Ischia is an unforgettable island whose charming scenery has inspired countless poets and authors. Going on holiday in Ischia means discovering its many wonders day after day, from the enchanting blue of the surrounding sea to the island's architectural gems and the coasts near the Gulf of Naples and the Sorrento Peninsula.
Ischia is the largest of the Phlegraean Islands, so it's a great idea, especially for couples, to rent a scooter to explore every part of the island. Alternatively, the local bus service is excellent, although buses can be quite crowded, especially in the summer. Private vehicles are subject to strict restrictions and limited circulation during peak months. Throughout the year, various strong>Ischia holiday packages are on offer thanks to the island's mild climate, which has made it one of Italy's most desirable holiday destinations all year round. There's much to see in Ischia, so the length of your stay should allow enough time for everything. Begin your visit at the Villa Arbusto Museum and explore eight different rooms that take you through the island's history. You can see archaeological findings from the Neolithic, Classic and Roman ages, mostly found at the nearby Santa Restituta Excavation site. Both places offer a journey into the past, but also explore the present, with an exposition area dedicated to the life of Angelo Rizzoli. Islanders owe him a great deal, as he was the first to realise the island's wonderful potential for tourism.
The town of Ischia itself is another great starting point for discovering the island's architectural gems. From the port, continue along the Riva Destra, turn onto Via Roma and then onto Corso Vittoria Colonna to reach the characteristic borough of Ischia Ponte. This walk reveals the island's pleasant mix of styles, contexts and locations. The Riva Destra is a great place to have fun. This is a real hot spot in summer. On the right side of the port, it offers a great variety of pubs, cafés, taverns, restaurants and pizzerias. The most popular spots include Il Cappuccino, Life, and Molo 18. There's an ample selection of restaurants and taverns, but if you love live traditional Neapolitan music, then Taverna Vecchia Napoli or Il Giardino degli Aranci will be right up your street. Heading up Via Roma and Corso Vittoria Colonna, past endless boutiques and designer clothing shops, you can find Valentino in Corso Vittoria Colonna (discotheque and live music, open after midnight), Harem or Molo 18 facing the port, and Ecstasy in Piazzetta dei Pini amongst many others.
The characteristic borough of Ischia Ponte is a must-see for those who enjoy the unique style of Mediterranean architecture. It is an intricate sequence of buildings, one atop the other, without any kind of city plan or design except for certain precise aesthetics. At the end of the borough, connected to dry land by a jetty of curved stone, stands the majestic Aragonese Castle, the most famous symbol, and perhaps postcard image, of the island. At the top you'll find the loggia of the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, where you can enjoy breathtakingly beautiful views of Ischia. Well suited to young couples and newly-weds due to the Riva Destra's night-life, it's best to head to Ischia Ponte in the late afternoon. You can avoid the hottest hours of the day relaxing in one of the restaurants or pizzerias, enjoying a typical dish and a romantic sunset.
Ischia is world famous for its hot spring spas. The Giardini Poseidon in Forio , at the end of the Bay of Citara, is one of the most famous, biggest and beautiful in Europe. Inside it has everything: pools of various temperatures, natural saunas, waterfalls, well equipped health spas offering mud baths and facials. Other great spa parks include Negombo in Lacco Ameno and Castiglione in Casamicciola . Forio is the island's largest municipality, with an urban layout reminiscent of an ancient stronghold. Piazza San Gaetano is the town's gathering point, and the majestic Torrione , the largest of the many stone defensive towers can be admired for many miles around.
In terms of festivals and celebrations, Ischia leaves nothing to be desired. The most celebrated festivity is 26 July, the Festival of Sant'Anna . On the stroke of midnight there are fireworks and audiences will be mesmerised by the spectacular simulation of the Aragonese Castle fire. The Festival of Santa Restituta , a religious event in May, and the Festival of San Michele in September, with fireworks and parades over land and sea, are also worth seeing. This is just a small preview of what the island has to offer, and the fact that so many tourists fall in love with this place and return year upon year, means it's definitely worth organising a last minute holiday to Ischia.