Sulphuric springs and sunshine are two of the quintessential attractions of Ischia, the largest Neapolitan island on an archipelago sitting at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples.
Locals and visitors have been taking advantage of the curative powers of Ischia’s thermal waters and mud (fango) since as far back as 700BC. Over the centuries the waters have been so highly regarded that temples were built to worship the waters; physicians studied the restorative qualities of the water, and famous visitors alighted at Ischia to heal wounds, diseases and ailments.
If relax and rejuvenation are high on your vacation wish list, we recommend a trip to Ischia, where you may luxuriate in the island’s natural hot springs and thermal gardens.
A volcanic hot tub
The island of Ischia is volcanic, resulting in rich, fertile land, which produces some of the most amazing wines, including Bianco Spumante. A sparkling wine, as lively as is the local hot springs. Seismic movement over the years has created some fascinating rock formations along the coastline. The surrounding seas are healthy and clean, and are a habitat for seven species of whale and dolphin.
There are so many remarkable health benefits associated with bathing in sulphuric waters. You’ll quickly get used to the smell, often referred to as rotten eggs. The benefits far outweigh the smell. A soak in the springs is said to increase your blood flow, circulation, speed up your metabolism, and help with the absorption of essential minerals.
So, where are the springs, and which are the best ones to visit? Tear yourself away from the Aragonese castle, the gardens at La Mortella and the beach. Roll up your towel, let’s explore the best hot springs and soothing sulphuric waters of Ischia.
Hot Springs and Thermal Parks
There are open hot springs, and there are thermal parks, the latter combines the thermal waters, together with amenities such as special treatments, and landscaped gardens. The category of springs are generally grouped according to the mineral content, it’s said that various minerals are more or less suitable for particular ailments, but in general all of them offer positive health benefits, especially the easing of joint pain, the reason why most visitors seek them out. It’s also a fun day, and you can become part of the strange tribe of grey people – covered head to toe in cleansing and clarifying ‘Fango’ or, simply, mud!
Sorgeto Hot Springs
Sorgeto is the most well known of all of the hot spring locations, close to Panza in Forio, and is both free and always open, so you can take a night-trip if you want and bathe under a cloak of starry sky. Even if it’s cold outside, once you’re under the water there’s a steady heat, a little like a hot bath that never cools down. It’s reached by climbing down onto a little beach, where you can bathe in individual rock pools. These are heated to bubbling consistency by the natural volcanic action.
At Citara beach, you can also avail of the properties of the hot springs for free, this time the natural sea water mixes with the thermal water, making pockets of warm, salted water perfect for floating – and relaxing. It’s a little like those saline floatation tanks at expensive spa resorts – except it’s free!
And if you want to indulge in a little more luxury, head across to the Poseidon Thermal Gardens, also located in the beautiful bay of Citara. The thermal wellness centre boasts no less than 22 different swimming pools, each with its own temperature – from icy cold to baking hot. The waters here are naturally fed through from the hot springs and visitors can treat themselves to hydrotherapy treatments, Kneipp pools, natural saunas, sea-water pools, or why not just relax on a sun bed with a good book in the beautiful Ischia sunshine?
If you’ve decided on a day’s sightseeing, and Castello Aragonese is on your list, you could include a stop off at closeby Cartaromana Beach, where you’ll find small pockets of thermal waters, which you may avail of whilst using the sturdy cliff face as a backrest. Every so often you can brace yourself for a swim in the chilier sea, and return again to the warm and relaxing thermal waters to take the chill off.
Cavascura Natural Springs
On the southwestern coast of Ischia, is the wine producing region of Barano d’Ischia. Aside from a visit to the region’s vineyards, it’s recommend to visit the golden sands of Moranti Beach, where you find the grottos of Cavascura. The caves act as a natural sauna created by the steam which escapes from the thermal depths below. Interspersed with dips in the sea, it’s an interesting experience, not for the faint-hearted but certainly improves circulation!
Nitrodi Natural Springs
Barano is home to not one, but two natural spring sites. Dating back to Roman times, the natural springs of Nitrodi are a natural phenomena visited by devotees from far and wide. The ancient origins of this wellness complex only add to the incredible experience of the thermal waters themselves. So curative are the waters of Nitrodi, their therapeutic properties were recognised by Italy’s Department of Health in 2003. Visitors suffering from varicose veins, burns, and skin conditions, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis and neurodermatitis, are said to especially benefit from Nitrodi’s water.
Nitrodi combines the natural springs with aromatherapy gardens and therapeutic infusions which combined make for a full day’s indulgence. Soothing from the inside out!
The Fumaroles of Sant’Angelo
The scorched and dry sands of Le Fumarole Beach, which in some parts can reach up to 100-150 degrees celsius, are evidence of the volcanic basin below. The thermal vapours emitted through the sand are said to treat many diseases, and can even cook a chicken or shellfish whilst you relax!
Le Fumarole Beach is located in gorgeous Sant’Angelo, one of the most laid-back and least touristy destinations in Ischia. It’s worth exploring the rest of Sant’Angelo during your visit.
Hydrothermal Negombo Gardens
The Hydrothermal Negombo Gardens is situated in San Montano Bay in Lacco Ameno. Aside from the thermal gardens, it’s a stunning beautiful place to visit. To visit the gardens you pay an entrance fee; the price dependent on whether you wish a full day or half day pass, and it’s open from April to October.
There are a dozen types of swimming pools and baths, each heating to varying temperatures. Including an impressive 33 metre sea water pool with fabulous views and a Japanese labyrinth pool said to highly improve circulation. Visitors are welcome to use the private beach area, and a visit wouldn’t be complete without savouring the fine cuisine at Trattoria Casa Colonica. Situated in Negombo Thermal Gardens, it’s one the best restaurants on Ischia.