If you’ve done the Amalfi Coast, or have seen its crowds on Instagram, and you’re wanting a new Italian destination that has a similar charm to Capri, but without the crowds and price tag, consider Ischia.
Located in the Gulf of Naples, next to Capri in the Campanian Archipelago, the volcanic island is only 4.6 square metres and, to Italians, considered one of their best-kept secrets. It’s best known for its thermal and natural springs, though it offers most of what the Amalfi Coast does too.
So, what’s in store for you when you visit Ischia? Ahead, we share what to expect from the small Italian island.
While many parts of the Amalfi coast are known for their rocky beaches, Ischia has more options when it comes to finding an idyllic white sandy beach to spend a summer’s afternoon.
Some of the best beaches include the Bay of San Francesco and Bay of Citara in Forio d’Ischia and Maronti Beach in Barano d’Ischia — but there are plenty more to choose from. Ischia’s many beaches range from small sandy coves with shallow turquoise waters and rocky backdrops, to long stretches of sandy coastline flanking the island’s calm glistening waters.
As a dormant volcanic island, Ischia is filled with thermal waters taking many forms, including thermal parks, spas and wellness centres. Depending on your mood and the time of year, thermal baths around the island vary in temperature from a soothing 28 degrees Celsius to a cosy 40 degrees.
A very short trip inland from Ischia’s incredible coastline will take you to the island’s lush hinterlands. Here, you’ll discover charming traditional villages, vineyards serving local wines, and hearty cuisine featuring delicious stews and meats — contrasting the delicate seafood you’ll find on the coast. The island might be small but, while immersed in the island’s tranquil inland regions, the modest tourist traffic to Ischia will make you feel a million miles from the stresses of daily life.
Culture-Villed Towns and Villages
While Porto is the island’s capital, offering ferry connections to other neighbouring islands and the mainland, there are a great many other towns and villages to visit around Ischia.
Great for a road trip, you can find something to suit every interest in Ischia, from Ponte’s medieval fortress, Castello Aragonese, to Forio’s colourful coastal villas and gardens of Giardini La Mortella. Every town will impress you with its picturesque narrow winding streets lined with traditional low-level architecture, museums, boutique shops, and abundant character-filled restaurants and cafes serving delicious local delicacies.
Cultural festivals also take place around the island throughout the year, so it could be worth checking if your itinerary coincides with any key events before your trip.
Restaurants and accommodations in Ischia tend to be great value for money. Italian tourists visit Ischia throughout the year, which makes the island’s offerings much less seasonal than others in the Amalfi area.
Without the summer squeeze and with a more localised customer base, meal prices in restaurants never appear over-inflated. Meanwhile, accommodation typically ranges from 3 to 5 stars with many offering great value deals including half board and dinner options.
Plenty of Nightlife
Ischia may not be as renowned with international travellers as the likes of Capri and other destinations along the Amalfi Coast, but that doesn’t mean Ischia is quiet and sleepy — not if you don’t want it to be.
While you’ll see coastal restaurants bursting to life every evening ready to serve up Ischia’s many unique gastronomic delights (and giving you a great excuse to get dressed up), trendy bars and clubs will also open later in the evenings for those who are keen to experience Ischia’s vibrant party scene. The capital of Ischia Porto is also known for its beachside lounges and discotheques, while Forio is the place to go for its many portside bars.