Discover the Island of Elba: an itinerary of typical Italian flavours with many surprises
The Island of Elba is part of the Italian natural treasures. It always gives us many emotions and that is why we have chosen to talk about the Island of Elba in this article.
The Island of Elba is the third largest island in Italy and it is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park. Taking a trip to Tuscany is an important gift : it allows you to get to know Italian art and tradition.
Visiting Elba means living a daydream and to do so, you need to have a well-thought-out itinerary. The Island of Elba has a very ancient history, it was inhabited during the Paleolithic.
The populations built their settlements in this paradise, because it was a fruitful land full of resources to be used. The rich cultural heritage combined with the unique natural landscape make the Island of Elba an ideal destination for a few days vacation. Here is what not to miss among the many attractions.
But let’s find out more!
Elba is a naturalistic and cultural heritage
Elba offers natural landscapes of extreme beauty, along with historic villages and cultural sites that are unique in Italy.
When organizing a trip to this splendid seaside resort, it is important to know everything that you can visit in depth, in order to better plan your days and not miss a glimpse.
How to get to the Island of Elba?
On the Island of Elba, there is a small airport where only flights from abroad land.
The easiest way to reach the island from Italy is therefore by ferry. Virtually all the main shipping companies arrive there: Toremar, Moby Lines, Blu Navy, Corsica Sardinia Elba Ferries that dock in Portoferraio, Cavo or Rio Marina starting from Piombino.
Beach Fetovaia, Island Elba, Tuscany, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
Capoliveri, Island Elba, Livorno, Tuscany, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
When to visit the Island of Elba?
It is an uncomfortable question because we could all say that it is better to visit Elba in the summer. But we must, however, reassure travellers, saying that Elba is able to give its best in other seasons as well. Admire the pristine beaches, enjoy the typical dishes, visit the natural villages with great cultural heritage!
The culture and history of the island
Lovers of history and culture will find the right outlet on the Island of Elba.
In fact, in this splendid destination there are forts, castles and towers, as well as several villages that host numerous festivals and typical celebrations throughout the year.
You can’t miss the English Fort in Portoferraio, the Fortezza del Giogo – from which you can admire a unique panorama that sweeps up to the Giglio Island – and the Marciana Fortress which hosts exhibitions and cultural events during the summer.
Among the most evocative villages to visit are Rio nell’Elba, Capoliveri and Porto Azzurro. In these locations there are most of the island’s most renowned hotels and restaurants, but above all, important festivals such as the wine festival held every year between September and October in Capoliveri.
In detail: what to see on Elba in a one-week vacation
Portoferraio is the first town you come across when landing on the island of Elba, and also the largest in terms of population.
But it is not just a landing place, on the contrary ! As soon as you land in Portoferraio you immediately realize the beauty that this wonderful Mediterranean island reserves.
Portoferraio owes its name to the iron and mines already present at the time of the Etruscans and the Romans, activities that made this town the fortune for its transport to the mainland.
Many will also remember that Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to Elba, and therefore it was during his short reign (1814-1815) that Portoferraio underwent a strong economic development. Its residential villas can still be visited in the city: Villa San Martino and Villa dei Mulini.
Capoliveri is one of the most characteristic places on the island of Elba which attracts more and more tourists every year for its particular charm.
It still retains the typical structure of a medieval village perched on top of a hill with its 4 districts: the Fosso, the Tower, the Fortress and the Baluardo.
Its pretty historic centre boasts a wonderful square, a real terrace overlooking the sea; picturesque alleys made of arches better known as “chiassi”, tall and narrow houses, hidden views and flowered balconies.
Through the narrow streets there are numerous artisan shops, delicious restaurants, wine bars and bistros where you can enjoy a good traditional dish with excellent wine but there is no shortage of trendy boutiques and delicious markets for the delight of all shoppers.
Although it is one of the most recent towns to have been built, Capoliveri has very ancient origins.
From its past it preserves the remains of the medieval parish church of San Michele, one of the first religious buildings on the island, of which the apse and the foundations of the facade can still be admired today; the Forte Focardo of Spanish origin which overlooks the sea and the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Grazie.
