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Things to do in Naples

Dive among geothermal currents

As well as delighting with its patchwork of pastel coloured buildings, the tiny island of Procida is the location for some of the region's best diving. Geothermal currents attract a wide array of sea life to the clear waters, Napoli Diving Center (tel: +39 334 564 1480; www.napolidivingcenter.it) offer lessons, equipment and boats to the island.

Explore the Blue Grotto sea cave by boat

Ferries and high-speed hydrofoils leave daily from Naples to the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida, and bobbing boats are available for hire for island tours and trips to the famous Blue Grotto sea cave. Capri's natural wonder is a region highlight, and trips with Motoscafisti di Capri (tel: +39 81 837 5646; www.motoscafisticapri.com) are plain sailing.

Hike along the mountain paths of the Amalfi Coast

From walking around the vast archaeological ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Parco Archeologico di Baia, to scaling the slopes of Vesuvius, Naples boasts spectacular and varied hikes. Tread the sheer mountain paths of the Amalfi Coast for wonderful views over precipitous sea cliffs and across acres of lemon groves. 

Hit the beaches near Vesuvius

Relax and swap the hectic city for a few carefree days at the beach. Running alongside Via Partenope is the city's own 2.5km (1.5 miles) shoreline stretch, with fantastic views of Vesuvius. The best out-of-town beaches lie west of Sorrento and further south at Santa Maria di Castellabate.

Relax in the local thermal baths

One of the real treats of the region's volcanic geology is the numerous thermal springs and spas for which Campania has long been famous. Unwind at Terme Stufe di Nerone (tel: +39 81 868 8006; www.termestufedinerone.it), modelled on ancient Roman baths. For more luxury, take the easy day trip to Ischia, which has 56 natural springs.

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Grand Hotel Vesuvio

The grand dame on the seafront, this 5-star deluxe hotel is renowned for hosting millionaires and screen legends. Appropriately, its refined public spaces drip with twinkling chandeliers and are furnished with period antiques, and it has a cabin cruiser service which lets guests island hop in style. The Caruso Roof Garden restaurant is gorgeous too.

Romeo Hotel

Eschewing the Baroque extravagance of other luxury hotels, the Romeo Hotel is a temple of modernist design. The striking steel-and-glass exterior encases soothing minimalist interiors of marble, wood, stone and steel. The rooftop restaurant and pool include one of Naples' few sushi bars and there's a seriously sexy modern spa.

Port Alba Relais

A haven for book-lovers, Port Alba Relais houses a wonderful library with sections dedicated to the city's art, music and history alongside a book swapping section. Rooms with wooden beams are dedicated to literary genres and furnished with bedding and accessories from Mario Bottiglieri. It has a super central location and some rooms overlook buzzing Piazza Dante.

Chiaja Hotel de Charme

Situated on Naples' premier shopping street, Chiaja Hotel de Charme is housed in a former residence of a marquis. The owners have recreated a period feel with restored architectural details such as marble fireplaces and grand staircases alongside decorative touches like the gilt-framed portraits and antique furnishings.

Grand Hotel Oriente

A few minutes from Toledo metro station, the Grand Hotel Oriente is within easy walking distance of both the historic centre and the seafront. Sleeping quarters are clean and bright with large comfortable beds and immaculate bathrooms. Ask for a room with a private terrace to soak up the sounds of the city.

Grand Hotel Parkers

One of the finest hotels in Naples, the Grand Hotel Parkers has 71 luxuriously appointed rooms along with a spa, a beauty salon, restaurant and the exclusive atmosphere of an historical palace. It is decorated with belle époque-style frescoes and paintings, and Armani-clad guests lounge in the foyer in gilt Louis XVI chairs or on the stunning sea-view terrace.