If you’ve done the Amalfi coast and you’re ready to experience a fresh Italian destination which has all the charm of Capri without the crowds and price tag, think no further than the amazing island of Ischia. The less well-known neighbor of Capri situated in the sparkling Gulf of Naples, the island gem of Ischia is a small volcanic island measuring only 18-square miles. To date, Ischia has been one of Italy’s best-kept secrets – popular with Italian tourists while flocks of international travelers descend on neighboring islands. And it’s not hard to understand why.
Offering the characteristic jaw-dropping natural landscapes the Amalfi area is known for along with thermal spas and a variety of boutique accommodation, here are some of the top reasons to visit Ischia on your next trip to Italy.
1. There are more beautiful sandy beaches
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.
2. It is rich in unspoilt natural beauty and great for relaxation
As a (dormant) volcanic island, thermal waters are everywhere in Ischia taking many forms including thermal parks, spas, and dedicated wellness centers. Depending on your mood and time of year thermal baths around the island vary in temperature from a soothing 28 degrees centigrade 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.
3. Towns and villages are brimming with culture and activity
While Porto is the island’s capital offering ferry connections to other neighboring 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 colorful coastal villas and gardens of Giardini La Mortella. Every town will impress you with their 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.
4. Restaurants and accommodation are 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.
5. Food, drink, and nightlife aplenty
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 Ischias 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.
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