If Naples has been described as an amphitheater wrapping around the bay, then Lungomare would be its front row seats. The city’s 3km long Seafront Promenade, Lungomare wraps around the bay from Mergellina on the west to the end of Via Partenope on the east. With the sea on one side and Naples Villa Comunale Park on the other, Lungomare is a green and blue oasis in the center of the city with some of the most panoramic views in the world.
To the east, Castel dell’Ovo juts out along the tiny island of Megaride, an area of seafront restaurants and caffes known as Borgo Marinari. Behind the castle, Vesuvius dominates the skyline then melds into the rugged terrain of the Sorrentine Peninsula. In the middle of the bay, the unmistakable shape of Capri rises out of the sea pointing towards the promontory of Posillipo, which wraps itself back around to Mergellina at the western end of Lungomare. The city behind, a kaleidoscope of colors climbing up Naples hills, Castel Sant’Elmo and the San Martino Charterhouse looking down from the top.
Occasionally closed to traffic on Sunday’s in years past, Naples seafront was pedestrianized for America’s Cup 2012. Since then, Mayor Luigi de Magistris’ battle cry of Lungomare Liberato has kept it car free and today, it is an epicenter for local, national and international sporting events and Naples preferred outdoor recreation destination.
The perfect venue for basketball tournaments, tennis matches, beach volleyball, kite flying, or a JumboTron set up for a major soccer game, hardly a weekend or holiday goes by anymore when there isn’t something going on along Lungomare. And now that it is closed to traffic, be it sitting or strolling, biking or rollerblading, swimming or sunning, there’s something for everyone.
Along the sea you’ll find boat rentals, a few small free beaches, and plenty of Naples famed white rocks to laze out on and take the sun. Strategically placed kiosk’s offer parched sunbathers cold drinks, lemon granita, or a quick snack. For those hungry for more, there are restaurants and caffes at Borgo Marinari and along Via Partenope where the once sea view restaurants now offer al fresco dining with unimpeded views of the bay and where vehicle parking has been replaced with bike parking. Along with the freshest seafood and traditional Neapolitan Pizza, some of the restaurants are even offering free bike rentals to their diners.
Rental bikes are also available at Fox on Via Partenope and along Villa Comunale Park where you’ll find tandem bicycles for four and roller blades for rent as well. For the kids, there are pint sized motorized vehicles for cruising Lungomare, pony rides, playgrounds, a rollerskating rink, and Europe’s oldest aquarium, Naples Aquarium at the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station.
And when you are ready for a bit of respite, find some shade at one of the four caffes along Villa Comunale Park or at one of Mergellina’s Chalet Caffes, or grab a gelato and have a seat on the seawall to take in some of the most breathtaking views in the world.