Ischia: sights and practical tips
Ischia is a small island: 7 by 9 km, slightly stretched from east to west. (Just in case – this is Italy, Campania region, near Naples).
In the center of the island – the mountains (more precisely – three volcanoes), along the perimeter are scattered towns and villages.
On the east coast there is Ischia Porto, which smoothly flows into Ischia Ponte, in the north – Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno, in the west – Forio (the second largest city) and Panza, in the south – Sant’Angelo and Barano. There are also smaller villages.
Where is the best place to settle in Ischia?
It all depends on the purpose of your visit. If you came to Ischia to improve your health you will surely take a hotel close to one of the thermal parks.
The largest thermal complexes are “Gardens of Poseidon”, “Negombo and Castiglione. If you prefer “Negombo”, look for a hotel in Lacco Ameno, if “Gardens of Poseidon” – in Forio and “Castiglione” is between Ischia Porto and Casamicciola Terme. From Ischia Porto to “Castiglione” is 2 km, some people walk without waiting for the bus.
Pools in Negombo
The longest beaches of the island are Chitara and Maronti . Chitara is right near Forio. Part of the beach is occupied by the Poseidon Gardens thermal park. Maronti is more secluded; the nearest town to it is Barano.
There is a bay on Ischia Sorgeto, where the hot spring emerges directly into the sea. So if you do not have extra money for a thermal park, you can go to the “wild spring”. A trail leads to Sorgeto Bay from the village of Panza. Or you can take a sea cab from Sant’Angelo.
(By the way, this is a case where you can swim in the sea in winter. The temperature of the spring is 80 degrees).
If you expect to move around the island a lot, go to Naples, Sorrento and other islands – settle in Ischia Porto.
If you like solitude, take a closer look at Sant’Angelo. However, in almost every town you can find a villa, located in a secluded place, with its baths and gardens. But if you like to spend your evenings wandering through the souvenir shops, stores, listen to street musicians, in general, walk around the evening city, choose either Forio, or Ischia Porto / Ponte.
Transport in Ischia
The bus service on the island is quite convenient.
The most popular routes are the circular ones. One of them – CD (i.e. – circolare destra) makes a clockwise circle around the island, the other – CS (circolare sinistra) – counterclockwise. The first buses of these lines leave Ischia Porto at 4:20 and the last at 1 am. So, you can easily have dinner with a view of the beautiful sunset on the west coast and then go to your hotel on the other side of the island. However, sometimes you can wait for the bus for half an hour or an hour. The bus makes a complete circle around the island in 1-20.
Among the popular routes are also line 1 (Ischia Porto – Sant’Angelo), line 2 (Ischia Porto – Gardens of Poseidon Thermal Park), line 5 (Ischia Porto – Maronti Beach).
You can see the full schedule here, under THE PUBLIC BUS SERVICE, Timetable EAVBUS.
So, in general, when choosing a hotel should not be so strongly focused on the proximity of something, say, to settle near the beach Maronti, if you can easily reach it from the same Ischia-Porto.
A single ticket (singola) for the bus costs 1.20, daily ticket (giornaliero) – 3.60, weekly ticket (settimanale) – 12.60 euros.
Ischia has three ports: Ischia Porto, Casamicciola and Forio. See here for a timetable of maritime transport.
There are about 15 trips a day to Naples or Pozzuoli, often calling at the island of Procida (also recommended to see).
From Ischia to Capri there is one flight a day: at 10-35 (from the company Alilauro). After Capri, the ship goes to Sorrento.
There is an evening flight to Sorrento at 17-25. (These flights run until October 31).
Tickets for the flight are sold the day the ship sails. I tried to buy a ticket to Capri a day in advance, I was asked to come in the day of departure, half an hour before boarding the ship.
There are two windows at the port ticket office. The company Caremar sells tickets on the left and Alilauro on the right. In general, southern Italy is characterized by numerous small companies on various modes of transportation.
The queue at the Caremar window
In travel agencies on the island, you can buy tours to Capri, the Amalfi Coast.
So, the excursion to Capri is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and costs 33 euros. The excursion to Positano-Amalfi takes place on Thursdays and Sundays and costs 40 euros.
