48 Hours in Elba: the Biggest Tuscany Island

If you come to Italy during the summer, it would quite sad if you didn’t spend at least a few days on the Italian coast, enjoying the Mediterranean sea and sun.

If you’re in Tuscany, we recommend heading to the magnificent island of Elba, the biggest Tuscany island and the place where Napoleon was exiled to back in 1814.

To get to this Tuscany island, you can take a ferry from Piombino Marittima (Tuscany coast) to Portoferraio, the capital of the island.

Two days will allow you time to discover and explore the island, dedicating one of relaxation, which is essential in such a beautiful setting.

Begin your day in Elba’s largest town called Portoferraio which is located on the northern coast of the island.

This is a magnificent fortified town full of history and culture. It grew around a quaint little harbour and offers excellent fresh seafood eateries and attractions for tourists to enjoy.

In the afternoon, drive along the northern coast of Elba, heading in a westerly direction and in less than half an hour, you’ll arrive at the charming fishing town of Marciana Marina.

Spend a few hours sunbathing and swimming at the two pretty beaches here and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the old town centre of Marciana Marina.

For your second day, you can start with a stunning view.
Less than six kilometres away from Marciana Marina, there is the beautiful inland town of Marciana.

It’s situated 375 metres high in the scenic forest surrounding. Explore the majestic Pisan Fortress, which towers over the town and walk along the winding narrow streets.

Head further up into the mountains from Marciana on a footpath to discover the tranquil Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte.

You can take a cable car from Marciana to the top of Mount Capanne where you’ll enjoy the finest views of Elba Island and beyond.

For the rest of the day, you can enjoy the wonderful beaches of the island. This Tuscany island has some 150 km of coastline, where you can find all kinds of beaches, amongst them some of the best beaches in Tuscany.

There are so many exceptionally beautiful beaches on the island that it is anything but easy to draw up a list of Elba’s most beautiful beaches.The sandy beaches you can find are mostly between Cape Enfola and Portoferraio and on the south of the island.

Here are the four most beautiful beaches of Elba Island to be included in your bucket list

Fetovaia beach. One of the finest beaches on the island, situated on the south-west side of Elba, its beauty is so widely renowned that it is usually crowded in the summer months.

Fine golden sand, granite reefs, crystal-clear water, sheltered by a rugged, maquis-covered, 800 metre long promontory. If you prefer a quieter area of the beach, the large, smooth granite rocks nearby are ideal for relaxing.

Cavoli beach. The beach is on the southern side of the Island, not far from the Comune of Marina di Campo; it is a long, sandy beach, where the sea is very shallow till quite far out, and the water is crystal clear, making it perfect for those who have come on holiday with small children.

Its name derives from “cavili”, which were square blocks of granite that were at one time extracted from the caves in the area. There are still signs of granite carving above Cavoli, which was ongoing from Roman times right up to the Medieval period, by the inhabitants of Pisa.

Lacona beach. The beach at Lacona is one of the largest on Elba, composed of dunes of very fine sand, a real ecosystem of great beauty, 1,160 metres long, located on the deepest gulf on the island, with beautiful light sand and the centre of a large area equipped with tourist facilities of all sorts and levels (Capoliveri).

Innamorata beach “The most romantic beach”
If you are a couple and you are looking for a beach with a romantic landscape, the right choice is the Innamorata beach (it means lovers beach). It is a beach of white sand, mixed with pebbles, which offers a clear blue sea and unforgettable sunsets.

It’s called in this way because of a legend about two lovers. This story inspires also the Festa dell’Innamorata, an event occurred every year on July 14th in memory of this young couple.

For sport lovers: Hiking on Elba Island

In total there are about 50 hikes for you to discover within the region of Elba. From the sea to the hills, from the plain to the high mountain, there are hiking trails for all ages and all levels of experience on the island.

The Elba is always new and wonderful with dream scenarios that open behind every corner, but if you’re a true hiking buff and up for a challenge, make the GTE, the Grande Traversata Elbana, the purpose of your trip.

The trail crosses the entire island and takes some five days to complete. The trail is 60km long, plus variations, and its highest point is just over 1000 meters, requiring minimum 22 hours of walking time to complete!

How to get there

During the summer season car ferries leave from Piombino to Portoferraio – the main town on the Island of Elba – almost every hour. There are also daily ferries from Cavo and Rio Marina. The shipping companies are Toremar, Moby Lines, Corsica Ferries and Blu Navy.

The crossing from Piombino to Portoferraio takes one hour (30 minutes with Corsica Ferries), the crossing from Piombino to Cavo takes 35 minutes, and to Rio Marina it takes 45 minutes. A hydrofoil service (no cars), which arrives only in Portoferraio and Cavo, takes 35 minutes.

Elba Island Hotels – Where to Stay

villa ottone

Best luxury hotel: Hotel Villa Ottone 5*, Portoferraio

Perfect for a romantic stay

Hotel Villa Ottone is a Hotel of genuine class, which with its antique Nineteenth Century Villa dominates a landscape of unique loveliness, with the profile of the Portoferraio roadstead which becomes part of the structure itself. This historic Villa is surrounded by ancient parkland where the main air-conditioned restaurant, the pool, the miniclub and the tennis courts are found. The park even extends down to the hotel’s private beach.

marina grande

Best mid-range hotel: Marina Garden Hotel 4*, Marciana Marina

Excellent location

Marina Garden Hotel is within a 200 m radius from a pebbled beach, shops and the harbour in Marciana Marina, on Elba Island. Its large garden features a swimming pool and palm trees.The hotel is surrounded by restaurants and bar.Guests enjoy special rates at a partner beach, 600 m away.

hotel sardi

Best budget hotel: Hotel Sardi 3*, Pomonte

Amazing view over the sea

Offering a restaurant, free bike rental and classic-style accommodation with air conditioning, Hotel Sardi is located 10 m from the beach in Pomonte on the island of Elba. Homemade tarts feature in the sweet and savoury buffet breakfast served daily. The restaurant specialises in traditional Elba cuisine.An array of activities can be enjoyed in the surroundings including cycling, hiking and snorkelling.

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