19 Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Naples in 2023

Wondering about renting a car in Naples Italy?

This is the post that will help you answer that, and if you do end up going with it, I will also cover all the things you need to know before renting a car in Naples.

When I went to Naples I rented a car in Milan and drove all the way (beautiful ride, but the way). But you can also rent it from Naples as well if you are traveling by train or plane.

Although you won’t need it to move around in Naples and it’s actually not recommended, it will be useful to visit the unmissable site of Ercolano and Pompei and of course the Amalfi Coast.

Aerial view of Amalfi
Amalfi Coast

Table of Contents

Renting a Car in Naples at a Glance

Located in the southern Campania region of Italy, and its regional capital, Naples is a port city boasting a unique mix of metropolitan vibes and an old-world charm.

Oh, and did I mention the irresistible food scene of the city? It’s another one of Naples’ biggest draws!

Renting a car in Italy can be a game-changer, but it also might not be the best choice for you – which is what makes things a bit complicated, right?

But don’t worry, I will cover everything in this article and, by the end of it, you will know for a fact whether or not you need one; and how to rent it.

View of Amalfi Church under a cloudy sky
Amalfi Church

19 Things to Know Before Renting a Car in Naples

1. Bring your legal documents

Legal documents are a must wherever you’re driving, so you will need them in Naples as well.

But they’re not only needed just to drive here, but you will also need to show them to rent a car. These are the documents you will need.

✔️ Passport: Car rentals will ask for your passport before renting a car. Bring it along, and maybe even have a photocopy of it handy in case they need one.

✔️ Driver’s license: I know it’s obvious that you will need a driver’s license, but what’s not-so-obvious about it is that most, if not all, rental companies in Naples require yours to be at least a year or so old if you’re renting a car from them.

✔️ International Driving Permit (IDP): Your rental company might not ask to see an IDP, but it’s a requirement to drive in Italy if you’re not a citizen of a European Union country.

✔️ Credit Card: One last thing you will need to hire a car in Naples or anywhere else in Italy is a credit card in your own name. Rentals use it for the security deposit, so it’s a must with pretty much every car hire in Naples.

2. Age eligibility

Although the legal age to drive in Italy is 18, the rental companies here don’t usually rent to anyone under 21 years of age.

There’s a max-age cap as well, which is typically between 70-75 years. Also, in most cases, there will be an additional fee if you’re under 25 years old.

View of Amalfi from the church with mountain and buildings
View of Amalfi from the church

3. Rental car insurance is mandatory

It’s illegal to drive in Italy without Collision Damage Waiver, so you will need it on your rental car for sure, which is why it comes included in the base rate when you hire a car here.

But that only lets you drive on the road, and the coverage is minimal with it.

I highly recommend upgrading your CDW to full coverage from either the rental or by using a service like Discover Cars.

You might also be able to use your credit card insurance, but you will need to contact and arrange something with, your card provider for that, as declining the basic CDW coverage provided by the rental is not an option in Italy.

4. Choosing your rental car

Renting a car in Naples is easy, but picking the right one for you might seem a bit tricky; so I’m here to help you with that.

The first thing you need to consider is the size and type of the car.

A smaller car has a lot of benefits, including being cheaper to rent, saving fuel costs, and making it easier to navigate the narrow roads of Naples.

I also recommend going for automatic transmission over manual if you can.

Once you have the ideal size and type of car figured out, you need to compare prices for it from different rental companies.

You can use Discover Cars for it, where you will find a wide range of car hire companies listed, making it a lot easier to compare rates and offers.

Reading reviews is also a really good idea before you rent from a company.

It’ll help you find out if the company is reliable and trustworthy, and avoid the ones that have hidden fees or charge extra using the fine print.

And one more thing, you should look into the pick-up and drop-off locations offered by the rental.

If your itinerary allows it, select pick-up and drop-off in different cities.

For example, if you’re arriving in Naples but will leave from Rome, you might want to research the cost of picking up your car in the former and dropping it off in the latter.

Make sure to include the fuel costs, tolls, and the drop-off fee charged by your rental. If it turns out to be the cheaper and more convenient option, go with it.

Aerial view of Naples during sunset
Naples during sunset

5. Check your car rental agreement

As I was saying, reading reviews is a good way to filter out unreliable car hires.

