Ponza is a small island a few hours out to sea halfway between Rome and Naples. The pace here is slow, the accommodations simple and the terrain is just a little bit wild. This is a destination for the traveler looking to really chill and catch up on a backlog of reading or podcasts. We have figured out how to maximize the relaxing with this guide for how to spend three days in Ponza.
For your first day, the best way to get a real feel for the island is by boat. You have a couple of options for some nautical exploring. You can rent your own small wooden boat. You will get a quick lesson on starting and stopping the outboard motor and a map marked with some swimming spots. If that’s not your thing, you can leave the sailing to someone else and book a spot on an all-day island cruise. There are a couple different itineraries to pick from. One of the best is a complete spin around the island that includes a short sail over to swim off the nearby island of Palmarola. A simple pasta lunch is served on board.
Find your land legs again with a passigiata along the Corso Pisacane where you can shop for ceramics, clothing and gifts. The sun is strong in the late afternoon in the port area of the island so find a shady spot and have a cold drink while you plan your dinner menu. Shop for dinner provisions like marinated anchovies, thinly sliced prosciutto and fresh mozzarella at the well-stocked grocery store Alimentari Favara and choose from the daily catch at one of the fish markets in the port. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of locally produced wine at the Enoteca.
After your first day’s research on the water, you should have a good idea for a beach spot that fits your personality. Take a water taxi from the port over to Frontone where you will find four beach clubs to choose from. If you walk the entire length of the pebble beach to the rocks, you will find Da Enzo which makes use of an ancient Roman fish farm structure as a paddling pool for children. To find the island’s only sandy beach, take the bus and about 300 stairs to Cala Feola. For lunch, snag a table at the waterside terrace at the lively La Marina.
After all that beach lolling, take a stroll up the hill on the via Panoramica Tre Venti where you will find a scenic overlook with views over the white cliffs of Chiaia di Luna. Order a fancy drink from the pineapple-shaped cocktail cart and watch the spectacular show as the sun sinks behind Palmarola in the distance. Head back down the hill and walk through two short tunnels to the hamlet of Santa Maria. This was where the first Romans in Ponza built their villas and there is a church that was founded in 640. It is also where you can find one of the island’s best pizzerias.
Get your steps for the day in with a morning hike on one of the island trekking trails. You are not going to find a cooked breakfast here, so shop for picnic supplies at one of the deli’s in the port for when the cappuccino and breakfast pastry effects wear off. There are five trekking paths on the island of varying difficulty. None takes longer than a few hours and all of them will take you thorough Mediterranean scrub, fragrant with wild fennel, blackberries and plants heavy with prickly pears, and end with breathtaking views of terraced hills, outlying islands and miles of indigo sea.
As the sun starts to wane, vie for a table at one of the popular bars in the port and watch as the rental boats come in for the day and the Corso Pisacane livens up. Splash out on your last night for a seafood feast at one of the restaurants with a view. This is the time to indulge with all of the courses from antipasto all the way to dolce.