Use Naples as your launch pad for exploring Capri, Ischia and the even lesser-known Procida, the trio of islands guarding the Bay of Naples.
Jutting out of the Sorrentine peninsula is the idyllic island of Capri. With regular boat crossings from the mainland throughout the year, the island attracts day-trippers and holidaymakers alike, who come to savour the sandy beaches and natural gems. The island’s biggest pull is the Grotta Azzurra, or Blue Grotto. Accessible by small boat, duck as you enter and marvel as the sunlight pierces the grotto through the water, illuminating its inner belly with an eerily impressive blue sparkle. Do make sure to go early morning to beat the bustle of boats and high tide.
From the island’s underbelly to its dizzying heights, head to Anacapri and take the chair lift to the top of Monte Solaro, the island’s highest point (596m). You’ll be treated to peaceful panoramas of the bay below, dotted by bobbing vessels, with dashes of sea foam as boats streak by, and the three rocky I Faraglioni stacks thrusting out from the sea. Finish the day off with a trip to the Giardini di Augusto gardens, whose panoramic flower-decked terraces offer views of both the towering cliffs above, and the spectacular Via Krupp pathway of hairpin bends that snakes from Marina Piccola right up to the gardens.
Largest of the three islands, Ischia proudly boasts hot springs, golden sands and a luscious volcanic centre – that, and it’s only a mere 56km from Naples airport. Walking fanatics won’t be disappointed either, as you can climb the summit of the dormant Monte Epomeo (788m) from the small village of Fontana. You’ll be rewarded at the top with the 15th-century San Nicola di Bari church, and a pit stop at a scenic café. The steep, green south coast is home to San Angelo, a tiny fishing village separated by an isthmus from the knobbly islet in the sea. From here you can indulge in even more of nature’s delights, and either hop on a taxi boat or take a 25-minute walk to Spiaggia dei Maronti, the largest beach on the island. Make sure to stop off at the steaming sands of Fumarole (locals even use the sands to cook food!) and the historic hot springs of Terme Cavascura, dating back to the Greek times.
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