Along with doing that, make sure to go through your rental agreement to avoid paying more than what you bargained for and dodge any shady fees/fines.

I suggest you should check it for the following things at the very least.

✔️ Payment terms: The payment terms decide how you will pay for the rental car, so reading them is something you can’t just skip.

Read them to find out how and when you need to pay for the rental. Choosing a fully prepaid rental is usually the best.

✔️ Cancellation policy: Booking your car in advance is a good idea, which means double-checking the cancellation policy is also important.

Ideally, you should look for a free cancellation offer.

✔️ Free or controlled mileage: Your rental agreement will have a mileage clause, and a controlled mileage means you can only drive a limited number of miles per day.

My recommendation is that you go with free mileage so that you don’t have to pay any surcharges for going over the mileage limit.

✔️ Fuel management: The fuel policy in your agreement will usually require you to return the car with either a full tank or the same amount of fuel it had when you picked it up, otherwise there’s a surcharge – so pay attention to this detail.

View of the coast in Amalfi
Amalfi Coast

6. Rent an automatic car if possible

I said it earlier as well, but this needs more emphasis.

An automatic car is a huge pro if you’re planning on driving in Naples because the roads here are narrow and driving with a manual transmission car can be a bit difficult.

Considering there are fewer automatic car rentals in Naples Italy, you should try making your reservation early on – which makes booking online a better option.

I recommend using Discover Cars for it because it lets you cancel for free if you need to.

7. Do a walk around and inspect your rental car

Take a look at your rental car and see if everything is working properly and check for any dents, scratches, etc. that aren’t included in your rental agreement.

Get those mentioned, and also take a video of the car and send it to an agent for extra safety. This way, you won’t have to pay for prior damage when you return the car.

View of the Amalfi Beach near the colorful buildings
Amalfi Beach

8. Return your rental car with a full tank

Another thing you should do when picking up your rental car is to ask an agent where the nearest gas station is.

This way, you can have it refilled from there when you come back to drop it off and save yourself from paying a huge surcharge (unless your rental agreement allows returning the car with an empty tank).

9. Drive on the right-hand side of the road

Driving on the right side of the road is standard in Naples as well as the rest of Italy.

In case you’re coming from someplace where driving on the left side is the norm, you need to be careful when driving on the road here until you’re used to driving on the right, which won’t take long, thankfully.

Wide road in Naples
Naples Road

10. Use of your GPS navigation (Google Maps)

A GPS device is one of the add-ons offered by rental companies in Italy (often for a daily fee), but you won’t need it in most cases.

I suggest using Google Maps for navigation when you’re exploring Naples and its surroundings. It’s free and you can download maps on it for offline functionality.

One thing to keep in mind whether you’re using a GPS device or Maps, just be extra careful not to drive into a limited traffic zone (ZTL) even if it tells you to. I’ll tell you about those zones in the ZTL section below.

11. Road conditions

Roads in Naples are in good condition, but they’re often narrow and congested with traffic in the city, which makes driving on them a bit hard.

Then there are also the long, one-way routes in the historic center that will get you stuck for hours.

Another confusing thing about driving here are roundabouts. If you’re coming from somewhere like the US, encountering this many roundabouts will be confusing for you.

But they’re not very hard to navigate, all you need to do is look out for road signs when entering them and give way to traffic on your left. And if you miss your exit, just go around again.

Driving on these roads also means having to deal with some aggressive drivers, as well as keeping an eye out for bicycles, scooters, and pedestrians (who suddenly start walking on the road out of nowhere).

So, try to keep calm at all times and drive with caution.

View of a tall tree under the night sky in Naples

12. Limited traffic zones (ZTL Zones)

If you read the GPS navigation section, you must be wondering what Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) or limited traffic zones really are.

As their name implies, these are areas where only vehicles with a specific permit can enter (usually given to residents of the area and cab drivers).

So, if you enter a ZTL without that permit, you will receive a fine some days, weeks, or even a month later.

You might be thinking, “Well, I’ll be back home by then and simply ignore the ticket.”

But there have been instances where collection agencies get involved, so it’s not a good idea.

