For many, Ischia island is still relatively unknown, but it is definitely a top destination in Italy. The island is an explosion of colors, perfumes and breathtaking views where you can experience a magnificent Italian holiday drinking good wine and eating delicious Italian dishes. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples discovered by the Greeks and loved by the Romans for its miraculous thermal waters due to that it is also known as the island of eternal youth.
The temperature never drops below 15 degrees Celsius and sometimes, even during the winter, it’s possible to reach 20 degrees. Even though Ischia is a small island, it can be overwhelming for first-time visitor to figure out how to spend their days. In this article I’m excited to share my top 10 favorite things to do on the beautiful Ischia island!
SIP A GLASS OF WINE IN THE “PIAZZETTA” OF SANT’ANGELO
Sant’Angelo is still a quiet and picturesque fishing village located in the south of Ischia. It is characterized by Moorish-style houses a small marina and by the famous headland “Torre di Sant’Angelo” connected with an isthmus to the “Piazzetta”. The headland is a huge tuff rock, where access is not allowed. The entire village is a pedestrian area so it is possible to walk around enjoy the place and go shopping to its very nice Italian boutiques.
Sant’Angelo is an Italian favorite for the wealthy, where they arrive on yachts to have dinner and enjoy the thermal baths. Sant’Angelo is also near Maronti Beach, where the thermal waters create the steaming “Fumarole” phenomenon. The sea is a protected marine area and there is also diving, where you can see the fake black coral “savaglia savalgia”. It is something that should not be missed!
VISIT THE ARAGONESE CASTLE IN ISCHIA PONTE
The Aragonese Castle is simply magnificent to see and visit. It was the first fortress on the island. The castle was built by Gerone in 474 BC and transformed it into the castle of King Alfonso of Aragon, and later into a prison for political criminals.
Nowadays, the castle is a private property that tourists can visit, and is equipped with a lift and a nice bar with a stunning sea view. It is the location of important theatrical events and one of the locations of the Ischia Film Festival. The castle has also been the location of several Italian and international films.
On the top of the castle is a very nice bar with a spectacular view on Vivara and Procida islands. I tasted an Ischitan glass of wine which was simply delicious. For those who are interested in historical aspects, there is a museum of weapons and instruments of torture from the 14th century.
HOURS AND COST: Open 7 days a week, all year, from 9am until sunset. Tickets cost € 10.
ADMIRE THE SUNSET FROM THE CHURCH OF SOCCORSO IN FORIO
If you are looking for something romantic to do, the Church of Soccorso is the perfect place to admire the sunset. Forio is located in the western part of the island and the Church of Soccorso its symbol. It is small but charming, and is located on a promontory overlooking the sea. The church overlook is definitely one of the best places to admire the sunset.
I also suggest visiting the Torrione. It was a sighting tower and is not far from the church. The Torrione played a great role for centuries helping the population to prevent the pirates. Today it houses an art gallery and a small municipal museum.
TAKE A PICTURE OF “IL FUNGO” OF LACCO AMENO
Lacco Ameno is a town situated northwest of Ischia island. It is very small and quick to visit, but it has a lot of interesting places to see. First of all, you must take a picture with “Il Fungo”, which means “the mushroom”. It is an ancient green tuff rock about 10 meters high and originally erupted from the mouth of Mount Epomeo.
Over time the rock has cooled and has been eroded by the sea, which gave it the characteristic shape of a mushroom. According to the ancient legend, two young lovers decided to run away to the sea to escape the families who did not approve of their union but unfortunately drowned, and so mother nature to protect forever their love erected the great rock at the precise point where they disappeared.
Not far from Lacco Ameno is the archeological museum of Pithecusae, where the famous Nestor’s cup is kept, one of the oldest examples of alphabetic writing.
TREKKING AT THE MOUNT EPOMEO (DIFFICULTY MODERATE)
The view from the top of Mount Epomeo is one of the best in Italy. There are various paths you can take to get to the top, but I recommend the walk from Serrara Fontana that leads up to the peak. Along the way, there are also a couple of restaurants where to stop. If you are an early riser, go there to see the sunrise. In a day with good visibility, you will see the entire Gulf of Naples with the islands of Capri, Procida, Vivara and the whole coast of Sorrento.
Related: 20 Things To Do In Positano
RELAX IN A THERMAL PARK
The thermal waters of Ischia are famous for their miraculous and well-being properties. In total there are 29 basins and 103 spring thermal baths. Each has slightly different characteristics based on their mineral composition. This particularity makes each water different from the other.
The list of thermal parks on Ischia with their locations and prices are:
- Fonte delle Ninfe Nitrodi – € 12/32 – Barano
- Giardini Poseidon (the most famous) – € 33/35- Forio
- Negombo – € 33 – Lacco Ameno
- O’ Vagnitiello – € 15 – Casamicciola
- Parco Termale Castiglione – €28/29 – Casamicciola
- Parco Termale Romantica – € 15 – Sant’Angelo
- Thermal Park Aphrodite Apollon -€ 31 – Sant’Angelo
VISIT BOTANICAL GARDENS OF ISCHIA
Ischia is also called the green island because of its view from the sea and the amazing nature of the island. There are two amazing botanical gardens to visit on the island:
- Giardini La Mortella: This is a spectacular subtropical and Mediterranean garden built by Walton Family and designed by Russell Page, the well-known architect. Entrance fee: €12 on Tu/Th/Sa/Su.
