If you're looking for things to do in Ischia, you won't be disappointed. Ischia is the largest island of those in the Gulf of Naples, with 6 municipalities and a wide range of attractions and activities. Bask on the beaches or indulge in a bit of culture, sample excellent food and wine and explore the hiking and biking trails, plus soak your cares away in one of the many hot springs. Here is our list of top things to do in Ischia for an unforgettable holiday.
Visit the Aragonese Castle
The Aragonese Castle is one of the most famous attractions on the island and a must-see when visiting Ischia. The castle dates back to the year 474 BC and is set just off the coast of the pretty village of Ischia Ponte, connected to the mainland by a thin stone isthmus built at the time of the Aragonese dynasty.
Visiting the Aragonese Castle
The Aragonese Castle is open daily all year round from 9:00 AM to sunset.
Tickets cost €12 (€6 for children ages 10-14; children under 9 enter free).
Spend a Day at the Spa
Ischia's hot springs are the main attraction on the island for most visitors. These hot springs are a byproduct of Ischia's geothermal activity, part of the larger Phlegraean Fields. Given the warm temperatures of Ischia's thermal baths, you can relax and take advantage of the curative properties of the natural mineral waters even in winter.
There are both full-service spas and free thermal baths on Ischia. The largest and most famous spa facilities are Negombo and Poseidon; natural springs are scattered around the island, open to public bathing for free. The island's spas include a wide range of services and amenities, including sun beds, towels, changing rooms, bathrooms, showers, snack bars, etc. that you will not find at the public hot springs, but you need to pay an entrance fee (and supplements for extra perks like massages and treatments).
Relax on the Island's Beautiful Beaches
No visit to Ischia is complete without spending some time on its beautiful beaches. The island has a wide range of beach clubs and free beaches, some bustling with visitors and others more remote and relaxed.
Taste a Zingara
Make sure to snack on the most beloved street food on Ischia: a grilled sandwich known as a Zingara (or Gypsy) consisting of two slices of rustic bread stuffed with your choice of fillings and toasted.
This island version of a grilled cheese sandwich is one of the most common snacks on Ischia and comes with a wide choice of fillings, but the most common is buffalo mozzarella, tomato, prosciutto, and mayonnaise.
Where to eat on Ischia
Take a Walk in La Mortella Gardens
La Mortella Gardens offers a shady respite from the island's heat and crowds. This charming botanical garden was created in 1956 by Susanna Gyl, wife of the English composer William Walton. Spread over two levels, the park is home to thousands of Mediterranean and subtropical plants. La Mortella Gardens are located in the municipality of Forio near the San Francesco beach, and also hosts an open-air theater and areas for concerts and events.
Visiting La Mortella Gardens
Hours: the garden is open to the public from June to October on the following days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM (the ticket office closes one hour before closing; we recommend that you double-check opening days and times before visiting)
Tickets: €12 for adults; €10 for children between 10 and 18 and seniors 70 and up; €7 for children from 6 to 11; free for children under 5.
Discover the Legend of the Chiesa del Soccorso
Regardless of your religious beliefs, the atmosphere in this little church in Forio will charm you.
The Legend of the Crucifix
The Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, located on a panoramic spot with a splendid view of the sea, houses a wooden crucifix from the 1400s which, according to a popular legend, was found in the sea by some sailors. Stuck on the island by a storm, the sailors temporarily placed the statue in the church, but were not able to carry it back out once the storm passed. They finally decided to leave the crucifix on the island to protect all the boats that sail along the shores of Ischia.
In addition to its marvelous vies, the Chiesa del Soccorso is known for its large ex-voto collection placed in the church over the centuries by Ischia's fishermen as a sign of their particular devotion to this small maritime chapel.
Climb Mount Epomeo
Monte Epomeo, the only true mountain on the island of Ischia, reaches a height of almost 800 meters above sea level. Climbing to its peak is one of the most spectacular things to do on Ischia, but you can also simply take a walk on its wooded slopes to enjoy the island's lush flora, which has given it the name "The Green Island".
Walking and Hiking
Mount Epomeo has a number of walking and hiking paths of different lengths and varying degrees of difficulty. The easiest way to reach the peak is the path that starts from Fontana, with an altitude difference of about 400 meters and a total distance of three kilometers.
Take a Trip to Procida
Procida is Ischia's smaller sister island, and the two have the same volcanic origin and nature. That said, they are very different in terms of size, vibe, and number of tourists. Procida is very small and its proximity to Ischia makes it a perfect destination for a day trip.
Procida and Ischia are connected by ferries that run daily all year round. Otherwise, you can opt for a boat tour to Procida or rent a boat (with or without a boat license) to explore the island on your own.
Sample Ischian-Style Rabbit
Ischia's traditional cuisine is characterized by a mix of delicacies from the sea and the inland hills. One of its most classic dishes is coniglio all'ischitana, or Ischian-style rabbit, which is one of the top experiences during a visit to Ischia.
The recipe includes traditional Mediterranean ingredients, including tomatoes, basil, garlic, and white wine. The rabbit is simmered in this aromatic mixture until it becomes tender, succulent, and very fragrant.
Toast to Nestor's Cup
The Cup of Nestor is a small vase of great historical and archaeological importance. It has a small engraved text on the outside that is one of the most ancient examples of Greek alphabetic writing, dating back to the time of Homer.
The Cup is the most important artifact displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Pithecusae inside Villa Arbusto, in the municipality of Lacco Ameno.
Visiting the Archaeological Museum of Pithecusae
From October to May: from 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM and from 3:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
From June to September: from 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM and from 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
Closed on Mondays