Luckily, you won’t have to worry about dealing with all that if you just avoid the limited traffic zones in Naples, or drive to them when they’re open (which is usually on Sundays).

Also, be sure to not just blindly follow other cars or your GPS, or you’ll end up in a ZTL.

You will see a sign outside each ZTL. It’s red when the zone is active, and green when it’s open to everyone.

That being said, I’m also listing the limited traffic zones of Naples and their active hours so you have a better idea.

Centro Storico: Active from 9 am to 5 pm every day of the week.

Mezzocannone: Active from 9 am to 10 pm Monday to Thursday, and 9 am to 2 pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.

Piazza del Ges: Active 24/7 all year.

Aerial view of the Sorrento Beach
Sorrento Beach

13. Parking can be a challenge

Naples has both paid and free parking spaces, but finding a spot is a bit of a challenge with so much traffic, especially in the center of the town.

This is why I recommend parking outside the central areas and taking a short walk to avoid all that hassle.

So, with that out of the way, I should also tell you how parking in Naples Italy works. The parking spaces here are marked with different colors of stripes.

The parking spaces indicated with white stripes (or no stripes at all) are usually free but have a time limit.

When you park in one of those, look for a sign to find out the parking time limit. There also might be a disc that you need to move in order to show how long you parked there.

Blue lines mark paid parking spots, and they’re mostly in the touristy areas of the city.

When you park in those, look for a parking meter nearby.

You can pay using coins or a credit card, but you will need your license plate number so have a photo of it handy. And also put the ticket where it’s visible in the front of your car.

Then there are the parking spots marked with yellow stripes, these spaces are reserved for disabled parking only.

You should also avoid parking in front of garages and driveways.

14. Toll roads and booths

The toll roads in Italy are called Autostrada and each route has its name starting in “A” (e.g., A1, A3, A16 etc.).

These roads are indicated with green signs, and your toll amount is based on the distance you travel on them.

You get a ticket when you enter a toll road and pay it at a toll booth before getting off that road.

You also need to keep the different lanes in mind, as these are based on the payment method you can use on them.

The blue-painted lanes with blue signs above are for card payments, white-painted lanes with white signs are for cash payments, and yellow-painted lanes with yellow signs are for telepass (electronic) payments.

You will need a telepass device for the telepass lane, and most rental companies don’t offer those, so avoid the yellow lanes if you don’t have a device.

Aerial view of Napoli Vesuvio
Napoli Vesuvio

15. There are different routes from the airport going to the city

The airport is pretty close to the city, and it only takes about 12-15 minutes to get to the city from there when there is no traffic.

There are multiple routes going to Naples from the airport.

You can take the road that the airport is located on (called Viale F. Ruffo di Calabria) because it’s easy to navigate and has no tolls.

16. Gas prices can be expensive

Gas is expensive in Italy. In fact, it’s one of the places where gas is the most expensive in all of Europe, because of VAT and many other taxes.

This is another reason why the smallest possible car for your needs, and opting for walking as well as public transport whenever you can, would be a better choice.

17. Pay attention to road signage

While driving on the roads in Naples, you should keep an eye out for road signs as they will tell you the speed limit as well as other traffic laws that apply.

You won’t have trouble doing this because the road signs here are in both English and Italian.

The shape of the sign is also a good indicator of what you need to do.

Quadrilateral-shaped signs are for info, circular ones prohibit certain things, and triangular signs are warnings.

View of Sorrento Road with a lot of cars parked on one side of the street - make sure to have a parking space secured for you when renting a car in Naples!
Sorrento Road

18. Speed limits

Speed limits on the roads of Italy vary, but they’re enforced strictly so it will be wise to keep them in mind.

These are enforced using Autovelox machines that capture photos of your vehicle and fine you automatically if you’re going over the speed limit.

The general speed limits are 30 km/h (18 mph) within Naples, 50 km/h (30 mph) on urban roads, 90 km/h (55 mph) on national roads, 110 km/h (68 mph) on dual carriageways, and 130 km/h (80 mph) on motorways.

But, also keep an eye out for signs that indicate speed limits and adjust your speed accordingly when you’re actually driving.

19. Follow Naples driving laws

Following the basic driving laws in Italy is a good idea if you’re planning on renting a car here.

