The Island of Elba, the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest in Italy by area, is at the same time one of the most beautiful seaside resorts in Tuscany.
Easily reached from the port of Piombino by ferry and hydrofoil, it has 147 kilometres of coastline along which pebble beaches, rocks and sandy coves follow one another. Here the water is transparent and crystal clear, the colours of the sea range from light to deep blue, and there are many magnificent beaches to choose from.
The island has historically always been a holiday destination for Tuscans, who often have a second home here. But thanks to mass tourism (or fault, according to some), and with the spread of photos of its wonderful beaches on the web and social media, Elba has become a popular destination for thousands of tourists from all over Italy and beyond.
During a holiday on the island of Elba, you can visit typical fishing villages, such as Portoferraio and Rio Marina, get excited in front of granite quarries and mining parks, and even walk in the mountains along impassable paths: yes, because the highest peak on Elba is Monte Capanne, which at 1019 metres above sea level allows you to enjoy a wonderful 360 degree panorama around the island.
For these and a thousand other reasons, the island of Elba proves to be a perfect destination for a summer holiday, whether for a weekend, a week or a month. Add to this the kindness and friendliness of the inhabitants, the numerous attractions for night-time entertainment and accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, and you have a unique mix of ingredients, with the guaranteed result of an unforgettable holiday.
Thebeautiful island of Elba is an ideal summer holiday destination, but its unique natural environment and beautiful fortified villages attract many tourists throughout the year.If you are looking for a holiday of sun and sea, the best months to visit Elba are May, June and September when you can fully enjoy the beauty of the island. In July and August, in fact, the island is literally invaded by tourists and the small shorelines are crowded from the early hours of the day and prices are very high.
In March and April, nature is a kaleidoscope of colours and scents and the sun begins to warm the sea water and sand. These are the ideal months for anyone seeking an escape from stress and city chaos.
During the autumn and winter months, however, Elba is a pleasant, sun-kissed destination. Visit one of the many mining museums on the island, discover the places of Napoleon’s exile, and savour the delicious Elban cuisine.
Despite being a fairly small island, Elba offers a wide range of activities. The sea is naturally the great protagonist of Elban holidays: the beaches are all different, bathed by crystal-clear water and offer breathtaking views. The best way to get an overview of the island is to take a tour of Elba by boat. Highly recommended!
But Elba is also history and culture. You absolutely must see the beautiful town of Portoferraio, visit the Napoleonic museums in the Palazzina dei Mulini and the Villa di San Martino, the Museo dei Cimeli Napoleonici and the Pinacoteca Foresiana. The mining museums of Capoliveri, Rio Marina and Rio nell’Elba are also very interesting.
If you love hiking and trekking, the Elban hinterland will amaze you. Visit the Volterraio Castle, also visible from the ferry, the Villa delle Grotte, the most important Roman settlement on the island, and carve out a few days and visit the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago such as Pianosa, Montecristo or Capraia.
For gifts and souvenirs, enjoy the small shops in Porto Azzurro and Portoferraio and look out for typical Elban products such as minerals, perfumes, cosmetics, sweets and wine.
The best way to start your holiday on Elba is to take a boat trip to discover the island, even better if you circumnavigate it, its unspoilt coves and deserted beaches even during the high season. Excursions last a minimum of two and a half hours up to a full day, except for overnight stays on board luxury yachts with private skippers.
Admire the marvellous bay of Fetovaia, the gulf of Procchio with the islet of Paolina, La Biodola, the rocky coastline near Pomonte, and conclude your excursion with a visit to the Formiche di Zanca, the rocks outcropping in the north-western part of the island, near Marciana.
In addition to discovering the wonders of the island of Elba, explore the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago such as the wild Capraia, ideal for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts, or Pianosa, with regulated access due to its considerable natural and archaeological importance. There are also numerous excursions to the island of Giglio, the island of Montecristo.
Boats set sail from the ports of Portoferraio, Marciana Marina, Porto Azzurro and Cavo.
The Island of Elba is an ideal destination for families with children thanks to its excellent hotel facilities, wonderful beaches with facilities, and a wide range of activities for young and old.
Nature excursions to discover the island are organised by expert environmental guides and are also suitable for children. An environmental education course for children takes place twice a week and includes activities to discover ancient traditions and animal care.
Marina di Campo is the most popular location for families: the long sandy beach is served by bathing establishments, bars and restaurants and is a stone’s throw from the centre of the village and a beautiful pine forest with a playground and inflatables. The village also boasts an electric minicar track and a football pitch.
Lacona is another ideal beach for children: with fine sand and shallow waters, it is equipped and has a large playground, the Duna Park, with a children’s area, mini-golf, inflatables and water pools.
If your children love the sea, you can sign up for a sailing or diving course at one of the many schools on the island. Segagnana is home to the Elba Aquarium with 80 tanks and 150 different species of marine organisms.
Explore the Elba Island Mining Park in Rio Marina and hop on a characteristic little train to explore the mines. Children can admire pyrite, hematite and much more.
In Portoferraio, you can explore the town or relax on the beach at Le Ghiaie, where there is a well-equipped playground and in June, playgrounds are organised with daily or weekly registration.
One of the most popular family activities is a trip to the nearby islands of Pianosa, Capraia and Giglio.
Folk festivals, concerts, sporting and cultural events and festivals enliven the evenings on Elba.
Nature lovers should not miss the Festival del Camminare (walking festival) in spring, when free guided hikes allow you to discover the hidden corners of the island.
Among the most important events on Elba are the Maggio Napoleonico in Portoferraio, where Bonaparte was exiled for 300 days, the Scooter Rally held in Capoliveri in April, the Palio umoristico dei somari (donkey race) and the Isola Musicale d’Europa, a classical music and jazz festival held in September. The historical re-enactment of the Innamorata, on 14 July, is beautiful.
Lovers of good food will appreciate the Festa dell’Uva and the Castaganta in the autumn, the Festa della Sportella, the Sweethearts’ Feast, and the Angel Monday in Rio nell’Elba,
In Porto Azzurro, the Flower Festival in May and the Fisherman’s Festival in July are very beautiful.
Elba is also full of events in the winter season, including the enchanting Christmas Market in Sant’Ilario and New Year’s Eve in the piazza in the Medicean town of Portoferraio.
Elba’s cuisine, once poor, is refined and boasts Spanish and oriental influences. In addition to the island’s typical products, it is not difficult to find ethnic and complex foods.
Stockfish, anchovies, capers and seafood in general are widely used. Gurguglione, for example, is a vegetable dish that is very popular, as are squid ink rice, stuffed squid, the famous cacciucco all’elbana, boiled octopus, fried zerri and stuffed sardines.
Among the delicious desserts are corollo, sportella, schiaccia briaca and schiacciunta.
Elba is also famous for its wine production, even if it is very limited and difficult to appreciate outside the island. Elba Bianco, Elba Rosso, Rosato, Ansonica, Moscato and Aleatico stand out in the production.
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