Looking across the main concourse at Napoli Centrale stazione

Napoli Centrale (Napoli / Naples)

This guide to using the main railway station in Naples/Napoli explains how to navigate the station and how to travel on to Pompeii, Sorrento and Herculaneum.

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Terminus Station
The main doors leading to the street at Napoli Centrale with the main departure hall to the right The main doors leading to the street at Napoli Centrale with the main departure hall to the right
The main street entrance to Napoli Centrale station, by the taxi rank The main street entrance to Napoli Centrale station, by the taxi rank
The platforms used by the long-distance trains lead off the concourse, they're behind the yellow departure board The platforms used by the long-distance trains lead off the concourse, they're behind the yellow departure board

Napoli Centrale train station has been transformed for the better in recent years.
It has been rebuilt with a bright and airy central passage way, which runs beneath the station to give access to the Metro and local Circumvesuviana trains.

Access between the main platforms/binario and the taxi rank and exits/entrances to the street is on one level; so is step free.
When arriving by train, the only option for exiting the station is to walk ahead on to the main concourse.

The square immediately in front of Napoli Centrale station, the Piazza Garibaldi had been a magnet for aggressive beggars, pick-pockets and other unsavoury characters.
However, part of it has been transformed into a highly impressive new transport interchange, as Line 1 of the Naples Metro is now directly linked to Napoli Centrale station.
The remainder of Piazza Garibaldi seems to be a near permanent building site, behind which are the closest tram stops to the station.

Four stations in one location

The entrance to the Circumvesuviana station The entrance to the Circumvesuviana station
The atrium in which the metro station is located The atrium in which the metro station is located

The trains that connect Napoli with Herculaneum, the Pompeii ruins and Sorrento take line L1 on a local rail system managed by a company named Eav - they are also known as 'Circumvesuviana' trains.
The station that the Circumvesuviana trains call at, which is adjacent to Napoli Centrale, is called Piazza Garibaldi.

Something to watch out for is that some of the local/commuter main line trains to/from Napoli use a separate part of the stationalso named Piazza Garibaldi.
Therefore many maps and guides for the city use 'Piazza Garibaldi' as the station name instead of Napoli Centrale; so if you see Piazza Garibaldi on a map, then you've found the location of the city's main station.
Both of these Piazza Garibaldi stations are accessed from the passage way that runs beneath the main Centrale station, but the signage is excellent so you shouldn't confuse the two!
So if you will be making the transfer to the Circumvesuviana trains, the station those trains use isn’t hard to find.

Garibaldi is also usually used as the name of Napoli Centrale station on Public Transport Maps and Journey Planners.
Garibaldi/Piazza Garibaldi = Napoli Centrale.
This Metro station is an atrium, which is also accessed off the passage way beneath the main station.

To the city centre and ferries

Heading down to the Metro trains, elevators are also available Heading down to the Metro trains, elevators are also available

The extension of the Metro Line 1 to Napoli Centrale has hugely improved access between the station and the city centre
The majority of the main tourist sights are less than 5 mins walk from a Metro Stop.
Toldeo is the closest station to the heart of the city.
Municipo is the closest station to the ferry terminals.

Taking express trains from the main station in Naples

In this view the binari which the express trains depart from are to the left, beyond the yellow departure info In this view the binari which the express trains depart from are to the left, beyond the yellow departure info

The part of Napoli Centrale station used by the long-distance trains from Naples is a street level terminus, so the access to the trains is step-free.

The main departure screens are in the central part of the concourse, which provides a large waiting area, in which to keep watch on the information.

Taxis should drop you by the doors which lead to this part of the concourse.

Transferring from the Circumvesuviana trains:

Take the Circumvesuviana trains from Sorrento and Pompeii to its station named P.Garibaldi, this station is connected to Napoli Centrale, they're part of the same public transport complex.
When stepping on to the platform, follow the crowd towards the front of the train, there are stairs and escalators which lead up to the concourse of the Circumvesuviana station.

On exiting this concourse, you will be in a smart, well lit passage way which is below street level.
Turn to the right and walk down this passage and follow the signs to the 'Stazione Centrale'.

The first access to the 'Stazione Centrale' will be over on the left; there are steps and escalators leading up.
But use this exit from the passage way if you want to buy a ticket, because it leads up to the part of Napoli Centrale, which houses the ticket offices.

If you don't need to buy a ticket, carry on down this passage way towards its far end, there will be another access point marked 'Stazione Centrale' on the right hand side; and these stairs and escalators, lead up to the main concourse, where you will find the train departure information.