You can start with the seatbelts, which are mandatory in both the front and back seats if your car has them, and you can’t turn off your headlights if you’re outside of urban areas.

Turning right at a red light is illegal, and using your phone while driving (even if you’re just holding it) is also against the driving laws here.

So either use a hands-free device or pull over when you need to use the phone.

Also, the allowed alcohol limit is very little (0.05%), so it’s better to not drink any at all when you need to drive.

There are many more driving laws in place, so I can’t list them all here.

Read more about them as well, but these are the ones you should keep in mind and follow at all times when driving in Naples Italy.

View of a narrow road in Amalfi

Should you rent a car in Naples?

🚗 Do you need a car when visiting Naples?

Well, you don’t need one, per se. But it might be a good idea to have one depending on a few things.

The top one among these is that having a car makes exploration pretty convenient. You can visit so many incredible places with a car.

If you don’t know any, I have suggested below the nearby places to visit that you can check out.

On the other hand, you won’t need a car if you’re just staying in the city and you are only focusing on your Naples itinerary.

Naples, just like the rest of the major cities in Italy, is not fun to explore via car, because navigating its narrow roads and finding parking are both really difficult; so it’s better to just walk or use public transport.

If you are planning to visit the surroundings of Naples, which you should, then having a car makes your experience much better as you will be able to see more in less time and at your pace.

View of the Pompei Arena
Pompei Arena

🚗 Can foreigners drive in Naples?

Yes. As long as you have the required documents (which I have mentioned in the first tip of this post), you can drive in Naples, even if you’re a foreigner.

🚗 Is it safe to rent a car in Naples?

Yeah, renting a car in Naples is pretty safe as long as you rent it from reliable car hire.

Though, you do need to keep some things in mind to both minimize the costs of renting a car and avoid any extra surcharges/fines.

I have highlighted all of those things above in this post.

🚗 Is driving in Naples easy?

I wouldn’t say so. The roads in Naples are narrow and there is a lot of traffic on them most of the day.

Driving laws can also be confusing if you’re visiting for the first time. Then there are the limited traffic zones within the city that you can’t enter without a permit.

In short, it will take some getting used to and might even be frustrating at times.

View of the Historical Center in Amalfi
Historical Center in Amalfi

🚗 How much does it cost to rent a car in Naples?

Renting a car in Naples isn’t very expensive. If you pick a smaller car (as far as it works for your needs) and compare prices and offers between different rentals, you can rent a car for €20 to €40 per day.

But that’s just the general average, the rate can be higher based on the car type as well as add-ons, insurance coverage, etc.

Where to rent a car in Naples?

There are many options. For car hire from Naples airport, you will find rentals both inside the airport and outside the terminal.

You can also rent from the many rentals in the city proper.

However, my recommendation is that you use Discover Cars, which is an online service that lets you compare offers between different rentals in Naples and book a car through it.

I’m suggesting it because you can find the best rates from both international and local rentals on Discover Cars without having to worry about hidden fees or cancellation charges.

View of a beautiful mural in Amalfi
Mural in Amalfi

Best car rental companies in Naples

Naples has many international rentals including Hertz, Sixt, Thrifty, Europcar, Avis, and National, as well as some great local ones like Drivalia and B-Rent – which means choosing only one of them as the best can be quite hard.

Again, the best way to find your perfect rental is by comparing them all.

Use an aggregator service like Discover Cars to make it easier, and it won’t take you long to find the best rental for all your car hire needs.

Places to visit around Naples with a car rental

🧳 Pompeii Archaeological Park

You have probably heard of Pompeii (because who hasn’t!?).

The archaeological site showcases the remnants of this famous Roman city that got buried under volcanic ash almost 2,000 years ago.

It’s located close to Naples, so you can drive here and take a fascinating glimpse at the streets and houses of Pompeii for yourself.

View from a beautiful hotel in Sorrento
Hotel in Sorrento

🧳 Sorrento

The city of Sorrento is a picturesque place to visit from Naples. It’s located atop a cliff by the bay, which makes for breathtaking views.

The historic center of Sorrento is home to old-world architecture, while its marinas and Piazza Tasso Square with adorable cafes lend the place a trendy vibe.

If you’re up for this scenic drive, it should only take about an hour to get there.

