Ischia, one of the most popular islands in the world this summer (2022), is well known for its thermal spa parks. And what is a thermal park you may ask? It’s basically a waterpark for adults – an outdoor park filled with pools of varying heat, some with special mineral properties, others with special massage water features, and others just for fun. Thermal parks abound on Ischia. Even our little hotel had a small thermal bath for guests. Indeed, no official visit to Ischia is complete without a visit to a thermal spa. On Dan and my recent trip to Ischia, we spent a day at Negombo Spa, which is rumored to be the nicest thermal park on the island. This is my review of our day there, including everything you need to know to visit a thermal park in Ischia!
Negombo is located on the Bay of San Montano, quite close to centro Lacco Ameno. While not looking like much from the entrance, Negombo is a rather large park filled with numerous pools of varying temperatures, cool art installations, and even a sand beach on the Bay of San Montano. The first thing that caught my eye is its geography, as many of the springs are located on a mountain side that descends to the beautiful beach and beachfront pool! It reminded me a lot of Hawaii or the Azores. I think it was all of the green (Ischia is known as the “Green Island”!).
After getting into the park (discussed below, keep reading), we started our tour of Negombo at the top of the park, by walking all the way up to the top of the hill overlooking Negombo before working our way back down. Don’t worry, trails are clearly paved, but the climb is not for those with mobility issues. At the top, we found a couple small pools with warm thermal waters, flowing in from the mountain (at least it seemed that way, LOL). We moved between a couple of these pools, taking a few moments between each to check out the gorgeous scenery and beautiful flowers.
As we worked our way down the mountain side, we stopped into a waterfall pool (good for water shoulder massages) and a cold pool inside a cave. We also walked by the restaurant where we would have lunch later.
We eventually made our way to flat ground and split our time between the very hot pool, the medium hot pool, and the main pool overlooking the beach.
We skipped the beach, but only because we ran out of time! And on that note, we stayed at Negombo from about 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and we could have stayed a few hours longer. I recommend setting aside the better part of a day for Negombo.
The cost to enter Negombo depends on the season (high, low, etc.), the time of day, and how many people are in your party. Negombo posts up to date prices on its website. For example purposes, during high season the cost for one person for the full day is €70 but the cost for two people is only €90. Entrance comes with an umbrella and chair (reserved during the high season via an Italian website). Guests can also select half day entrance for a lower price. In addition to the entrance fee, most guests need to rent a robe, towel and locker. I believe the cost for all three rentals was around €40, with a €20 euro refund if everything is properly returned. Credit card was accepted, but the rental ladies preferred cash.
WHAT TO BRING TO NEGOMBO
To be clear, prepared guests will save money at Negombo. First off, all guests should bring, at a minimum, a bathing suit, flip flops or other water shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat (if worn in sun). While there is a shop selling bathing suits and the like, its small with a limited selection of Italian-sized suits. If you don’t want to rent a towel and robe, bring one from home. We saw lots of people with their own towels and no robe (you can see this in my pictures above). I recommend bringing a not-too-fancy bag that can get wet to store things you want to tote around with you. We carried a small bag around with my sunglasses, Kindle, and cell phones (with charger).
RESTAURANTS AT NEGOMBO
We saw three restaurants at Negombo. The most casual is a small bar selling coffee, drinks, and sandwiches and fruit. Its grab and go with a few tables in the area. This small stand was popular during breakfast hours. I forgot a photo, but the coffees were legit and the fruit looked fresh. This was the only restaurant open in the early morning.
Another restaurant is a cafeteria with a hot buffet offering regular entrees and specials of the day. From fish to meatballs to pasta, everything looked good, freshly prepared, and local. Guests grab a tray and order from the buffet line a la high school in the 80s. The best part about this restaurant, however, is the beachfront seating area overlooking the beach and pool. Beautiful! The cafeteria also serves drinks if you just want a drink and the view.
The last restaurant open on our visit is a lovely sit down restaurant located about halfway up Negombo’s hill. Only open for lunch, Casa Colonica serves huge plates in a gorgeous setting. And I’m talking gorgeous. Capri likeness. Casa Colonica serves huge plates of food, lots of the seafood variety. We tried fried zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese (but no anchovies!), eggplant parmesan, and fried calamari and prawns. All were excellent and we could have ordered half the food. In fact, the French family next to us was so surprised at the size of their order they thought it was the wrong order. Order accordingly! Casa Colonica serves a full bar.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NEGOMBO SPA
All in, I had a great day at Negombo. My day was relaxing, the pools were lovely and clean, and the restaurant food was great. While I had a very fun time, Dan thought Negombo was medium and I don’t think a visit absolutely necessary to have a full experience on Ischia. It just depends what you like! I also didn’t find Negombo quite as luxurious as other sites reported, but there was nothing wrong with it. Finally, the crowd when we visited was a bit older, but the guests were super fun. Just an FYI.
STEAL OUR SPA
Negombo Spa: Located in Via San Montano, Lacco Ameno. You can book advance reservations online, but this is probably only necessary in the busiest period.