The largest of the volcanic islands in the Bay of Naples, Ischia is prized for its rich natural beauty, thermal baths and sandy beaches. Ischia is a great alternative to crowded places such as Capri: it’s a bit more undiscovered, less touristy and is very laid back and relaxing.
The island has everything from modern five-star resorts to tiny fishing towns that seem frozen in time. In addition to the beautiful beaches and sea, there is so much to see and do, from visiting historic landmarks to spending a day at a thermal spa to hike on Mount Epomeo.
You could easily spend a week in Ischia and not get bored. Regardless of your travel style, an escape to Ischia offers a glimpse of how sweet la Dolce Vita can really be.
Here are the most amazing things to see, do and taste over 48 hours in Ischia.
The easiest way to reach Ischia is via ferry.
Arriving by sea provides an unforgettable first glimpse of the island and its characteristic port. Once arrived, make your way to Castello Aragonese. Connected to Ischia by a bridge, the castle sits on its own rocky islet.
The first structure built here dates back to 471 BC, but most of the current castle was built in the 15th century. It is now privately owned, but you can explore the buildings and the gardens for a small admission fee( Tickets: € 10)
After taking in some of the local history, we suggest you to rent a scooter and start exploring the island. The first stop will be one of the favourite photographic subjects by tourists visiting Ischia: The white church of Soccorso (in Forio).
Small but with an extraordinary charm, it is located on a promontory overlooking the sea. It is there because the sailors had to see it from afar and understand that they were going back home.
The church has different architectural styles, but the most interesting subject is the ex -voto of sailors hung everywhere as a thank for surviving the storm. Not far from the church there is the Torrione Forio, the other symbol of the town of Ischia.
During the centuries it helped to save the population of Forio and Ischia, because from this tower started the first warning when invaders came from the sea.
Faro is one of the most peaceful towns of the island, so why not stroll through its streets, squares and do a little shopping along the main street?
You can continue your tour and stop at Sant’Angelo. The town is known for its quiet squares, picturesque views, and brightly coloured houses.
According to local legend, the houses are so colourful because the sailors and fishermen who lived here wanted to be able to spot their homes from the sea.
Sant’Angelo is the most charming corner of Ischia, the most appreciated by the rich, by the VIPs and those who want to stay away from the crowds on holidays. The postcard is the classic one of a country of the Mediterranean sea: white or coloured homes, narrow streets, souvenir shops, ice cream shops, restaurants and bars.
Compared to the rest of the island, it is stunning the tranquillity and the absence of motor vehicles. From the small harbour there are boats that take tourists to the Maronti beach while with an uphill walk there is the Aphrodite-Apollon Thermal Park.
At night, don’t miss a stroll at the seaside Piazzetta comes alive as fishermen and fashion designers alike dock their boats and gather at panoramic café-bars including Il Pirata and Il Pescatore to sip limoncello by moonlight.
After exploring the island’s most unique areas, it is time to spend a day in relaxation mode. You can’t visit Ischia and not visit a thermal bath as it’s what the island is famous for. Of all the thermal spas on Ischia, Negombo is our favourite.
Its beauty lies in its lush, slightly untamed, gardens that surround over a dozen pools, small relaxation areas, tiny private patios, and cool shady spots with contemporary art installations.
Negombo is located on the Bay of San Montano. It’s unique in its lovely geography, as the springs are on a hillside that descends gradually to the seaside and on each level down the slope there is a pool at a different temperature than that above and below and a small patio to relax surrounded by thick vegetation that resembles a sort of Mediterranean jungle.
You can start at the top and follow the series of pools at the bottom, where you can end with a pause on the sandy beach. The private area of the beach is also open to guests at Negombo with sunbeds and umbrellas available.
Also worthy of mention at Negombo is the restaurant, Trattoria Casa Colonica which is one of the most revered on the island.
Open every day from 08:30 – 19:00
(Prices: Adults: Full day – €33 Half day (from 13:30) – €26 Evening (from 15:30) – €22)
Ischia Travel Tips:
- Shopping: After a visit to the Aragonese Castle you should take a stroll around the village of Ischia Ponte. Here you’ll find jewellery, gift shops and boutiques.In Ischia Porto there is Vittoria Colonna Course which is ideal for shopping, with plenty of fashion boutiques. There’s also a few small craft shops and restaurants and bars.
- Book a boat tour: seeing Ischia from water is a great way to discover the island
- The best sunset: The Chiesa del Soccorso is one of the most popular sunset spots in Ischia.
- Hike Mount Epomeo: Ischia is popular with walkers, and has many beautiful hiking trails. The climb up Mount Epomeo is strenuous, but if you put in the effort you’ll be rewarded with stunning views.
- Visit a world famous garden: Giardini La Mortella is one most famous garden in the world. It’s built into a volcanic cliff face near Forio, and is partly humid and subtropical in the lower area, and the Mediterranean on the upper levels. The upper part of the garden also has an outdoor amphitheatre which hosts concerts in the summer.
- Unlike other popular tourist destinations like Positano and Capri, English is not widely spoken in Ischia. Expect to experience a much authentic, no-frills vibe in Ischia.
- Book a hotel with Thermae included. If you aren’t staying at a hotel with a thermal park, ask your hotel for thermal park discounts.
- By night: The Island boasts a variety of great nightclubs, discos, live music events and restaurants for visitors to have a fantastic night out. La Riva Destra in Ischia Porto is a popular destination among locals and tourists.
How to get there
Hydrofoil crossings between Ischia and Capri are operated by several companies. Alilauro provides services roughly from Easter until the end of the summer season, typically ending around the end of October. The crossing operates up to 7 times each week with sailing durations from around 1 hour 10