Why visit Ischia?

Meet Ischia, a Neapolitan Riviera island that doesn’t get quite as much airtime of its poster child near neighbours such as Sorrento, Amalfi and glitzy Capri.


Islands often have an almost intangible quality: an air of exclusivity and a sort of separateness that comes from only being reachable by the water. Ischia definitely has these qualities; one of Italy’s largest cities may be just across a stretch of the Tyrrhenian Sea, however, Ischia seems like a world away thanks to its kaleidoscopic and sprawling gardens, thermal baths and authentic-Italy vibe. Here’s why a few days on the island is the perfect way to embrace il dolce far niente: the art of doing nothing.

But first, the details: Ischia is a bijou volcanic island at the northern reaches of the Gulf of Naples, approximately 19 miles from the city itself. The flight time from the UK to Naples is about three hours and you can reach its sun-kissed shores and be sipping on an island-produced white wine with the sun on your face just over a couple of hours after leaving the airport.

It’s a wellness wonderland


Ischia’s volcanic origins have done wonders for its reputation as Italy’s spa island. Mother Nature has kindly seen to it that you are never too far away from a naturally occurring thermal bath where you can sooth weary muscles and let those minerals absorb into your skin. In Casamicciola Terme, a town on the north coast, you can barely move for hot springs while down on the southern shores, there’s the Sorgeto Hot Springs where sea water is heated by subterranean science and free to visit. If you fancy a more exclusive setting, book a few nights at Hotel Parco Smeraldo Terme, a family-owned hotel overlooking the island’s largest beach and featuring a wellness retreat with two of its very own thermal pools.


You’ll have the chance to experience ‘authentic Italy’


Part of visiting a destination is getting to know the culture, the traditions, its people and essentially, what makes it tick. Ischia’s setting a couple of steps off the beaten track means that it’s managed to hold on to an authenticity that’s sometimes harder to find these days.

You can lose hours (but in a good way) just wandering through small towns as day-to-day life goes on around you, watch the catch of the day landed in coastal villages or eating and drinking the Ischia way. Begin with a pick-me-up espresso or a glass of spremuta for a dose of vitamin C then head to an inland farm for a rustic – and iconically Ischian – coniglio all’ischitana for lunch. The island’s wine producing history is rich (the Roman name for the island was Enaria, meaning the land of vines) so it would be a shame not to spend an afternoon sampling the vintages at a local vineyard before heading back to the coast for a seafood dinner followed by a chilled limoncello.


The landscapes are Instagram worthy


Whether it’s to share on social media or just to share with family, many of us are after the perfect landscape shot. Ischia is packed with jaw-dropping spots that look great. The coastline is the headline act with lava-stone cliffs, glittering coves, rocky outcrops and sandy beaches, but head inland and you’ll find pretty villages, verdant gardens draped in bougainvillea, hillsides covered in vines and the unmissable 789-metre-high peak of Monte Epomeo. There are spots where human history meets natural beauty such as the medieval Castello Aragonese which is set on an islet connected to Ischia by a causeway.


It's a great short-break spot or a stop on a longer adventure


Ischia easily goes straight to the top spot on your ‘long weekend getaway’ list: Naples is just a few hours from the UK and a few nights rest and recouperation will set you up perfectly for the week ahead. However, the island’s proximity to the bucket-list likes of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast – one of the world’s must-do drives – makes it the ideal candidate for a multi-centre stop. For the ultimate treat-me trip, we recommend choosing two five-star hotels with a unique style and ambiance and stunning grounds.

First up, there’s Grand Hotel Cocumella, a boutique bolthole in Sorrento with those far-reaching sea views that the region is famed for. Alongside three fabulous restaurants, lemon-grove gardens and a private solarium that had direct Tyrrhenian Sea access, the hotel features a stunning private ketch, Vera, on which we highly recommend a sunset sail. The garden theme continues over on Ischia at the beautiful Botania Relais & Spa, an island haven set in seven-acre grounds scattered with ancient olive trees as well as garden-to-fork dining and hideaway villas that house the beautifully designed rooms and suites.

Inspired?


 We’re ready and waiting to take you to this sun-kissed island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. To tell you where to find the most beautiful landscapes, the best vineyards and the hidden hot springs. Speak to one of our experts and they’ll help you find a place to stay and arrange the finer details so you can just relax (preferably in a thermal bath). Order our Italy brochure or book an appointment to start planning your Ischia holiday.

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