It’s 2017 so time to sort this drama once and for all. Is Naples safe for tourists or not? Let’s spill the truth!

It’s the elephant in the room of every discussion around Naples. Just like happened when I visited Rio de Janeiro, most of my conversations before heading to Italy’s third largest city had to do with safety.

Naples stands out as the crazy chaotic brother of all cities in Italy. A huge contrast to Milan‘s elegance or Rome‘s classic beauty, the maze of crumbling narrow streets can be daunting at first.

I confess I started questioning my safety when reading online some reviews and posts.

Actual quotes you can find online about Naples, Italy

I’ve dig in TripAdvisor, the Rick Steves forum and other places where travelers share their “experiences”. This are some of the quotes I’ve found:

  • 1. “Naples is a very unpleasant and unsafe city, with very rude people”
  • 2. “There are pickpockets everywhere on the city center”
  • 3. “It’s one of the cities with most crime in the world”
  • 4. “You can get easily run over by scooters”
  • 5. “The Mafia can assault you anytime”
    and my personal favorite:
  • 6. “Neighbours throw homemade bombs to each other”

So is it really like this? Should you be paranoid? How much of this is true and how much is being dramatic?
I’ll try to put it clear as water.

 is naples safe for tourists in 2017 - galleria umberto I.
Is this where they throw bombs at each other?

Safety facts about Naples, Italy: What is really true?

How safe is Naples compared to other cities?

To start, nothing better than putting things in perspective. If you look at the Criminality Index in Numbeo, Naples ranks #65 on the world.

Definitely not an amazing result, but this means Naples, Italy is safer than many US cities like Houston, Philadelphia or Atlanta.. According to this, the unsafest city I’ve been is Rio de Janeiro, in #10. Top 10 is way more scary!

safety napoli criminality index

In fact, Italian sources state that crime in Naples is less frequent than in Rome or Milan. What about that?

But there’s more. Let’s see what the US State Department’s report has to say.

Visitors are generally safe and are not singled out/targeted based on nationality. However, tourists and foreigners may be targeted for petty theft.

And Lonely Planet.

Naples has long suffered a reputation as a dangerous place. In reality, the city today is a relatively safe place, especially if you heed the following basic safety tips.

So… that’s it? No violent crime or risk of being murdered? No homemade bombs thrown at me? I can actually get out of Naples ALIVE?

Yap. Like in any big city in Europe, pickpocketing, bag snatching and fraud at street markets can occur in Naples. It’s mostly small crime of convenience which can be relatively safeguarded with some basic safety rules. As for violent crime, is extremely rare amongst tourists.

But what about the Mafia?

As shocking as is to believe that Mafia still operates in Europe in 2017, it does. For the past 400 years, the secretive and mysterious Camorra is deeply related to Naples’s black economy as well as honest businesses. Even its most famous pizzeria was blackmailed by Camorra at some point.

Now as a tourist, what do you have to do this? Probably nothing. It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be targeted by a Mafia thug. Their focus is on business owners and locals, not you.

is naples safe for tourists in 2017 - seaside promenade
Via Caracciolo, a completely safe area in Naples.

Dodgy areas in Naples, Italy

To be fair Naples looks and feels disorganized and it has indeed some dodgy and even ugly areas. The streets near the Central Station Garibaldi are an example. But how’s that different than any other city like New York or Paris?

Again, even Rome has a dodgy area near Termini Station too and doesn’t suffer from this terrible travel reputation.

And what about the absolutely safe areas no one mentions about? From what I’ve experienced Caracciolo, Lungomare and other zones in Centro Storico can be considered safe.

⭐ Seeking a safe place to stay in Naples? (1/2)⭐

ToledoStation B&B
Located a 2-min walk from the gorgeous Toledo metro station, this B&B is perfect for a short stay in Naples. The travel-inspired décor is just awesome! Book now

Or just use this shortlist of the best-reviewed hotels in Naples (9+), with WiFi and in the best areas of the city.

Careless driving

Oh the infamous italian scooters and vespas. Yes, traffic can be chaotic, noisy and confusing. In this particular topic and in a much smaller scale, Naples is the Bangkok of Europe. Seeing 3/4 people on a scooter is not uncommon.

To be honest, walking through the narrow, poorly-maintained and crowded streets of the city center while motorcycles race around might be riskier than crime or petty theft.

I completely understand this uncivilized driving behaviour can be shocking for some. However if you’re an experienced traveler and have visited places like India, Thailand or Vietnam before, Naples shouldn’t shock you.

Seagull. ITALY iPhone SE A seagull enjoying the gorgeous view over Mount Vesuvius in Castell dell'Ovo. Not many people roam here, making it a tranquil alternative to Naples chaotic city center. Specially compared to Castell Nuovo where all the cruise tourists go to! @visitnaplesofficial #naples #napoli #napolipix #visitnaples #seagull #igerseurope #mountvesuvius #castelldellovo #gulfofnaples #italia #igersnapoli #lp #italy #lppathfinders #Travelgram #travelblogger #betterwithpixter #fodorsonthego #travelingthroughtheworld #TourThePlanet #TheGlobeWanderer #OurPlanetDaily #WeLiveToExplore #aquelasuaviagem #RoamThePlanet #ThePhotoSociety #exploreeverything #PassportReady #MeetTheWorld #travelinfluencer I own, a travel website focusing on sharing detailed guides, itineraries and the best insider advice to make you travel smart. Let's make you a geek of your next destination

Uma publicação partilhada por BRUN, The Travel Geek (@bruno_mb) a

Tips to stay safe in Naples, Italy

If you want to maximize your chances of staying safe, follow the tips below. Note the majority of them are standard safety rules to follow ANYWHERE!

