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Ischia's shoreline alternates between rugged cliffs and stretches of sand, to the delight of sunbathers and swimmers. The island's beautiful beaches are all the more special because they are a commodity almost completely lacking in the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. The town of Ischia has a beach -- or rather several small ones, the best being the Spiaggia dei Pescatori, where local fishermen beach their boats, a short distance west of the Aragonese Castle. You can do way better, though. The island's most beautiful beach is Spiaggia dei Maronti, stretching for about 2km (1 1/4 miles) east of the village of Sant'Angelo, straight down the cliff from Barano d'Ischia (4km/2 1/2 miles south of Ischia Porto), but be warned; like others on the island, these long, scenic stretches of sand are very crowded in the summer. The Spiaggia di Cartaromana, down from the village of San Michele on the east coast of the island, is on a slightly more secluded cove. North of Forio is the Spiaggia di San Francesco, overlooked by the promontory of Monte Vico, while south of Forio is the Spiaggia di Citara, which used to be the island's largest and most beautiful sandy beach. Though much diminished by erosion, it is still very pleasant and is popular for the hot mineral springs that flow out to sea at its southern edge; these springs are the same ones that are used by the spa Giardini Poseidon. We also highly recommend renting a boat from one of the harbors and visiting the many coves that are accessible only by sea.

If you are not into swimming or relaxation, you can leave the shoreline and explore the island's hinterland which is dotted with vineyards producing excellent D.O.C. wines. You could combine wine tasting with some interesting hikes up the slopes of Mount Epomeo. We recommend you get hold of a copy of the small brochure from the tourist office in Ischia, titled Lizard Trails, which has descriptions and maps of the island's best trails.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.