Naples Gay Travel
Naples gay travel is one of my top recommendations. Find out about where to stay, gay bars, saunas, safety and gay life in this authentic Italian destination.
The Gay Travel Experience: Naples, Italy
I didn’t know what to expect from Naples. Everyone, including gay Italians from northern Italy, told me it would be unsafe. Generic travel websites said Napoli would be dirty and that tourists are targeted for petty theft.
I went to Naples thinking that I might feel too unsafe to explore gay life or to visit the most local areas. This was not the case!
Naples was everything I did not expect from Italy. There are tons of gay men in Naples and there is a large local gay scene. In fact, you’re more likely to meet a local gay Italian in Naples than in Florence or Milan.
I never felt unsafe in Napoli, although some areas were definitely gritty enough to feel a little creepy! Nonetheless, the beautiful bustle of Napoli left me in awe. I would surely go back and I definitely recommend that you visit.
Naples has official gay bars and such, but these places may not be where you find the gay locals! Read on to find out where local gay men in Naples hang out and the best local spots for gay travelers.
I’ll also give you tips on which areas of the city are the prettiest and which have a more jarring, local feel.
Is Naples Safe To Visit?
Naples has a reputation for being a dangerous city. When I first arrived in Naples, I had the same perception as all newbies. I wondered to myself, is Naples safe? Will I get robbed here? Furthermore, is Naples gay travel safe?
Yes, the city has an edge to it. It’s filled with speeding motorbikes and dimly lit side streets. However, the feeling is different from what articles online describe.
Business Insider, for example, trashes the city and doesn’t consider the authentic charm and electric nightlife in the piazzas. Naples is quite safe, contrary to what you may read. This is especially true if you can slightly blend in with the locals.
During my visit, there was absolutely nothing that made me feel unsafe in Naples. Granted, we know it’s not the safest city in the entire world, and so you should follow the same safety tips as you would in any other large urban area.
Naples Gay Travel: Hotels & Where to Stay
To be in the center of the action, I recommend staying near the Dante metro stop in San Lorenzo. Here is where you can blissfully wander the quaint historic streets.
Hotels along Via Toledo are a great bet if you prefer to stay on the most well-lit main drag of the city. The area near the Toledo metro stop is comfortable with restaurants and shopping only steps away.
Booking Apartment Rentals in Naples
Low-cost apartment rentals in Napoli are probably not the best option, which I learned the hard way. If you’re a budget traveler looking to use Airbnb or VRBO, spend just a little more than the minimum for a Naples apartment rental you’ll remember forever.
Choose well-vetted options and ask for clarification on any pertinent details. Otherwise, opt for one of the various reputable Naples hotels.
To clarify my suggestion above, cheaper apartments in Naples are on the ground floor of buildings, and often have odor problems, lack ventilation, or don’t get natural light.
Residential buildings are also old and not usually renovated. Some apartments only have windows to an interior courtyard, which you can imagine isn’t so luxurious.
Naples Gay Travel Experiences
A classic, fun activity in the grand Piazza Plebiscito involves some blindfolding! For this ancient challenge, you must start near the face of the Royal Palace, close your eyes and try to walk a straight line toward the horse statues. If you can pass between the horse statues, you win!
The old Queen Margherita would force prisoners to gamble with their lives by performing this challenge. There is a bunch of history behind this little activity to read about online if you’re interested.
Take a day trip to Sorrento if you have the time. There are some clear beaches, tons of outdoor restaurants, and high-end shopping in town.
Sorrento is much larger than other towns of the Amalfi Coast to the southeast, so you could easily add Sorrento as a completely separate stop to your Italian gay travel route if time permits.
You’ll surely find the rest of the main tourist attractions on your own. Don’t pass up the Duomo di Napoli or a walk through the entire street of Spaccanapoli.
The Best Pizza Restaurants in Naples
Pizzeria di Matteo was definitely a highlight of my trip. Delicious pizza, unique fried appetizers, and handsome waiters made this pizzeria stand out. Ask for “Frito Mixto” when you sit down for dinner. They’ll send over some divine fried snacks you won’t forget.
Tons of cheap pizza restaurants can be found just west of the Toledo Metro Stop. Wander the narrow pathways that branch off of Via Toledo and find one that looks good!
Don’t worry too much about any tourist traps. I don’t think I saw any and I had fantastic pizza at every spot I chose.
Personally, my favorite part about Napoli other than the food is the chaotic nightlife. I’ll give some recommendations for Naples gay bars below, but overall the city comes alive with locals in the evening.
Naples Gay Bars
Visit Bar Fiorillo in Piazza Bellini if you want to hang out with some gay locals in Naples. Bar Fiorillo is not an official Naples gay bar, but it is an unofficial place that local gay guys have chosen as their spot.
You won’t find any rainbow flags outside or pop music hits blaring, but you will surely see groups of gay guys enjoying a good time.
