23 April, 2019
While tourists flock to the storied Amalfi Coast, Italians head to Ischia for their holiday breaks. The volcanic islet boasts the best of Neapolitan food, lazy beaches overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, and a cool island breeze. Come for the archetypal Italian pace of life and a quaint village feel in the island's tiny comuni.
Although popularised by Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley which brought Jude Law, Matt Damon and Gweneth Paltrow to Ischia's shores, the island isn't fazed by its acclaimed reputation. Differing from its glam neighbour Capri, Ischia significantly lacks plush boutiques and sophisticated bars, instead offering an abundance of family-run trattorias and colourful houses stacked along cobbled alleys.
Head to the pedestrianised Sant'Angelo to roam about the harbour and sunbathe on sandy beaches (we recommend Spiaggia dei Maronti), before climbing to the 15th-century fortress of Castello Aragonese. Bag a table along the hamlet's waterfront to watch the sunset as you sip on famed Ischian vermouth.
Ischia is known for having some of Italy's best thermal spas thanks to volcanic action heating the island's natural springs. Poseidon Thermal Gardens offers 22 naturally heated swimming and bathing pools, while Terme di Cavascura has mineral-rich waterfalls and springs. Hollowed into Ischian cliffs in a deep valley, this ancient spa is the perfect place to treat your freshly bronzed body.
Who to take with you
Someone not afraid of carb-overload. Try the family-run La Locanda di Vito for the ultimate Neapolitan pizza, or Trattoria da Peppina di Renato for pasta dishes in a rustic setting.
When to go
While the island often gets busy during summer months, the bustling atmosphere is part of Ischia's appeal. Go in June to embrace the summer heat alongside holidaying Italians from the mainland.
Where to stay
Il Pellicano's sister hotel Il Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa reopens this month after an extensive refurb. While Ischia's comuni offer rustic Italian charm, this hotel oozes elegant allure. Located in a secluded cove amid chestnut forests and volcanic rock, Il Mezzatorre benefits from a private bay, beach and a spa housed in a 16th-century watchtower.
Most likely to bump into…
Literature lovers. The island features in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels as a holiday spot for some of her best-loved characters.
Essentials to bring with you
With thermal spas and sandy beaches galore, you'll spend most of your time in swimwear. This red Hunza G Osiris bikini includes cute ruffled-trimmed, high-waisted briefs and a bandeau top to avoid pesky tan lines.
How to get there
Fly to Naples, where boats and ferries frequently sail to the island in around an hour.