1. Don’t go there paranoid.

This might be the most useful piece of advice. Don’t get scared by the online reviews of Naples. The first step for your Naples trip is to take reviews from TripAdvisor and similar websites with a pinch of salt.

Online reviews are a topic for a post alone. But in a nutshell just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s the general rule. To start, you don’t know who’s writing them. People who heard a story from someone who heard a story from someone who heard a story? Have they even been to Naples? Even if they have been, there many travel personas and chances are they don’t see places the way you do.

If someone that has only traveled in luxury cruises lands in Naples, of course he’s only going to regurgitate what he knows about its reputation. Expect a dissertation on “Oh it’s so unsafe and ugly”. Most likely he will struggle and/or refuse to see past the graffiti (Italian word for a reason) and a couple of dirty streets.

When you are faced with these comments, challenge back. Ask why exactly they say is unsafe. Dig deeper. Perspective is key in the online world.

2. Learn the neighborhoods.

Like any major city, there are areas you should avoid. The cheapest hotels are concentrated around the Garibaldi Central Station, but staying there will give you a wrong idea of the city.

The Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish Quartier) zone can also be unsafe at night time. Only go there during the day – maybe to have lunch at the lovely Trattoria Da Nennella!

is naples safe for tourists in 2017 - spanish quartier streets
The lovely streets of Spanish Quartier.

3. Don’t show off shiny jewelry or expensive gadgets.

This one is obvious. You shouldn’t even do this on your home town.

4. Take care of your belongings.

Another obvious one. Never leave your bags unattended. In restaurants and bars, loop your bag’s strap around your leg or arm. Avoid keeping valuables in easy-to-reach pockets – a money belt might be useful if you’re too concerned.

5. Take extra measures on the Circumvesuviana.

The Circumvesuviana train seems to be the root of many issues affecting tourists in Naples. If you want to be extra safe, take the Campania Express train instead.

is naples safe for tourists in 2017 - campania express
Campania Express feels like a premium experience.

For an extra fee, you can get to places like Pompeii, Vesuvius and Sorrento quicker. It’s a premium express train that only stops on the touristy places. Locals don’t tend to use it.

If you still want to board the Circumvesuviana, at least board it in Porta Nolana instead of Garibaldi train station. It’s less crowded, so it will guarantee you a seat.

Not only this is more convenient, it’s an additional protection to potential pickpockets who normally target people next to the door.

6. Walk carefully…

Some of the streets in Naples‘ city center are narrow and badly lit at night. Be careful with the vespas racing by.

7…. but confidently.

Many people overlook this. If you are entering a problematic zone already afraid, it will show. It will show on your body language, the way you walk, on your eyes. Keep a positive attitude and walk with a purpose. In my case, I also recur to my “not amused” face.

8. Blend in.

If you walk around with a t-shirt “I ❤️ NAPLES”, you’re not putting yourself in a good position. I mean, this is not a theme park.

Watch how locals behave and dress themselves and try to blend in as much as possible. This should be one of the most exciting aspects of travel anyway!

⭐ Seeking a safe place to stay in Naples? (2/2)⭐

Grand Hotel Oriente
In the heart of Naples, this hotel boasts great views over the Vesuvius and Castell Sant’Elmo. The breakfast on the terrace is an O-M-G moment. Book now

Or just use this shortlist of the best-reviewed hotels in Naples (9+), with WiFi and in the best areas of the city.

Is Naples Safe? The Verdict

Quick answer to the title of this post is yes, Naples is safe for tourists. You just need common sense and to take the same precautions you’d take in other big cities. Maybe add an extra level of awareness in some areas like the Garibaldi Central Station. That’s it.

Here’s a graph that scientifically put things in perspective.

safety in naples - reality vs expectation
Safety levels in Naples: Expectation vs Reality.

Not gonna lie. Naples is far from being perfect. Yes, it has some dodgy areas. Yes, pickpocketing targeting careless tourists can be frequent. Yes, you’ll need to be aware of your stuff.

But is this a reason to avoid Naples completely? Which big city in the world doesn’t have these issues?

Don’t be paranoid with safety and try to look past the crumbling buildings or traffic jams. IMHO the danger for tourists is massively overstated and the city has things to keep you busy for at least a full day. It’s lively, authentic and has some of the best value in food in Western Europe. And the world’s best pizza (!) which personally is a big bonus for me.

And most of all, keep a positive attitude. Just like when I worried about visiting Rio de Janeiro, I realized fear is always your number 1 enemy.