A three-hour boat ride around the island of Ischia itself with an hour’s stopover in Sant’Angelo is offered for €18. An excursion to Procida costs 20 euros.
When we boarded the ship in Naples, preparing to sail to Ischia, everyone was given a brochure containing useful information about the island. In particular, there were schedules of sea and land transport, a description of bus routes, and a list of all the museums.
Such a brochure, I think, you can get in the tourist offices on the spot. I strongly recommend to get it.
Ischia for recovery: thermae, sea and hiking
Ischia is a health-improving island, and there are many opportunities to be cured, strengthen your health, get in shape.
The main treasure of Ischia is thermal springs. There are 67 fumaroles, 29 underground pools and 103 thermal springs on this volcanic island.
But to consider the island only as a balneological and thermal resort is to use half of its potential.
The center of the island is mountainous. The highest point of the island is the top of the volcano Epomeo (788 m). There are two more volcanoes: Trabotti (512 m) and Monte Vezzi (395 m). There are numerous hiking trails of varying difficulty on the mountains. Routes pass through the picturesque countryside, the views from above are incredible. The most accessible way to climb Mount Epomeo is described here.
View of Forio from Above
Along the mountain trail.
It seems to me optimal to structure your day in Ischia as follows: go for a mountain hike in the morning (or sightseeing), and swim in the sea and/or go to the thermal park in the afternoon. Especially since from 13 hours the price of a ticket to the thermal parks is 5 euros less (this counts as a half-day ticket).
In the evening you can take a pleasant walk, visit a concert or have dinner in a beautiful place.
Ischia is called the island of pensioners. Indeed, I’ve never seen so many elderly people gathered in one place before. But you should have seen these pensioners! Skinny, athletic, with backpacks and trekking poles! In the mornings they gather at bus stops and load into friendly crowds onto the bus, which takes them to the beginning of the next route. By golly, it was enviable at times. A very proper old age. Just perfect.
The group is getting ready to hike.
I have already mentioned the informational pamphlet that everyone was given when they boarded the ship in Naples. It contained, among other useful information, descriptions of the most common hiking routes with an indication of the difficulty, mileage, and approximate time of the route. If a person does not dare to go on the route himself, he can join a group with an instructor and go in company. The cost of organized mountain walking is about 20 euros.
Attractions of Ischia
In addition to the natural attractions of Ischia, such as thermal springs and mountains, there are man-made attractions on the island, namely museums, churches, villas, botanical gardens.
The main attraction of Ischia is the Castle of Aragon. Very well advised to visit it. The castle is situated opposite Ischia Ponte, in 15 minutes walk from the port of Ischia.
The castle was built on a separate rock not far from the coast and is a conglomeration of a variety of buildings. Walking around the rock with a peek into all sorts of nooks and crannies turns out to be very fascinating.
The rock is connected to the “land” by a bridge, by which this part of Ischia and received the prefix Ponte (“bridge”).
Not far from the Cathedral of Ischia there is the Museum of the Sea, housed in the Palazzo del Clock.
The Botanical Gardens of La Mortella are the second most important museums in Ischia. It is located between the towns of Lacco Ameno and Forio. It’s a magnificent garden that climbs up the mountain slope. Do not miss this delightful piece of the island.
La Mortella Garden.
In the town of Forio itself there is a small botanical garden called Ravino . Numerous species of cacti form the basis of the collection. Through the garden walk peacocks, ponies, in cages – rabbits.
In the town of Lacco Ameno there are two archaeological museums. One of them (Museum of Saint Restituta) is underground, the entrance to it is near the Church of Saint Restituta (it’s the very center of the town, Piazza Santa Restituta). Unfortunately, when I was there, the underground museum was closed.
Another archaeological museum called Pitekusa is housed in Villa Arbusto (Pitekusa is an ancient Greek city on Ischia, the first ancient Greek colony in Italy, which founded the Great Greece). You have to climb up to the villa, it is “nestled” in the middle of a mountain slope. Frankly, the museum is poor and the villa is rustic. However, there is an outstanding exhibit there – the so-called Nestor’s Cup, a goblet, dating back to the 8th century B.C., with an inscription in Ancient Greek.
