Need a break from the busy, touristy streets of Rome? Hope on a ferry to the charming island of Ponza, Italy! You can arrive there in as little as two and half hours from Rome!
My husband and I spent 5 nights on this tranquil little island with our (then) 11-month-old daughter and we just had the best experience.
Ponza is notorious for its breathtaking sea cliffs, ocean views, and delicious seafood. It’s hard not to feel like you’re in paradise while visiting the island of Ponza.
Not much English is spoken on Ponza, so you best come correct with a bit of Italian or a nifty translator app like Google Translate.
Alright, now lets get to it! Here’s 15 things your must do and see while exploring the island of Ponza in Italy.
1. Piscine Naturali
OMG! Please take me back to the fresh, crisp and clear waters of Piscine Naturali. Swimming hear was heavenly! The Italian sun can get quite hot! Piscine Naturali was a cool respite.
Pro Tip: The walk down is full of steps. That means the walk up is full of steps. Get ready for a butt-blasting work out! Worth it!
2. Chiaia di Luna
One of the most beautiful ocean cliffs I’ve ever witnessed. You can grab a glass of wine at Hotel Chiaia di Luna and enjoy this magnificent view. You can also charter a boat and chill in the calm bay below, take a dip and just enjoy.
Unfortunately, you can no longer enjoy the beach at Chiaia di Luna due to a crumbling sea cliff.
Pro tip: While the view is gorgeous, don’t stay at Hotel Chiaia di Luna. We almost did and we’re so happy we didn’t. The rooms are tiny and overpriced and quite noisey (if you do ocean view) due to the bar. A friend of mine stayed there and wished she had booked an Air BnB like we did. We also had a really bad, bland dining experience there. But the wine is good! Grab a glass, enjoy the view!
3. La Marina in Cala Feola
Hands down one of our most memorable dining experiences in Ponza. This family-owned spot sits on the water and serves up fresh seafood with plenty of wine! You might not understand a lick of what they’re saying, but just go with it! We had them bring out 4 different dishes and LOVED each one of them.
The bartenders and staff are super cool and even hooked us up with a bottle to take back to our apartment. Not to mention, look at our view!
4. Have Lunch in a Cave
With so much beautiful rock and stone in Ponza, it’s no surprise you can actually eat in a cave, or shall I call it a grotto? Either way, it’s quite the unique experience. We had the best time at II Timone (pictured above). It’s a popping spot to eat and drink during the day, and they have perfect pizzas! And might I add it comes with a beautiful marina / bay view.
5. Ride the Bus
The tiny island of Ponza has a bus! It’s clean, affordable and fun! It’s also a great way to see this charming island. Our daughter had so much fun looking out the windows. She especially enjoyed the family behind our bus who were touring the island via Vespas. Best of all, look at the view from our bus stop!
6. Take In the Views
Part of the reason why we opted to stay in our Air Bnb, which was a distance from the town center / marina area, we because of THIS epic view! You can’t fully take in the beauty of Ponza without staying in an apartment and / or hotel that offers you this gorgeous view 24-7.
7. Explore the Tunnels
In the town center / marina area of Ponza, there’s a tunnel that leads you to the main town center. When we took the bus from our rental in the Cala Feola area of Ponza, it would always dump us close to this tunnel. Victoria and I explored all the little nooks and crannies, and shops!
Pro Tip: This same tunnel is where we dined in the aforementioned cave / grotto. BTW, it makes for really cool photos!
8. Cocktails by the Marina
Who doesn’t love cocktails with a view?! While this many not be the breathtaking views that the Island of Ponza is known for, it’s quite a fun view! The colors of the marina are robust and just pop with life. I enjoyed an Aperol spritzer (or two) under a shaded table next to a tree. The people-watching was great there! Plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
9. Rent a Boat and Tour Ponza
If you really want to get the lay of the land, rent a boat on Ponza! Just head down to the marina or the beach in the town center and you’ll see all the boat rentals! If you’re staying up in the hills, head down to the aforementioned Piscine Naturali or La Marina restaurant and they will sort you out.
Pro Tip: Anchor your boat in the water of the aforementioned Chiaia di Luna and take in its unique beauty.
10. Eat All The Seafood
If there is one thing that Poza has plenty of, it’s fresh and delicous seafood. Ponza is an island for the seafood lover. We had fresh sashima tuna, prawns, octopus, lobster and more.
We especially enjoyed the seafood at the aforementioned La Marina (seen in photo above), II Pescatore, and GustEau Piccolo at Hotel Piccolo Luisa.
11. Rent a Beach Umbrella & Chairs
Grab a book and head to the beach — that’s natural pools here in Ponza! You can rent an umbrella and beach recliners / chairs. While there’s many natural pools to choose from on Ponza, our favorite was the aforementioned Piscine Naturali. It has a giant natural pool to swim in, plenty of smooth rock to chill on (if you don’t want to rent a chair, and they even had a bar that served small plates and drinks.
12. Walk Along the Marina Boardwalk
We loved strolling Victoria along the Marina boardwalk. There’s so many cute shops and fruit stands to peruse, and plenty of appetizer and drinks along the way. You can go shopping and get yourself some cute hats and beachwear.
Pro Tip: Walk to the end of the Marina board walk, where the Ferry doc is, and take in this adorable view! How cute is this marina! Sure does give Positano a run for her money.
13. Swim Swim Swim
The water in Ponza is delicious! It seriously just kisses your skin. We visited Ponza in early June and the water was quite crisp, a bit cold, but it felt wonderful under the hot Italian sun. And trust, you get hot and sweaty in Ponza, especially if you’re stying in the hills. Lot’s of walking, climbing and steps!
Pro Tip: There is one proper sandy beach on Ponza (see below); but I honestly loved the natural pools best!
14. Enjoy the Sand at Spiaggia Di Frontone
Ponza has beautiful beaches, but they’re not your typical sandy beaches; instead they’re rocks and stones. But if you crave some sand, head on over to Spiaggia Di Frontone. It’s beautiful but you gotta work hard to enjoy her. It’s quite the trek down the hill or down some stairs (two routes). If you’re coming from the town center area, you can rent a boat there and bypass all the trekking.
Pro Tip: If you’re headed to Spiaggia Di Frontone, you need to have lunch at the aforementioned La Marina restaurant.
With such calm, inviting water — give yourself a float! Put on some reef-safe sunscreen and just float. My husband and I loved doing this and found it very meditative. Traveling with a baby can be stressful, but we both found a meditative float relaxing.
How To Get To Ponza from Rome
We took the train from Rome to Anzio, which was about an hour. We then hopped on the hydrofoil ferry from Anzio to Ponza. It was very quick and took an hour and 15 minutes, give or take.
Please note: not all ferries to Ponza are an hour ride! If you want to get to Ponza quickly, you need to book the hydrofoil.