Did you feel Naples was safe? Did it lived to its reputation?
Did you take any extra safety measures? Share your experience below!

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  1. I was born in Napoli and lived there until I was 13, at which point my family moved to the US (my father is American, my mother Italian). I currently reside in Orlando, Florida but make a yearly trip to Napoli to see friends and family and play tourist.
    That being said, I feel so much safer walking on my own around the gritty Napoli city center with its reputation for being unsafe than I do my own neighborhood in Orlando, which I would consider a middle class/upper middle class gated community. I’m not even exaggerating.
    The thing a lot of American tourists in particular don’t understand or haven’t been told is that random crime in Napoli (especially against foreigners or tourists) is extremely rare and practically unheard of, whereas in the US we have A LOT of random crimes – kidnappings, rapes, shootings. In Napoli you should mostly be worried about petty crimes, but even then if you’re an experienced big city traveler you probably won’t have any issues. As other contributors have recommended, I’ll echo that you definitely should use common sense – don’t walk around with an expensive camera hanging around your neck. Don’t wear your gold jewelry and diamond earrings out in public. Keep your money close to your body, especially if you’re taking public transportation. If a group of kids begins to swarm around you then make sure you make a swift move around the kids and keep walking (little kids use the swarm and distract maneuver to go for pockets and purses). And another tip that I never see mentioned — if someone is making you feel uneasy, make eye contact. Firm eye contact. Neapolitans aren’t shy about eye contact and don’t consider it rude to stare. Don’t be shy…if someone is making you feel uneasy, look them in the eye, let them know that you see them and that you’re aware of them.

  2. Loved Naples! Spent a week there in May 2017 and will go back for another week in 2018. I am a single female traveler and I had no issues with safety at all. The food is fantastic and can also be very inexpensive. The sea views are lovely. The people are friendly. The promenade along the seafront is fabulous. Yes, it is “gritty” in places but what city doesn’t have such areas? Give it a chance and you might be surprised…..

  3. I loved Naples! Visited in July/2017 and had no problems whatsoever. We stayed in the very centre and travelled with 2 girls.
    It was the most magical place in Italy for us!

  4. I love Naples , the bay of Naples overlooking Mount Vesuvius is really gorgeous! Stay at Best Western Paradiso …….panoramic view. It is just like any other big cities in the world. Enjoy pizza, strolling around the promenade or corniche, visit beautiful areas nearby such as a day trip to Capri Island, Almafi Coast…… really breathtaking…..

  5. I’m a 23 year old girl, went to Naples completely alone and had a great time. It’s gritty, dirty and noisy, but that’s part of its personality and authenticity! Take the time to explore and find the nooks and crooks.
    My B&B host and a cab driver recommended to avoid being outside after 9pm or so. Fine for me, just wake up early and enjoy the day, have dinner, go back to rest, repeat.
    I HAVE to recommend this place: La Terrazza Napoli B&B. Incredible host, incredible breakfast!! on the terrace, clean and spacious and comfy rooms, great location. I wish I could go back. I found it on AirBnB.
    Don’t miss the Santa Chiara complex, it’s a hidden gem, go sit and enjoy the scenery.

  6. I think it’s a lovely city with great historical buildings. There is a two tier society like in any major city of the world, but the people both rich and poor are very well coming and there is a great buzz about the streets

  7. Naple (Napoli!) is a wonderful and very safe city, or, at least, safe as any other city in the world! Go there to visit and you will have a very nice esperience, where Art, monuments, people, Archeolgy, history and beautiful panoramas, specially on the coast, will give a present to your vacation becoming a golden dream.

  8. Seoul doesn’t have such issues. I’m guessing Tokyo as well. It’s all the culture of the country. Nothing bad in mind, but that’s true.

    1. You’re completely right: completely different culture, society and way of looking at life. Speaking very generally, most people in Eastern Asian countries are unable to do anything to harm others in any way.

  9. I’m from the UK and I’ve been volunteering in Naples for 4 weeks. I can honestly say that there isn’t much difference between London and Naples. You have to be street smart in any big city and take care of your valuables. I was told that girls shouldn’t walk alone anywhere, yet I’ve been walking around the city alone whilst going to my volunteering placement and I’ve never felt unsafe or threatened. Naples definitely does not deserve its bad reputation, I’ve fallen in love with this city and will most likely visit again in the future.

    1. Thank you a lot for sharing your experience and help debunk this myth Amal. I wasn’t in Naples for that long but I got the same impression: although gritty, it’s as safe to visit as many other European cities.

  10. I’m from the UK. I lived in Naples for 4 years in the early 90’s. You have nothing to fear. Use the same common sense approach that you would use in any major city in the world and you’ll be fine. Wallet and keys in front pocket of jeans, backpack over both shoulders, etc. You wouldn’t wander “off the beaten track” too much anywhere….even your home city so apply the same principal. Mafia are not a problem. They prey on the businesses, those businesses rely on tourists in the main so the mafia is not going to hurt it’s revenue stream….simple economics.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

      Exactly what I felt in just a few days in the city. For some reason, media make a big deal out of safety in Naples when it’s really a place where you only need common sense and basic laws of awareness.