you have previously visited pompeii and Herculanium, then the national Archeological museum is a must, we visited this magnificent museum last year and there is a bus stop right outside, when you have had enough, then simply get on another open top which then goes up to the capo de Monte.
Don't write off Naples because of its reputation, the people are warm and friendly and are not trying to rip you off, just be careful and you will have a good day.......happy cruising..gordy.
Naples has so much to offer for the first time visitor. Pompeii, Vesuvius, Sorrento, Isle of Capri for starters. My personal favourite, Sorrento, which can be reached by Train, Cab or the fastest way Hydrofoil. I would Google these options & make a decision, & people on this site will advise you on the easiest/best way to achieve. Messina is famous for its chiming clock tower & little else, but the real beauty spot is Taormina, a village up in the mountains, about 40 minutes by cab. This unique little place is well worth a look & I’m sure others will comment… Good Luck Wilba.
I have responded but the auto moderation has obviously kicked in. It'll be tomorrow now before it makes an appearance....Wilba.
If you decide to go to Taormina from Messina I would suggest Taxi rather than the Bus. We took the bus option on one occasion which was the local coastal route bus - stated time 1hr 10mins actually took more like two hours. They have two or 3 express buses which take the auto express route, but we found that the times were not suitable to fit in unless you dock really early. Be very careful of the road in Messina as you walk out of the dock. Every time we have docked there, there has been a serious accident (passengers being knocked down by cars). We have seen two accidents and had a near miss ourselves. It is without doubt one of the most decieving roads.
From what I saw of Messina, it was dirty, bleek and basically a dump. Taormina is worth a visit but I'd only go to Etna on a clear day and there isn't much to see when you get to there other than the view.
I'd agree with Neil that Herculaneum is an excellent place to visit and I'd recommend it.
Similar but smaller than Pompeii, Herculaneum was a wealthier city near the sea and it's fate was decided during the same Vesuvius eruption in 79AD however rather than being covered in hot ash, it was covered by a land slide of mud which preserved the town with as well as buildings, walls and pillars being still intact there were wall painting, sauna/bath floor mosaics still completely preserved.
Travel wise Herculaneum is much closer to Naples than Pompeii and from what I remember only took approx 30 minute bus journey. Herculanium itself can be covered in a full morning therefore you can get back to Naples in less than no time to do a little shopping or further siteseeing.
Visitor wise Herculaneum was quiet compared to Pompeii. on the ship I was on they had 6 trips to Pompeii but only the one to Herculaneum and whilst I was at Herculanium there was only 3 bus loads in total.
If you decide not to go on a formal coach trip there did appear to be audio commentary kits to hire or there was also a group of older locals that seemed to offer a guide service. There is little else onsite in terms of additional facitilities, but there are a small number of stalls just outside selling tourist type gifts and food.
I'll put some photos up of Herculanium in the Cruise Photo area to give you a taster.
Posted some photos as mentioned. Might take a bit for them to be approved.
On first visiting Naples I was rather scared, as the traffic is wow but, I found crossing the road with others made it quite easy, did a trip on one of those open top buses, you can get on and off those and found Naples quite appealing, the view from the capodimonte museam is lovely, went back to the ship for lunch then out again. I must have found the beauty of Naples as I have not read a lot of good reviews. Messina again we did not go on any trips, not to miss is the clock in the square at midday. really enjoyed that. Just relax and decide when on your cruise as in the first few days there will be a lot of new friends you will meet, that will probably been to all the places before. ENJOY.
Entirely agree about Naples, there are some beautiful buildings, excellent shops & restaurants etc and we found the people very friendly. We felt entirely comfortable walking round. Yes, the traffic is frantic but that's the case in a number of Italian cities eg Palermo.
I did reply to this yesterday but no show. Following on from the other excellent responses, two personal favourites. Naples across the bay to Sorrento, the ship normally docks next to the Hydrofoil, & Messina by cab to Taomina. Both journeys take about 45 minutes & rarely disappoint.......Regards Wilba.