What to see on the Island of Elba
The island of Elba is located in the center of the Tuscan Archipelago Marine Park together with Pianosa, Gorgona, Capraia, Montecristo, Giglio and Giannutri.
It is about 20 kilometers from the Livorno coast and with its 223 km 2 and about 30 thousand inhabitants it is the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago. Elba is divided into eight municipalities: Portoferraio, Campo nell'Elba, Capoliveri, Marciana, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro, Rio Marina and Rio nell'Elba.
Its extraordinarily clear waters have given it an enduring charm, which extends from the beaches to the mountainous hinterland, making it an ideal destination for summer excursions.
The island consists of a restricted building sector surrounded by small villages with distinctive features that make them real tourist resorts. The ancient port of the island, Portoferraio is the capital of the island , located in the center of the communication routes that connect all the other areas of the island, making it the ideal starting point for your excursions and holidays .
Portoferraio and surroundings
It is the busiest city on the island and the main stopover for most tourists. Characteristic beyond the crowded port is the small, very picturesque and particularly animated historic center. You enter the historic center through the Porta a Mare, from which a series of roads wind up towards the walls on the high cliffs. From Via Garibaldi you can walk up to the residence of Napoleon during his exile, Villa dei Mulini with the Napoleonic museum inside which houses the splendid Baroque bedroom, a library from Fontainebleau and other various objects, including the Napoleonic flag of Elba, designed by Napoleon himself during his exile.
Proceeding south-east of Portoferraio in the direction of Porto Azzurro you will arrive at the thermal baths of San Giovanni , where you can immerse yourself in the sulphurous marine mud. A little further on there are the ruins of an ancient Roman villa overlooking a cliff, we recommend a stop to admire the splendid view of the sea, truly suggestive.
In fact, Elba is connected by numerous daily ferries and hydrofoils, which in one hour of navigation cover the 10 kilometers of sea that separate it from the continent.
The beaches of the island of elba
Although there are just 147 kilometers of coastline, the beaches are numerous and very different from each other. You can spend your days in pebble coves, on beaches of white, golden or black sand.
Most of the beaches are free to enter, in some there are hotels, pensions, bead and breakfasts, well-equipped bathing establishments where it is possible to rent deckchairs, sunbeds and umbrellas or to practice many water sports.
Here is a list of the beaches that you can find on Elba.
Marina di Campo beach
Another beach that we recommend is the largest beach on Elba, that of Marina di Campo , a beach which, being close to the second largest city on Elba, offers more than any other service and comfort. Precisely for this reason the beach of Marina di Campo is a very crowded beach.
Beach of the Gulf of Lacona
Located in the center of a large area with tourist facilities of all types and levels and easily reachable from both Portoferraio and Marina di Campo, we find one of the largest sandy beaches on the island. It is located in the Gulf of Lacona in the municipality of Capoliveri , and is more than 1 kilometer long.
The Gulf of Lacona is also famous for the dunes behind the beach which constitute a unique ecosystem of its kind.
Cavoli beach is one of the trendiest beaches on the island: especially popular with young people. 360 meters long, it has a very particular sand that does not stick to the skin and characterized by transparencies given by the presence of quartz.
Given the many services offered and the ease to reach it, it is a very popular beach and this can cause difficulties in finding parking in high season.
Beautiful and within a natural bay, it offers shelter to boats that often moor in the harbor. It is not very big but it is refined and a bit difficult to reach. Here too it is not easy to find parking in the high season so it is more suitable for motorcyclists.
Lido di Capoliveri
Not far from Porto Azzurro and Capoliveri we find Lido di Capoliveri . It is a 400 meter long beach of fine golden sand, equipped with bathing establishments, restaurants and bars right on the beach. Possibility to attend windsurfing schools and various other services.
Elba Island: not just the sea
Thanks to the mild climate and a sea that has nothing to envy to the Caribbean scenery, the island of Elba has been a tourist destination for some years that welcomes many tourists every year.
Of course, the greatest attraction of Elba is the sea, where enthusiasts can go diving , canoeing or windsurfing .
But Elba offers much more: for those who love to venture into the mountains and take long walks, Mount Capanne offers numerous trekking routes of all levels of difficulty.