The city of Forio is famous for its many towers and churches, among which the Pontifical Basilica of the Madonna of Loreto and the Church of Mary of the Snow Soccorso stand out.
Church of Maria of the Snow Soccorso
Every night, people gather on the promontory behind the church of Soccorso in the hope of seeing a rare optical phenomenon, the green beam. This phenomenon occurs when the sun sets over the horizon in clear weather (or rises). In my day, the horizon line was shaded by clouds. There was no green flash.
As for the towers of Forio, they were built in the 15th and 16th centuries to prevent pirate raids. Twelve towers have survived. The tallest of them is Torrione, round at the base of the tower, which for 3 euros can be climbed.
Opposite the Basilica of the Madonna of Loreto stands the square at the base of the Quattrocchi (“four-eyed”) tower.
Quattrocchi Tower (Quattrocchi)
Finding towers in the narrow labyrinths of Forio can become a fascinating activity.
On the island, and now and then you stumble upon traces of former civilizations. For example, this aqueduct in the area of Fiano is left over from Roman times.
Map of Ischia with sights
Ischia: on your own or a tour?
I rented a hotel in Ischia Porto, and in this town I hardly ever heard Russian speech.
But in the thermal parks Russian speech was heard often. I met especially many compatriots in the Poseidon Gardens.
In conversations it turned out that, as a rule, they all came specifically for thermae and specifically chose hotels near Forio. The most surprising thing was that the package tour is cheaper than the independent one. So, one woman said that the tour for two weeks with breakfast and dinner cost about 50 thousand. The same option for a week – about 30 thousand.
Another thing is that I did not want to limit myself to Ischia, I wanted to live in Amalfi and Naples, so the package tour did not suit me. But if you just want thermal springs and the beach, then look at the offers of travel agencies. Not always an independent vacation is cheaper. Besides, you don’t have to take a suitcase and a bus to get from Naples airport to the port, to change the ship, and on Ischia to take a cab to the hotel – your transfer is already included. And on the island you can organize your vacation as you want. Mountain hikes, museums, city walks, excursions to Capri or Amalfi, thermae and the sea – at your discretion.
I even think it is better to take only breakfast in hotels, so you can have dinner in different places on the island. Although, of course, half-board at the hotel is cheaper than dinners in restaurants.
About the food
Finally, a few words about the food.
The main dish of the Iskitan cuisine is considered a rabbit on Iskitan. The rabbit meat is stewed in a clay pot with basil and parsley, and lemon and wine are added. But I didn’t want any meat in the heat. I took mostly something seafood. On the first day I got mussels. I was expecting a pot, like in Normandy. They must have been half the Normandy portion. Normandy mussels are smaller and served with broth. The Iskitinsky mussels are big and taste fattier and softer. I liked the Normandy version with broth better; however, these were good too.
The other time I ordered anchovies. The freshest and most delicious. I had dinner at St. Angelo’s. The whole promenade is fish restaurants, there’s a lot of competition, and the food is very good.
In front of the restaurants there are freshly caught fish to choose from. Fry you any of them.
Of wine I took the local white. It was wonderful. Local brands: Biancolella, Forastera, Rilla.
Ischia is famous for its sweets. What we did not want in this heat was sweets. They looked very attractive, but we didn’t want them at all.
Volcanic soils are known for their fertility and abundance. Plus the Mediterranean climate and excellent ecology. Fruits, berries, vegetables are delicious here. Very pleased with the local tomatoes.
The main souvenir in Ischia is pottery.
The island is flooded with stores selling ceramics. Each such store is a mini-museum, demonstrating the exuberant imagination of local potters and artists. Ceramics decorate the streets, benches, staircases, and city fountains.
Also as a souvenir you can buy the local thermal cosmetics and mud.
Well, and, of course, take home the local wine and limoncello from the local lemons.
Weather on Ischia in late May
Weather was sunny, air temperature was 25-27, water temperature was about 20-22. Bathing in the sea was not a lot, but for me, the water was suitable for swimming. (However, I am not an indicator, I was swimming in the beginning of May in Alanya, and in February in Kemer).
