Are you undecided if you should visit Ischia or the The Amalfi Coaston your next trip to southern Italy? If you are planning to stay a week or more, you’ll have time to explore both of these bucket-list Mediterranean destinations, but if you have a shorter trip in the works, you’ll have to decide on just one.
We’ve put together some insider travel tips to help you to choose the ideal option for your budget, itinerary, and travel style. Read on for a deep dive into the pros and cons of the Island of Ischia and the Amalfi Coast for your vacation.
Ischia vs. the Amalfi Coast
Ischia, the small volcanic island in the Bay of Naples, is 46 square kilometers (17 square miles), making it much smaller than Sicily, for example, but larger than the Island of Capri, its neighbor in the Gulf of Naples. The Amalfi Coast is about 55 square kilometers (21 square miles), stretching from just south of Naples all the way to Salerno. Ischia has six towns and the Amalfi coast has 13 towns and several other villages. These numbers give you an idea of the size of both places; it would take several days to visit either.
To see the best of the Amalfi Coast, you’ll need to spend at least 4-5 days exploring the area. In a single day, you can squeeze in a quick visit to Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello (the most famous towns on the coast) if you visit with a private transfer or private boat tour that can whisk you between towns without the hassle and delays of public transportation or parking to optimize your time. If you are traveling on a budget and want to get around by bus, we suggest choosing a single town to visit and going straight there.
Ischia is also too large to be visited in a single day. You can see blockbusters like the Castello Aragonese and Sant’Angelo on a day trip, but you won’t have time to explore the outlying fishing villages like Forio or soak in the thermal waters of the island’s public hot springs or thermal spas like Negombo and Poseidon.
The Amalfi Coast in One Day
One Day on Ischia
The Amalfi Coast is known for its panoramic highway 163, with sharp bends that put even the most experienced drivers to the test. In addition, parking is limited and expensive on the Amalfi Coast, especially in high season. If you are experienced with getting around on two wheels, visiting the Amalfi Coast by scooter is a convenient option, because you can avoid the traffic at peak times and it is much easier to park. The villages along the Amalfi Coast are set on the cliffs just above the sea, and their steep pedestrian streets are a challenge for anyone with limited mobility.
Ischia, on the other hand, is much less steep and the only slope on the island is Mount Epomeo. The island’s main towns are set along the coast, and are easily accessible by car, scooter, and bus.
Getting around the Amalfi Coast
Getting around Ischia
The Amalfi Coast is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and the world, crowded with international tourists who come for a day trip from Rome or a short overnight stay. Ischia is a popular summer vacation destination among Italians, who spend a long weekend or entire week unwinding on the island.
The towns along the Amalfi Coast are very lively during the day, but quiet in the evening. English is widely spoken and there is a range of world-class hotels, gourmet restaurants, chic cafes and cocktail bars, and luxury services. On Ischia, there is less international tourism, so it’s not always easy to find someone who speaks English and the hotels and restaurants are less expensive and more geared towards middle-range, family-friendly options.
There are not many beaches on the Amalfi Coast, and the coastline is lined with pebbles and rocky cliffs rising from deep waters. To reach the beaches, you often have to take on long flights of stairs or steep paths, but the water is crystalline and perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
Ischia has numerous sandy beaches, many suitable for children, as well as thermal springs (some free and open to the public and others part of private thermal parks) scattered across the island. This island is part of the same geothermal system as Mt. Vesuvius, so hot springs on beaches like the Spiaggia delle Fumarole are one of this Italian island’s unique attractions.
Beaches on the Amalfi Coast
Beaches on Ischia
Location: Is Ischia near the Amalfi Coast?
Ischia is set in the Bay of Naples , while the Amalfi Coast stretches along Italy’s southern shore on the opposite coast of the Sorrentine Peninsula from Naples. Though you can’t see Ischia from the Amalfi Coast (or vice versa), there is a ferry that runs daily between Amalfi and Ischia Porto in the summer. The ferry ride takes over two hours, however, so the island and coastline are difficult to visit in a single day. They are close enough, however, to combine into a longer stay of five or more days.
From the Amalfi Coast you can leave for day trips to Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Herculaneum and Pompeii.
From Ischia you can leave for day trips to Naples, Procida, and Capri.
Ferries to and from the Amalfi Coast
Ferries to and from Ischia
Is it Better to Stay in Amalfi or Ischia?
We recommend the Amalfi Coast if:
- You want to visit a number of towns and attractions during your stay
- You prefer luxury-level services, restaurants, and hotels
- You love breathtaking views and a glamorous international atmosphere
We recommend Ischia if:'''
- You want to unwind for a few days without busy days of sightseeing
- You are looking for R&R in Ischia thermal parks
- You want to avoid the crowds
Take a look at our articles comparing Ischia and other famous destinations in the region of Campania:
Ischia or Sorrento
Ischia or Capri