The charming island of Procida, with its pastel-coloured harbors, its quaint cobbled streets and its secluded coves, is a perfect getaway from Naples. Procida is the smallest of the three Poet’s islands (Ischia, Procida, and Capri) and remains relatively undiscovered among international travellers.
The Appeal of Procida Island
Most of those who travel to Procida are Neapolitans who visit during the Summer months to escape the heat and humidity of the Italian sun and to enjoy their vacation time in peace away from the tens of thousands of International tourists who seize control of their city and the Amalfi Coast during this time.
Arriving early at the Porta Di Napoli, only a handful of us sat waiting for the Procida ferry – an old Italian lady seemingly transfixed by her crossword puzzle, a large Neapolitan family taking a weekend break. No tourists. The journey to get to Procida from Naples took just under one hour by ferry. As the drawbridge was lowered on arrival at Procida, one of the most beautiful villages that I have ever looked upon appeared.
Pastel-coloured houses showcased perfectly presented floral displays, authentic Italian salumerias organised their produce and Italian fishermen pushed their boats out to sea.
The island of Procida is so small that you could walk its entirety in just two days, and there is plenty to see and do in that time. This article contains a suggested Procida Itinerary to help you make the most of a short weekend break in Procida.
Procida Itinerary Day One:
Uncover the History of Procida
Start Your Morning the Italian Way
Try and get one of the earliest ferries from Naples to Procida to allow yourself maximum time on the island. Upon arrival in Procida, spend some time navigating your way through the labyrinth-style network of narrow streets and passageways as you admire the storefronts and patisseries that are so quintessentially Southern Italian.
Duck into one of the charming patisseries or coffee shops along the way in order to indulge in your prima colazione – breakfast Italian style. Make like the locals do and order up a sfogliatelle – a Neapolitan breakfast pastry filled with sweet ricotta and tones of citrus. Wash it all down with a delightfully frothy cappuccino and drop your bags at your Procida hotel before continuing to explore the island.
Scale the Ancient Walls of the Terra Murata
One of the main attractions of Procida island is the 15th-century walled city of the Terra Murata that sits perched atop a craggy rock. From up here, travellers can witness incredible views over the sea, as well as a birdseye view of the colourful Corricalla Bay that is always depicted in photographs and postcards of Procida.
People still live within the walled town of the Terra Murata and the delightful houses that can be found encapsulated within its fortifications are the perfect depiction of Neapolitan life – nonnas making pasta out on the street, locals hanging their laundry between their houses, and older gentlemen sitting outside their front doors watching the world go by.
Visit the Walled City’s Free Attractions
Two of the main highlights of the Terra Murata are the Abbazia San Michele Arcangelo and the Santa Margherita Nuova castle – both of which are completely free to enter. The Abbey dates back to the 11th century and is considered as being one of the most important churches in Southern Italy. Originally created in Benedictine times, it has been expanded and modified over the centuries creating a unique architectural style. The interiors of the church are painted with simple yet beautiful frescoes.
The Santa Margherita Nuova castle and its imposing stone gates stand guard at the entrance of the Terra Murata. Staircases lead up towards the watchtowers and offer some of the best panoramas and photo spots on the island.
Stop For Lunch in Corricalla Bay
The charming Corricalla Bay is perhaps the jewel in the crown of Procida island and makes a perfect spot to stop for lunch. Located just a short walk from the Terra Murata, ramshackle fishing boats and traditional taverns greet you as you approach the bay. The restaurants here specialise in seafood delicacies which are prepared with the freshest ingredients caught earlier that day.
Corricalla Bay’s name originates from the Greek “Kora Cale” meaning “nice area”. This is one of the oldest continually inhabited areas of the island with the houses here dating back to the medieval era. Seafood tavernas aside, Corricalla possesses an artsy vibe. The stores scattered around this area stock arts, handicrafts, and apparel products created by local designers.
Dining in Corricalla Bay places you right beside the Santa Maria Delle Grazie – the iconic domed church that has become the symbol of Procida island. With vivid frescoes and ornate fittings and furnishings, the interior of the church is every bit as impressive as its external appearance.
Marvel at the Casale Vascello
At the foot of the Terra Murata and adjacent to Corricalla Bay, Procida boasts one more fortified town – the Casale Vascello. The neighborhood is accessible from Via Principessa Margherita and is centered around a large courtyard which often sees performances from musicians during the summer months.
Relax on a Secluded, Hidden Beach
Being a Mediterranean island, the coasts of Procida are filled with beaches. Anything that is marked as “Spiaggia” is a beach, however not all Procida beaches are created equal. One of the best beaches in Procida awaits at the end of Via Cesare Battisti. Here you will find the “Spiaggia del Postino” (Postino beach).
