I’d never heard of Ischia before. I fancied somewhere relaxing to stay for three nights on the Amalfi Coast after a hectic 10 days travelling and sightseeing – Capri and Sorrento I’d heard of, but my research found they might be a tad busy and expensive. Which was when I discovered the island of Ischia, close to Capri but much larger and, hopefully, less overrun with tourists.
It’s about 50 minutes on the fast boat from Naples harbour, first stopping at the largest town (confusingly, also called Ischia) and then onto Forio on the West of the island, where I was staying. I hit the jackpot – the town was charming and bustling, the sea was warm and blue (my hotel had a private deck with steps down to the sea – bliss) and the sunsets absolutely spectacular.
I spent the bulk of my time swimming, eating seafood or Neapolitan pizza, or sitting outside a café or bar enjoying the sun – which isn’t a bad way to spend a few days. I also walked up to Parc Mugel, a tropical garden on top of a cliff with plants, ponds and wildlife and an incredible view down to Forio town.
One day I caught a bus to Baia di Sorgeto. Ischia is a volcanic island, and in this small bay hot springs flow into the sea from the volcanic rocks of the surrounding mountain. It’s a unique experience, bathing in hot water and then swimming further out to sea as the water gets cooler and cooler. After that I jumped on the boat to the next bay and the colourful town of Sant Angelo, where I had lunch on the small harbour watching the yachting set spend their money.
What a beautiful island. I wanted relaxation and by God I got it. Weeks later I still wish I was back there, swimming in the sea as the sun slowly set, turning the sky from bright blue to vivid pink. Heaven.