Many people go to Ischia in May, because the main bathing season has not yet started, and on Ischia instead of the sea you can swim in the pools with thermal water.
Still, of course, the best period – is September, when the sun and softer, and the sea is warm.
At this end of my story about the island. In the following articles I will tell in detail about the thermal parks, and the main attractions of Ischia.
Attractions of Ischia
Castle Aragonese Source Sorgeto Reef Fungo Thermal Park “Negombo” Thermal Park “Castiglione” Ischia Porto The House in the Rock Tower Torrione Thermal Park “Gardens of Poseidon” Park “Tropical”
The site contains the sights of Ischia – photos, descriptions and tips for travelers. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find the answers to the questions: what to see in Ischia, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Ischia.
Every traveler going to Ischia makes a visit to the famous Castello Aragonese a must on his itinerary.
As any such monumental building of antiquity, the castle of Aragonese has a rich and complicated fate. Historic wars, internecine wars and incessant raids could not grant peace either to the island, its inhabitants or, of course, to the majestic castle. The Romans, Visigoths, Vandals, pirates, Greeks, Germans – many masters proclaimed Aragonese as their residence.
Today Castello Aragonese attracts tourists from all over the world. The calling card of the island harmoniously combines the power of military and defensive buildings with naive, ambitious motives. Germanic and Norman styles also found their way into the interior and exterior decoration of the castle. Of particular note are the inimitable works of the masters of the Giotto school whose frescoes can be seen in the castle.
The island of Ischia is famous for its thermal springs, some of which are used in hotels and parks. Healing hot springs with temperatures of +80 ° and above are also found in the bay of Sorgeto – here there is a wild spring with free access. To prevent tourists from getting burnt by hot water, specially for them are arranged boulder baths. The hot springs of Sorgeto Bay flow into the sea, so tourists can bathe not only in summer but also in winter.
The spring contains phosphates, sulfates, bromine, mineral salts and other substances that have therapeutic effect on rheumatism, arthritis, gynecological diseases, metabolic disorders, skin and other diseases. The tufa stones on the beach and in the water itself, in the process of rubbing, release thermal mud, which can be used to rejuvenate the skin of the face and body.
Coordinates : 40.73008800,13.87470200
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Ischia, the largest island in the Bay of Naples, is a wonderful place to stay. This picturesque piece of land with an almost perfect climate and expressive nature has many historical and natural attractions: thermal springs, historical artifacts or quirks of nature. For example, the reef of Fungo is one of the main attractions of the tiny town of Lacco Ameno.
“Fungo” is Italian for mushroom. The Neapolitan reef, a rock protruding from the sea, really resembles a mushroom. This tuff outcrop has served as a mooring for fishing boats since ancient times. Over time, the sea level dropped and the cliff became more and more exposed, gradually taking on the more distinct shape of a mushroom. Now from the shore it looks unusual and very attractive. Fungo gradually became a kind of symbol of the town.
There is a romantic legend associated with the unusual natural formation. Once upon a time, two teenagers fell in love with each other, but their parents did not approve of this feeling. The young people decided to flee by sea, but drowned not far from the shore. The earth goddess Gaia, shocked by the story of their love, erected an umbrella-shaped tombstone at the death site of the teenagers. It is said that to this day, the lovers are resting under the umbrella of the mushroom, sheltered from prying eyes.
In photo mode, you can view the sights in Ischia by photo only.
Negombo Thermal Park
NEGOMBO (Lacco Ameno) – in the fabulous Gulf of San Montano, surrounded by lush southern nature, is one of the most beautiful thermal parks of Ischia – Gardens of Negombo with a magnificent beach with the finest sand. There are 12 swimming pools with thermal and sea water, a beauty parlor, sauna, Turkish bath in a natural grotto, more than 500 species of exotic Mediterranean plants. It remarkably combines the untouched primeval beauty of this charming corner of the island with “inclusions” in the form of fancifully shaped pools, sometimes resembling antique tanks for collecting rainwater.
