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Ischia – an amazing Italian island

Ischia is a volcanic island located around 30km from Naples in Italy and is accessed via a short ferry ride from Naples Beverello. It’s one of my favourite Italian islands and we have visited many times since 2009. It’s fairly big – there are about 60,000 people who live in Ischia and the island has around 34kms of coastline. There are lots of local buses but I would suggest hiring a car or scooter so that you can explore the island in your own time.

Ischia island

If you’ve watched the film ‘The talented Mr Ripley’ with Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow then you will recognise it as it was filmed in Ischia. It’s a great film, by the way! There is a particular scene in the film where they are celebrating the festival of Sant’ Anna and this festival actually takes place every year on 26 July where they build stages on rafts around the island and the castle burns (they light fires around it, it doesn’t *actually burn).

Ischia castle

In the film, Jude and Gwyneth’s apartment is in the Castello Aragonese which is now a museum as well as a hotel. The castle has been featured in a few adverts too, most notably the Fiat 500 Cabrio. It was built in 474 BC!

The first time we visited Ischia, we stayed in the hotel in the castle, which is called Il Monastero, as it’s a 16th century former monastery. It’s situated in the old town and this was the view from our window at dusk – simply breath-taking!

Ischia at sunset

Although we’ve not stayed on our other visits (being a former monastery, the room was a bit too basic for us), we have always returned to their restaurant as it is superb! They have an outside restaurant (if the weather is not good, they move you inside) with the most stunning view – see photo above! Apart from the spectacular view, the food is some of the best you will find on the island. I highly recommend the Coniglio All’ Ischitana – a typical dish from Ischia. Coniglio is rabbit in English.

One of our favourite swimming spots is just below the castle, however I highly recommend you buy some cheap diving shoes as it’s quite shallow where you get in and there are quite a few grassy plants, which will tickle your feet! It can be quite slippery getting into the water too… it’s a lovely spot though and not very busy. If there are other people around, they will be locals.

Although the old town is amazing, there are many other parts of Ischia to explore. One of my favourites is Sant’Angelo. It has a paid beach but also a public one. 

Sant'Angelo beach

If you visit Sant’Angelo, I highly recommend lunch at Casa Celestino. Wonderful view and excellent food! Their stairs even have herbs and chillies growing in pots.

Lobster pasta from Casa Celestino

I also recommend visiting Lacco Ameno, where you will find the famous Il fungo – basically a rock in the sea that’s shaped like a mushroom.

Lacco Ameno Funghi

Lacco Ameno is a stretch of beach with lots of little paid beaches (around €20 per person for the day – includes a sunbed and umbrella). There are also quite a few shops and lots of restaurants serving fresh seafood and delicious pasta.

Clams at Lacco Ameno

Ischia also has a really long stretch of beach called Maronti, where again there are lots of paid areas where you get a sunbed and umbrella. However, right at the end they also have a public beach which is completely free.

Natural thermal baths

As Ischia is a volcanic island there are lots of thermal bathes and spas around the island where you can bathe in the hot springs. You have to pay an entrance fee for all apart from one… Sorgeto is completely free although you have to walk down quite a few stairs to get there. It’s totally worth it though! To find it, head to Forio and follow the signs to a small town called Panza.

If you do want to pay to spend the day in a thermal park, I recommend Negombo. As well as 14 thermal pools, you get sunbeds and an umbrella at San Montano beach, which is fabulous! The beach is also free if you want to visit. Whilst the thermal spa is quite pricey, it was definitely worth it. 

Negombo thermal spa

The different pools in Negombo range in both size and temperature. Some are really hot (34 degrees) and some are cold! 

Negombo thermal park

Where to eat

Ischia has many wonderful restaurants. We recommend the restaurant at hotel Il Monastero, Il Giardino Eden, Gardenia Mare, La Lampara in the Miramare e Castello hotel and Umberto a Mare in Forio.

If you want to eat at Il Giardino Eden, you do need to book in advance. We didn’t but the only reason we managed to get a table was because the weather wasn’t very good that day!

A trip to Forio to have lunch at Umberto a Mare is a must! A simply stunning view and fabulous food.

View at Umberto a mare

The bruschetta was the best we had ever had – must be because the tomatoes travelled 0 miles as the waitress informed us. The flavour was sublime!

Bruschetta from Umberto a mare

I also love having a swim in the marina in Forio as the water is always lovely and calm. And, although the beach is completely free, it’s never that busy so you’ll have plenty of space to yourself.

Ischia’s marina is the perfect place to have an aperitivo at dusk. The whole stretch is lined with restaurants and a few bars. We always choose an Aperol Spritz (to start!) and sit and just watch the world go by (and imagine owning one of the massive yachts).

Aperitivo in Ischia marina

On our last trip to Ischia, we discovered Tenuta c’est la vie, which is a hotel and restaurant with a vineyard in the Forio area of the island. It’s where the sun sets so was the perfect place to have an aperitivo. 

Aperitivo at tenuta c'est la vie

I highly recommend Ischia for a wonderful, relaxing, delicious holiday. There’s lots to see and do and for an Italian island it’s not that expensive. From Ischia, you can also do day trips by ferry to Positano and Capri too.

Thinking of visiting Ischia? Save this post to Pinterest.

Ischia island in Italy

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.




