Argentario is a splendid promontory located on the coast of the province of Grosseto, surrounded by the sea and connected to the mainland by the town of Orbetello, as well as by the tombolos of Giannella and Feniglia, two long, sandy beaches.
Technically, what is called Argentario is actually a mountain, Monte Argentario, which recently acquired the status of municipality in the province of Grosseto. It includes two important and popular tourist resorts: Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, located respectively on the north-western and south-eastern sides, facing the sea.
The Argentario attracts tourists for the uniqueness of its landscape, its marine environment and its exceptionally mild climate, making it an ideal holiday destination all year round. Sea enthusiasts can go here in summer to admire some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Tuscany, with small coves that can often only be reached on foot or by boat, offering truly unique shades of blue and splendid sunsets over the Tyrrhenian Sea.
But not only beach life: at Argentario, trekking and mountain-biking enthusiasts will find many paths that climb from the sea amidst lush Mediterranean scrub to an altitude of 635 metres, offering views and glimpses of rare beauty. For golf enthusiasts, the Argentario Golf Club is a 77-hectare park with an 18-hole course, set in a natural amphitheatre of olive trees and Mediterranean scrub with a panorama of extraordinary beauty.
The largest and most important tourist resort in the municipality of Monte Argentario is Porto Santo Stefano. It takes its name from its large harbour, from where ferries leave for the island of Giglio and Giannutri, while there is also a marina a short distance away, where many yachts and private boats are docked.
In Porto Santo Stefano, visit the old town centre, with its shops and churches, but above all stroll up and down the pedestrian promenade, which is the one that most attracts tourists: it runs the entire length of the town, from the harbour to the marina; along its route there are several restaurants and bars, and it is here that the beautiful war memorial is also located.
Smaller but perhaps more glamorous than Porto Santo Stefano, Porto Ercole is the ‘other’ tourist resort on the Argentario. It is situated on the opposite shore from Porto Santo Stefano, but it too has on its side a splendid marina where beautiful yachts and private boats are moored, from where tourist boats and excursions to discover the most beautiful beaches of the Argentario promontory set sail daily.
Porto Ercole also has another arrow to its bow: it is the charming and characteristic historic village, part of the association of the most beautiful villages in Italy, located on high ground but still within walking distance of the harbour and the tourist area. Once there, wander aimlessly through the narrow streets and look out onto the panoramic terrace, where a magnificent view awaits you surrounded by the bastion of Santa Barbara and the 16th-century palazzo dei Governanti.
On either side of the town of Porto Ercole, as if to protect and delimit it, are two fortresses, one on the north side and the other on the south side. The first is Fort Filippo, which can also be reached on foot via a steep path. The other is Fort Stella, open for visits every day in summer from 5 to 9 p.m.
Orbetello is not part of the Argentario promontory, let alone the municipality of Monte Argentario. However, this is where you should point your navigator if you are coming from outside, because Orbetello is the gateway to the area and if you go on holiday to Argentario you will have to pass there.
Situated in an incredible position, it is completely surrounded by its lagoon. Visit its historical centre and then move on to the water, where you can admire a truly unique ecosystem. If you are also interested in the landscapes of the Tuscan hinterland, Orbetello is the perfect gateway to the Maremma of Grosseto, made up of hills, wide open spaces, magnificent views and historical villages.
Giglio is considered one of the most beautiful of the seven inhabited islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. It can be reached by ferry from Porto Santo Stefano and for this reason we include it among the places not to be missed on Monte Argentario; the sea crossing takes only one hour.
Upon arrival, dreamy beaches and coves await you, bathed by transparent waters and framed by the green Mediterranean scrub. The top beaches are Cala dell’Arenella, Spiaggia di Campese, Spiaggia delle Cannelle, Cala degli Alberi and Cala delle Caldane.
Smaller and less visited than the neighbouring island of Elba, the island of Giglio is recommended for those who want relaxing holidays in nature and romantic weekends.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The Argentario promontory is renowned for its coves, which can be reached by walking along narrow, steep paths. If the thought of walking back up at the end of a day at the beach frightens you, consider reaching them by boat, or alternatively, head for the beaches that are more suitable for those seeking comfort, but are decidedly more crowded.
Close to Porto Santo Stefano, moving in the direction of Orbetello, there are no less than four beaches located close to the road and therefore very easy to reach: they are the Bionda beach, Cala Pozzarello, the Soda beach and the Domitian baths. Unfortunately, however, being close to the town and at the same time small and easy to reach, there is a real risk that they are very crowded, and arriving by car, it is often very difficult to find parking.
To the west of Porto Santo Stefano, facing the open sea, are the magnificent little beaches of Cala Grande and Cala del Gesso, both more secluded and harder to reach, and therefore less crowded. Be careful, however: they are quite small and beautiful, so in high season they are also heavily frequented by tourists.
On the other side of the Argentario promontory, near Porto Ercole, there are several beaches worth visiting, first of all the Lunga beach, located at the end of a steep path about 200 metres long. Then don’t miss the Spiaggia delle Viste, the closest to the town, which together with the Acqua Dolce beach and the well-known Cala Galera, with its marina, form the perfect poker of beaches to visit in the Porto Ercole area.
The southern part of the Monte Argentario promontory, the furthest from Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole, is made up of small coves and beaches, such as the Cannelle beach, one of the most famous, which is flanked by the Sassi Verdi beach, cala dell’Olio and cala Piccola. These are all very limited beaches, so we advise you to get there early in the morning if you want to find space.
Finally, if you are looking for long, sandy beaches, don’t give up: the Argentario coves are not for you, but the nearby beaches of Feniglia and Giannella, part of the municipality of Orbetello, are ideal. So long that even in high season you will find an area where you will be completely isolated, they are easy to reach, wide and partly equipped, making them very suitable for families with children and the elderly.