Thermal Park Castiglione
The Termepark Castiglione is situated in a picturesque cove between the small towns of Ischia Porto and Casamicolli. The beauty of the mountainous terrain, the proud unapproachable rocks complement the consonance of exotic flowers and landscape masterpieces. In the sea go the waters of the healing springs, which have become the unspoken center of tourism on the island.
Park Castiglione offers its guests a complete break from the busy everyday life of a traveler, to improve their health and relax, enjoying the unique beauty of the local scenery. Swimming pools with mineral water of different temperature, mud baths, traditional massages of different countries, natural saunas will help you in the pursuit of beauty of your body. Equally enjoyable are the seafood restaurants by the marina and a walk through the sky, a cable car will take guests to the resort on an aerial journey through the Castiglione Park.
Coordinates : 40.74745200,13.92463100
Ischia Porto is the main town of the six towns of Ischia. There are cafes, restaurants, discos, stores, souvenir shops, hotels, and thermal springs. All the nightlife is concentrated in Ischia Porto, so the best option for a great holiday will be this town, where you will not get bored.
In Ischia Porto tourists from all over the world come to rest, relax and be cured. For example, thanks to local springs you can cure skin, heart and other diseases. Also in the hotels of the city run a variety of programs for weight loss.
The best time to visit the city is in May and June, as well as in September and October, when it is not very hot and not too crowded.
House on the Rock
The House in the Rock on the island of Ischia is residential and you can even go inside for a tour to see the outlandish and tidy interior and to chat with the owner of the house.
Inside the house, the atmosphere of the island’s ancient dwellings has been fully restored. The building, carved into the rock, sits on one of the steep mountain vistas, so large tour buses can’t park here. To see this landmark can only those who are really interested in the unusual house, telling the story of the life of the locals.
The house consists of a kitchen and three rooms, which are fully furnished, decorated with sculptures, paintings, crafts from seashells. The house is heated, so it is suitable for habitation.
It is worth saying that the houses in the rocks are found all over the island. In the past, such houses served as a refuge in the invasion of pirates, and today some of them are used as wine cellars and houses.
Torrione is the main fortress tower, which was built to protect the city from Saracen raids in the 9th century. A few centuries later the fortress was equipped with cannons and firearms.
The tower consists of two levels: the first, which was a warehouse for food, ammunition and water, and the second, which housed a garrison of 10 men with a commander. The round shape of the tower allowed the observers a full view. Here was an observer who, upon seeing enemy ships, gave a signal to the garrison.
Nowadays the ground floor of the Torrione is used as a city museum, the upper floor is home to a collection of paintings of the famous artist Giovanni Maltese.
The Gardens of Poseidon Thermal Park
The Gardens of Poseidon thermal park is located in a picturesque bay with a beautiful sandy beach and mountain scenery overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Also near the park is the volcano Epomeo.
“The Gardens of Poseidon” are indeed unique and fragrant gardens with eucalyptus, pine, olive, citrus trees, in the shade of which one connects with nature, the sun and the sea. There are also flowers growing here, among which there are 18 swimming pools with thermal water of different temperatures. For children in the park there are small pools with plain water and for adults there is a huge pool with sea water.
Thermal waters consist of sulfates, mineral salts, phosphates, bromine, which are useful for the treatment of various diseases. In the grotto is a sauna, built on a hyperthermal spring in the style of ancient Roman thermae.
Coordinates : 40.71870500,13.86148500
In all of Italy, it’s hard to find a better location for a thermal park than the island of Ischia, an abode of pristine natural beauty. Citrus and pine groves, the unique curves of the serpentine mountains and quiet paths along the coast, the abundance of flowers in the parks and the modest vegetation of the mountains.
A trip to Ischia will certainly take you to the famous thermal park “Tropical”. The name says it all – the exotic plants gathered here can compete even with the most famous botanical gardens of the world. You can relax and rest in any of the eleven swimming pools of the complex, open and closed. Dr. Kneipe’s pool with cold and hot water is available for those who like contrasting temperatures. Jacuzzis, saunas, mud baths, and massages help to reinforce the idea that Ischia should be visited more often.
The most popular attractions in Ischia with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit the famous sites of Ischia on our website.
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