The island also offers the possibility of bird watching . In fact, Elba is one of the points where many species of migratory birds stop off. It will be possible to meet and admire the splendid peregrine falcon, swallows, partridges, wall peaks and of course the seagulls. Of this species of great interest is the Corsican gull, in addition to the herring gull.
For those who want to take the opportunity and treat joint or dermatological problems in Elba it is also possible to have thermal treatments : the Elba spas , famous all over the world, are unique. The mud of the island, similar to that of the Black Sea but even richer in elements, is marine, and therefore has substances such as sulfur and iron.
In Elba it is possible to admire very important finds such as the Napoleonic museums in Portoferraio, the archaeological museum of Linguella, the Medici fortresses, or the Mining Park in Rio Marina.
Elba by Night
During the summer the island of Elba offers many opportunities to have fun even in the evening.
There are numerous restaurants where you can taste the typical specialties of Elban cuisine, as well as numerous pubs, discos and meeting places where you can spend pleasant and fun evenings.
Elba Island: an ancient legend
An ancient legend tells that Venus, while swimming in the waters of the Mediterranean, lost a pearl necklace. The pearls were lost in the sea, and it is from them that the 7 islands of the Tuscan Archipelago were born, namely Elba, Giglio, Gorgona, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri and Capraia.
Just like pearls, these islands are also different from each other. The only thing that unites them is a crystalline sea and the beauty of nature.
What to visit on Elba
Church of the Misericordia
Telephone: 0565 914 009
Medicean fortress of Linguella
Every day 09:00 - 13:30 / 15:00 - 19:00
Admission: 2.00 euros
Villa San Martino
5 km from Portoferraio - bus n. 1
From Tuesday to Saturday: 09:00 - 19:00 / Sunday 09:00 - 13:00
Admission: 3.00 euros
3-day cumulative ticket for Villa dei Mulini 5.00 euros
Italo Bolano open-air museum
From June to September: Mon-Sat 10:00 - 12:00 / 16:00 - 19:30
Admission is free
There are several tour operators offering week-long sailing tours, with stops for swimming and relaxation. Albatross offers holidays between Elba and Corsica or Elba and Sardinia. Departure from Portoferraio.
Information : 02 480 271 22
Mondovela organizes weekly tours between Elba and Capraia departing from Castiglioncello.
Information : 02 4819071
In ancient times the island was populated by the Ilvati, an ancient population of Ligurian origin who gave it the name of Ilva. Thanks to the rich mineral deposits, in particular iron, the island was widely exploited by the Etruscans and especially by the Roman people, who thanks to the almost unlimited availability of iron were able to make spikes for the soldiers' javelins.
Elba is also famous for being the homeland of Napoleon Bonaparte's exile, as evidenced by some villas located on the island, an example is the beautiful Villa dei Mulini in Portoferraio, with a magnificent view of the sea.
Recently the island of Elba has made itself known above all for the quality of wines it produces, the most famous being the Aleatico , a sweet dessert wine used above all to accompany desserts such as the very special "schiaccia Briaca".
For hiking enthusiasts, the ideal place is Monte Capanne , the highest mountain on the Island of Elba and in the entire province of Livorno: its peak reaches 1019 meters above sea level. The mountain offers the possibility of walks and excursions even at high altitudes until reaching its summit thanks to a cableway that starts from Marciana. The journey takes only 14 minutes and once you get to the top you can enjoy a breathtaking view that embraces the entire Tuscan coast and Corsica.
It is not uncommon to meet mouflons, wild boars, hares, mortors and hedgehogs that have found a perfect habitat on the island, unfortunately the restricted and isolated environment does not allow a large population of these specimens, present in a limited way in the territory. Venturing around Elba you can admire the typical vegetation of the island, made up of deciduous oaks, chestnut trees and carpiteti. The top of the mountain is particularly rich in garrigue characterized by the thorny leaves of the aspalatoide broom.
Of course, being an island, you cannot miss the beautiful beaches, some in fine sand others in gravel, the most beautiful is in Marina di Campo on the southern coast. Some are little frequented and without services and others reachable only from the sea: secluded and suggestive corners of paradise surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. The island of Elba is ideal for the tourist who loves scuba diving, in fact it offers a wide choice for diving accessible to both beginners and the more experienced.
