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Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

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Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

I am planning a reasonably last minute trip to Southern Italy in two weeks time (late July) but have never been before and have no idea where to stay & how to get there from London.

I would prefer either a good quality hotel (not of the major touristy variety) or self catering accommodation.

Any advice or suggestions for other places to go in the area would be very gratefully received.

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1. Re: Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

Hiya,

Ischia's lovely! It'll be very hot when you're planning to go... just warning you! :) (presume you are talking about Ischia specifically - just noticed it's in your message title but not mentioned in your actual post!)

Getting there from London - fly to Naples (prices might be quite high as it's a bit last minute), or I suppose to Rome if you can get a cheaper flight there. From Naples airport you take a bus to the port and then you've got lots of ferry / hydrofoil options to take you to Ischia. From Rome you'd have to get the train to Naples.

Where to stay on the island depends on what sort of thing you're looking for. Personally I would recommend either Ischia Ponte or Forio. Ischia Porto (the main port, unsurprisingly!) is a little bit too busy for me, but Ischia Ponte is 10 minutes (max) away by bus, and walkable without luggage, and is quieter but without being "sleepy". Forio is the other side of the island but some of the hydrofoils from Naples go there. Both have good bus connections to the rest of the island. There are other places which are really nice as well - Sant'Angelo is nice, but it felt a little bit too touristy to me.

I stayed in the Hotel Europa in Ischia Ponte - a nice hotel, nothing flash or anything, but very friendly, nice food, nice (but basic) ensuite rooms, good value. There are probably loads of equally nice little hotels!

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2. Re: Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

We've now booked and are staying in the Hotel Grazia Terme - does anyone have any comments on this place?

Furthermore, anyone got any advice on how to get there and whether it is worth us hiring a car?

Thanks very much for responses so far - much appreciated.

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3. Re: Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

The Grazia Terme is in or near Lacco Ameno, right?

To get there from Naples, you've got quite a choice of boats.

You've also got a choice of ports - Mergellina and Beverello. Beverello is bigger and easier to get to from the airport, so I wouldn't worry about Mergellina unless you discover the times are better from there for your schedule.

From Napoli Beverello, Alilauro (www.alilauro.it) run "aliscafi" (hydrofoils) to Ischia Porto (NE) and Forio(W). I think they're more frequent to Ischia Porto, but I also think Forio is closer to your hotel. (Although Ischia Porto isn't far either). It takes less than an hour on the hydrofoil.

Also, Caremar (www.caremar.it) run hydrofoils and slower ferries from Beverello to Ischia Porto. The big ferries take longer - not sure how much longer. I think a lot (if not all) of them stop at Procida as well, so probably an hour and a half or so. But they are cheaper. Medmar (www.medmargroup.it) run slower ferries too, but they don't stop at Procida so they're a bit quicker.

Finally (and this might actually be your best option), SNAV (www.snav.it) run a few boats a day from Beverello to Casamicciola, which is the next town along from Lacco Ameno. There aren't many though so you'll be a bit limited with your schedule.

OK, so, getting to Lacco Ameno from the ports. The buses are pretty good, I have to say, but I wouldn't fancy it with a lot of luggage if it's busy and hot. Nowhere's THAT far, mind you - from Casamicciola it can't be more than 10 minutes to Lacco Ameno. Probably less. You've got a choice of buses from any of the ports I think, but useful buses are the CS and CD (circular routes): the CS goes anticlockwise - so from Ischia Porto to Casamicciola to Lacco Ameno to Forio etc - and the CD goes clockwise.

Like I said, the buses are pretty good, but it depends on what you think you want to do. The services are best round the edge of the island (necessarily so, as the middle of it is a rather large mountain!). Services are reasonably frequent on most routes as well, so you're not too limited. Having said that you'll have more freedom if you hire a car. Or maybe a scooter if you're feeling brave. But if you hire a car:

- Hire a small one. You'll regret having anything bigger when you're trying to squeeze between 2 parked cars and a bus.

- Preferably hire one that already has a few bashes on it, so the ones you'll add won't show so much!

- There are very few rules of the road that anyone follows, except "try to avoid other vehicles" ;). And toot your horn as often as possible, especially for no good reason :)

- Lots of the roads, particularly around the south of the island, are of the windy mountainous variety. Toot as you come to the bends, but be warned that the buses stop for no one!

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4. Re: Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

Vikki

Thank you so much for your advice and pointers - I really appreciate them!

A few final questions.

Anyone got any ideas of places to eat, little places to visit etc.? I am travelling with my boyfriend who has only been to Italy once before and want to make sure he has a great time. I am Italian (and speak it) so language isn't an issue.

Thanks again

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5. Re: Ischia - where to stay & how to get there

I'm not sure about places to eat, really, as we were staying halfboard and ate (very well!) in our hotel...

Places to visit, though... where to start?

I'm told the gardens at La Mortella are well worth seeing, but unfortunately we didn't get round to it. (possibly you need a car to get there). I know someone on this board is VERY enthusiastic about La Mortella, so if you're interested I'm sure they'd be able to help you!

Sort of depends on what you're interested in, really. I would definitely recommend the Castello Aragonese in Ischia Ponte, particularly if you have any interest in historical stuff, but even if you don't, the views are great.

Forio is worth a visit, maybe just in the morning or something, go in, wander around the town, go up to Sta Maria del Soccorso, have lunch...

Ischia Porto is good for a bit of shopping ;)

If you have the energy and it's not too hot you could go up Monte Epomeo - not too bad if you have the car (although I don't think vehicles can get to the very top) but quite a long walk from the nearest bus stop!

Sant'Angelo is also worth seeing - nice little town on the south of the island, slightly more expensive, or it seemed to be, and slightly more touristy, but very pretty.

Lots of nice beaches - Citara (south of Forio) and Maronti (between Barano and Sant'Angelo) are famous... actually there are just loads, depending on what sort of beach you like, and whether you want to pay or not. This is useful - www.ischiamarket.com/spiagge_lidi.shtm. Actually www.ischiaonline.it is pretty good generally - but if you use their ferry timetables I would double check with the individual ferry companies just in case! :)

And then the thermal parks - Negombo (Baia San Montano, very near Lacco Ameno) and Poseidon (south of Forio) are probably the best known.

We did a daytrip to Procida (Caremar ferry - with much needed over-enthusiastic air con, it was like walking into a fridge but it was bliss!!), which is only about half an hour away from Ischia Porto. I really liked it - we really just walked around the island not really knowing where we were going, but it was lovely. La Corricella is very pretty, and the Terra Murata is slightly surreal!

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