Our favorite islands: Introducing Ischia
Ischia is one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful – and underrated – islands. This special spot has so many reasons to visit! One of Italy’s “lesser known” island destinations, it is decidedly different from nearby Capri. And that’s the reason that makes it so special! Authentic, warm southern hospitality, unspoiled beaches – Ischia is a dream destination.
On our blog this week, we are sharing with you some of our favorite islands in the Mediterranean. Ischia, Italy, is where we start. It’s a great add on to a tailor made Italian vacation!
Getting to know Ischia…and Capri
Ischia is a volcanic island in the gulf of Naples. An early colony of Magna Graecia, it was first settled in the 8th century BC. Today, the island is quite famous for its thermal spas. There are also beautiful manicured gardens, breathtaking beaches, and a striking Aragonese castle.
There are many connections available to explore the gulf. First, a short, 15-minute ferry ride to the famous island of Procida. To continue, it is easy to arrive here – there are over 30 crossings a day by high speed ferry directly from Naples. Finally, it is just hour by ferry from it’s glamorous neighbor, Capri.
Historically, Ischia has always been in Capri’s shadow. Under Roman times, the island was hit frequently by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Important and wealthy ancient Romans chose to build villas and opulent residences on the nearby island of Capri as such. However, the island has thermal springs and waters that even in the 4th century were huge reasons to visit. Emperor Augustus traded with Naples his island of Ischia for Capri.
Capri has attracted an endless number of rich and famous over the years. Instead, Ischia is less discovered. It attracts tourists looking for sandier beaches and a quieter holiday. There are also many spa hotels. The thermal waters are a draw even today!
Towering over the island, Monte Epomeo is Ischia’s highest peak. You cannot help but gaze at this now dormant volcano as you arrive towards the island.
What to see and do
The beautiful beaches of Ischia
What makes Ischia stand out are its beautiful beaches. In other islands in the gulf, beaches are few and rocky. Instead, Ischia has many options for sandy shores and crystal clear water.
Maronti beach is the biggest and most popular on the island. Just behind Maronti beach are natural springs which you can access from the beach and takes around 5-10 minutes to reach on foot.
As the island is larger than its little neighbor of Procida, there are many options.
The springs behind Maronti beach are very special. The Cavascura thermal spring has been famous since the period of Greek colonization of the island. However, in Roman times they became the main draw to the island.
You can visit Sorgeto beach and relax for free in thermal springs that bubble up in the sea. There are many options for those looking to try the thermal waters, from luxury spas to these free beach springs!
Ischia Ponte and Castello Aragonese
You cannot miss the view fromCastello Aragonese over the town of Ischia Ponte. Castello Aragonese is dramatically located on a small, rocky outcrop linked to Ischia Ponte by a narrow bridge.
A visit to the castello will take several hours. Besides the spectacular, sweeping views, you can also explore a chapel, a prison and some large area dating back centuries. After a morning at the castle, a visit to the charming town of Ischia Ponte is a perfect idea. Full of small shops and restaurants, its worth exploring.
Visit the gardens
In Ischia you’ll find two world-famous gardens. They are worth a visit even if you aren’t a flower lover! Giardini La Mortella is the most famous. It’s built into a volcanic cliff face near Forio.
The upper part of the garden also has an outdoor theater which has music and concerts in the summer. Besides the amazing views, there is also a small tea house and some eastern inspired pavilions for mediation and enjoying the lush greenery.
Ischia’s other famous garden is the Ravino Gardens. Here, you can find one of the largest collections of cacti and succulents in Europe. The setting is quite special and worth a trip on your break from the beaches!
Tailor made, island style
Ischia also offers some amazing accommodation choices. From classic luxury to contemporary design, there is something for every travel style. With natural thermal spring waters throughout, most hotels have a day spa and natural pools.
There are so many options for your trip to Ischia – and we cannot wait to help you decide!
Contact us for more information on how to stop dreaming and start planning.
We will be there in Septwmber for 3 days. We can not wait!