Ponza Island: What To Do In Three Days

Hello and welcome to a new guide dedicated to what to do in Ponza in 3 days. In this guide, we’ll explore the main activities to enjoy during a long weekend on Ponza, the wonderful island in the heart of Lazio. We’ll delve into the history of Ponza Island and the features of its historic center, where you can take leisurely walks at sunset. We’ll discover the beaches of Chiaia di Luna, del Frontone, and their sparkling sea.

In this article, you’ll learn how to organize your excursion to Palmarola Island, also known as the “Maldives of Lazio“. Finally, I’ll give you useful tips on the best places to have a sunset aperitif with breathtaking sea views. And to top it off, I’ll show you the best wineries in Ponza where you can discover the gastronomic panorama of this wonderful island. I warn you, this will be a comprehensive guide, so get comfortable and get ready to discover what to do in Ponza in three days. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Ponza Island: A Magical Retreat in the Tyrrhenian Sea

Ponza is a truly enchanting island. From the moment you arrive at the port to the moment you depart, Ponza offers moments of relaxation and breathtaking views. Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Lazio, Ponza captivates visitors with its stunning beauty and unique charm. Known since ancient times as “Aenaria” due to its legendary connection to the myth of Aeneas, Ponza boasts a rich and fascinating history. Today, it has become a highly sought-after tourist destination, attracting visitors seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Ponza is the largest of the islands in the Pontine Archipelago, which also includes Palmarola and Zannone.

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what to do in ponza island italy

The Shape of Ponza Island

Did you know that Ponza Island has the shape of a crescent moon? It is thanks to its shape and its Chiaia di Luna beach that Ponza is also called the “moon-shaped island.” The island is famous for its crystal-clear waters, sea caves, and picturesque beaches. Through boat and dinghy rentals, you can explore the secret caves and nearby islands immersed in the beauty of nature. Ponza’s charming historic center, with its characteristic streets and cafes overlooking the sea, will steal your heart. In fact, the combination of breathtaking views and a relaxed atmosphere will make you want to move to the island!

Exploring the Charm of Ponza’s Historic Center

As soon as you step foot on Ponza, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the island’s historic center. Located just a stone’s throw away from the port, this area is where all the shops and main services of the city are concentrated. Starting from the port of Ponza, you’ll need to climb a short hill and you’ll immediately arrive at the main street. Ponza’s historic center stretches along this road, leading you all the way to Borgo Santa Maria. It’s a splendid and colorful hamlet, characterized by typical white alleys and vibrant shops.

Meanwhile, in the upper part of the island, you’ll find the district of Le Forna. Occupying the northern area of the island, Le Forna is a typical fishing village with narrow streets and colorful houses. From the Port of Ponza, you can reach Le Forna by renting a scooter or taking a taxi. Most of the streets in Ponza are steep, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and leave your high heels at home.

ponza island

How to Get to Ponza Island

Ponza, often hailed as a paradise getaway, offers various convenient transportation options for travelers. Whether you’re arriving from Rome, Anzio, or Terracina, getting to Ponza is a breeze.

Getting to Ponza from Anzio

If you’re departing from Rome, Anzio serves as the optimal departure point for reaching Ponza. Located approximately 60 km from Rome, Anzio is just an hour and a half away. Ferries departing from Anzio are the quickest way to reach Ponza, albeit not the most economical. With a ticket price of around 90 euros per person for a round trip (excluding baggage) and a navigation duration of about 90 minutes, this option offers speed and convenience.

Getting to Ponza from Terracina

For travelers coming from Northern or Central Italy via the A1, opting for the Frosinone highway exit and heading towards Terracina is advisable. Terracina hosts approximately ten fast ferries daily, allowing you to reach Ponza in just an hour and thirty minutes. During the summer season, it’s advisable to book your ferry tickets well in advance to secure your spot.

