Ischia from Naples: Planning the Perfect Day Trip

December 2, 2023

Naples is flanked by three islands—Capri, Procida, and Ischia. The island of Ischia is a volcanic island off the coast of Naples, originally settled by the Greeks around 770 BC. For visitors, Ischia is a paradise away from the city with natural beauty like thermal parks, long sandy beaches, stunning hiking trails, and lush gardens. You can even explore a 2000-year-old fortress! Getting to Ischia from Naples is straightforward, adding to its appeal.

Whether you’re planning a day trip from Naples or a longer stay, this guide will help you get to Ischia, navigate around, and give you a list of the best activities the island has to offer.

And did we mention the fantastic food and wine? Be sure not to miss the island’s culinary scene, including the best Michelin restaurants in Naples, Italy (with nods to places in Ischia and Capri).

village on top of small island

Athough it looks small, the island has a lot of things to do and see. Photo credit: Renzo Ferrante

Getting to Ischia from Naples

There are many different town centers around the island, so plan accordingly based on where you’ll be going during your trip to Ischia from Naples. The ferry stops in Casamicciola, Forio, and Ischia Porto. 

Coming from Naples center, you can choose between the hydrofoil and the slower ferry. The hydrofoil takes about an hour and the ferry an hour and a half. Tickets can be booked online with the ferry companies SNAV, Alilauro, and Caremar. The most important thing to remember is that hydrofoils leave from the docks of Molo Beverello, while the slow ferries leave from Porta di Massa.

Insider’s Naples: Get the lowdown from our local guides

Getting around Ischia

To get around Ischia you can choose to go by road taxi, water taxi, or bus.

  • Buses run quite frequently, especially on the main road loop around the island (indicated by lines “CS” and “CD”). Remember, Ischia is in southern Italy, so schedules are a bit flexible—life moves at a more relaxed pace.
  • Water taxis have only a couple departure points but are a fun and relatively inexpensive way to travel around the island. The Ischia Ponte is close to the Ischia Porto ferry stop and will take you to various beaches.
boats in the water in Ischia

One of the most common ways of getting around Ischia? By boat, of course. Photo credit: 2benny

Thermal paradise in Ischia

Natural thermal water flows under the ground in Ischia and is routed into various thermal parks on the island. Locals love to tout the medicinal properties of the water as well as the benefits for skin health. The best options for thermal baths are Giardini Poseidon and Negombo. We recommend spending at least half, if not a full day in these parks.

pool surrounded by lounge chairs and greenery

The thermal pools are not to be missed during a getaway to Ischia from Naples. Photo credit: Stefano Brivio

  • Giardini Poseidon is a sprawling park that stretches up a hill all the way down to the sea. Thermal water is funneled into man made pools of different temperatures. They have two full-body Kneipp pools, which are hot and cold pools used in alternation to stimulate circulation. There’s also a steam room, and you can book spa treatments and massages at their wellness center. The private beach area included in the price of the ticket is gorgeous.
  • Negombo is a thermal park situated on the secluded beach of San Montano. One of the most unique pools at the park is a shallow pool with waterfalls of different heights. You can stand or sit under the waterfalls of warm thermal water for a relaxing massage of your neck, shoulders, and back. The park has a gorgeous beachside restaurant and cafe that serves delicious lunch food.

Best beaches in Ischia

Unlike the rocky or pebbly beaches found on the Sorrentine coast or on Capri, Ischia is encircled by sandy beaches. In general, the beaches on Ischia are divided into public beaches and private beach clubs, with beach clubs taking up most of the space. At the private beaches, you can pay for an umbrella and sun beds. 

