The volcanic outcrop of Ischia is the most developed and largest of the islands in the Bay of Naples. An early colony of Magna Graecia, first settled in the 8th century BC, Ischia today is famed for its thermal spas, manicured gardens, striking Aragonese castle and unshowy, straightforward Italian airs – a feature also reflected in its food. Ischia is a refreshing antidote to glitzy Capri.
Most visitors head straight for the north-coast towns of Ischia Porto, Ischia Ponte, Forio and Lacco Ameno. Of these, Ischia Porto boasts the best bars, while Forio and Lacco Ameno the prettiest spas and gardens. On the calmer south coast, the car-free perfection of Sant’Angelo offers a languid blend of a cosy harbour and lazy beaches. In between the coasts lies a less-trodden landscape of chestnut forests, vineyards and volcanic rock, loomed over by Monte Epomeo, Ischia’s highest peak.