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You are Here: > > The Island of Ischia

The Island of Ischia

 
 
 



By Amanda Barnes

As you dock into Ischia port, you are greeted by a Mediterranean harbour town and Jesus, well a majestic statue of him (a typical feature on most Italian ports, blessing you on your travels). The gorgeous island of Ischia has something for everyone, from the unashamed tourist towns by the coast to the more quaint and picturesque towns and its bubbling hot springs, but the lesser explored higher ground is worth just as much of your time.

The luscious green mountainside is dotted with whitewashed churches and villas, which set the picturesque landscape that Ischia is famous for. The whole island is a large mount, which means that the towns are nestled into the hillsides and are a labyrinth of white steps, not too kind on the knees! There are many great places to stay and there are plenty of hotels and hostels across the island. Ischia town is easy to navigate (tourist information is right on the port) and is a good place for a base with plenty of good beaches either side and there are castles and churches to occupy your eyes.

The town of Forio on the other side of the island is worth a visit with its beautiful harbour and quaint cobbled courtyards. The Church on the sea cliff of Punta del Soccorso has to be visited for fantastic views over the harbour, sea and west side of the island. The restaurant beneath this lookout point is equally as idyllic with gorgeous gooey chocolate cake almost as breath taking as the views! Forio has great shopping, especially for jewellery, leather, chilli chocolate and has two wine cellars!

  Photo: The Church of Soccorso on the on the Punta del   Soccorso in Forio.
The beaches on Ischia require a steep walk down many, many steps and sloping roads (and on occasion through people’s driveways!) and once you have reached them they are, to be honest, somewhat crowded and not always worth the effort — unless you drive a car! However the hot springs of San Angelo are worth it. The walk down is stunning and not too bad on the legs (especially if an old Italian man may be waiting with sun warmed apricots in the back of his truck for you at the half way point!). Once you reach the beach, the extraordinary boiling volcanic water seeping through the rocks makes you forget the walk back up! The restaurant at the bottom ‘La Sorgente’ serves good bruchetta and is the best place to sit and watch the sunset with a glass of meloncello before slipping into the hot springs for a midnight dip, when a much younger crowd moves in for samba and post-club bathing! There are hot springs elsewhere, for example in the Poseidon water park, however it is hardly worth the overpriced ticket when they can be enjoyed for free in a natural environment elsewhere.

The best trip you could possibly make in Ischia is the climb up Mounte Epomeo (789m). The hour and a half ‘walk’ is rather challenging but the views over Naples and Procida are worth it. The bar below the peak serves a good menu and with its memorable views over the island, it is perfect for lunch or an early evening drink. However I do not recommend staying too much beyond sunset because the walk down is not easy to make in the dark, especially after half a litre of wine — it doesn’t numb the pain! You can drive partly up the mount; however it is more rewarding to walk up from the town of Fontana, which is accessible by bus. Every Sunday evening Fontana hosts a party in the piazza for locals with a DJ and energetic dancing — mainly from the children! It is worth planning your walk around this party as the locals are very warm and welcoming and take a genuine interest and pleasure in meeting foreigners who have travelled up to this part of the island, as most tourists just hug the coast line. Ischia is easy to get to and around, ferries are regular and cheap and the bus services are efficient, so there is no excuse not to travel around the island!







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