Here is the beautiful Italian island of Ischia, which you may, or may not have come across before. So what can you exactly do here on this volcanic island with its many beaches? Well, check out this article and by the end I am sure you will want to make a visit to this magical place!
So in the Gulf of Naples there is the fantastic island of Capri and Procida – full of colour, but then you have the island of Ischia. It is one of the most popular destinations for lovers of excursions and beautiful settings. Many locals and tourists come to visit the island from the mainland as an escape from the hustle and bustle of Naples – one of the largest cities in Italy. Just a 1.5 hour drive from Porta di Massa, all of a sudden you feel like you are stepping into a completely different world. Ischia is a place where time slows down and is filled with slow-beat enjoyment.
So that you can make the most of your holiday here in Ischia, I have summarized some of the most important pieces of information for you:
Ischia is 46 km² making it the largest island in the Gulf of Naples. It is still easy, however, to explore the entire island during your holiday and you will be able to see all of the sights.
It is the island of volcanic origin. There you will find Mount Vesuvius which is a somma-stratovolcano (which basically means it is a volcanic caldera which has been partially filled by a new central cone) – a little too confusing, yes – but all you need to know is it is beautiful! You can visit the ancient city Pompeii which was buried under ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Ischia is in the south of Italy, so you will generally find that all year it has mild to hot temperatures. In the winter it rarely goes below 10 degrees Celsius and in the summer, temperatures can be as high as 35 degrees Celsius. If you prefer to go away when it isn’t too hot, then I would recommend that you go in the months April, May and October.
The plus side of this warm climate is that plenty of things can grow here, including, tomatoes figs and pomegranates. You can also try out the local wine which is very special!
Ischia does not have an airport. The only way that you can get to this magnificent island is by ferry. The ferry/ car ferry takes about 1.5 hours from the mainland and is under €12! If you want to get there quicker, you can take a catamaran, but that may cost a little more.
You can book return flights to Naples for about £23 (at time of publication). Or you could fly to Rome and then take a bus to Naples.
The island has the E.A.V bus company which is relatively cheap and easy if you want to get from A to B. Or, you could take the taxi boats which go all over the island.
Ischia’s beauty has landed itself in being used for Hollywood Movies. Film stars such as Bud Spencer, Romy Schneider and Liz Taylor have filmed here.
In Ischia there are plenty of hotels to accommodate all budget types. Or, if you fancy more alternative and budget-friendly accommodation then you should check out these gems on Airbnb.
Places to visit in Ischia
Once you get to Ischia, there are plenty of places that you should visit whilst you are there! I would recommend hiring a scooter or a car to make it easier to get around the island. If not, then there is plenty of public transport that will take you all over the island. Let’s start with the sightseeing tour at the east of the island, in the town of Ischia which is not only the main town of the island but here is where you will arrive when you get off the ferry. Ischia is one of the best towns to stay at in the island, particularly as you can enjoy its unique flair and in the evenings it is particularly enjoyable when all the tourists have left. You can end the perfect at evening at either Gardenia Mare or the Ristorante Cap e Fierr which both serve delicious seafood and excellent pasta. Get the real authentic taste of Italy!
One thing that I have to make clear right now: the Arogonese Castle in Ischia can not be overlooked! At an altitude of about 113 metres high and sitting on a small rocky island, it is a sight to behold! The castle is privately owned, but can be visited daily from 9am until sunset.
Children under 9 years of age: FREE
The village of Sant’Angelo d’Ischia which is in the south of Ischia is a great place to visit for a day trip. This pretty little town has a small beach and there are plenty of shops and boutiques where you can go shopping. What’s great about this village is it is a car-free zone, so you can stroll around the streets, grab a proper Italian espresso at one of the pretty little cafes in total peace.
In the west and north-west of Ischia, you will find two beautiful gardens. The Giardini Ravino has one of the most beautiful collctions of succulents and you will be overwhelmed by the realm of cacti.The Giardani La Mortella, however, is a tropical flower paradise that you will not get anywhere else on the island. How about staying until the evening and watch the sunset slowly sink into the sea whilst you sip on a delicious cocktail?