Connecting to the Circumvesuviana Trains at Napoli Centrale

The access from the concourse at Napoli Centrale to the Metro and Circumvesuviana trains The access from the concourse at Napoli Centrale to the Metro and Circumvesuviana trains
The passage way to the Circumvesuviana station The passage way to the Circumvesuviana station

If you'll be heading to Sorrento or the Herculaneum and Pompeii ruins from Napoli Centrale, you need to transfer to trains operated by Circumvesuviana - these locations are NOT served by Trenitalia* trains.
*The Trenitalia trains use a station named 'Pompeii', but it is some distance from the ruins, because it is located the modern town of Pompeii.

The Circumvesuviana trains depart from their own Napoli Piazza Garibaldi station, which is linked to Napoli Centrale by a bright passage way that runs beneath the station.
There are signs on the main concourse that point the way down to these Circumvesuviana trains - and once you're in the passage way it's a straightforward transfer.

The main access to this passage way is just in front of the main street exits from the station, in the central, wider section of the concourse - ahead of binaro (platforms/tracks) 11 -14.

The Circumvesuviana station is at one end of this passage way - so keep going, it's some distance from the main part of Napoli Centrale station.

Though something to watch out for is that other local trains also depart from a separate Piazza Garibaldi station.
So you'll need to walk passed the entrance to this part of the station; where you'll be heading to is further along the passage way.
You'll know you're at the Circumvesuviana station as it will look as though Circumvesuviana is the name of the station; though the station is actually called Piazza Garibaldi. ~

You will have to buy tickets for the trains on to Pompeii and Sorrento at this Napoli Piazza Garibaldi station (the ticket machines are fairly straightforward).
10 - 15 minutes will be enough time to make an easy transfer from an arriving Trenitalia train - AND to buy a ticket for the Circumvesuviana trains.

The trains heading for Herculaneum (Ercalano Scavi station), Pompeii (Pompeii Scavi station) and Sorrento all depart from binario/platform/track 3.
However, the access TO these trains is not step free, the escalators on each platform in the Circumvesuviana station only lead up from the trains; so luggage etc will need to be carried down to the trains.

The Circumvesuviana is a city style metro railway and the trains are functional, rather than comfortable.
New trains are being introduced, but these smarter trains have far fewer seats than the trains that they're replacing.

Heading to Herculaneum and Pompeii by train:

The best option for accessing the must see Roman ruins at Herculaneum and Pompeii from Napoli city centre is to take a Circumvesuviana train, managed by a company named Eav on its L1 route.

At Napoli Centrale, these Circumvesuviana trains depart from their own Napoli Piazza Garibaldi station, which is linked to the main station by a bright passage way that runs beneath the station.

There are two things in particular to be aware of when taking a train from this Piazza Garibaldi station.
(1) A short, but steep staircase leads down to the platform – there is no step-free access.
The escalators only lead up from the trains.
(2) The trains tend to stop at the far end of the platform.

The trains and tickets:

If you have arrived at Napoli Centrale by Frecce train then the contrast between that and the Circumvesuviana train couldn’t be greater.

The Circumvesuviana is a metro type of railway and its trains are not smart, but functional.
Older trains are gradually being replaced, but the newer trains have fewer seats.

But the one way fare to Pompeii is less than €3.50 and the ticket machines aren’t particularly complicated.
Ticket booking counters are also available in the Circumvesuviana station.

A couple of times per day there is an alternative to rattling along on the regular trains to Pompeii, in the form of the comparative luxury of the Campania Express.
The tickets for this train cost more than twice the standard fare, but the plus points of this train are:
(1) it's around 15 mins faster to Pompeii than the all-stations trains, which comprise most of the regular service.
(2) It's air-conditioned and seats are guaranteed for the entire journey.

To Herculaneum by train:

Take the trains with a final destination of Sorrento OR Poggiomarino to Ercolano Scavi station - there will be at least 2 x trains per hour and the journey from Napoli only takes 10-17 mins.
Ercolano Scavi station is an 8 -15 walk from the main Herculaneum Archaeological Site.

To Pompei by train:

If you're heading to the Pompeii ruins you'll need to take a train heading to Sorrento.
All of the those trains to Sorrento depart from platform/binario 3 at the Circumvesuviana station.
There are electronic indicators on the platform, look for Sorrento to be displayed with Pompeii beneath it in brackets.

Pompei Scavi Villa dei Misteri* station is adjacent to the entrance to the ruins and all trains to Sorrento call there.
*The station name is often shortened to 'Pompeii Scavi'.

If you're heading to the archaeological site, don't take trains heading to the Circumvesuviana station named 'Pompeii' - which is served by trains heading to Poggiomarino

Another different station named 'Pompeii' station is served by Trenitalia trains, but it is in the modern town of Pompeii, some distance from the ruins.
If you look up a journey to Pompeii on Trenitalia, the journey will be to this station in the town, but travelling via Napoli Centrale and taking the Circumvesuviana trains is a much easier option if you will be heading to the ruins.

