The Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri may be some of the most popular summer destinations in Italy, but there's another nearby island that flies under the radar for many tourists.
Ischia is an island off the coast of Italy in the Bay of Naples, not far from its famous neighbor Capri. It's easily accessible by a one-hour ferry ride from the city of Naples, which is also a jumping-off point for exploring the popular Amalfi Coast with its famous towns like Positano.
Unlike Capri or the Amalfi Coast, Ischia does not feel as crowded or touristy, even during the peak summer months.
And while it's not exactly cheap, it's more affordable than popular neighboring destinations too.
If you're looking for a unique destination in Italy that's off the main tourist path, Ischia is one of the best places to go.
Here are the top reasons you should add Ischia to your bucket list:
1. Thermal Baths
One of the most popular reasons to visit Ischia is for its thermal baths and spas. The thermal water of Ischia has long been thought to have restorative properties good for treating a variety of ailments.
There are a number of thermal baths and spas around the island, but one of the best is Parco Termale Giardini Poseidon, or Poseidon Garden. Here you'll find pools and baths of various temperatures overlooking the ocean. Spa treatments are also available.
2. Castello Aragonese
Another one of the top things to do in Ischia is visit Castello Aragonese. This dramatic castle is set on a rocky islet connected to Ischia by a causeway.
It dates back to 474 BC when the first castle was constructed by Hiero I of Syracuse, and it was later expanded and fortified in the 1400s by Alfonso V of Aragon.
The castle is one of the top sights in Ischia. It's been beautifully preserved and also contains modern art installations, along with having a cafe.
3. Giardini la Mortella
Giardini la Mortella is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places to go in Ischia. These gardens were created by Sir William Walton, a British composer who fell in love with Ischia and moved there.
They have become one of the top attractions on the island, and you can easily spend an entire afternoon wandering around these expansive hilltop gardens that offer stunning views of the island and the ocean below.
4. Explore The Towns
There are several towns around the island you can explore. It's best to have a rental car to get around Ischia, or you can take the bus, which runs in a circle around the island.
Ischia Porto is the largest and busiest town, being home to the main port. Forio is another town with plenty of restaurants, beaches, and things to do. Lacco Ameno is a smaller, charming town with lots of restaurants.
5. Go To The Beach
Finally, one of the top reasons to visit Ischia is its beaches. Vivid blue water, sandy beaches, and hidden coves are among the features of the beaches in Ischia.
Many of the beaches in Ischia are large, and there is no shortage of beaches on the island, meaning you don't have to contend with extreme crowds as you might in a smaller place like Positano.
Some of the best beaches in Ischia are Maronti Beach, Citara Beach, and Chiaia Beach.
Essential Info For Visiting Ischia
- Ischia can be reached by ferry from Naples, and it takes roughly one hour.
- Renting a car is the best way to get around Ischia because there's not much public transportation (aside from a bus that runs in a loop around the island), and taxis are expensive.
- July and August are the hottest and most crowded months to visit Ischia, whereas June and September offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.
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