Giardini Ravino: open everyday from 9am until sunset. €10 entry for adults
Giardini La Mortella: open everyday from 1 April – 31 October from 9.19 am. €12 entry for adults
The Town of Forio
In the west Ischia you will find the second largest city on the island, Faro. The places that you must visit here are the city centre and the Santa Maria del Soccorso pilgrimage church. The unique location of this church makes it a popular place for couples who are looking to tie the knot! ;) When you take a look at the beautiful scenery, you can’t really blame them!
If you fancy trying a real, authentic pizza from Naples, I suggest that you head to the Pizzeria II Pizzicotto which is right in the heart of the city.
Excursion to Monte Epomeo
The highest mountain in Ischia is Monte Epomeo which rises 780 metres above the island. If you enjoy hiking, then you should definitely climb the mountain and catch that magnificent view of the entire island. At the foot of the mountain are is where the delicious wine is grown! 1 piece of advice: make sure you pack a light-weight jacket for when you are on the summit as it is a little chilly compared to the warmer temperatures below.
Beaches and Thermal Springs in Ischia
As well as its pretty villages and stunning nature, Ischia is also famous for its beaches and thermal springs that are the ultimate places for relaxation and physical well-being. All along the coast you will find beaches and small bays where you can get a secluded spot for sunbathing and swimming in the warm waters.
Check out the most beatiful beaches in Ischia:
Spiaggia di San Francesco: a spacious and well-kept beach in the north of Ischia
Spiaggia di Citara: in Forio (the west of the Island) with fine sand
Spiaggia di San Montano: popular beach in the north of Ischia
Spiaggia Degli Inglesi: small town beach in the east of the island
A true speciality of the island are the thermal springs which are remnants from the volcanic activity that you will find everywhere on the island. In the cooler seasons you should definitely take a soothing bath in the warm waters which will be over 25 degrees – a perfect way to unwind. You can use some thermal springs for free, but for the professional ones it is normally about €15-20.
Baia di Sorgeto: one of the most famous hot springs is in the south of island. The hot water flows directly from the rocks into the sea
Nitrodi springs: a thermal source recommended for people with skin problems. The thermal water helps with acne and psoriasis
Terme Fumarole: a beach filled with hot springs, in the south of Ischia
Excursions to Procida, Capri or Naples
The best thing about being in the Gulf of Naples, is that you have not one, but three great islands waiting for you. The great city of Naples also has a lot to offer. You can book day trips to all of these exciting places directly at the port of Ischia. If you fancy exploring the islands and cities on your own, then simply book a ferry ticket! I shall briefly present to you the possible destinations where you can take an excursion:
The island of Procida is just a few kilometres off the coast of Ischia. It is truly magical with its brightly coloured houses which are thoroughly enjoyed by visitors in the habour. Procida is the most densely populated island in Europe, which is particularly noticeable in the main town – the houses are practically stacked one above the other! The charming chaos is something you will not forget whilst the original nature in the rest of the island is a real treat :)
The island of Capri (which is 10 km²) was previously one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. Even today almost all of it still holds its great charm. You can stroll through the small capital where there area number boutiques from famous designers, luxurious hotels (including the Caesar Augustus Hotel), small cafes and shops. Or, you could take a trip to the Blue Grotto which is the most famous cave in Capri.
Naples & Pompeji
If you are looking for a complete contrast to the islands, then I recommend you take a trip to the mainland’s city – Naples. It is located right in the proximity of the active Vesuvius volcano and is a part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. It has a population of over 4.4 million people and is filled with attraction sites. You will find palaces, villas, magnificent churches and ancient fortresses. With so many things to discover here, you should consider staying here for several days, if possible.
If you are a history lover and want to discover more about the ancient world, I recommend a trip to the well preserved ruins of Pompeii. The ancient city was tragically destroyed during the Vesuvius eruption in 79 AD and here you can visit the remains and get a unique insight into what life was like back then. As the city was surprised by the volcanic eruption you can still see the humans and houses that were buried under a layer of lava which has been preserved.
Wow! How can such a small island have so much to offer!? The island, as well as the other destinations in the Gulf of Naples definitely need to go on your bucket list! Have you ever been to Ischia and have more insider knowledge or tips for our fellow readers? If so, feel free to leave a comment!
If you are planning a trip to Ischia or Italy in general, then take a look at my Italy deals or send me a travel request and I can send you to the Gulf of Naples!