UNLIKELY FAVOURITE: IDYLLIC ISCHIA
Seen The Talented Mr Ripley? It’s the sweet sleepy Isola d’Ischia that provides the backdrop to that gorgeous film.
Even with its location in the Gulf of Naples, the volcanic island of Ischia is still relatively unknown. It isn’t glamorous, and doesn’t draw chichi crowds like its glittering little sister Capri. There aren’t rows of designer stores or high octane clubs. It’s quiet and unassuming, and that is its drawcard alongside breathtaking views and therapeutic hot springs. (Plus the citrus is world famous and only a fool could turn down a glass of cold limonata or a scoop of lemon gelato.)
This is the sort of place that days go by unnoticed though if you must do a different thing each day you can.
You can ride the bus which circles the island clockwise and anticlockwise or rent a little boat and seek out pretty coves.
Or you can walk past the little fungus in Lacco Ameno and find the long sandy stretch that is lovely Negombo beach.
You can visit the impressive 15th century Castello Aragonese for a trip back in time and staggering views.
Or you can stop off at the juice stall by the bus stop in Sant’ Angelo and marvel at the dramatic limestone cliffs, then head downhill to the picture perfect fishing village with its icecream coloured houses and get lost in its winding cobbled lanes.
You can revive weary bones by making your way to Sorgeto and spend the day in the beach's natural hot pools and rub yourself down in volcanic clay.
Or forget everything I just said and take a short stroll from your accommodations. It was a much wiser person who once said the best beach is the nearest one.
When I wrote about the little town of Thekkady in Kerala, I didn’t expect the post to be so popular and resonate with so many people, Unlikely Favourites is a recurring column for places slightly off the beaten track (but not necessarily) that are full of wonderful surprises.