I must admit, Ischia is my favourite of all the islands around Naples. Sorrento is where I spent my childhood, but Ischia is where I spent a lot of my adolescence. I used to come here with my school friends for the summer holidays. Ischia is a volcanic island with large vineyards and wonderful beaches. It is called 'the green island'.
Since the ancient Roman times Ischia has been famous for its mineral-rich thermal waters and is now still today a popular thermal bath destination. Going to a thermal bath park in Ischia is a unique experience. All these parks offer indoor and outdoor swimming pools with curative mineral hot water with hot and cold temperatures. Some also have restaurants and swimming pools for kids. I personally went to the famous Poseidon, park which has a natural sauna and an underwater Japanese path of stones, for the circulation of the legs. I can strongly recommend Poseidon, however there are several on the island, like Negombo, Aphrodite or Castiglione.
Ischia is not just an island to relax and visit the wellness spas, but there are also many things to do and see. The island has many little towns, the main centre is Ischia Porto, where there is the port which is dominated by the enchanting Aragon castle. Other lovely towns are Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno, both famous for their amazing beaches. In Lacco Ameno, you can also visit the beautiful Villa Arbusto, the Archeological Museum of Pinthecusae and the spectacular Santa Restituta church.
All over the island the beaches are beautiful and worth having a look. I personally always loved Sant'Angelo and Maronti, small fishing villages at the south of the island, as well as the bay of Cartaromana, in the east near the Aragon castle, or the Spiaggia degli Inglesi (The English Beach), not too far fom Casamicciola, just to name few.
Forio is another fishing village on the west side of the island, less visited by tourists and is a real piece of paradise. Here is the incredible local architecture of the Santa Maria del Soccorso Church, dated from the fourteenth century. Not far from here is another amazing beach of Citara.
Inland Ischia also has also a lot to offer, like excursions to Mount Epomeo (788 mt), or the panoramic view from Serrara Fontana and Barano, from here you can reach the beach of Maronti, dotted with thermal springs and fumaroles.
For food lovers, Ischia offers a good variety and quality of food. Fish and also rabbit are the typical dishes. There are many good restaurants and a few of the most famous are Deus Neptunus and Divina in Sant'Angelo and restaurant La Pietra, Bellavista, Alberto, Zi Nannina, Aglio olio e pomodoro in Ischia town.
Ischia's climate is almost warm and can be very hot in July and August, which are also the busiest months of the year for tourists. In Spring and Autumn the weather can also be very lovely.
HOW TO GET TO ISCHIA
Like Capri, Ischia is only accessible from the port. From Naples, you can take ferries and hydrofoils at Molo Beverello or Mergellina port and from Pozzuoli and Procida. Also during the Summer months, from Salerno, Amalfi, Positano, Sorrento, Capri and Formia.
Ischia has three ports: Ischia, Casamicciola Terme (ferries and hydrofoils) and Forio (only hydrofoils).
Like for Capri, the journey can vary according to the type of boat. If you are going with the ferry, there are two types, 90 minutes with a stop in Procida or 70 minutes without. If instead you are taking the hydrofoil, the journey is around 50 minutes to Ischia and Casamicciola Terme and about 1 hour to Forio. Hydrofoil of Caremar and Snav stop in Procida, before arriving in Ischia and Casamicciola, while the Alilauro hydrofoils are direct to Ischia and Forio.
Like Capri, Ischia is very difficult to get around by car as most of the island is only accessible for the residents. Bus is the best way to get around and connects the most important places on the island. The cost of a single ticket is € 1,50 and there are daily and weekly tickets that can be purchased from ticket offices, bars and magazine shops.