  • Citara beach is walkable directly from the town center of Forio. It’s a long, sandy beach that gets sun all day thanks to its western position. Citara, and any beach in the Forio area, is the absolute best place to watch the sunset on the island.
  • Maronti beach is the longest beach on the island, clocking in at a whopping three kilometers. From the ports, you can take a bus to either Barano d’Ischia or Sant’Angelo, and walk down about 20 minutes. You can also catch a water taxi from Ischia Ponte near Ischia Porto.
long stretch of beach at sunset

There is a lot to see and do here, but definitely don’t miss a nice stroll on the beach during your trip to Ischia from Naples. Photo credit: Hengist Decius

  • San Montano beach is nestled in a cove and is mostly taken up by a paid beach section, but there is a small free beach. Because the cove is sheltered, the water is usually pristine. If you’ve paid for a ticket to the thermal park of Negombo, you’ll be able to use the private beach umbrellas and sun beds as part of the package.
  • Sant’Alessandro beach or Spiaggia degli Inglesi is a beach tucked away in walking distance from the Ischia Porto area. The path to the beach does have quite a few stairs, so take a water taxi if you want to avoid them. This beach is especially suitable for the blazing summer months because it only gets full sun in the morning.

Hiking trails

While Ischia is a magnet for beachgoers, there’s no lack of natural beauty for hikers (best enjoyed in the early spring and autumn). Here are three trails for hiking enthusiasts to enjoy the beauty of the island.

  • The trail of Pizzi Bianchi leads to an otherworldly landscape of white rock formations carved out by volcanic mineral waters. The trail is completely downhill, starting from Fontana (reachable by bus) and weaving all the way down to the longest beach on the island, Maronti.
  • The Ischia skyline—no matter where you are on the island—is dominated by the volcanic mountain of Monte Epomeo, (but it’s long dormant, so don’t worry!). Summit the mountain on a clear day and you’ll get an unbeatable view not only of Ischia, but also the hills of Capri and Sorrento in the distance. Starting from the Chiesa di Santa Maria al Monte (most easily reachable by taxi), it’s a short hike but steep in parts.
view of beaches in Italy

Ischia offers the best of both worlds—whether you’re drawn to the heights of hiking or the tranquility of the sea. Photo credit: 2benny

  • Piano Liguori is a moderate walk on the southern side of the island that allows you to admire the sparkling sea and green cliffs from above. When you reach the tiny habitation of Piano Liguori starting from the bus stop of Pilastri, you’re rewarded with the outstanding Ristorante Piano Liguori (Via Piano Liguori, 27). After that point you can either head back the way you came or continue to the lookout point Punta San Pancrazio.

Centuries-old castle: Castello Aragonese

The Aragonese Castle is like a mini island above the island. It’s an immersive fortress and museum towering over the Ischia Porto area, accessible with an elevator from Ischia Ponte. The first buildings on the rock were built in 474 BC and later occupied by the Romans.

castle built into cliffside

Make sure to get to the top of the castle just before sunset if you can because the views are incredible! Photo credit: Jimmy Harris

These days it’s open to visitors from early morning to sunset every day of the year. You’ll need about two hours to visit the castle, museum, and enjoy a coffee at the panoramic cafe. The castle’s view is amazing, and it’s a great family-friendly activity—definitely a must-do in Italy with kids!

Botanical gardens

Ischia is a lush island and has several botanical gardens that are worth a visit.

  • Giardini La Mortella feels almost like stepping into a mediterranean jungle. It’s a subtropical garden with a charming cafe immersed in the greenery. It’s divided into a valley garden and a terraced hill garden, which gives you a spectacular view from the top. On the weekends they often host musical events in the late afternoon, so be sure to check out the events calendar.
  • Giardini Ravino showcases massive rare cacti and succulent plants. The bar on the premises makes cocktails that incorporate cactus as an ingredient. Peacocks wander freely through the gardens. The gardens have an eco hotel on the premises for those looking for a really special experience.
Botanical gardens, lily pads, and flowers surround a fountain

Ischia boasts beautiful green landscapes and botanical gardens. Photo credit: 2benny

Ischia is a small island, but it’s surprisingly packed full of things to do! Lounge on one of its sandy beaches, treat yourself to a spa day at the thermal baths, or get your nature fix on a hiking trail or in a garden. Keep this guide handy when planning your trip to Ischia from Naples. Buon viaggio!

by Chelsea Newman

View more by Chelsea ›

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