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Holidays in Ischia invite you to one of Italy’s best kept secrets. Far from a tourist destination, Ischia is the island lesser known to tourists and loved by locals, tucked away in plain sight next to its more happening and busier neighbour, Capri. Tourists will likely be spotted in the sparkly Capri, but Ischia is where the Italians go for a unique escape, away from the crowds. Couples looking for something relaxing and indulgent will love the Cavascura thermal baths, which are the oldest on the island and set on a cliff where hot natural showers and private Roman baths are on offer.
Holidays in Ischia are more than just a typical island escape. Fondly known as the Capital of European Spas, it’s famous for its spas and it’s no surprise it was once a go to destination for Romans. Also home to ‘The Green Island’, this vibrant garden is a must, and perfect for an afternoon spent admiring nature.
At Citalia, we have almost 90 years of expertise and are the leading Italian holiday specialist. We’re here to help you make the most of every moment during your island break.
Most of the beaches on the nearby coastlines around Amalfi and Capri are prone to rockiness, while less crowded Ischia offers a softer and sandier option for warm afternoons on one of Campania’s best beaches. Once a hotspot for the rich and famous (Leonardo Dicaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon spent time here while filming the famous The Talented Mr Ripley), the island is home to the beaches of Maronti, Lacco Ameno and Citara, all of which boast plush sands and crystal clear waters.
For a therapeutic treat, head to Casamicciola, a quaint little town famous for its thermal baths as well as its local pottery and ceramic shops, where you can pick up authentic trinkets to take back home. For something a little livelier, visit Porto d’Ischia, the capital of the island, where you will find high end fashion stores, true to Italian style. Wander through the narrow streets and find bustling bars and restaurants, where waiters often offer passer-by’s a helping of limoncello as they walk past.
Holidays in Ischia offer a perfect blend of culture, leisure and history, and you won’t be at a loss for stimulating things to do on this little island. If you want to build your holiday beyond the island, our Amalfi Coast & Ischia tour is the perfect way to soak in the seaside and volcanic views.
For a more culture filled trip, head to nearby Naples, a city rich in history and the perfect place to explore the nearby sites. Most historical sites are free to explore here, including The Royal Palace or the church of San Francesco di Paolo. Alternatively, book a trip to Pompeii or Herculaneum, and when you need to step out of the sun, grab a cold gelato from within the piazza.
The closest airport to Ischia is Naples (NAP), which is approximately 2 hours from Ischia via ferry (we recommend that flights into Naples arrive no later than 7pm and depart no earlier than 10am in order to catch the first/last ferry).
Direct flights to Naples airport (NAP) are available from Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle and take approximately 2 hours 45 minutes.
Ischia's season runs from April to October. The island is cooled by sea breezes so it's comfortable even in the height of summer, yet it enjoys warm temperatures for its whole season. June to August is the busiest time for the island but even during these months the evenings are relatively quiet as most people are only visiting for the day.
Once an economy based on fishing and agriculture, and although true to Italian cuisine, Ischia is now a hub for creative and unique dishes. Try one of the oldest and best loved Ischian cuisines, Coniglio all'Ischitana, which is a traditional dish consisting of tender and delicate rabbit meat, complimented with fresh tomatoes and fragrant basil.
Being so ideally located and surrounded by clean waters, seafood is very popular in Ischia and is served in many of the coastal restaurants. You can find tuna, squid, king mackerel, cuttlefish, sea urchin and more, all fried or stewed, served with fresh salads, risotto and pizza and ideal for foodies.
For true Ischian tradition, visit one of the local restaurants and try Pasta Fagioli, which is a Neapolitan soup with pasta and beans, sometimes served with fresh, locally caught mussels.
Of course, no holiday to Ischia would be complete without taking advantage of the abundance of lemons around every corner and on every street. Indulge in a delicious limoncello, a local liqueur made with succulent local lemons and said to be the perfect accompaniment to a heavy dish. Traditionally consumed after meals, the taste will make you feel like a true Ischian local.
Originally named Pithekoussai after the pithos (pottery clay) found there, Ischia was one of the first Greek colonies in the 8th century BC. Ischia was then used as an important stop on the trade route from Greece to Northern Italy, so the Romans took over the island, renaming it Aenaria. The island has seen many rulers - it was taken over by the Spanish in 1495, while the French had occupation of it in the early 19th century.
One of the iconic sights on Ischia is the Castello Aragonese, a medieval castle that dates back nearly 2,500 years. The impressive castle, standing on a volcanic rock, was built by Hiero I of Syracuse in 474 BC. In 326 BC, the fortress was captured by the Romans, followed by the Parthenopeans - the original occupants of the castle. Until 1441, the volcanic rock was connected to Ischia by a wood bridge, then Alfonso V of Aragon built a stone bridge across to the island. In 1912, the castle was sold to a private owner, and today is visited by people from around the world.
To pre-book one of our specially selected excursions, please call our Italy Experts on 01293 762410*.