Personal Tip: Whenever I travel to Ponza from Rome, I prefer booking ferry tickets online to avoid long queues at the ticket office. I always rely on Traghettilines’ website, which not only offers discounts but also provides savings on parking through their partnership with MyParking. It’s incredibly convenient and cost-effective!

How to Reach Ponza Island from San Felice al Circeo

If you’re traveling from Southern Italy, the best departure point to reach Ponza is the Port of San Felice al Circeo. Starting from Southern Italy, it’s advisable to take the A1 motorway heading north, then follow the signs to Latina and subsequently to San Felice al Circeo. From San Felice al Circeo, you can board the fast ferry, which will take you to Ponza in exactly one hour. It’s recommended to book your ticket through Traghettilines to avail discounts and also secure parking discounts on MyParking. Additionally, Traghettilines frequently offers promotions and discounts during the summer season. It’s worth taking advantage of these offers!

What to Do in Ponza in 3 Days

It’s time to discover what to do in Ponza in 3 days to make the most of your weekend on the island. Trust me, you will spend 3 days in a beautiful sea and stunning landscapes.

ponza historical center

Day 1: Frontone Beach and Ponza’s Old Town

Depending on your arrival time, you can decide whether to spend the first day in Ponza visiting the old town or start exploring some of its beaches. Personally, I usually depart from Rome on Friday with the ferry at 3 p.m., arriving in Ponza in the early afternoon. Typically, I spend the afternoon of the first day taking a relaxing stroll in the old town until aperitif time. Instead, if you manage to arrive in Ponza by mid-morning, I suggest you start exploring one of its beautiful beaches right away.

However, it’s important to note that Ponza has few sandy beaches accessible by foot. Instead, most of Ponza Island’s beaches can only be reached by boat. To reach these coves, you can rely on organized boat tours or rent a dinghy to move around independently. The only beaches in Ponza accessible by foot are Frontone Beach, Cala Feola, the Natural Pools Beach, and Cala Fonte.

Frontone Beach in Ponza

What makes Frontone Beach so charming is its secluded location and intimate atmosphere. To reach it, you’ll have to walk along a panoramic path winding through lush vegetation, with a spectacular view of the sea. The path may require a 20-30 minute walk, but the effort will be well worth it. If you prefer to avoid walking, you can reach Frontone Beach by a small boat from the Port of Ponza. The round trip fare is seven euros. You can take the boat to Frontone Beach directly from the main pier, but be mindful of departure and return times.

Frontone Beach is made of fine gravel and is characterized by crystal-clear water. It’s a free-equipped beach, so you can choose to rent sunbeds, deck chairs, and umbrellas. If you want to save money, you can easily lay your towel on the sand without any problem. Frontone Beach is an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and relaxation away from the crowds. Since it’s not accessible by car, it still retains an untouched and wild atmosphere. Personally, I spent an entire day on Frontone Beach renting a sunbed and umbrella, at a total cost of about 15 euros.

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ponza what to eat

What to Eat on Frontone Beach

When you arrive at Frontone Beach, you’ll notice a path leading up the mountain. In about twenty minutes on foot, you’ll reach Ristorante da Gerardo. It’s a rustic, family-run place situated at one of Ponza’s most beautiful viewpoints. Here, you can enjoy an excellent caprese salad or the typical Ponza pie while taking in a stunning panorama. All the ingredients at Ristorante da Gerardo are either sourced from their garden or purchased from small local producers on the island.

The restaurant also produces excellent pickled vegetables, which can make for a tasty souvenir. I tried the caprese salad with buffalo mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, accompanied by a rustic pie with escarole, olives, and anchovies. Absolutely delicious! And to top it off, I tried the sour cherry tart made by the owner’s mother. Highly recommended. The bill is more than fair, although the four euros per person cover charge is a bit excessive. Apart from that, it’s a highly recommended restaurant if you want to take a break with a view during your day at Frontone Beach.

