To bathe or not to bathe, that is no longer the question.
ARPAC’s (the regional (Campania) agency for Environmental Protection) results are out and with the exception of the port areas, most of Naples coastline has been deemed safe for bathing with many areas achieving a ranking of “excellent”, the highest rating on a four rung scale – poor, fair, good, excellent. Meanwhile, two areas in the Province of Naples and twelve in the Province of Salerno have earned the coveted “Bandiere Blu – Blue Flag“, “a voluntary eco-label awarded to more than 4000 beaches and marinas in 49 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.” (See the list here)
So… where can you bathe?
ARPAC provides an excellent map of the entire Campanian Coastline. Here is a quick summary:
Find free bathing along Lungomare at the small bathing beach at Largo Nazario Sauro and from Castel dell’Ovo to Piazza della Republicca. The water quality is excellent from the castle to Piazza Vittoria and good onwards to Piazza della Repubblica.
Hit one of the three historic “Bagni” on Via Posillipo – Bagno Elena, Bagno Sirena or Bagno Ideal or head to the top of Via Posillipo to Baia della Rocce Verdi at Villa Fattorusso. At Marechiaro try Lido il Gabbiano, Lido Marechiaro, Lido delle Rose or Villa Imperiale or the area around Giaola. In fact, the waters along the entire Posillipo coast have been rated excellent.
To the west, most of Bagnoli is still unsafe for bathing, but from the end of Via Pozzuoli (just before entering Pozzuoli) and along Via Napoli to the port of Pozzuoli is open for business. Continuing along the western coastline towards Cuma, with the exception of the ports of Baia, Bacoli and Monte di Procida where bathing is prohibited, the water quality is excellent. Heading north through Cuma and Licola it’s a mixed bag. Three areas along that portion of the coastline have been classified as “non balneabile”. The water quality from Varcaturo to Villaggio Coppola is excellent and further north it is mostly excellent and good except for three areas where it is poor.
East/south of the city is also a mixed bag all the way down to Castellamare di Stabia but the water quality along most of the Sorrentine, Amalfi and Salerno coasts is excellent as it is around the entire coastlines of Capri, Ischia and Procida.