Ischia or Capri?

Are you asking yourself if you should stay on Ischia or Capri or have time for a day trip to only one of these two islands in the Bay of Naples?

Here we'll explain the difference between then two to help you decide which may be a good fit for your travel style and schedule if you can't fit in a visit to both. These two islands are very different, and the best option would be to spend time exploring both for a few days as a day trip doesn't give you a very good feel for either!

Ischia and Capri: A Comparison

Size

Ischia is 46 square kilometers while Capri is just 10. Ischia has six towns, Capri has two. This already gives you an idea of the most striking difference between the two islands.

Since it's such a small island, many travelers think that Capri can be visited in one day. Though you can make it a day trip, keep in mind that Capri is overrun with tourists in high season, making it hard to get around with overtaxed public transportation. If you are planning a quick day trip, you run the risk of getting caught up in the crowds and not taking in the unique beauty and charm of the island.

Ischia is too large to visit in one day, unless you simply take a taxi ride around the coast. You certainly won't be able to take advantage of its biggest draw if you only spend a day on the island: its therapeutic hot springs.

Capri Day Trip
What to See and Do in One Day on Ischia

Landscape

Capri is a clifftop island: to reach the Piazzetta from the port, you have to take the funicular uphill about 500 meters. To reach Anacapri, then island's other town, you need to take a winding road uphill for about a kilometer. Between the island's two villages, there's not much more than cliffs plunging directly into the sea below and the peaks of Mount Solaro and Mount Tiberius.

Ischia is much less steep, with the peak of Mount Epomeo at the center of the island rising above the flat plains. The towns are also more or less flat.

On Capri, you cannot bring vehicles on the island and the village centers are pedestrian only. On Ischia, you can bring your car to move around. Unfortunately, this means that there is more urban sprawl on Ischia.

Getting around Capri
Getting around Ischia

Atmosphere

Capri is one of the most famous islands in the world, and thousands of visitors arrive each day. The percentage of visitors who stay overnight on the island is very low in comparision to the crowds that arrive each morning with the ferry. This means that Capri can be very chaotic during the day, but quiet at night. English is spoken everywhere, and restaurants and hotels are generally very well kept.

Ischia is a beloved vacation destination for Italians who tend to stay for at least a few nights. Many keep holiday homes on the island and spend most of the summer here, so the island is less overrun with day trippers. International tourism is relatively new here and not everyone speaks English.

Beaches

Capri has just two small pebble beaches: Marina Grande and Marina Piccola. The rest of the island is surrounded by rocky coastline where you must dive directly into the deep water; there are no sand beaches.
Ischia has a number of both sand and pebble beaches, as well as hot springs (both free and public and inside private spa areas).

Beaches on Capri
Beaches on Ischia

Cost

Hotel and restaurant prices on Ischia are generally lower than on Capri, though the choice of high-end hotels, fine dining restaurants, and luxury services is much more varied and numerous on Capri.

Ferries

From Capri, ferries run for day trips to Naples, Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi.
From Ischia, ferries run for day trips to Naples, Procida, and Capri.

Ferries to and from Capri
Ferries to and from Ischia

A Recap

Choose Capri if:

  • You are looking for breathtaking views and pure Mediterranean beauty
  • You love a glamorous and chic atmosphere, with shopping to match
  • You can only spare a day to visit

Choose Ischia if:

  • You are looking to relax on the beach and at the hot springs
  • You want to avoid the worst of the day trip crowds
  • You have a limited travel budget