The Best Things to Do in Ischia, Italy

Discover an Italian island getaway overflowing with stunning scenery, historic charm, thermal healing and sensational seaside allure.
Written By: Andrea Spallanzani
Reviewed by: Rick Orford
How & Why We Created This Article

This article has been written, reviewed, and fact-checked by Rick and I. We live in Italy and travel throughout the country to help you make the best choices for your trip. We wrote this piece to help you have the best trip possible on your next trip to Italy. Portions of this article have been written using assistive AI tools to help with tasks like research, spell-checking, grammar, and translation.

Last Updated March 22, 2024

In this article, you'll learn how:

  • Ischia is an Italian island offering stunning scenery, historical sites, beaches, thermal springs, great food and wine, and a relaxed pace.
  • Popular attractions include Aragonese Castle, churches with majolica tiles and sea views, Poseidon and Negombo thermal parks, and Mount Epomeo.
  • The island has many beautiful beaches, such as San Montano, with calm, shallow waters perfect for families, and Sant'Angelo, a picturesque fishing village.

Thinking of going on a trip to Ischia, Italy? It’s not your regular tourist hotspot, and that’s precisely the charm. There are many things to see and do in Ischia that serve up an authentic taste of Italy with an extra sprinkle of rustic allure and modern luxury, promising a travel experience that’s more intimate, more engaging, and, dare we say, more Italian.

Imagine green mountains reflecting in crystal-clear seas, punctuated by quaint villages radiating every rainbow color. Whether your interests lie in exploring grand castles steeped in history, tantalizing your taste buds with bona fide Italian delicacies, or rejuvenating your body and mind in nature’s hot tubs, Ischia isn’t just a destination—it’s a dream come true. 

Things to see in Ischia and how to get there

You can catch a ferry from Naples to Ischia, an adventure that sets the stage for your island escape. Ferries depart from Molo Beverello port in Naples and head directly to Ischia. The high-speed hydrofoil is the quickest way to reach the island, usually taking about an hour. Remember to check the schedule, as times can vary depending on the season.

Ferry boat Napoli Ischia

Once on the island, consider a boat trip around its perimeter. It’s a fantastic way to admire Ischia’s diverse coastlines and stunning coves, many of which are only accessible by sea. You can opt for a private charter or join a group tour, both offering unique experiences of the island.

Best Beaches in Ischia

One of the best things to do is obviously enjoy their beaches. Each beach offers its unique allure, whether seeking serenity or wanting to mingle with the locals. Whether you seek tranquillity or vibrant beach life, Ischia delivers.

The beautiful village of Sant'Angelo in Ischia

Forio and its Beaches

The town of Forio, located on the western side of Ischia, is famed for its spectacular sunsets and vibrant artisan culture. A walk through its cobblestone streets reveals whitewashed houses, charming local shops, and the alluring scent of native flora.

Chiesa del Soccorso is a must-see attraction in Ischia. The church, with its whitewashed walls and open-air design, offers stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The church’s terraces are decorated with vibrant majolica tiles depicting biblical scenes, a testament to the island’s rich ceramic history.

Lacco Ameno and its Beaches

Lacco Ameno, a picturesque town in the northwest of Ischia, is famed for its stunning bay and the rock formation known as the “Mushroom” (‘il Fungo’), a green tuff monolith symbol of the town. The beaches here are beautiful, with the tranquil San Montano being a standout. It’s a serene sandy cove surrounded by lush vegetation, making it a family favorite.

A stroll through the town will lead you to delightful cafés, exquisite restaurants, and intriguing archaeological sites. Yet, the highlight of Lacco Ameno is San Montano Beach. Tucked in a crescent-shaped bay, this sandy stretch is one of Ischia’s most beautiful beaches, offering calm, shallow waters perfect for families with children or those seeking a peaceful retreat.

San Montano: One of Ischia’s Most Beautiful Beaches

San Montano holds a special place among all the beautiful beaches in Ischia. It’s a paradise, nestled in a cove surrounded by high cliffs and lush vegetation. The sand is soft and golden, and the water is calm and transparent, making it an excellent choice for swimming and sunbathing.