- Giardini Ravino: A garden of succulent plants coming from all over the world. Entrance fee: €9 on Mo/We/Fr/Sa/Su.
EXPERIENCE ISCHIA BEACHES
All the beaches of Ischia are different and beautiful. If you have enough time visit all of them. If not I will suggest you the my favorite beaches:
- San Francesco;
- San Montano;
- Spiaggia dei Pescatori.
THERMAL BATHS INTO THE SEA AT SORGETO BAY
Sorgeto Bay is a stone beach where the thermal water flows into the sea, allowing you to see the thermal baths turn into natural pools created by mother nature. Here it is also possible to take a swim in January because the water is always hot.
Be careful because in some places the water is boiling! Moreover, avoid going there in August because it is often very crowded and loses all its charm. You can get there by sea from Sant’Angelo (cost per person is €5) or by taxi and take the steps (lots of steps, more than a hundred).
Entrance Fee: FREE if you would like to rent sunbeds, and there is a bar which rent the beds for a small price.
SPEND A NIGHT ON THE BEACH STARING AT THE STARS
In Ischia, light pollution is really minimal since there are no skyscrapers or high buildings. A great thing to do is admire the clear starry sky while listening to the sound of the ocean. Moreover, in some months you can even see shooting stars!
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT ISCHIA ISLAND
GETTING TO ISCHIA ISLAND
From the train station or Naples airport, go to the “Porto di Massa” (ferry) or “Porto Beverello” (hydrofoil) by taxi (about € 11), by underground (€1.10) or by bus (Alibus €5). You can then reach Ischia Porto, Casamicciola or Forio via the ferry or hydrofoil.
TRANSPORTATION ON ISCHIA ISLAND
Public buses are widely available. Tickets cost is €1.50 for 90 minutes on the bus or you can rent a car for € 25-45 per day. Taxis on the island are very expensive (€15+) and the cost depends on the route. There is no taxi app, so instead go to a taxi stop or personally call the driver by phone.
There are many hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and apartments on Ischia island, with different prices and quality. I recommend the Romantica Resort & Spa, a 4 star hotel with delicious food. It has an internal thermal park with 13 pools, sports facilities, yoga sessions and wellness center. It is in Sant’Angelo and has a stunning sea view!
Other well reviewed hotels on Ischia island include:
- Andar Per Sentieri: Means “Go for Paths” and consists of several paths among which you can choose your favorite and go trekking with a professional guide to discover the amazing nature of Ischia. Fee: € 20/25 in May.
- Andar Per Cantine. Literally is “Go for Wineries” and it consists of several routes where you can visit cellars and for wine tasting. Fee: € 20/25 in September.
- Sant’Anna: A religious celebration with a parade of allegorical floats on the water and an amazing fireworks show
- San Michele: A religious celebration with a traditional religious procession by sea.
- Ischia Safari: A food festival organized by Michelin stars chefs of Ischia Nino di Costanzo and Pasquale Palamaro at Negombo where chefs coming from all over Italy prepare amazing plates. Entrance Fee € 50
- Jazz Festival: Organized by Giardini la Mortella during the summer.
- Ischia Film Festival: A very beautiful and important festival for which actors and VIPs coming from all over the world.
- Coniglio all’Ischitana: It is a rabbit cooked with Ischitan style
- Sandwich Zingara: Typical sandwich of Ischia Island.
- Fresh Fish: Wherever you try it taste amazing.
- Ischia Wines: Ischia has a great tradition of local wine and wineries, so please taste all of them! They are amazing and you cannot find them easily anywhere else else.
- Local wines include: Ischia Bianco, Ischia Rosso, Ischia Biancolella, Ischia Forastera, Piedirosso or Per’ e Palumm.
- Typical liquor made with rocket salad.
- Breakfast pastry at Bar Calise in Ischia.
- Forio Marine
- Ischia Riva Destra
- Disco: Alchemie (Ischia), Blanco(Ischia), Lo scoglio Club(Sant’Angelo), Valentino(Ischia).
Ischia is definitely one my favorite places in the world! Go there, experience the island, and you will never forget it.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit Ischia Island, Italy. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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Our Top Places To Stay On Ischia Island, Italy:
- Romantica Resort & Spa
- San Montano Resort & Spa
- Grand Hotel Il Moresco
- Find the best price on hotels in Ischia Island, Italy
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- 7 Reasons To Add Lago Di Braies To Your Next Italian Getaway
- Visiting The Cascate Del Mulino Hot Springs
- 10 Essential Things To Do In Capri
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