Visit Ponza’s historic center

Ponza’s center is the beating heart of the island. Built like a maze of narrow streets and colorful houses, it’s also known as “Ponza Vecchia” (Old Ponza). As you stroll through the historic center, you’ll find craft shops, small stores, and typical restaurants overlooking the sea. Among the most fascinating features of Ponza’s historic center are the famous “volti” (arched passageways) that connect the streets. In the past, these tunnels were used for defensive purposes, but today they create a magical and mysterious atmosphere.

Ponza’s nightlife revolves around Piazza Carlo Pisacane, the main square of the historic center. Here you’ll find bars and restaurants where you can enjoy local specialties and relax. Just steps away from Piazza Carlo Pisacane, you can visit the Church of San Silverio, the patron saint of Ponza. It’s a small white church, decorated with frescoes and artworks inside. But the most beautiful thing about Ponza’s historic center is its view of the sea. In fact, as you wander through its alleys, you can enjoy splendid panoramic views of the coastline.

Where to dine in the historic center

Now it’s dinner time, and what could be better than dining just steps from the sea? I recommend booking a table at Rifugio dei Naviganti, along the island’s main thoroughfare. It’s an elegant and refined restaurant with tables overlooking the sea. The cuisine is amazing, and the quality-price ratio is excellent. For starters, I suggest trying the seafood fry, with squid and prawns: perfectly cooked! Also, try the famous sautéed mussels in crust, served in a pan covered with pizza dough. Delicious! Finally, let yourself be enchanted by the scallop-filled ravioli with rocket and prawns or by the Ponza-style lobster scialatiello… You won’t regret it!

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Day 2: Excursions and Natural Attractions

Ponza is an island immersed in nature, boasting beautiful cliffs and hidden coves. For this reason, if you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to excursions. From boat trips to explore Palmarola Island to breathtaking hiking trails, Ponza will gift you unforgettable moments. Are you ready to discover all the excursions you can do during your vacation on Ponza Island?

Palmarola Island by Boat

The second day of your vacation in Ponza can be dedicated to exploring Palmarola Island. Considered one of Italy’s hidden gems, Palmarola offers breathtaking landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and a unique variety of flora and fauna. This natural oasis just a few kilometers from Ponza Island has nothing to envy to the Maldives. It is a protected area, safeguarded by nature associations and the municipality itself. Since Palmarola is a protected island, access with motor vehicles is prohibited. Therefore, you can only visit it by boat. You can rent a small boat or join an organized tour to explore the island and its wonders.

Human presence is limited to the “port” bay. However, it’s not a real port but rather a small strip of gravel beach with a restaurant and cave houses. Another curiosity is related to Palmarola’s dwellings. In fact, the houses are built inside caves carved into the rock. They are completely devoid of electricity, hot water, and internet: a perfect place to reconnect with nature. But what makes Palmarola unique is the presence of marine caves. The Grotta dei Monaci is one of the most beautiful, with its huge stalactites reflecting in the water. Another must-see attraction is the Grotta del Bue Marino, with its rocky walls and the sea of an incredible deep blue color. So, if you are a nature lover, Palmarola will not disappoint your expectations.

How to Visit Palmarola Island

There are several ways to visit Palmarola Island. If you are looking for an economical solution, you can opt for guided tours departing from the port of Ponza. For example, you can rely on the Cooperativa di Barcaioli Ponzesi, which will let you discover Palmarola starting from 35 euros per person. Instead, if you have a higher budget or travel in a group, you can rent a rubber dinghy or a traditional wooden boat. If you have a boating license, you can easily drive from Ponza to Palmarola without any problems. However, if you are not experienced in navigating the Pontine Islands, I recommend renting a rubber dinghy or a wooden boat with a skipper.

During my last vacation in Ponza with my friends, we rented a wooden boat for six people with a skipper who took us to discover the most beautiful coves of Ponza and Palmarola for an entire day. We booked our boat through the company “Ciccio Nero Ponza” (yes, I know, the name is really strange! 🙂) and we had a good experience. Obviously, the price of renting the boat with skipper is quite high, but it remains the best choice if you don’t feel comfortable driving in the middle of the sea.

