Capri is not the only island off the Sorrento Peninsula, even if it is the most famous. Also floating in the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea is unassuming Ischia, a hidden gem bursting with Italian charm. Nineteenth-century artists and Hollywood’s Golden Age greats fell for Capri’s glitz and glamour, but it’s the stars of today who flock to Ischia’s peaceful shores. The island’s volcanic heritage is clear in the shape of its many natural thermal pools. The healing benefits of hot springs and volcanic mud have been praised for centuries, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find more beautiful examples than the ones in Ischia. Twenty-eight kilometres of golden beach lapped by azure waters make up Ischia’s sun-drenched coast. Unlike the Amalfi Coast, where pebbly and coarse sand beaches are the norm, Ischia offers plenty of white, fine sand to lay back and soak up the sun. Most also offer a good selection of water sports – perfect for the thrill-seekers and marine life enthusiasts to enjoy. Nature lovers are also well catered for, with treks up Mount Epomeo – Ischia’s highest peak – being a popular activity among outdoorsy types. The vistas and vineyards along the way also attract hiking novices looking to be wowed.
The towns and villages are quintessentially Italian, with colourful houses lining winding cobbled streets, picturesque cafes hiding in grand open squares, and delicious aromas wafting from back alleys.
From families with little – and not-so-little – ones looking for a relaxing beach holiday to couples in search of a romantic escape, Ischia welcomes holidaymakers from all walks of life. And it’s only a short ferry ride from Naples or Sorrento.
Ischia’s capital city is divided in two; Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte. Ischia Porto – usually referred to as plain Ischia by locals – is located in the north-east of the island. Its picture postcard port welcomes the ferries from Naples but also offers excursions to nearby Capri and Procida. Sophisticated elegance is the best way to describe the vibrant streets, home to designer boutiques, luxury accommodation and lively nightlife. Ischia Ponte, on the other hand, is for culture vultures and history lovers.
Beautiful Forio lives in Ischia’s west coast and is perfect for laid-back urbanites and families. There are many historic landmarks like the Chiesa del Soccorso church or the La Mortella and Ravino gardens – designed by English composer William Walton and his wife. Many beaches and coves line Forio’s pretty coast, while the Poseidon Thermal Gardens beckon from their central position. The stunning Sorgento Bay is just a stone’s throw away, perfect for a warm splash in the natural hot thermal pools. Families with small children staying in Forio will love Chiaia beach’s shallow, safe waters.
The smallest of Ischia’s regions is the picturesque Lacco Ameno, nestled in a northern corner of the island’s coast. Two beautiful beaches complete with lush natural surroundings stretch in Lacco Ameno’s coast, offering striking views of the sea. The charming town is also home to one of Ischia’s main attractions, the Negombo Thermal Gardens. The marina is a great place for a stroll, especially if you have a cooling gelato in hand. July is a great time to visit, as the town comes alive with the Ischia Global Film & Music Fest.
Soak up the sun
Ischia has a wealth of beaches to work on your tan, have a swim or enjoy some thrilling water sports. The main beach in Ischia Porto is the lively San Pietro Beach, which stretches all the way to Lido Beach and is easy to walk to. For something a little more romantic, head to Fisherman’s beach in Ischia Ponte. San Montano Beach in Lacco Ameno is a must visit; a beautiful bay enclosed by lush natural scenery and just a stone’s throw from the Negombo Thermal Gardens.
Get your culture fix
Ischia has plenty of cultural and historic landmarks to explore. In Ischia Town, you can’t miss the iconic Castello Aragonese, a 2500-year-old Medieval rock-fortress. Of course, crossing the bridge to Ischia Ponte and visiting the citadel on the other end is also a great way to discover the island’s rich past. Though a ruin, the Pilastri Aqueduct is a glimpse into Ancient Rome. The Church of Santa Maria Di Loreto in Forio is also a must-visit.
Thermal spa time
The volcanic island is known for its many hot springs and thermal gardens, where you can enjoy a warm swim and reap the healing benefits of the waters – all the while taking in the beautiful surroundings. The Poseidon and Negombo Thermal Gardens are the two main thermal parks, while the natural hot springs of Sogeto, in Panza, are a must visit.
Trek through Mount Epomeo
Mount Epomeo is Ischia’s highest peak, and trekking it is sure to test your endurance. But reaching the peak is worth it, as the unmatched views of the azure sea and the Amalfi Coast make for the most striking holiday pictures.
Mediterranean style meets Italian flavours to create a cuisine so deliciously unique, few places can match it. After all, it was the Neapolitans who invented pizza. A slice of this favoured meal is a must during your trip to the Neapolitan Riviera, but there are other tasty dishes native to the Ischia you must try. Sample a simple, yet mind-blowing, Coniglio all’Ischitana – a tasty rabbit dish.
From upmarket fine dining to affordable seafood by the beach, Ischia’s restaurant selection has something to suit even the fussiest of eaters. Sample freshly caught fish, or enjoy the traditional offerings of some of Ischia’s older restaurants. With plenty to enjoy on every menu, your taste-buds are sure to thank you for an Italian getaway.
Visit Ischia and fall in love with this island paradise. A sophisticated oasis bursting with Italian charm, it will definitely be a holiday to remember.
Booking your holiday to Ischia with easyJet holidays is the best way to experience this beautiful island hassle free. Best of all, you can save on your holiday when you book your flight and hotel with easyJet holidays.
If Ischia isn’t for you, have a look at more Neapolitan Riviera destinations for something that suits you.