Words by Craig Farrell, La Collection
The secret is out. For years the small volcanic island of Ischia was overlooked by visiting overseas travellers who would opt for it’s well-known, glitzy neighbour – Capri. With discerning travellers now opting for destinations with more substance and less crowds, Ischia is having its moment.
Arriving by ferry from Naples, it takes no time at all to see why this place has been attracting holidaying Italians for generations. With its serene beaches, picturesque landscapes, and charming towns, Ischia offers an unforgettable escape from the ordinary. I visited the island for the first time earlier this year, and have listed some reasons why Ischia should be on every tourist’s must-visit list.
Ischia boasts an abundance of natural beauty that captivates visitors. The island is known for its lush vegetation, dramatic cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. Explore the breathtaking Mount Epomeo, the highest point on the island, offering awe-inspiring panoramic vistas. Wander through the vibrant gardens of La Mortella or take a boat tour around the island to discover hidden coves and idyllic beaches.
Therapeutic Hot Springs
Ischia is renowned for its thermal spas, making it a haven for wellness enthusiasts. The island’s volcanic activity provides an array of hot springs and thermal baths with healing mineral-rich waters. Indulge in rejuvenating spa treatments, soak in natural hot springs, and experience relaxation like never before. The thermal parks of Poseidon and Negombo are popular choices for unwinding in an idyllic setting.
Steeped in history, Ischia showcases a rich cultural heritage dating back centuries. Explore the medieval Aragonese Castle, perched atop a volcanic islet connected to the main island by a stone bridge. Immerse yourself in the island’s past by visiting the Museo del Mare (Maritime Museum) or the Villa Arbusto Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from ancient times. The picturesque town of Forio, with its narrow streets and colorful buildings, offers a glimpse into the island’s traditional architecture and local way of life.
Ischia’s gastronomy is a treat for food lovers. Sample fresh seafood delicacies, locally grown produce, and traditional dishes that reflect the island’s rich culinary heritage. Try the mouthwatering “coniglio all’ischitana” (Ischia-style rabbit) or the delectable “linguine all’aragosta” (lobster linguine), complemented by a glass of local Biancolella or Forastera wine. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the island’s famous “Ischia cake,” a delightful dessert made with almond paste and lemon.
Ischia boasts some of the best beaches in Italy. From sandy stretches with beach clubs and amenities to secluded coves accessible only by boat, there is a beach for everyone. Maronti Beach, the island’s longest stretch of sand, offers a relaxed atmosphere, while Spiaggia dei Pescatori provides a picturesque setting with colorful fishing boats lining the shore.
Ischia is a perfect destination for travellers seeking a relaxing and ‘real’ Italian island experience. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a journey through history, Ischia promises to captivate your senses and leave you with cherished memories.