This tiny, rectangular shaped island has just 34 kilometres of coastline yet visitors are spoilt for choice with beaches of all sizes and types. Chiaia in Forio d’Ischia on the west coast is one of the most popular beaches with shallow waters, ideal for a family holiday. Maronti Beach in Barano is also well worth a visit, the largest beach on Ischia with golden sand. There are sunbeds and a few small restaurants on the beach, a great place to relax and enjoy the view of nearby Sant’Angelo, a small, highly colourful and picturesque fishing village.
Ischians are extremely proud of their culture and heritage and a visit to one of their many museums will highlight this. The Sea Museum in the capital town of Ischia and is a great insight in to past times on the island when fishing was the main industry. Villa Arbusto Museum is in Lacco Ameno on the north coast. Once owned by Angelo Rizzoli, a film producer who introduced Ischia to artists, actors and film makers in the 1950’s leading to its rise in popularity. His villa is now been made in to a museum with many artefacts and works of art.
Ischia is a fun and exciting place to be after dark. Typically Italian, good food is high on the list of priorities and never to be rushed, yet there is always time for music and dancing. Folklore acts are often seen performing in town and village squares with dancers wearing the traditional dress of Ischia. A wonderful sight and a great atmosphere. For a more modern night out, Ischia has some wonderful bars and nightclubs which are open until the early hours.
The most iconic sight of Ischia is the Aragonese Castle. Built on a tiny volcanic island and connected to Ischia Ponte by a causeway. This imposing Medieval Castle can be explored on foot and has a lift to take visitors to the top, alternatively, for the more adventurous, there is a tunnel which travels up through the rocks which is like going back in time. The Castle is fascinating to explore along with the church and the old convent. The views from the terraces on each side of the island are breath-taking with different angles overlooking Ischia and beyond; simply stunning. The Castle is now privately owned and has cafes, a museum and hosts the yearly Ischia film festival.
Ischia is fast becoming one of the best destinations to visit for a wellness holiday. The natural resources of the island are vast with its numerous thermal springs and mud. Each have both relaxation and healing elements and are extremely popular with visitors and locals alike. Casamicciola on the north coast is well known for its thermal spas, some of which can be found at the Castiglione Thermal Park. With ten different thermal pools of varying temperatures, treatments can also be arranged for skin perfection or to cure ailments. Volcanic mud is popular on the island too and used for its healing powers, it also allegedly makes people look younger!
Ischia is renowned for its beautiful parks and gardens with its warm Mediterranean climate and rich volcanic land. Created by an English couple in the 1950s, the Montella gardens are nothing short of spectacular. With waterfalls, tropical plants and flowers, fountains and sculptures, whatever the time of year, the gardens are a joy. Serene and tranquil with just the sound of the waterfalls, it’s easy to see why this place is one of the most beautiful parks in Italy. An open air Greek theatre is in the grounds and hosts many classical musical events – a perfect setting with the bay of Forio as a backdrop.
As an island in the Mediterranean, it might be assumed that the islands signature dish would be either fish or seafood. Of course, fish is here in abundance, but the dish that the Ischians are most well-known for is Coniglio all’Ischitana or Ischian Rabbit. Passed down through generations, this rabbit stew is cooked with olive oil, white wine, garlic tomatoes and wild thyme. Traditionally cooked in a clay pot, the sauce is used to top pasta for a primo piatto. The succulent rabbit is then enjoyed with potatoes and seasonal vegetables, washed down with a delicious, crisp Ischian wine.
Being a volcanic island, Ischia becomes popular during the summer months of June to August thanks to the increase of thermal energy used in the hot springs and mud baths at spas throughout the island. The temperatures can reach up to 30 degrees. Winters in Ischia are often cold and wet, with the warmest average temperature being 12 degrees.
If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Italy but you must have a valid passport. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy.
In Ischia, the currency is the Euro (EUR).
The main language spoken is Italian.