Most adventurers will visit Naples for two primary adventure contexts: the time-honored Mount Vesuvius and the collection of beautiful islands off of its coast. Both of these could easily fill a week's itinerary and leave you with time for little else; we wouldn't blame you if that were your plan. Still, there are the beaches along Italy's western coast, the inland Appenine mountain chain, and many more options to dial in on the type of fun you seek.
As you may have guessed, there's more history to Naples than pizza innovation and it starts with Mount Vesuvius. This still active volcano is known for preserving the nearby ruins of Pompeii beneath a sea of ash and is one of the most visited attractions in the Campania region. If you choose to, you can leg it up the 6 km (3.7 miles) from base to summit and put the gasping cruise-shippers to shame. History doesn't stop there; you may also explore millenniums-old cities concealed beneath the waves in the Bay of Naples. Scuba diving outfits scour the ocean remains of the cities of Baiae and Gaiola, both of which are worth seeing for the ruins preserved there (although much of the cool stuff has been shipped off to museums).
Most water-centric activities occur either south of Naples on the Cilento and Amalfi Coasts or on the aforementioned group of islands. For swimming, snorkeling, and sun, try the islands of Ischia and Procida. The beaches of Ischia are eighteen miles of beauty and serenity (check out Cava dell'Isola, Citola, and Cartaromana), while the town of Corricella on the adjacent Procida is yet another example of how Italians have been able to merge civilization and the natural beauty of the ever-diverse landscape. Then again, why not ever get off the bus or out of your car? A drive through the breathtaking Amalfi Coast could potentially give you vertigo as you wheel precipitously close to drops hundreds of feet high and is much better than stopping at the tiny beaches and overpriced towns along the way. If you're planning to stay, the Cilento Coast a few hours south may be a better option, with a great mix of both land and water activities to pique your interest. The views are more moderate, especially if you've tweaked out on adrenaline on your way through Amalfi, but there are more Blue Flag beaches than anywhere else in Campania and mountain and waterfall hikes in abundance with an hour or two ride. This may be your best option for a place to stay if your looking to maximize adventure and minimize tourists.
Although the coastal appeal is enough to keep most of us happy, we realize that you can never provide too much incentive to potential travelers. That's why we can't help but mention places like Partenio National Park and Monti Picentini Regional Park, where a stroll through fall foliage and burbling waterfalls as you work your way toward 5,000 foot peaks can be a commonplace experience. Combine your hikes with visits to valley towns that you'd never even hear of if you chose instead to sing karaoke in your cruise ship lounge and you've got the recipe for authentic travel.
For further information on the attractions mentioned herein, visit our individual activity pages, browse our travel videos or engage with the embark community.