  • Katy Clarke

    even better than I imagined 🙂 Have you read Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend? Some of the book is set in Ischia. Wondering if you have been there in April? We are thinking of going around Easter

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Hi Katy, I haven’t read that book but I can see why some of it would be set in Ischia 🙂 We’ve only ever been in July and end of August so I’m not sure what it would be like in April. Probably not many tourists at that time but I’m sure the weather would be nice!

  • Angie Silver

    I think I’ll be adding Ischia to my list! I’m surprised about what you said about Monastero, I thought it was supposed to be amazing.

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Well, the room we stayed in was very basic… No television or hairdryer and the bathroom was tiny…. Amazing views though!

  • Sheena

    Adding this to my bucket list. It looks absolutely gorgeous and the food looks delicious. Thank you for sharing this with us

    • Kirsty Marrins

      No problem Sheena. Hope you get to visit it one day!

  • Andi

    Well all the food looks amazing! I wasn’t aware of this island in Italy, my hubby and I love the country and there is so much more to explore!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      The food is really good! Yes, Italy is just a treasure trove of amazing places

  • Lana

    The island looks amazing. Particularly the food 😀

    • Kirsty Marrins

      We’ve been three times so definitely a place you can keep coming back to!

  • Jaynie Wall

    Ischia looks amazing. Another place to add to my list. 🙂 It would be fun to attend a festival there.

    • Kirsty Marrins

      They have a famous film festival every year, right by the castle as well as their religious ones.

  • Tami

    I’ve never heard of Ischia before reading this post. Some of the photos remind me of Cinque Terre, but perhaps this is not so touristy. I’m sure I would love the isolation of an island and especially those beaches that are not too crowded. Exploring the old towns would also be high on my list!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      I’ve not been to Cinque Terre but Ischia is definitely not as touristy! And most of the tourists are actually Italians.

  • April

    Wow what a great place, i think its going on my list !!!! Thanks for such a great article!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Pleasure, April!

  • Julian

    Stunning island, never realy considered it but we might as we are planning a road trip around Italy this summer. Many thanks for the inspiration!…Food looks delicious 🙂

    • Kirsty Marrins

      No problem Julian! I have lots of posts on Italy on my blog so feel free to search for others and enjoy your road trip!

  • Gem

    For whatever reason, I have always been in love with Italy. I love their culture and their cuisine. I even studied Italian for a bit. I have never been but I plan on visiting soon, and I will add Ischia to my list of things to see.

    The pictures are breathtaking and the food looks delicious!

    Great post 🙂

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Thanks Gem! I’m sure once you visit Italy you will fall in love with it even more

  • Bec Honey

    Very beautiful, a new place I hadn’t heard of will have to put that on my list for southern Italy. 🙂

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Thanks Bec! Ischia is such a gorgeous island, and so close to Naples!

  • Adriana Smith

    It’s great seeing the location of the movie. It’s like going behind the scenes and seeing the destination come alive! It seems like paradise with all the water, landscapes, and scenery.

    • Kirsty Marrins

      You’re right, it is! I had that feeling too when I first visited New York 🙂

  • Sutee

    A great overview. One day, I’d like to see a compilation of all of the famous rocks around the world in one blog post. The hotel in the castle looks amazing.

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Thanks Sutee! Well, I cover the famous faraglioni in my Capri post!

  • Matt Hulland

    Great blog, I’ll be honest and admit I’d never heard of Ischia until now. I’m planning a trip to the Naples area soon and having read this I’m going to see if I can fit Ischia in. Oh, and by the way, that lobster looks delish!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      You really should, Matt – even if it’s just for a day. The ferry from Naples takes less than an hour!

  • WhenTwoWander

    Mmm… it sure does look like a paradise. The food looks wonderful and those views!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      It certainly is 🙂

  • Katie

    Wow, I’ve never heard of Ischia before and I don’t know why…it looks like a fantastic island. The picture of the the castle looks dreamy. I need to add this to my travel list!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      I don’t think it’s that well known yet which is both a good and bad thing!

  • Erin

    Man, Ischia seems like a dream! How amazing is Castello Aragonese?! I would love to see the view from there. I also LOVE the idea of the hot springs… I’ve never been and this dream land seems like the PERFECT spot to have the first experience. I’m going to Italy and May and cannot wait! Although we won’t be going to Ischia, I’ll certainly remember this location and add it to my bucket list 🙂

    • Kirsty Marrins

      The castle is dreamy! Definitely add it to your list – you want regret it! We usually combine it with a trip to Capri too

  • neha

    Ischia looks wonderful. I would love to walk on that long stretch of beach from one end to the other. Also, the place seems to host some natural wonders like the Il fungo rock. Worth a visit!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      It definitely is Neha – there are thermal baths all over the island too!

  • Joanna

    I have been to Napoli a couple of years ago and really wished to visit Ischia but there wasn’t enough time. Your article made me go back to my trip, even if it wasn’t on the island but nearby. The food you’ve eaten looks amazing and also the little beaches and bays. I would like to visit Sant Angelo as well.

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Thanks Joanna. I really recommend it – even just for a day trip, the next time you are in Napoli

  • Isadora Koller

    I have heard about this Island before it looks amazing, I ould love to go there and try their cousine, looking at the pics it gave me hungry!

  • Bradford Smith

    Fabulous as always, ripe for an update and so eloquently written my clever compadre x

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