Sunset at Terrazze Chiaia di Luna on Ponza Island

As the sun sets over Ponza Island, there’s no better way to end a day spent at sea than by returning to land and watching the sunset from one of the island’s most beautiful viewpoints. My favorite spot to catch the sunset is at Le Terrazze in Chiaia di Luna, offering a perfect setting for a sunset aperitif with a breathtaking view of Chiaia di Luna beach. Whether you choose to sip a cocktail with chill music playing in the background or linger for a post-dinner drink, it’s the ideal spot for those seeking a trendy venue with great music and stunning views.

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Day 3: Exploring the Beaches and the Sea

The third day of your trip to Ponza can be dedicated to two completely different activities. You can explore the island’s other beaches or indulge in culinary experiences. Either way, you’ll return home extremely satisfied!

Exploring the Wineries of Ponza

Like every Italian island, Ponza is capable of producing amazing wines. I must warn you, whenever I write or talk about food and wine, the sommelier in me takes over. 🙂 I promise not to get lost in sommelier technicalities. But I want to give you an idea of the viticultural landscape that characterizes the most beautiful of the Pontine Islands. Ponza is a mountainous island with cliffs overlooking the sea, characterized by rugged terrain. And it is precisely for this reason that here we speak of “heroic viticulture.” The difficult environmental conditions and the hard work required to cultivate the vineyards have led to the term “heroic”.

In fact, to care for their vineyards, winemakers must face challenges such as steep slopes, the need to transport tools on rugged terrain, and unpredictable weather conditions. All this creates difficulties in vineyard management, reducing the quantities of grapes produced. Naturally, this situation affects the final price of the wine bottle but also the quality of the production. I recommend organizing a visit to Antiche Cantine Migliaccio, the only winery in the area that produces and bottles wine directly on the island. I suggest trying their Fieno di Ponza, made from Biancolella grapes. It’s phenomenal! Moreover, the owners of the winery are very helpful, eager to introduce you to the history of their beautiful reality.

What to Do in Ponza: Beaches Exploration

If you’re not in the mood for winery tours, you can dedicate your last day to discovering the beaches of Ponza. After visiting Frontone Beach and Chiaia di Luna Beach, you can explore Cala Feola. Cala Feola Beach in Ponza Cala Feola is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the Natural Pools, another must-visit beach, Cala Feola is accessible by water taxi or by renting a dinghy from Ponza’s harbor. Alternatively, you can reach the beach on foot by following a path starting from Le Forna, a hamlet of Ponza.

Cala Feola stands out as one of the most famous beaches on the island of Ponza, hence it gets particularly crowded during the summer months. The only downside: reaching it involves descending and ascending over 300 steps. But trust me, it’s absolutely worth it. Cala Feola offers some amenities, including a beachfront restaurant serving fresh seafood dishes and other local specialties. Additionally, umbrella and sunbed rental services are available at fairly reasonable prices. However, being one of the most renowned spots on the entire island, finding tranquility amidst the loud music from beach clubs and the excessive crowds can be challenging. Therefore, if you’re seeking a quieter spot, I recommend heading towards the Natural Pools area.

Natural Pools in Ponza Believe me, taking a dip in the Natural Pools area in Ponza will be a magical experience. Indeed, it’s one of the most renowned coves on the Island of Ponza. The two large pools with splendid crystal-clear waters make you feel like you’re in an enchanted place, where the extraordinary force of nature prevails. Here, you can swim in transparent water, among natural pools and breathtaking stone arches. The Natural Pools are also perfect for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. In fact, here you can observe up close some of the marine species that inhabit the waters around Ponza. After such an intense day, it’s only right to stop and enjoy a delicious dinner.

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sea in ponza italy

Where to dine in Ponza

The Island of Ponza offers several options to dine. According to your budget and to the type of cuisine that you want to try, you can choose among several options. In this article, I decided to show you what are the best options I found in Ponza Island. Obviously, feel free to send me an email to marianna@theitalianvibes.com if you have more suggestions about where to dine in Ponza Island.