Sites for diving in the waters of the Island of Elba
The Pomonte wreck , located near the Ogliera rock. Coordinates: 42 ° 44'35.40 ? N 10 ° 7'6.60 ? E
The Formiche della Zanca , near Capo Sant'Andrea. Coordinates: 42 ° 48'19.80 ? N 10 ° 7'35.40 ? E
Capo Stella , a very demanding dive up to 41 meters, it is possible to admire groupers, moray eels, red coral and red gorgonians.
I Picchi di Pablo , once you reach a depth ranging from 8 to 33 meters, you can admire a wall full of yellow sponges, white and yellow gorgonians. Coordinates: 42 ° 46.570'N 10 ° 26.080'E
The Scoglietto di Portoferraio , with a dive between 20 and 35 meters you can meet several barracudas, bream, sea bream, snapper, grouper, moray eels, corvine and mustella.
Elba is characterized by the classic maritime climate, with mild temperatures even in winter.
The rains are rather irregular and often during the summer season there are prolonged periods of drought.
The Scirocco wind blows mainly on the island which generally gives way, in summer afternoons, to the cool Mistral wind, limiting the summer heat and making the sultry days pleasant.
The libecciate have a function of homogenization and dissemination of plant species: these libecciatees are probably attributed to the diffusion on the Island of Capraia of some species typical of Sardinia.
It is very difficult for Tramontana or Grecale winds to blow on Elba.
The climatic conditions of the island largely contribute to its vegetation which, from one area to another, is very different. In some places it is very luxuriant, there are woods and dense pine forests; in others the Mediterranean scrub dominates, consisting of dunes where myrtles, heather, rosemary, broom, juniper and splendid orchids are born.
Transport on the Island of Elba
The whole island is perfectly connected by buses of the ATL line that also arrive in areas that are not particularly touristy. It is possible to buy an ATL Elbacard at a price of 6.50 euros for one day or 18 euros for 6 days to be able to travel anywhere on the island, while to reach the more distant beaches you use boats at the price of 70/100 euros per day in high season. An undoubtedly original way to visit Elba is by bicycle or moped, to avoid the intense traffic that is created in the streets near the beaches.
Useful information for tourists
Calata Italy, 26
Phone: 0565 914 671
Summer: Monday to Saturday 08:00 - 20:00
Winter: Monday to Saturday 08:00 - 14:00 / 15:00 - 18:00
Hiking maps can be purchased from the newsagent in front of the bus station.
Information for ferries
Toremar - Calata Italia, 23 / Telephone: 0565 918 080
Mobylines - Via Ninci, 1 / Telephone: 0565 918 101
Viale Elba, 20 - Portoferraio bus station
Price: € 1.20 per bag per day
National Park Offices
Via Guerrazzi, 1
Telephone: 0565 919 411
Via Manganaro, 7 - Portoferraio
Telephone: 0565 934 731
Fax: 0565 934 734
By plane: Elba can be reached by plane thanks to the airport located near Marina di Campo, in the locality of La Pila.
By car: once in Piombino Marittima it will be possible to embark on the ferries of one of the two shipping companies, Toremar and Moby Lines which make multi-day trips.
for those coming from the North: A1 from Milan take the A15 at Parma Ovest, reach the A12 Genoa-Livorno motorway, exit at Rosignano, continue on the highway to Venturina-Isola d'Elba, from here continue towards Piombino Marittima.
for those coming from the North-East: A1 Bologna-Florence-Pisa-Livorno motorway: exit at Rosignano, continue on the freeway to Venturina-Isola d'Elba and from here to Piombino Marittima.
Otherwise, take the FI-PI-LI, exit at Collesalvetti, return to the motorway as far as Rosignano Marittima, take the superhighway as far as Venturina-Isola d'Elba and from here continue towards Piombino Marittima.
for those coming from the South: A12 Rome-Grosseto motorway: SS Aurelia exit Venturina-Isola d'Elba, continue towards Piombino Marittima.
Fetovaia Beach, Elba Island