Often overlooked for glitzy Capri and only recently on the radar of international travelers (made popular thanks to the recent publication of the Neapolitan novel series by Elena Ferrante), Ischia has remained truly authentic.
So why should you visit Ischia Island? How about for the island’s supreme natural beauty? Though Capri is known as the blue island, Ischia proudly calls itself the green island for its verdant flora and green interior.
Ischia is known for its delicious food, relaxed atmosphere, and mineral-rich thermal waters. Laid-back and serene, Ischia is the perfect place to find the Italian pace of life!
Ischia Travel Guide: What to Know Before You Travel to Ischia
Each year Ciao Andiamo brings visitors to explore this gorgeous island. So learn from the experts to prepare for the best possible trip to Ischia Island:
How to Get to Ischia
You can reach Ischia by ferry, hydrofoil or private boat.
The easiest way to get to Ischia is from the Naples port. With Ciao Andiamo, you’ll have a private luxury car service from the Naples airport straight to the port on our Amalfi & The Islands Escape. From there, you’ll take the hydrofoil to Ischia with a car service to your hotel.
Visitors can also reach the island from Pozzuoli, slightly north of Naples, and Sorrento during the summer months.
The Weather in Ischia
Ischia has a typical Mediterranean climate: long, hot summers and perfectly mild winters. It’s no wonder that Ischia has been a favorite resort and travel destination since the ancient Romans! It’s not uncommon for people to sunbathe and swim into late November, with temperatures able to reach 77°F. On average, December temperatures range from 40°- 60°F, while August can easily reach 90°F.
August is by far the hottest and busiest time of year when Italian tourists add themselves to the mix for a month of vacation. Ciao Andiamo suggests visiting in May or September to enjoy the perfect weather with slightly smaller crowds, but visitors can travel to Ischia year-round thanks to its beautiful climate.
Ischia Travel Guide: What to See and Do
Ischia Island may be small, but it’s packed with beautiful beaches, Mediterranean charm and soothing spas.
What to See on Ischia Island
The Mortella Gardens in Forio are considered one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in all of Italy. Once the private home and gardens of British composer Willian Walton and Susana, his Argentine wife, the gardens have hosted a plethora of rich and famous guests, from Maria Callas to Charlie Chaplin.
Today they’re worth visiting for their beauty alone. Inspired by Moorish gardens in Spain, Mortella Gardens spans nearly 5 acres and houses more than 1,000 exotic plants from all over the world, along with pools, fountains and beautiful panoramic terraces. Go for a stroll or plan your visit during one of the many orchestra concert events held there.
Take a panoramic island tour to see the highlights of Ischia Island and truly travel Ischia. Cars are limited on the island during the summer months, but with Ciao Andiamo’s private, retro vans (tall and skinny to fit the narrow streets) you can visit the most beautiful spots of Ischia. Stop in the island’s main towns, like characteristic Forio, the second biggest city and home to the Mortella Gardens and the massive Poseidon Thermal Spa, or visit the tiny fishing village of Sant’Angelo for the Italian boutiques and great beach.
The Aragonese Castle is an absolute must-see for any travel to Ischia. Built in 471 BC on a rocky islet off the coast of Ischia Ponte, it was then renovated and rebuilt in the 15th century to create what you see today. Connected to Ischia by a bridge, visitors could easily spend a day exploring the Aragonese castle. Today it’s privately owned but travelers can explore the castle and the beautiful gardens for a small fee, traveling through “twenty five centuries of history between churches, convents, prisons, lush gardens and breathtaking views,” as the Castle website states.
Ciao Andiamo Ischia Travel Guide Tip: take a break with a coffee or gelato at the café terrace to enjoy the view. Here you can see across Ischia Island, the Gulf of Naples, and the nearby islands of Capri, Vivara, and Procida.
Nowhere can Ischia’s volcanic origins be seen better than from Monte Epomeo. Technically a volcanic horst (a raised block of the earth’s crust), Monte Epomeo is the highest point on the island and offers the best views across the island and on to Capri, Sorrento, Naples and even beyond. Moderately difficult, the hike takes about an hour starting from the town of Fontana.
What to Do When You Travel to Ischia:
Take a boat ride
Ischia is an island after all, and one of the best ways to explore an island is from the water! Rent a dinghy or enjoy Ciao Andiamo’s 3-hour private boat tour with a glass-bottom boat. Boating is also the easiest way to enjoy a snorkeling or diving adventure. A part of the Regno di Nettuno Marine Nature Reserve, there’s no shortage of excellent snorkeling spots, but for a unique experience, try snorkeling among the ruins of a city underwater in the Cartaromana Bay.
Go to the spa
Ischia’s biggest claim to fame is its thermal baths. Though the area’s volcanic activity is mostly dormant, there’s still enough thermal activity on Ischia to heat the natural hot springs that feed the island’s infamous spas. There are approximately 100 thermal baths and dozens of different thermal parks you can choose from, each with its own mineral and healing properties. Two of the most popular are the Poseidon Thermal Gardens in Forio and the Negombo Thermal Park in Lacco Ameno.
Ciao Andiamo Ischia Travel Guide Tip: bring waterproof sandals and your own robe or towel for comfort.
Lounge on the Beach
Ischia is celebrated for its sandy beaches (the Amalfi Coast has few sandy beaches). If you have time, tour more than one! Try the Spiaggia dei Maronti near Sant’Angelo to enjoy the sand heated by natural steam geysers or the quiet beach of San Montano near to Lacco Ameno.
After, catch a beautiful sunset from the beach. We recommend the small beach at Bagno Antonio, between Ischia Porto and Ischia Ponte.
Read about more of Ischia’s Best Beaches.
Ciao Andiamo Ischia Travel Guide Tip: many beaches on Ischia, like in most of Italy, are private beaches, meaning you’ll have to rent a chair and umbrella for the day. Running about 15 euro, you’ll usually have access to a changing cabin and outdoor shower as well. Otherwise, search for “public beaches.” San Montano, for example, is half public and half private.
The small, characteristic towns of Ischia are the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs from your Italy trip! The stores and boutiques are open late and perfectly add to the nightlife atmosphere. Besides clothes, browse the ceramics, a popular craft among the towns in the Bay of Naples, handmade Ischian sandals or bring home high-quality ingredients of the area, such as olive oil, wine or limoncello.
Ischia is home to three Michelin-star restaurants, well worth a visit for those who enjoy fine-dining. That said, it’s not necessary to stick to Michelin stars to eat well in Ischia. Here, the key word is fresh. Enjoy a light lunch right off of the beach with fresh and local mozzarella, anchovies and local wine. Try an Ischia Bianco, Forastera, Piedirosso or Per’e Palumm.
Ciao Andiamo Ischia Travel Tip: try the rabbit!
Visitors might be surprised to learn that Ischia’s most typical meal is rabbit. Coniglio all’Ischitana is rabbit cooked until tender with olives, fresh tomatoes, and basil. Get the recipe (in Italian but with pictures) here!