The coast of Capoliveri is also a real jewel, a perfect place to fully enjoy a holiday of sea and relaxation.
Just think that Capoliveri is home to the largest number of beaches on the entire island of Elba, ready to satisfy everyone’s tastes.
Therefore, equipped beaches for those looking for comfort and convenience can be found in Lacona, Madonna delle Grazie, Lido and Naregno.
Wilder instead are the beaches of Laconella or Remaiolo; spectacular coves and bays meet in Morcone, Pareti and Innamorata; for those who love absolute freedom, we recommend the beach of Acquarilli, the first naturist beach on the island.
Porto Azzurro is a pretty fishing village with a small marina that lies in the waters of the Gulf of Mola.
When it was founded in 1609 it was called Portolongone by the king of Spain Philip III who made the town a fortification to defend itself from Saracen attacks.
With this intention, Fort San Giacomo was built on the top of a cliff on the promontory, today the site of the prison.
For obvious reasons, the building cannot be visited but from its position it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary panorama.
Heading towards the historic center, don’t miss a stop in the beautiful Piazza Matteotti, the most beautiful on the island of Elba, with its fountains that enjoy creating fascinating water games.
Porto Azzurro, harbour and village at sunset, Elba Islands, Tuscany, Italy. (foto © Shutterstock.com)
Rio Marina is another small fishing village located in the eastern part of the island of Elba. Since 2017, the town has merged with the nearby hamlet of Rio nell’Elba, giving birth to the municipality of Rio for some years, where today just over 3,000 inhabitants live. The Museum of Elbe Minerals and Mining Art is definitely worth a visit, right in the centre of the town, inside the Palazzo del Burò where the mine management offices once stood. Inside the museum the rooms and tools of the mine remain as they once were; as well as a rich collection of about 1000 minerals and stones of extraordinary beauty.
Visit the beaches of the Island of Elba
Well, we have finally reached the point that perhaps everyone was waiting for: the list of the most beautiful beaches on the island of Elba. Let’s start by saying that drawing up a real list is quite difficult for this destination which has about 150 beaches, and then because all of them, each different from the other, deserve to be seen, frequented and enjoyed. Since this is not always possible, we will try to suggest roughly the ones you should try not to miss, or at least choose them according to your tastes.
Let’s start immediately with one of the best known and also the most popular beaches on the island of Elba: Fetovaia beach, the most suggestive of the whole island. It is located in the north-western part and is inserted in a wonderful natural context, sheltered by the promontory of Punta Fetovaia, between golden sand and cliffs that offer truly extraordinary colors.
Then there are the fine sandy beaches where you can lie down in complete relaxation and the first is the beach of Cavoli. It is the longest of the island located near Marina di Campo; it is about 1300 meters long and has a very shallow seabed, therefore especially suitable for families with children; the other is the beach of La Biodola, and is located in Portoferraio, which is also very well equipped for snorkelling and diving.
Are there pebble or pebble beaches? Where are they located on Elba?
Let’s now pass to the gravel or pebble beaches that are almost all found in Portoferraio.
Definitely not to be missed are:
– the Delle Ghiaie beach with its white pebbles and its protected marine area; Padulella beach, a small bay of 150 meters protected by a cliff and a turquoise blue sea;
– Capo Bianco beach, also in Portoferraio, with a very white gravel that is a real jewel with its rocky bottoms;
– the beach of Sansone with 200 meters of gravel suitable for those seeking tranquility and calm and the beach of l’Enfola which is located in the northernmost part of Portoferraio and is the only one to be formed by an isthmus of land with an emerald sea and transparent.
Then there are those wilder and more rocky stretches of coast sought mostly by lovers of adventures and free spirits who do not seek crowds and crowds; the island is full of these too, and the beach of Chiessi, Patresi and Capo Sant’Andrea are definitely not to be missed, a white sand beach protected by granite cliffs that reach the sea.
Text: Elina © Italien.blog
Port of Portoferraio, Elba Island, Tuscany, Italy (foto © Shutterstock.com)