Il Porticciolo in Ponza

Personally, on my third day in Ponza, I dined at the restaurant “Il Porticciolo” and I loved it! I highly recommend trying the seafood platter, paired with a glass of Biancolella. Simply divine! The dish of Ponza tuna and prawns are also excellent. Additionally, the service is all-female and truly impeccable. You absolutely must try it!

Acqua pazza in Ponza

Lastly, if you want to experience a Michelin-starred restaurant, I can only recommend “L’acqua pazza.” Honestly, I haven’t tried it personally. However, several friends have spoken very highly of it. So, if you decide to give it a try, let me know!

Things to do in Ponza: other activities

Ponza truly is an island of endless opportunities. Here, you can relax on the beach, embark on boat adventures, or go trekking. The choices are truly abundant! Let’s delve into some more details about excursions and what to do in Ponza if you’re a fitness enthusiast.

Trekking in Ponza

Ponza is a mountainous island, perfect for trekking enthusiasts. In fact, most trekking trails offer breathtaking views of the entire island and varying levels of difficulty. The Punta del Fieno Trail is among the most renowned, offering a panoramic view of the entire western coast of Ponza. Starting from Le Forna, the Punta del Fieno Trail leads to Punta del Fieno. Along the way, you can admire the cliffs and terraced vineyards and olive groves, in a tranquil and evocative atmosphere.

Another famous trail is the Punta Incenso Lighthouse Trail. This trail starts from Campo Inglese and leads to Punta Incenso Lighthouse, on the northwest tip of the island. Perfect for a sunset hike! Lastly, you can hike the Monte Guardia Trail, the highest point on the island. You’ll feel like you’re on the roof of the archipelago, amidst the Mediterranean scrubland. The Monte Guardia Trail is one of the most popular and scenic trekking routes on the island of Ponza. This trail leads to the summit of Monte Guardia, the highest point of the island, standing at approximately 280 meters above sea level.

The trail starts in the hamlet of Le Forna, home to the ancient fishing village. From there, it ascends through a series of steps and dirt roads, offering panoramic views of the coast and sea. As you approach the summit, the trail becomes steeper and requires some physical effort. However, the efforts will be richly rewarded by the spectacular view. Indeed, from the top of Monte Guardia, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the entire island of Ponza. You can admire the cliffs, bays, beaches, and other islands of the Pontine archipelago. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset or simply appreciate the island’s nature.

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Getting Around Ponza Island

When it comes to getting around Ponza Island, it’s essential to plan your transportation wisely to make the most of your visit. With just over 7 km in length, Ponza offers various options for moving around seamlessly. Here’s how to navigate Ponza efficiently:

Getting Around Ponza by Car

During the peak season from June to September, internal mobility on the island is restricted due to the activation of three limited traffic zones. Navigating Ponza by car can be challenging and may significantly impact your relaxation. Therefore, it’s advisable to bring your car only if absolutely necessary.

Getting Around Ponza on Foot

Ponza is compact enough to explore entirely on foot. If you’re accustomed to bustling city life, you’ll appreciate the convenience of walking everywhere. Moreover, most major attractions and restaurants are concentrated in the same area, enhancing the overall experience.

Getting Around Ponza by Public Transport

To reach the northern part of the island from the port, you can take advantage of the local bus service. This affordable option allows you to access different parts of the island for just €1.50 per ride. The bus departure point is located near the Ponza Port, specifically on Via della Banchina Nuova.

Getting Around Ponza by Scooter or Taxi

For more flexibility, consider renting a scooter or electric bike. Personally, on my first visit to Ponza, I rented a scooter from “Noleggio scooter Santa Maria,” which offers various options at reasonable prices. Alternatively, you can opt for a taxi or NCC (car rental with driver). Ponza has approximately 12 taxis available, either on call or at designated stations, mainly near the ferry or hydrofoil landings. To book a taxi, contact the Ponza Taxi Association at +39 0771.1960111.