Sant’Angelo beach

Sant'Angelo in Ischia

The cute little town of Sant’Angelo, on the south tip of the island of Ischia, is probably one of the most picturesque spots in Ischia. The little village has beautiful white houses that overlook a stunning beach. If you want to visit Sant’Angelo, remember that cars and taxis can only take you to outside of the village, you will have to walk the last few hundred meters to the center.

Must-Visit Attractions in Ischia

Castello Aragonese: The Iconic Castle of Ischia 

The Castello Aragonese in Ischia

A medieval castle perched on a volcanic rock near Ischia Ponte is an iconic landmark of Ischia. The court boasts an intriguing history, impressive architecture, and spectacular island and sea views. The Aragonese Castle is a testament to Ischia’s resilience and strength through the centuries.

Chiesa Del Soccorso: A Stunning Viewpoint

The Chiesa Del Soccorso is not just a church; it’s an emblem of Ischia’s deep-rooted culture and heritage. Perched on a promontory overlooking the sea, this whitewashed church offers a tranquil space for contemplation accompanied by breathtaking sea views. 

Mount Epomeo: Conquering Ischia’s Highest Point 

For hiking enthusiasts, a trip to Mount Epomeo, Ischia’s highest point, is the place to visit. The trek rewards you with panoramic views of the island, the sea, and beyond. From its lush vineyards to the whitewashed houses dotting the landscape, the view from the top is unforgettable.

Ischia Ponte: A Walk Through the Picturesque Town 

Sunset at Ischia Ponte

This picturesque town is known for its vibrant streets, historic buildings, and the stunning Aragonese Castle. Its narrow streets, lined with pastel-colored houses, lead to a deep marina filled with fishing boats and local eateries. Ischia Ponte uniquely blends the island’s rich history and vibrant local life, making it a must-visit destination on your Ischia adventure.

Thermal Attractions of Ischia

Ischia is no ordinary island. It’s a place where nature, beauty, and wellness converge in a captivating and stimulating display. Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the volcanic island of Ischia is a gem that shines with hundreds of thermal springs. Its unique geothermal activity has resulted in many thermal attractions, making the island an ideal destination for those seeking relaxation, health, and well-being. Let’s take a closer look at the island’s thermal parks, baths, and springs that make it a paradise for wellness enthusiasts.

Thermal Parks

When you visit Ischia, the island’s incredible thermal parks are one of the must-see attractions that should be on your bucket list. These parks combine the natural beauty of the island’s landscapes with the therapeutic benefits of its thermal waters, creating a soothing and holistic experience for visitors.

Views of Ischia

Poseidon Thermal Park: Largest Thermal Park in Ischia 

Poseidon Thermal Park is the largest thermal park on the island, sprawling over 20 acres of tropical gardens and featuring over 20 pools with varying temperatures, sea-water swimming pools, and saunas. Beautiful views can be savored from the park’s terraces, which overlook the magnificent Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s a location that simultaneously offers relaxation, rejuvenation, and mesmerizing beauty — a trifecta that’s hard to beat.

The park also offers various wellness services like mud therapy, thermal baths, and aesthetic treatments. Visiting Poseidon Thermal Park should be on your bucket list because it provides a unique wellness experience that combines the therapeutic effects of thermal waters with stunning natural surroundings.

Negombo Thermal Park: A Luxurious Oasis 

Negombo Thermal Park is another thermal treasure on the island. Nestled in the beautiful Bay of San Montano, this park is a luxurious oasis with several thermal pools, a beach, and a well-tended garden. The park’s thermal water comes from a 45-meter-deep well, ensuring that the waters are pure and therapeutic.

With 15 thermal pools embedded in a beautiful botanical garden, Negombo is a place where you can experience wellness and tranquillity. The park also includes a beach, spa services, and a restaurant, providing visitors with a comprehensive experience of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Thermal Baths

The island’s volcanic activity significantly creates the thermal baths that Ischia is so well-known for. The volcanic origins of Ischia have blessed the island with hot springs and fumaroles, which have naturally heated the subsoil waters to temperatures ranging from 70 to 80°C. This hot water then flows into the island’s thermal baths, providing a source of therapeutic heat that has been renowned since ancient times for its healing properties.

