My First Impressions On The Island Of Ischia

Up until a month ago I’d never heard of the Italian island of Ischia, nestled just off the coast of Naples, and it seems that I’m not the only one with many people agreeing. Despite being larger than neighboring island Capri it seems to have fallen out of mind and even today the majority of the visitors to Ischia are fellow Italians so it’s the perfect spot for a bit more of a traditional feel.

If you search Ischia online one of the first things which is likely to come up are news of earthquakes due to one which happened on the island earlier this year. The earthquake wasn’t major, most of the houses which did fall were old and to be honest, it wasn’t a surprise and a lot of the island didn’t even feel the quake never mind get affected by it. Despite this, in the 24 hours following the event, thousands of tourists left the island and it was estimated that the island lost over £2 million in the 3 days post-earthquake. The last quake to happen on the island was around 1880 which tells you everything you need to know.

Like many places, Ischia relies heavily on tourism and with just 60-70,000 inhabitants during low-season swelling to over 260,000 in high-season these effects can mean a lot. But if I hadn’t been told about the quake I’d have never even known it happened, the island looks it’s usual quaint, beautiful self. But back to the island itself…..

Ischia as a destination

The Volcanic island is just 10km  wide and 7km long so it’s the perfect size for a trip away to explore as you can reach most corners of this island in the same time it would take you to explore a city. While places like the Amalfi Coast get so crowded you can just head across to the quaint island and be greeted by the perfect Italian island. It’s also the perfect spot for day-tripping tourists as it’s easily accessible from Sorrento, Naples, and Capri, although you’ll definitely want more than a day to explore the island.

Things to do in Ischia

As we were guests of the wonderful Imperatore Company we had a schedule pre-planned for us to show us as much of the island as possible, and while it was tightly packed I feel that I know the island so well now. The locals said that most visitors stay on the island for 5-7 days in total which is about right for what there is to do, although if relaxing by the pool/ on the beach is more your thing you might want a bit longer.

The island has natural thermal water which varies in temperature due to the volcanic activity under the surface so spas are a big part of the culture of the island. The naturally hot water can be found in thermal parks such as Poseidon which we visited, or in certain areas of the sea where the temperature can range up to 40 degrees!

Monte Epomeo is the island’s highest peak at around 789 meters high and like many mountains, there are a variety of different walks you can do to reach the summit ranging from a brief 15-20 minutes to some a bit more strenuous (if you’re a bit unfit like me). Our walk took about 2.5 hours but we managed to see the dusty cliffs, the beautiful greenery and old houses and water containers along our route. Carved out of stone at the top is the sweetest little cafe/ restaurant so you can enjoy a well deserved cold drink at the top.

One of the most impressive sites is the island fort of Castello Aragonese which is only joint to the mainland by a man-made bridge created in more recent times. There are actually two small hotels in the castle alongside a family who live within part of the castle grounds (life goals or what?!). From the top you can see a lot of the cute prettily painted fishing villages which lay below and the vineyards which wind up the hills. But one of the best views is from a boat to see the castle in all of its glory.

The food in Ischia

Like most Italian cities there is your fair share of pizza and pasta but for a small island like this seafood is your best bet to get an authentic and well-rounded experience. From prawns and calamari to seabass and tuna you can really taste how fresh everything is with much of it caught and eaten within the day.

Another delicately of the island is rabbit which is prepared with fresh herbs and tomatoes grown exclusively on the island. I wasn’t sure how I’d fair eating this but I have to tell you it was probably the best thing I ate across the four days, so tender and moreish.

As for drink it’s all about the wine which again is pretty much exclusively made on the island. Ischia make their own wine across numerous vineyards sometimes for their own family or restaurant, or sometimes to sell to select shops. But one thing you won’t find is Ischia wine exported to other countries or even mainland Italy. It’s all about exclusivity.

One of the great things about much of what you’ll eat and drink on the island is that it comes locally, everything is so self-sufficient that olive oil and honey is made on site, our hotel made it’s own bread and of course there’s nothing like specially grown local wine.

Getting to Ischia

The easiest way to get to Ischia is to fly into Naples and then take a one hour ferry from the port in Naples to Ischia as the island itself doesn’t have an airport. What with transfers in between the airport and the port I left my house at 1030am for a 2.30pm flight from Gatwick to arrive at my hotel in Ischia at 9.30pm. While it isn’t a super quick journey it is well worth it.

*I went on a press trip to Ischia paid for by Imperatore but all thoughts and opinions are my own

October 10, 2017
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35 Comments

  • Reply Jacqueline

    Well you had me at Italy 🙂 I lived in a Italy for 2 years and I never visited this gem of an island. I love the intimacy shown in these pictures. It looks like you could easily see the entire island in a day or two. I prefer more quaint destinations like this with as little tourists as possible.

    October 10, 2017 at 3:57 pm
  • Reply MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    Up until just now I hadn’t heard of Ischia. I’d love to do a spa holiday there it sounds like the ideal location to visit and relax – without the children that is. I think a girls holiday may be in order.

    October 10, 2017 at 6:54 pm
  • Reply Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    I’ve never heard of Ischia either! What a beautiful island, I’d love to visit one of the thermal parks. Such a shame the recent earthquake has put tourists off

    October 10, 2017 at 8:47 pm
  • Reply Sarah Bailey

    I have to admit I’ve not heard of Ischia before, but what a gorgeous island it looks like, I would absolutely love to visit myself and of course take Ash along as well. Can’t wait to read a bit more about this beautiful island!