Postino beach is approximately 20 minutes away from the Centro Storico area on foot. Follow Via Cesare Battisti to the very end. You will see a fork in the road and an old cemetery overlooking the sea. A worn dirt trail leads behind the cemetery and towards the sea. The trail looks quite unsuspecting but as it leads you down to the coast, it opens out into one of the most breathtaking beaches in Procida.
Amid the backdrop of dramatic cliffs, Postino beach with its white sands and translucent azure waters provide the perfect place to relax, swim or snorkel. Unless you specifically know where you are going, you wouldn’t stumble across Postino beach as it is pretty much tucked out of the way and its entry point is not clear. As such, the beach is seldom crowded and makes a nice alternative to the more “touristic” beaches. An adorable surf shack style bar on the beach plays reggae tunes and serves snacks and beverages.
Postino beach is a pleasant place to watch the sunset as the sun dips behind the clouds and the sky is illuminated in hues of pink and orange.
While Away the Evening in the Centro Storico
As the evening approaches, venture into Procida’s “Centro Storico” for an aperitivo and a spot of dinner. With plenty of bar and restaurant options available, you won’t be short of choices for where to eat. Procida restaurants offer something for everyone – whether you are looking for a pizzeria, a Campania specialty dish, or something a little more western. La Locanda del Postino comes very well recommended. So too does Il Maestrale, though both take you back to the Corricella Bay area.
Procida Itinerary Day Two:
Relax and Admire the Scenic Coastline
After a leisurely breakfast and a morning coffee, hop on the bus to Chiaiolella beach. Chiaoiolella may not be as secluded as Il Postino beach but as far as beaches with great facilities go, Chiaoiolella pretty much has it all. The perfect place to swim or relax, Chiaoiolella beach boasts incredible views out to Isola Vivara and Ischia. For a few euros, it is possible to rent sunbeds, towels, etc.
Chiaoiolella may be a popular spot during the summer months, but the crowds definitely do not detract from the beauty of the area. When lunch/dinner times roll around, there are plenty of dining options available in the nearby Chiaoiolella marina.
Getting to Procida
Boats run daily between Naples and Procida with departures taking place at regular intervals. The specific ferry timetable varies depending on the season but you can check the latest schedule that aligns with your Procida travel dates here. The journey to the island takes 40 minutes.
The two main ferry operators that run to the island are SNAV and Caremar. Return tickets cost approximately €25 euros regardless of the carrier. Frustratingly, there are about half a dozen different ticket offices scattered around the port of Naples.
The entire setup is incredibly disorganised (which you may have come to expect if you have spent any amount of time travelling in Southern Italy). It seems that each of the ticket offices sells tickets for different boat departure times so you may have to go back and forth between them to find the provider that sells the ticket for the specific time slot you want.
It is prudent to arrive at the Port of Naples early or purchase your ticket a few days before your departure so you don’t waste time with this chaos. The first boat from Naples to Procida is at around 6 am and the last one back to Naples departs at 8 pm.
Getting Around Procida
The island of Procida is small enough that it’s possible to walk the majority of it. That said, there are several other options to help you get from A to B faster.
Rent a Bicycle
When you arrive in Procida, there are many places where you can rent a bike for the day to explore the island. The average price for a bicycle rental is around 10 euros for one hour, 15 euros for four hours, and 25 euros for the day, so certainly worth it. This is quite a pleasant way to get around.
Getting Around Procida by Public Transport
Public transport wise, the most convenient way to get around Procida is by using the little “EAVBUS” island buses that run in a circuit to all of the main Procida beaches and attractions. You can find more information on the various routes and their timetables here.
Bus tickets can be purchased from the driver but are also a little cheaper if bought in advance from bars and tabacchis. A one-way ticket costs less than one euro. If staying in Procida for a few days, it is worth buying a stack of tickets in advance.
Getting Around Procida by Cab
It is possible to find cabs in Procida upon arrival at the port. This is obviously the pricier way to get around but it may also be the most convenient for you. Some of the cab drivers will also offer you a negotiable rate for a tour of the island.
Where to Stay in Procida
Procida remains relatively off-the-beaten-path and does not boast an awful lot of hotels. That said, there are a fair few holiday homes and rented apartments that let you live “like a local” in one of the light pink or yellow houses that are so delightfully Southern Italian.
Consider basing yourself close to Corricalla Bay or by Chiaoiolella to place yourself close to the most notable sites as well as a wide variety of dining/entertainment options. If travelling to Procida during the summer months (June – August), you should try and reserve your accommodation at least a few weeks in advance.
Have any questions about travelling to Procida or Campania travel in general? I used to live in Naples and will be happy to assist you any way I can. Feel free to drop me a comment below or send me an email. Safe travels, Melissa xo
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