Visiting the thermal baths can offer a deeply relaxing experience. When you immerse yourself in these baths, you can feel the stress melt away from your body as the warm water soothes your muscles. But the baths offer more than just relaxation — they also provide therapeutic benefits. The waters are rich in minerals, and soaking in them can help to alleviate various health issues such as arthritis, rheumatism, and skin disorders.

Cavascura: The Ancient Roman Bath

In the quaint heart of Ischia, nestled within a rock gorge, you’ll find Cavascura. This thermal bath whispers tales from the Roman era. A trip to Cavascura is like journeying back in time – it’s as much about experiencing the aura of the past as it is about soaking in its therapeutic waters. This ancient Roman bath, whose name comes from “Cava Oscura,” meaning “Dark Quarry,” has enticed wellness seekers with its warm, mineral-rich waters for centuries.

The thermal waters at Cavascura originate from the subsoil, naturally heated by the island’s geothermal activity, at a temperature of around 70°C (158°F). As they travel to the surface, these waters gather several beneficial minerals, infusing the baths with healing properties.

Nitrodi Hot Springs: The Healing Waters

Not too far from Cavascura, in the municipality of Barano, lie the Nitrodi Hot Springs, another testament to the island’s rich thermal heritage. Known as the “Healing Waters,” Nitrodi offers an exceptional wellness experience. Its waters, percolating through the subsoil, gather various health-related minerals. As they emerge from the springs, these waters maintain a constant temperature of around 29°C (84°F) – the perfect warmth for a healing soak.

Nitrodi Hot Springs is not just about the waters; it’s where healing meets nature. As you walk towards the springs, you are embraced by the gentle sound of the falling water and the refreshing scent of the surrounding vegetation. The area is a botanic treasure, flourishing with Mediterranean scrub and age-old olive trees. This tranquil atmosphere complements the therapeutic experience, allowing you to connect with nature while you heal.

Day Trips from Ischia

Ischia is a destination of remarkable beauty, serenity, and captivating allure. Known for its thermal spas and verdant landscapes, it is also an excellent base for exciting day trips. 

Day Trip to Capri

To reach Capri, board a group tour boat from piers 0 or 21. For a reasonable price of around EUR 17 per person, you’ll be on your way to an adventure marked by the Azure Mediterranean Sea. On your way, take in the sight of the famed Faraglioni rock formations and stop at the entrance of the ethereal Blue Grotto.

Exploring Naples

Naples is a must-visit city on any Southern Italy itinerary. Reachable from Ischia by ferry, Naples presents an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant life of Southern Italy’s largest city.

Monastero Santa Chiara

Your day in Naples can begin with a visit to the Royal Palace and Piazza del Plebiscito. From there, venture into the historic center. On this UNESCO World Heritage site, you can explore the stunning Duomo, the archaeological museum, and the underground Greco-Roman city at Naples Underground.

Visit Procida: The Underrated Gem of the Bay of Naples 

A little-known yet equally charming destination is the island of Procida. The smallest island in the Bay of Naples is a well-kept secret, a tranquil getaway from the bustling tourist spots, offering a glimpse into authentic Italian life. Procida is just a short boat ride from Ischia, and it provides a day of exploration in its colorful, picturesque marina, Corricella, and its historic center, Terra Murata.

On land, wander around the picturesque fishing village of Corricella, visit the historic Terra Murata, or relax on one of Procida’s serene beaches. Its genuine, rustic charm offers a beautiful contrast to Capri’s glitz and Naples’s energetic vibe.

The Gastronomic Journey in Ischia

Ischia’s appeal isn’t limited to its stunning landscapes and thermal springs. The island’s culinary scene is gastronomic, offering traditional Italian fare, breathtaking dining locations, and distinctive local wines.

Traditional Cuisine of Ischia: A Taste of Southern Italy 

Pizza fritta in Ischia

The island’s cuisine is essentially abundant seafood, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and freshly made pasta. Not to be missed are the traditional rabbit dish ‘Coniglio all’ischitana,’ the ‘linguine ai frutti di mare,’ a pasta dish brimming with fresh seafood, and the sweet and tangy ‘delizia al Simone, a local dessert made from the island’s bountiful lemons.