    October 10, 2017 at 10:25 pm
  • Reply Newcastle Family Life

    Oh my this looks amazing, I have always wanted to visit Italy but have never heard of Ischia before. x

    October 11, 2017 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply kirsty

    I would be like you and never have know about the earthquakes from your photos. I would love to explore the mountain as the views would be breathtaking and walking on holiday is a great way to find hidden treasures.

    October 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm
  • Reply Sreekar

    The pictures kina reminded me of calleila de palafrugel. Loved your drone view photo the most. Seems very relaxing.

    October 11, 2017 at 4:07 pm
  • Reply Star harford

    I cant believe the sea can get up to forty degrees! Ive never heard of this island either. Its strange that its main income is tourism when noone I know has ever been there! Looks beautiful though!

    October 11, 2017 at 5:31 pm
  • Reply Lilinha

    What an amazing island. I would love to visit and try their seafood and rabbit, sounds so delicious!

    October 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm
  • Reply Ger ( It's Me & Ethan )

    I’m repeating everything everyone has said but I too had never heard of Ischia either ! It looks absolutely stunning. Your pictures are amazing . One day I’ll get to Italy ,anywhere in Italy, I’m sure of it !

    October 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm
  • Reply Suzy McCullough

    How lovely. I’ve certainly never heard of it which seems such a shame. But I do now 🙂 the island fort looks stunning. I’m a massive fan of seafood

    October 11, 2017 at 9:32 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Italy is on our dream destination list. This looks truly beautiful xx

    October 11, 2017 at 10:52 pm
  • Reply Mel

    Excuse me while I book a flight and ferry right now! Ischia looks amazing and I’m not a huge tourist lover (despite being one) so places that are a well kept secret are right up my street.

    October 12, 2017 at 7:22 am
  • Reply Super Busy Mum

    Wow, what a beautiful island!

    October 12, 2017 at 9:04 am
  • Reply Amy

    Wow it looks so beautiful. Honestly I had never even heard of this island before!

    October 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm
  • Reply Michelle Kellogg

    I’ve never heard of it either but it looks really beautiful! Another location to add to my travel bucket list;)

    October 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm
  • Reply Sajad Ahmad Mir

    Ischia island looks great to have a visit and do fishing. I love fishing and that’s why I love islands.

    October 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm
  • Reply Alex

    I would love to go to italy! Ischia looks stunning – such pretty photos

    October 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply melissa major

    I want to go to Italy one day! This looks like such a beautiful place

    October 12, 2017 at 1:35 pm
  • Reply London Mumma

    Ischia, looks darling, but you are right, so few have heard of this glorious looking island.

    October 12, 2017 at 2:58 pm
  • Reply Lucy | Real Mum Reviews

    It’s great when you can eat lots of local produce!!

    October 12, 2017 at 6:25 pm
  • Reply Kaz | Ickle Pickles Life and Travels

    I have never heard of this island but it looks beautiful. I would love to visit there! Kaz

    October 12, 2017 at 8:03 pm
  • Reply Dogvills

    I never heard of Ischia Island before but it sure promises a worthwhile visit. If I can feast on seafood, then I am in! I would probably beg off eating rabbit meat though. Thanks for the virtual tour!

    October 12, 2017 at 9:33 pm
  • Reply Helen

    I haven’t heard of Ischia before, I definitely want to go now I do know about it! It looks gorgeous and the food sounds amazing. We have pet bunnies so I’m not sure I could eat the rabbit though.

    October 12, 2017 at 10:10 pm
  • Reply Mayuri Saxena

    I’ve not heard of Ischia before but this looks like an awesome place to go on a vacation. You mentioned that in order to reach this island, you need to take a ferry, so what would be the best season to visit there? I loved the pics you have shared!

    October 13, 2017 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Elizabeth O

    In addition to the magnificent photos you took, you walked us through this magical place. Can’t wait to visit it.

    October 13, 2017 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Zena's Suitcase

    It sounds like a lovely destination to be honest with lots of authenticity. I love Italy and this is somewhere I would consider going

    October 13, 2017 at 4:46 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    I hadn’t heard of it looks like a stunning gem of a place.

    October 13, 2017 at 8:55 pm
  • Reply Heidi Brown

    I am so Jealous. It has been far too long since I have been on holiday and I cant see it happening anytime soon either. This island looks gorgeous though, so picturesque!

    October 14, 2017 at 9:12 am
  • Reply Cali

    And this is why my bucket list is so dang long…A place I have never heard of until a few minutes ago and now I’m looking up flights to Italy, lol! Sounds like such an incredible trip and I can’t wait to see it for myself…one day….

    October 14, 2017 at 6:32 pm
  • Reply Jenn

    I have never heard of Ischia! It looks beautiful. I will keep it in mind when I get to Italy!!

    October 15, 2017 at 12:02 am
  • Reply parth rathod

    The pictures are beautiful
    thank you for sharing

    October 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Megan

    Very interesting! Years ago my husband and I went to Capri, but haven’t heard much about Ischia. Reading this, I think me may enjoy it more, being a bit less touristy and more of an authentic experience. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    October 15, 2017 at 6:26 pm
  • Reply Christopher Mitchell

    Where do I sign up?! Honestly, anything that is not already devastatingly over-touristed in Italy is a place in which I’ll go because Italy is marvellous, but over-tourism has ruined some spots. Thanks for the heads up on this place, it looks gorgeous!

    October 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm
  • Reply April

    Wow, it looks so gorgeous! And you’re right! Since I’ve never been to Italy I have never heard of it… but maybe even if I had been I still wouldn’t have heard of it… I’ve definitely heard of Capri. What an incredible island!

    October 18, 2017 at 6:05 am
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