A Guide to Ischia – Hotels & Ferries

I first heard about Ischia from my grandmother in the middle of the 1990s. She had traveled to the island with several of her girlfriends and spoke enthusiastically about this gorgeous Italian island in the Gulf of Naples. As a small child, her stories of Ischia made a huge impression on me, and I resolved to visit it one day. I had to wait 30 years, but hey, better late then never, right?

Well, the hype about Ischia is real. Ischia reminds me of when I first visited Positano in 2006 (long before Instagram & TikTok made it almost unbearable to visit), full of charm, gorgeous restaurants, stunning views, and baskets of enormous lemons. Least we forget the magical thermal waters that draw visitors to Ischia.

Ischia is like stepping back into the past. Wander the streets of Ischia Ponte, browsing boutique stores, enjoying a gorgeous gelato, or head to the port, enjoy a cocktail and watch the ferries come in. Explore the island by bus, car, or scooter and fall in love with one of the prettiest places that will capture your heart and make the fondest of memories.

Where to stay in Ischia

Deciding where to stay in Ischia is semi-important. Firstly there are a couple of options of larger towns to choose from, secondly, you need to decide how dependent you want to be on public transportation, or renting your own car.

Ischia Porto

Confusingly the port town of Ischia is known as Ischia Porto. Or just Ischia. I based my stay here, as it had ferry connections, lots of restaurants and bars to choose from and essentially everything I would need was on my doorstep.

The port of Ischia actually reminded me a lot of Portofino. Restaurants & bars line the harbor edge and offer stunning views of boats coming and going, against the dramatic backdrop of soaring hills. Immediately around the corner from the port, you’ll find store-lined streets selling designer sunglasses, clothing & products from the island. The beaches of Ischia Porto that connect down to Ischia Ponte offer views across the Gulf of Naples. You’ll find Lido’s offering beach bed rentals from €10-15 depending on the place.

We stayed in the truly fabulous Pagoda Lifestyle Hotel for our 4 nights in Ischia. The location is less than a 5-minute walk from the ferry terminal and offers some of the most gorgeous experiences that you could ask of a hotel. The private platform with sun loungers and access to the crystal water was like something out of a Conde Nast publication.

Ischia Ponte

Ischia Ponte is close by and a 30-ish minute walk from Ischia Porto. Ischia Ponte is the location of the spectacular Castello Argonese D’Ischia, an island that attaches itself to Ischia Ponte, a former monastery & now 3-star hotel, Albergo Il Monastero which sits high on the island and offers spectacular views.

Miramare E Castello offers stunning views across to the Castello, as well it’s own thermal waters. The interiors might be slightly dated, but that’s part of the old-world charm of Ischia. A short walk to either Ischia Ponte or Porto.


The largest settlement on Ischia is the sweet little town of Forio. Staying in Forio provides you with easy access to neighboring towns and makes a good hub for shorter visits to Ischia. If you’re planning on exploring, or want to visit the Thermes of Ischia, then you should consider basing your stay in Forio. Sant ‘Angelo is a 15-minute drive away. Ischia Porto is a 15-minute drive.


If you’re looking for a relaxing stay in Ischia where you’re only concern is where you’re going to eat dinner, then you’ve got to base your stay in Sant’Angelo. A small town that offers easy access to the largest nearby beach in Ischia, Maronti, by ferry, there’s not a lot to do in Sant’Angelo and that’s kind of the point. There are a handful of stores, restaurants and bars, a cute little beach and not much else. Staying in Sant’Angelo is the perfect place when all you want to do is read your book, relax and sip on Aperol Spritz’ from your hotel’s balcony. Perfecto.


If you’re looking for a base firmly between Forio & Ischia Porto, then Casamicciola makes a great one. There is a ferry port with connections to Naples & Procida departing from the harbor throughout the day. The town of Casmicciola sits at the base of the lush Mount Epomeo, with gorgeous views of vineyards and houses built into the mountainsside. The location of Casamicciola offers easy access to the 2 larger towns on Ischia of Forio & Ischia Porto/Ponte with frequent bus services throughout the day. If you’re planning on spending your days at the famous thermal spas of Ischia, you’ll find them only a stone’s throw away.

Stay at Hotel La Madonnina which offers a private beach and direct access to the sea.

How To Get To Ischia

The only way to get to Ischia is by ferry from the Italian mainland (or nearby Capri). Whether you decide to charter a superyacht or like 99% of regular folks organize your journey by ferry, you’ll find numerous daily crossings.

I booked my ferry tickets to Ischia via FerryHopper which I would recommend, and depending on the ferry company you may have to get the physical tickets at the ticket office in Naples, or you can e-tickets via the FerryHopper app.

There are several sailings throughout the day to Ischia, and the ferries arrive into 3 different ports in Ischia.

  • Forio
  • Ischia Port
  • Casamicciola

Depending on where you are staying on Ischia, you should check to see if your ferry stops close to your destination. For example, we were staying in Ischia Port, so we chose a ferry that arrived into that location. Taxi’s in Ischia are not too expensive, and journey times are short.

Getting Around Ischia

Bus: Ischia has a fantastic bus system and traverses around the island with frequent stops. You can purchase bus tickets in the shops, tabacs & bars. Check with the bus driver if you can purchase on board. Tickets cost €1.80 per ride and are valid for 80 minutes of travel.

Rental Car: We rented our convertible Fiat 500 directly from Ischia Port for €50 per day from Super Mario Rental. You’ll see the term ‘Noleggio’ which is the Italian term for ‘rental’.

Taxi: The taxis on Ischia are surprisingly affordable. You’ll find posters at taxi ranks in each town that outline the coast of traveling to each destination, so there is no fear of being ripped off.

Note about roads in Ischia: Overall the road conditions in Ischia are superb. The roads are single lane, so overtaking can be tricky if you are stuck behind a bus etc. Best be patient and wait for them to pull in. If you do decide to take the east coast mountain roads through towns like Barano & Fontana be weary that they are small winding roads where you’ll want to be very comfortable driving on smaller roads. The locals are well-used to the roads and drive quickly around the sharp bends and switchbacks, as well as contending with large buses. The west coast road of Ischia is much easier to drive.

Naples to Ischia

If you are traveling from Naples to Ischia there are 2 ports from which you can sail from. The closest to Naples city center is Beverello where boats also traveling to Sorrento and Capri depart from.

Pozzuoli is further from the center of Naples, and has sailings to the islands of Procida & Ischia.

Best Time to Visit Ischia

The island picks up steam throughout the months of July & August when the whole of Europe & North America descends on the continent. If you’re planning on visiting the thermal spas of Ischia, you could really visit any time of the year.

Is Ischia Expensive?

Compared to nearby Capri, Ischia is extremely affordable. We dined out every night in Ischia and paid between €30 & €60 for a meal for two that included glasses of wine. Scooter rental is €20 per day. Car rental €50. Hotels can be as inexpensive as you like with lots of options to choose from.

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