May 15, 2023
Procida and Ischia belong to the archipelago of the Flegrean islands in the Gulf of Naples. Characterised by their common volcanic origin, they both offer breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Sea, dark sandy beaches and turquoise waters, but are actually very different from each other. Let's find out why.
Ischia and Procida: why they are so popular
In its four square kilometres, Procida preserves some very valuable historical evidence and unique natural beauty. Its fame is due to its primitive beauty, but also to literature (first and foremost Elsa Morante, who set her novel 'l'isola di Arturo' here) and cinema (we recall that Massimo Troisi's last masterpiece, 'il Postino', was set here).
Ischia has been known since antiquity for the therapeutic properties of its thermal waters, mentioned even in Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid. Over time, it has built up an international reputation because it truly offers everything a visitor could wish for: sea, nature, sports, but also relaxation at the thermal baths and lots of fun.
The island of Procida
Procida is a tiny island but, despite its size, it is densely populated and very much experienced by its inhabitants. The island of Vivara, which cannot be visited at the moment, also belongs to the municipality of Procida.
Procida is popular with locals, much less known to mass tourism. Ferries and hydrofoils from Pozzuoli or Naples arrive at the port of Marina Grande, and from here, you can easily set out to discover this little Mediterranean gem.
It is not possible to bring a car if you are not a resident, but it is very easy to get around on foot: the island is mainly flat, except for the climb up to Terra Murata, Procida's ancient village.
We recommend hiring an electric bike: it is the easiest, most fun and environmentally friendly way to visit the length and breadth of the island without ever getting tired! A scooter is also a good option, but you must take into account the traffic blocks and ZTL zones in force during the summer.
You can find all the details on how to explore the island on the 'getting around Procida' page.
The island of Ischia
Ischia is the largest of the Flegrean islands and includes 6 municipalities. With its 64,000 inhabitants, it is the most populous island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia.
Its 3 main ports (Ischia Porto, Forio and Casamicciola) are well connected to Naples and Pozzuoli. From here one can also reach Procida, Capri and the Pontine islands (Ventotene and Ponza). In summer, connections with Amalfi, Positano and Salerno are also guaranteed.
Unlike Procida, here you can bring your own car but only if you are not a resident of Campania. However, it is difficult to find parking and you have to deal with the traffic, which despite being an island is very heavy, especially during the summer.
To get around Ischia, we recommend using the buses, which all leave from Ischia Porto, just a short walk from the pier, or renting a scooter, to get around freely without worrying about timetables or long queues in the sun!
Ischia and Procida: the beaches
The beaches are an excellent reason to visit Ischia and Procida. There are plenty of them and of various types, so you can choose the ones best suited to your needs.
The atmosphere of the two islands
Procida still retains its identity as an island of fishermen and a humble, reserved character. For this reason, too, it deserves to be explored slowly. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the Italy of yesteryear, with locals chatting happily in the streets, going about their daily lives without paying much attention to the curious glances of visitors. The buildings are typical, simple, but if you go beyond appearances you can discover small hidden wonders: quiet secret gardens, small squares sheltered from the wind, views that suddenly open up to the sea. Strolling along the streets, it is impossible not to be caught up in the cheerful frenzy of the Procidans, and how can one not be captivated by the scent of freshly baked Procida tongues, passing by the bar Roma, or by the appetising aromas of the little restaurants in Corricella, which offer freshly caught fish every day. For more on local cuisine, check out our tips on where to eat in Procida.
Ischia is an island, but the first impact is that of arriving in a bustling, well-organised city. It may leave you disoriented at first, but as you enter its streets and neighbourhoods, you discover the character so typical of southern Italy: the crystal-clear sea, the lush gardens, all enlivened by the smiles and friendliness of its inhabitants, accustomed for generations to welcoming tourists from all over the world. There is no shortage of services here, and in some areas, you can breathe in the air of the city: shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, everything is at your fingertips.In addition to the residents, many regular visitors populate the island, as well as groups of tourists of all ages strolling the streets.
What to do in Ischia?
Ischia is a large island, each area has its own peculiarities and you can choose the one best suited to your needs: if you are travelling with friends and looking for fun, there is Ischia Porto; if you prefer relaxation, the Sant'Angelo area is perfect for you; with children, you could choose the beaches of Forio.
What to do in Procida?
Although small, Procida absolutely must be visited slowly; a touch-and-go tour will not allow you to appreciate it in its essence. In three days you will visit almost all of it, but consider a longer stay if you want to fully experience its atmosphere. Procidans are rather reserved, but after a few days, you will feel like part of the family!
Prices and accommodation
If I don't want to spend a fortune, is Procida or Ischia better? Prices on the islands are always slightly higher than average, but on balance neither Ischia nor Procida are overpriced, especially if you choose the low season (May-June, September-October).
Ischia, being much larger, has a wide variety of well-organised hotels, from the simplest to the most luxurious, offering all kinds of comforts.
Procida has been developing its accommodation offer in recent years, focusing more on alternative structures to hotels, such as B&Bs, flats and, of course, glamping, the flagship of open-air holidays. You don't know what glamping is? It is an innovative holiday concept, in contact with nature without giving up comfort and a touch of luxury. Discover it with us!
Ischia and Procida: which one to choose?
WE RECOMMEND ISCHIA IF...
You prefer a more animated holiday, if even on holiday you cannot give up shopping and nightlife, if you like to feel like a tourist discovering an exotic but refined place.
WE RECOMMEND PROCIDA IF...
You are looking for an island with a quiet and relaxing atmosphere that seems to have stood still in time. Ideal for those who want to rediscover the authentic culture of southern Italy, linked to the life and traditions of the sea. It is small, and within a short time in Procida you will feel at home!
Procida is worth choosing as a starting point to visit the surroundings: the harbour can be reached from anywhere with a walk or at most a few minutes by bus.
If you want to visit the wonders of Naples and its gulf, but are looking for a unique stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city, we suggest you try glamping. You will only find it in Procida!