The local guys that visit this Naples “gay bar” are seeking only a hangout spot as opposed to the standard, more ostentatious type of gay bar or club.
Bar Fiorillo spills into the bustling Piazza Bellini, and so the gay men have sort of a “post” in the larger nightlife bustle.
Macho Lato is the most popular gay club in Naples. Macho Lato has a good atmosphere and a ton of space for dancing.
Ghetto Crime gay bar used to be a second option, but as of the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems they have permanently closed.
Gay-Friendly Bars in Naples
Museum Shop & Bar is a Napoli gay-friendly bar In the main city center. I met a local gay resident who showed me this spot. This man knew the guys working at the bar inside and we all sat for a couple of rounds of drinks.
Inside Museum Bar & Shop there are a bunch of phallic mementos, perfect as a gift to a gay friend!
Top Naples Nightlife Spots
Once the sun sets, you will see loads more locals. Piazzetta Nilo is by far the best place to get drinks outside in Naples.
Bar Nilo is amazingly inexpensive, with cocktails for less than 3 Euro and beer for 1 Euro! Everyone floods the plaza and it gets quite rowdy.
Piazza Bellini is the other classic nightlife area in Naples. This is where the locally-proclaimed Napoli gay bar is, as described in the prior section. There are so many people out and about in these streets, you’ll need to wade your way through the crowds. It’s a ton of fun and I highly recommend it.
Piazza Dante is a calmer area to get drinks in Naples. Here you can more easily sit at a table for cocktails or beer. It’s only a few minutes away from Pizza Bellini, so you can try both.
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Naples Gay Cruising
Some gay locals I met in Naples mentioned they tend not to go there. Another guy said he only visits once in a while. Their overall opinion was that Depot Napoli can be hit or miss and is usually frequented by tourists.
If you found it fun, send wolfyy an email with your experience, or share your experience on Google so others can decide if they would like to go!
Depot Napoli is a bit far outside the Naples city center, so I did not visit. However, if you are visiting nearby Macho Lato gay bar, you should probably stop by and check it out.
Naples Gay Travel Tips
Naples Locals are Less Formal
The Italians you see in Naples act very differently as compared to those in Rome or Milan. Take note of their informality and don’t be offended when you are not greeted with a formal “Ciao, Buona Sera.” They are not being rude! They simply operate with less formality than the Italians to the north.
Getting to Naples
Traveling between cities in Italy is quite convenient by bus. I traveled all around the Mediterranean coast using FlixBus buses, which are almost always exactly on time, comfortable, civilized, and safe. They’re also relatively cheap.
Whenever I’m flying between European cities, I always check Vueling first. Their tickets are some of the cheapest and I’d definitely choose them over Ryanair.
You Can Drink Tap Water
Perhaps this is an odd tip, but you can drink the tap water in Naples! It’s totally safe. I drank gallons from the tap and had no issues.
Naples is Super Affordable
Napoli is much cheaper than the rest of Italy, which means inexpensive food and drinks! Street vendors sell Aperol Spritzes to go. They’re only around 1 Euro, so don’t be mad if it’s mostly Prosecco!
Consider Travel Insurance
Getting travel insurance coverage before visiting Naples can come in extremely handy. Trip cancellation protection, lost-baggage coverage, travel delay reimbursements and medical coverage abroad are just a few reasons why you should always have some sort of insurance policy.
Travelex Insurance is one of the easiest providers to use. Their website gives you an immediate quote based on your age, trip cost and a few other factors. They then offer plans in several price tiers.
Alternatively, you can shop among the quotes from a whole bunch of different providers using a travel insurance marketplace service like Aardy.
Naples Safety Tips
As mentioned earlier in this guide, Naples is not any more dangerous than other large urban cities in Europe, in my opinion. There are a few additional things you can do to ensure that you are as safe as possible.
Firstly, don’t wear any flashy jewelry. Leave the watch or the gold chain necklace in the hotel. People don’t dress in high-end clothing like they would in Milan or Florence. You can get by with a t-shirt and pants for dinner.
Secondly, don’t wander dark alleys outside the city center way past midnight. I think we can all agree this is asking for trouble in any large city with a questionable safety record. It may also put your mind at ease to stay in a traditional hotel in Naples as opposed to an apartment rental.
Is Naples Dirty?
Based on photos found online, you may form an image in your mind about how “dirty” Naples is. There are tons of images showing heaps of trash which may make you liken Napoli to a third-world city.
Napoli certainly isn’t impeccably clean and there is a lot of scattered litter in the streets. But during my visit, I did not see any large heaps of trash like the images shown in Google search results.
Overall, Naples does has a trash issue. There is no doubt about that. Most of the tiny street-side trash bins are overflowing, that is if you can even spot one nearby. The same word always comes to mind: gritty. Interestingly, however, there was never any bad odor!
Naples is one of my top recommendations for Italy. I love how authentic the city is and how it’s so easy to avoid the tourist trail. There an interesting local gay life and tons of culture to explore.