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What to Do in Ponza at Night

Ponza is renowned for its nightlife, offering various options depending on the type of evening and age group. From late June onwards, the island of Ponza begins to fill up with Romans and foreigners arriving on the island with their own private boats. It’s from this moment that the island’s bars and nightclubs start organizing events and evenings. So here’s what to do in Ponza during your nights.

Indeed, you can choose among the different bars in the main square, perfect for an aperitif or a post-dinner drink with a sea view. A very nice place to choose for a good aperitif is the Bar dei Pesci, in Piazza Carlo Pisacane. Here you can find a wide selection of cocktails and tasty savory snacks served during the aperitif hours. Live music and nightclubs Alternatively, you can opt for venues offering evenings with piano bar music, near the dock in the Porto area. Finally, you can choose proper nightclubs, where you can dance until the early hours of the morning.

Personally, I recommend going to the Terrazze Chiaia di Luna for an aperitif with a sea view and live music. Located overlooking Chiaia di Luna beach, this venue also hosts evenings with piano bar and disco music. In fact, the last time I was in Ponza, I arrived at the Terrazze around 7 p.m., ready to enjoy a sunset aperitif. Afterwards, I spent the rest of the evening here dining and dancing to live Italian music. I suggest choosing a table in the “high terraces” area, more comfortable and away from excessive crowds. Usually, the evening at the Terrazze ends around midnight. If you still feel like dancing, you can head to Eden, a nightclub in the Porto area. From 1 a.m. until the early hours of the morning, Eden will make you dance to loud music.

Best Accomodations in Ponza Island

Ponza is relatively small, so it’s wise to book your accommodation well in advance. As it’s an island, most vacation homes have limited square footage and feature simple, functional furnishings. If you’re looking for accommodation close to the sea with perfect views, I recommend staying near the Port of Ponza. This way, you’ll be in the city center within minutes and can easily reach any point of interest on foot.

Located near the port, Hotel Mari sits right in the heart of Ponza’s historic center, just a few minutes’ walk from shops, restaurants, and bars. The hotel boasts a panoramic terrace with spectacular views of the port and the sea. For those who love scenic viewpoints, Hotel Chiaia di Luna is an excellent choice, offering breathtaking views of Chiaia di Luna Beach. All rooms feature a balcony or private terrace overlooking the sea. Additionally, the hotel has an outdoor pool and a sun terrace, perfect for relaxation and enjoying the scenery.

Finally, if you prefer the independence of vacation rentals, La Limonaia delle Ponziane could be a great option. This property offers several independent apartments with panoramic sea views. Each apartment is tastefully furnished and equipped with a kitchen, private terrace, and access to a shared pool. Moreover, it’s ideally located for exploring the island and its beaches.

Ensure a memorable stay on Ponza island by choosing accommodation that suits your preferences and offers convenient access to all the island’s attractions and natural beauty. Book now for an unforgettable island getaway!

ponza in 3 days

What to Do in Ponza in Three Days: Now It’s Your Turn!

Here we are, at the end of this guide dedicated to what to do in Ponza in 3 days. In this guide, we’ve delved into the history of this beautiful island in the Pontine Archipelago, just a few kilometers from Rome. We’ve explored what to do in Ponza, from boat trips to discover Palmarola to panoramic trekking. Additionally, we’ve uncovered what to eat in Ponza and the best restaurants to enjoy an aperitif with breathtaking views. Lastly, we’ve discussed the top hotels to stay in Ponza, just steps away from the historic center, for a vacation of pure relaxation.

If you are organizing your next trip to Italy, give a look to these Free Guides I posted on my Blog:

Finally, if you want help to organize your next trip to Italy, I am here for you! Send me an email to marianna@theitalianvibes.com describing the vacation of your dream in Italy. I will be happy to help you transform it into reality!

Xoxo,

Marianna, Your Italian Friend

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