Things to Know
The wondrously green island of Ischia that sits in the bay of Naples is a wonderland of gorgeous gardens, rugged mountainous terrain, uncrowded beaches, and some of the best natural hot springs in the world thanks to the ceaseless volcanic activity taking place under its ground. Ischia’s coastline is dotted with picturesque towns and scenic fishing villages, while it’s much larger size compared to Capri means Ischia manages to feel mostly crowd free even during peak season. If you’re looking for an antidote destination to the hustle and bustle of Capri that boasts a refreshingly local character, long sandy beaches, and affordable cuisine, then look no further than Ischia.
Things to See
A veritable fort-city standing on its own craggy islet overlooking Ischia. Explore its looping route that will take you through old buildings and lush gardens and discover its secrets.
Villa Arbusto Museum
A gorgeous 18th century villa that was bought by film magnate, Angelo Rizzoli in the 1950s. Today, the villa has been transformed into a museum that houses a collection of locally discovered Greco-Roman artefacts as well as exhibits from other Mediterranean regions.
Built in 1433 by King Alfonso of Aragon for the purpose of defending Ischia’s coast, it is rumored that Michelangelo himself spent a portion of his life living in this tower and that some of the frescoes found inside could be his. Today, the interior and exterior of the tower are used to stage exhibitions for famous international artists.
Il Torrione Museum
Located in the town of Forio, this tower was built in the 15th century to defend the island against invasders. Today, the tower has been turned into a museum that showcases the works of Giovanni Maltese.
Chiesa di San Pietro
A beautiful 18th century church located near San Pietro Beach. Admire the church’s ornate architecture and admire the painting of the Madonna delle Grazie with souls in purgatory by the Ischian artist, Carlo Borrelli Ponticelli.
The Pilastri Aqueduct
Located in Ischia Ponte, this impressive aqueduct is one of Ischia’s most historic sites. Built in the 16th century to transfer water from the Fiaino area all the way to the village of Celsa (modern day Ischia Ponte), the aqueduct is regarded as an engineering feat for the time. Head to the Piano Liguori area to get a full appreciation of its grand scale.
Things to Do
Explore the Towns of Ischia
From the cosmopolitan streets and luxury hotels of Ischia Porto and Lacco Ameno, to the picturesque Forio and the charming villages all around the island, Ischia manages to pack an incredible degree of variety for its size. Whether you’re looking to take in the local Dolce Vitta, lose yourself in the quiet corners of sleepy villages, sample delicious local flavors or explore dazzling nature paths, Ischia puts everything at the edge of your fingertips.
Discover the Bays of Ischia
One of Ischia’s most alluring features are its phenomenal bays. Many of these secluded pieces of paradise are best accessed via boat, which only serves to bolster their appeal. A trip to any of the island’s bays will have you swimming in crystal clear waters, while La Scannella also offers great snorkeling opportunities with plenty of caves and underwater rock formations to explore. If you’re looking for a more unique experience, you can also try visiting the Sorgeto Bay that is famous for its natural hot springs.
Experience Ischia’s Natural Springs
Being the site of an active volcano, Ischia boasts a number of natural springs all throughout its surface, many of whom are considered to be therapeutic and capable of relieving a variety of ailments. The natural hot springs at Sorgeto in particular are one of the biggest attractions on the island where you can bathe in a series of rock pools, each with a slightly different temperature. Another popular option for natural hot springs on Ischia are the Nitrodi Natural Springs. Known since Roman times for their rejuvenating properties, these springs are a favorite among local crowds. For a more organized experience, there are also several thermal parks and gardens throughout the island with the Poseidon Thermal Gardens and the Negombo Thermal Gardens being among the most popular options.
Visit the Historic Center of Anacapri
Take a break from the glamour of Capri’s Piazzetta and take the winding 1.8-mile road to the quiet enclave of Anacapri. Walking through the historic area’s narrow lanes and peaceful piazzas adorned with colorful bougainvillea is sure to put your mind at ease.
HIT THE BEACH
A small sandy beach that offers fantastic views of Castello Aragonese.
Cava del Isola
A rugged sandy beach with a youthful vibe. Great for snorkeling.
Type: Mostly free (umbrellas available for rental)
The longest sandy beach on Ischia. It offers both organized and free areas while it is also located near the picturesque fishing village of Sant’Angelo.
Type: Some parts free and some parts organized