The journey:

There are hourly trains which call at all stations, but in certain hours additional faster regular trains operate that skip some stations, but not Pompei Scavi Villa Misteri - so those trains are around 10 mins faster.
The timetable  is available here - the faster trains are marked with a 'D'.

On the timetable Napoli Piazza Garibaldi station = Napoli Centrale.
The journey time from Napoli by the stopping trains takes around 35mins.

Heading to Sorrento by train from central Naples:

The platform in the Circumvesuviana station, note that the train has stopped farther along The platform in the Circumvesuviana station, note that the train has stopped farther along
On board one of the newer Circumvesuviana trains On board one of the newer Circumvesuviana trains
There are views over the Bay of Naples on the right when heading to Sorrento There are views over the Bay of Naples on the right when heading to Sorrento
The scenic highlight of the journey is the view near Seanio station The scenic highlight of the journey is the view near Seanio station

To transfer on to Sorrento by train from Napol Centrale station, you need to take local Circumvesuviana trains managed by a company named Eav on its L1 route.
Sorrento is not served by Trenitalia trains.

At Napoli Centrale:

These Circumvesuviana trains depart from their own Napoli Piazza Garibaldi station, which is linked to the main concourse at Napoli Centrale,  by a bright passage way that runs beneath the station.

Sorrento is the terminus of the Circumvesuviana Blue Line, but there’s no need to particularly worry about finding the right train.
All the trains to Sorrento depart from platform/binario 3 at the Circumvesuviana station.
There are electronic indicators on the platform, look for Sorrento to be displayed with Pompeii beneath it in brackets.
However, the trains tend to stop at the far end of the platform.

A short, but steep staircase leads down to the platform – there is no step-free access TO the trains, the escalators only lead up from the trains.

The Journey:

There is at least 1 x train per hour that calls at every stop, but in certain hours there are additional regular trains, which skips some stations - so those trains are around 15 mins faster.

The timetable  is available here - the faster trains are marked with a letter D.

On the timetable Napoli Piazza Garibaldi station = Napoli Centrale.
The journey time from Napoli to Sorrento by the stopping trains is around 1hr 15mins.
If you sit on the right of the train when facing the direction of travel, there are some intermittent great views over The Bay Of Naples.

The trains/tickets:

If you have arrived at Napoli Centrale by Frecce train then the contrast between that and the Circumvesuviana train couldn’t be greater.
The Circumvesuviana is a metro style railway and the trains are  invariably covered in graffiti, but smarter new trains are being introduced to the service -though these new trains have a lot fewer seats than the trains which they're replacing.

But the one way fare to Sorrento is only around  €3.50 and the ticket machines aren’t particularly complicated.
There are also ticket counters in the  Circumvesuviana station.

A couple of times per day there is an alternative to rattling along on the regular trains, in the form of the comparative luxury of the Campania Express.
But the tickets for this train cost more than twice the standard fare.
However, the plus points of the Campiana Express are:
(1) It's around 20 mins faster than the slow trains - though not much faster than the regular (D) trains
(2) It's air-conditioned
(3) Seats are guaranteed.

Convenient Hotels/Hostels

The streets in front of Napoli Centrale station around the Piazza Garibaldi are packed with highly rated, comparatively cheap B&Bs, but only those with their own websites have been listed below.

So if you want to stay near Napoli Centrale station, then the best option can be using a specialist B&B search service

In contrast to the plethora of B&B options, there are comparatively few 3* and 4* hotels within a 5 min walk of Napoli Centrale station and there are no 5* hotels at all.

Hotels within 5 mins walk of Napoli Centrale station:

Mid-Range:
Ibis Styles Napoli Garibaldi (formerly Mercure Hotel)

Decumani Hotel de Charme

Una Hotel Napoli

Budget:
Top Floor B&B

Serendipity B&B

Vesuvio Napoli B&B

Napoli Suite Hotel

Money saving options with direct public transport links to/from Napoli Centrale:

Hostel Of The Sun (near Municipo Metro Station)

City Guides

Napoli/Naples is a great destination to visit by train - particularly now that the Metro connects Napoli Centrale station, with the city centre.

15 Of The Best Things To Do (Time Out)

15 Things To Do In And Around Naples (The Crazy Tourist)

39 Tips From Locals (Like A Local)

10 Beautiful Places in Naples (Culture Trip)

12 Top Tourist Attractions (Planet Ware)

Reader's Tips (The Guardian)

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