Italian Adventure 1 – Part 6 Procida, an unexpected island

Following on from our wonderful stay on the Aeolian islands and Part 5 where we took the train back up to Naples from Messina (where the train went on the ferry!!!!) we had a 1 night stay in Naples at Covo Degli Angioini before heading to the island of Procida for a few nights.

Now before I tell you all about Procida I have to tell you that we didn’t plan on visiting the island. The B & B we had in Naples could only offer us 1 night and as we arrived late we took it and said we’d find an alternative in the morning so next morning we found a B & B on Via Flavio Gioia in Naples and when we went there, dragging suitcases behind we discovered that there wasn’t a B & B at all. On closer look at our booking on we discovered there was a Via Flavio Gioia on the island of Procida. After realising our error we went to get a ferry and our planned visits to Pompei and Herculaneum would have to wait a few days.

Procida – where did we stay?

We stayed at Le Grand Bleu Apartments on the west coast of the island and the beauty of having an apartment was that there was a little kitchen facility where we could make coffee in the morning and cook and evening meal if we wanted. With lovely little grocers and fish markets on the island that is exactly what we did. Oh and we roasted some chestnuts too. The room was adequate with a nice balcony and if you stuck your neck out you could see the sea. The bathroom and shower were great. I cant remember exactly how much it cost but it was reasonable.

How did we get there?

We took the SNAV hydrofoil from Naples Port to Procida. There are hydrofoils and ferries to other destinations but the port where the depart from is are easy to find at the port of Naples. There are large information boards showing which ferries/hydrofoils are going where and when the next one departs. The ticket booths are clearly visible and our ticket to Procida cost around €10 each.

What is there to do?

Procida is a lovely island to have a good old wander around. Its very much unspoiled by tourism and is very colourful. Houses and boats are painted in lovely sunshine colours and really sets the small island apart from its neighbour Ischia and is much less glamorous than Capri but sits in the bay of Naples with a quiet confidence that it doesn’t indeed have something to offer even though its not on the main tourist track.

Go to the beach – The island has quite a few beaches to lay out your towel and catch the Neapolitan rays. The one we tend to visit was Spiaggia Chiaia. It was a vast beach in a horseshoe bay on the east coast of the island with views of the the imposing building of the former prison of Procida and out to Capri. There are many more to choose from round the island and swimming is fab.

Take a trip to Ischia – We took a trip to the neighbouring island of Ischia. The ferry cost around €7 each way and only took about 20 mins. Ischia is bigger than Procida and much more touristy. Our first trip to Ischia we decided to get away from the main tourist areas and found a hiking trail – FRASSITELLI  TO  BOSCO  DELLA  FALANGA  WALK – took us up the coast and up into the mountains, through lush forests full of horse chestnut trees and troglodyte dwellings deep within the forest, it was a spectacular walk.

We got the bus from the port to the town of Serrara for a few € and from there the hiking route is signposted, path number 501. The bus back to Ischia can be caught from the terminus which is just up the road from where it dropped us off. Full description of the route and how to get there can be found – Enchanted Woods

There are a few more things to do on Ischia but I’ll save them till I write about the next time we visited this beautiful island.

Have a luxurious day out in Capri – It was my birthday so we decided to treat ourselves and take a ferry over to Capri. Capri is famous for being the playground of Hollywood royalty and it didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately there is no current ferry from Procida to Capri so if you wanted to visit Capri from the islands you’d need to hop over to Ischia and catch the ferry from there. The price is currently around €17 return.

What did we do when visiting Capri

Climb Mount Solaro with the chair lift – Getting to the top of Mount Solaro is fun in the chair lift at only €12 round trip its fun seeing the views to the mainland and other islands unfolding as the chair lift ascends. At the top there’s a nice walk around and a restaurant and bar. If you go to the far end of the summit area then the views are spectacular on the back side of the island.

Take a walk around the island & the funicular up to the main piazza from the marina. The funicular is only €2 each way and it saves an incredibly steep walk up to the main town. The island has many walking paths and meandering round the winding streets with their lemoncello sellers is a lovely way to walk of a nice meal or spend a few hours exploring the island.

Cocktail in the Piazza – Even though it can be a bit pricy you must have a drink in the piazza and watch the world go by for a while. Relax and enjoy the atmposhere of this indulgent island.

Sample the fabulous seafood in one of the harbour front restaurants. It is a bit of a tourist trap but since it was my birthday we opted for a seafront restaurant and chose our favorite, Spaghetti Vongole.

Other things to get up to on Capri: (we had to leave some things on our to-do list for when we return)

Visit the Blue Grotto, Take a boat trip round the island, stay over in one of the many beautiful hotels.

So what next?

Well after the delights of the island of Procida we head back to the mainland and spend the next few days based in Naples when we visit Pompei & Herculaneum. 2 fantastic sights at the foot of the fabulous Vesuvius. So watch out for Part 7 and the final part of this epic adventure.

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