Dining with a View: Best Terraces in Ischia 

Dinner in Ischia

Ischia’s varied terrain offers numerous restaurants and cafes with stunning views. Whether it’s beachfront dining in Sant’Angelo, enjoying panoramic vistas from the Aragonese Castle, or eating alfresco in Forio, the island offers an array of options. These terraces serve delicious food and provide an ambiance that’s quintessentially Mediterranean.

Sip on Ischia’s Unique Wines: A Vineyard Tour 

End your gastronomic journey in Ischia with a visit to a local vineyard. Ischia’s unique volcanic soil gives its wines a distinctive flavor. A vineyard tour will allow you to taste these wines, like Biancolella and Per’e Palummo, right where they’re produced. As you sip on your wine, take in the breathtaking vistas of the vineyards and beyond.

Visiting Ischia Ponte and Ischia Porto

Two places, in particular, are famous for being top attractions, and for good reason: Ischia Ponte and Ischia Porto. Rich in history, vibrant with color, and alive with the irresistible scent of the sea, these coastal towns offer a taste of Italy that’s as delicious as a scoop of homemade gelato.

Castello Aragonese

The Castello Aragonese is a sight to behold. The fortress dates back to 474 BC and was initially built by Hiero I of Syracuse. However, in the 15th century, the castle got its current name and form under Alfonso of Aragon. Over time, the court has served as a political and cultural center, a military fortress, and a residential palace. Today, it is a museum housing many artifacts that echo the island’s rich past.

The Castle of Ischia

The climb up to the castle is a rewarding experience in itself. As you ascend the cobblestone path, the stunning views of the surrounding sea and the island unfold. Inside, the castle is a maze of historic buildings, gardens, and stunning vistas, all waiting to be explored. The court is also home to the Church of San Pietro. This Byzantine-style building adds a spiritual element to the historic structure.

Exploring Ischia Porto

On the other hand, Ischia Porto is the island’s main port and a bustling hub of activity. The area exudes a lively charm with its vibrant atmosphere and attractions. A stroll around the port offers impressive views of docked boats, bustling waterfront restaurants, and sun-drenched piazzas filled with local life.

Sunset at Ischia Porto

The area is known for its excellent shopping options and many eateries. The Corso Vittoria Colonna, Ischia Porto’s main shopping street, is a must-visit for shopping enthusiasts.

Outdoor Activities in Ischia

The island is also a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, with various activities that allow you to immerse yourself in the island’s stunning natural landscape.

Mount Epomeo

If you’re up for a challenge, climbing Mount Epomeo, the highest peak on the island, is an unforgettable adventure. The mountain is the tip of a submerged volcanic complex and stands at an impressive height of 789 meters.

The journey to the top can be demanding, but the path is well-marked, and the reward is worth it. As you ascend, you’ll pass through lush vineyards, forests, and rocky terrains. Upon reaching the summit, you’re treated to a panoramic view of the entire island, the Tyrrhenian Sea, and even the distant mainland on clear days. 

Serrara Fontana

A perfect way to wrap up your adventure in Ischia. This charming town is located high above the sea and offers quaint narrow streets, old stone houses, and beautiful gardens.

The town is known for its panoramic terrace, Belvedere di Serrara, which offers stunning views of the island and the sea beyond. Besides the gorgeous vistas, Serrara Fontana provides excellent hiking opportunities and relaxing natural walks.

An Island Affair to Remember

It’s where you’ll leave footprints on the beaches, but more importantly, where the island will imprint its enchanting spell on your heart. The beauty of Ischia isn’t just seen—it’s felt.

You’re not just a tourist – an explorer, a connoisseur, a part of the island’s vibrant tapestry. You won’t just visit; you’ll experience. You’ll breathe in the fresh sea air, taste the richness of Italian cuisine, wander through historical relics, and soak up the magical vibes of the island. It’s not just about the picture-perfect vistas; it’s about the people, the stories, the laughter, the memories – the magic that makes Ischia, Ischia.