🧳 Ischia Island

Ischia Island is sometimes visible from Sorrento, but seeing it from afar is nowhere near as enchanting as visiting it in person.

Its rocky beaches and rolling hills make for a striking sight, and there are also many natural springs here that you can take a dip in.

With fewer crowds and lots of natural beauty, history, and culture, this volcanic island is well worth a visit if you’re in Naples.

View of Naples at night

🧳 Phlegraean Fields

Phlegrean Fields are the perfect place to hit up if you’re up for adventure and exploration.

Known as “the Fiery Fields” in Italian, this area is a huge regional park in the west of Naples where you will find a variety of things to explore – including well-preserved Roman ruins, volcanic craters, and thriving vineyards.

🧳 Amalfi Coast

Italy’s famous Amalfi Coast is a long stretch of land, spanning 50 kilometers and featuring hundreds of beaches as well as tall cliffs, scenic towns, and charming fishing villages.

Exploring it will mean seeing stunning sights, seeing historic landmarks, absorbing lots of art, trying delicious food, and much more!

In short, it’s the ultimate strip along the coast if you’re looking for a road-trip itinerary from Naples.

Aerial view of Napoli

Frequently Asked Questions About Renting a Car in Naples

Is it a good idea to rent a car in Naples?

Renting a car in Naples isn’t a very good idea if you’re just staying in the city.

It’s because the roads are narrow here and you will see lots of traffic (often with aggressive drivers) on the roads.

Fewer parking spots, limited traffic zones, and long one-way routes in the center also make driving in the city harder.

However, it’s a good idea if you plan on exploring nearby places.

Having a car will make it much more convenient to go see the picturesque towns and countryside of the Campania region, which is known for its striking beauty.

Can you get around Naples without a car?

You can. In fact, it might be the better choice in most cases, especially if you’re going to the historic center.

Public transport is the most common way of getting around in Naples, and you can also take trains to many major cities of Italy from here.

View from a hotel room in Naples

Can a foreigner rent a car in Naples?

Definitely. Even if they’re not residents of Italy, anyone can rent a car in Naples given they have all the required documents, which I have listed earlier in this post.

Is Uber expensive in Naples?

Uber and other taxi apps are a tiny bit more expensive in Naples and the rest of Italy when compared to local cabs.

It might be because of surcharges and taxes, but the difference isn’t that much unless you’re booking a ride in a luxury car.

Aerial view of the colorful buildings in Naples

Is it easy to drive around Naples?

I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but it’s not that hard either once you get the hang of it.

The roads in it are narrow and busy, so you need to keep an eye out for scooters and pedestrians.

It’s also not very unusual to meet aggressive drivers, and roundabouts might trip you up if you’re not familiar with them, so you will also need to keep calm and steady.

What side of the road do they drive on in Naples?

Italians drive on the right side of the road, which is the same in Naples as well.

Aerial view of Naples at dawn
Naples at dawn

Should you drive from Naples to the Amalfi Coast?

If you’re up for an unforgettable road trip along a stunning coast and exploring lots of charming places, including fishing villages and small towns, then absolutely!

The Amalfi Coast has a lot on offer, and driving to it from Naples is the best way to explore it.

Is Naples a walkable city?

Naples is a very walkable city, especially its historic center where most of the attractions are, and driving isn’t a good choice.

What’s more, the beaches and the rest of its neighborhoods are also walkable, so you can explore them on foot.

Just keep in mind that Naples is still the third-largest city in Italy, so taking a bus would be a good idea if you’re going from one side of the city to the other.

How many days in Naples is enough?

In my opinion, you should spend at least 2-3 days in Naples to enjoy its historic charm as well as the stunning coastline.

And if you’re also planning on visiting nearby destinations, then a week or so should be enough.

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast

Final Thoughts: Things to know before renting a car in Naples

So, are you all set to rent and drive a car in Naples? I hope so!

Driving within Naples is a bit tricky, but it still makes things quite convenient, and you can also explore lots and lots of picturesque places in the city’s surroundings – which is a pleasant experience, in my opinion.

So, keep in mind all these things to know before renting a car in Naples, grab the documents you need for it, and get ready for an unforgettable trip to this gorgeous part of Italy!