Travelling by ferry to Elba, the traveler discovers the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, famous from the era of Napoleon but also for its rich history!
Elba is the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sardinia and Sicily. Together with six other islands, it is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the largest marine park in Europe.The island of Elba is famous around the world for having hosted the French Emperor Napoleon in 1814 during his exile. But its history goes back to prehistory, with the invasion of many tribes such as the Etruscans and Romans who really appreciated the island and its rich iron deposits and mud baths. Through the archaeological finds in its museums, its unique construction, its impressive fortresses the visitor can wander through time and learn about its glorious past. The unique military constructions, such as the Castello del Volterraio and the beautiful Napoleonic houses of the 1800s, such as the Palazzina dei Mulini, captivate the visitor and create a special atmosphere. However, what makes Elba famous is the clear blue sea and its beautiful beaches.
Moreover, Elba is an ideal destination for lovers of sports and activities such as sailing, diving and snorkelling thanks to its rich seabeds which are home to many different species of fish. But also for the more romantic and lovers of the countryside it is ideal for hiking, mountain biking! It is worth mentioning that relaxing in the thermal baths of San Giovanni is a real experience.
For all these reasons, the island of Elba is a paradise on earth, which can be easily compared to the exotic Caribbean destinations, so start planning your trip to Elba as early as possible!
Ferry routes to Elba
Ferry routes to Elba are frequent and the approach by boat is easy. There are connections from mainland Italy and in particular from the port of Piombino and dock at Cavo and Rio Marina on the northeast side of Elba and Portoferraio on the north side.There are also connections with ferries within the island, in particular from Cavo to Portoferraio. Finally during certain periods there are connections from Corsica.
More specifically, from Elba the ferry routes are:
- Piombino to Portoferraio: the passage is served by 4 ferry companies throughout the year and several available daily routes connecting mainland Italy with the island of Elba.The duration of the trip varies from 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on the ferry company and the ferry
- Piombino to Cavo: this ferry route connects Italy with Elba and is currently operated by 2 ferry companies with many daily departures and with a sailing duration from 15 to 30 minutes
- Piombino to Rio Marina : the connection is made with several daily routes available all year round and the journey time is approximately 45 minutes. The route is served by ferries carrying cars and passengers
- Cavo to Portoferraio: there is a frequent connection with ferries running from Piombino to the tiny port of Cavo, on the northeast side of the Elbe. This is the easiest and fastest route to the island, as the journey takes just 20 minutes
- Bastia to Portoferraio: this connection connects Elba with Corsica and is operated by a ferry company with 2 itineraries per week and with a sailing time of about 1 hour and 30 minutes
Τhe duration and frequency of the itineraries vary from season to season, so we would advise you to check our booking engine to get the most up to date information.
Ports of Elba
The ports of Elba that have ferry connections with Italy and specifically with the port of Piombino, which is closer to the island, are Portoferraio, Rio Marina and Cavo.
- Portoferraio Port: Portoferraio is a port and main city on Elba island (France). The port is located just 5,5 ml (9 km) from mainland Italy.
- Rio Marina Port: The port of Rio Marina is the second in order of importance, after Portoferraio , is well protected and perfectly integrated in the centre of a typical seaside village and is easily accessible by car, train and plane.
- Cavo Port: Cavo is located at the northernmost point of the island and is the closest port to the rest of Italy as it is only ten kilometres from the town of Piombino in the Italian mainland.
Transportation in Elba
Transportation in Elba can be done by various means such as public bus, renting a car, scooter or bicycle and of course, by taxi.
The bus is the ideal solution for many people as it is active throughout the year and ensures the connection not only with the main cities but also with the most beautiful beaches of the island.
Renting a car/scooter
Your own car would be an ideal solution if you plan to stay several days on the island. Most of the ferries that operate on the connections to Elba allow you to transport your vehicle and move with complete freedom and reach every corner of this beautiful island.In addition you can rent a car or scooter while in Elba.
The option of using a taxi is ideal and you will find many especially in the larger towns, such as Portoferraio, Capoliveri and Porto Azzurro.
It is a solution especially for the most active people. There are routes and places where the beauty and the view will not leave you indifferent.
Vacations in Elba
Vacations in Elba Island give so many options to the traveler for real enjoyment because of its diversity! This wonderful variety of the beauty of mountain peaks such as Mount Capanne and Mount Perone on the north side of the island, the panoramic views across the Tuscan archipelago, the unique paths through chestnut forests, the historic shipwrecks at the bottom of the sea, the magnificent beaches with crystal clear waters , make this small island an unexpected paradise on earth. It is no coincidence that it is one of the most popular destinations for photographers thanks to the spectacular places, truly natural wonders that visitors discover during their stay. In Capo Sant'Andrea the visitor will see the rocks that are smoothed by the sea and sink into the crystal clear waters while the meridian flowers that one week a year explode with their extraordinary, pink, bordeaux blossoming make up a unique palette of colors.
On the east side of Elba, something unexpected awaits you. Visit the place known as "Il Termine" and discover a little corner of Arizona. From Pomonte starts a fascinating hiking trail with wildflowers in the meadows while on the north coast of the island there are special beaches such as Ghiaie, Sotto Bomba, Sansone which are some of those that combine white sand with rocks outlined on the turquoise sea. There are landscapes with special views between Rio Marina and Cavo, along paths through the green landscape that enchant the visitor.Also for the exploration lovers it is worth mentioning the magic and charm of the shipwrecks just below the surface of the sea.
There are several highlights in Elba with the island being a paradise with coastal coves, vineyards, turquoise waters, a 1018 meter mountain (Monte Capanne) and stunning views. All this is complemented by fine seafood cuisine, wonderful island wines and unique landscapes that are ideal for hiking, cycling and sea kayaking.
There are many reasons why the island of Elba is worth a visit and below we will give some of them:
- Museum Villa Napoleonica of San Martino: the exiled emperor’s summer residence on the Isola d’Elba is today a museum
- Falcone Fort: is located on the highest hill of Portoferraio and is for the most part an intact 16th century fortress (1548) - a key point built around the city by Cosimo l de' Medici
- Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte: is 627 meters high and is considered to be one of the most ancient and famous of the Elba Isle. Is surrounded by nature and is placed between the village of Marciana and Monte Capanne. Napoleone lived here in the summer of 1814. Madonna del Monte is celebrated on August 15, the same day when the inhabitants of Elba Isle visit the sanctuary of the Virgin Mary.
- National Museum of the Napoleonic Residences: consists of two villas (Villa San Martino and Villa dei Mulini), which are located in Portoferraio. They are the main places where the Emperor Napoleon stayed in exile
- National Museum of the Villa dei Mulini in Portoferraio: today the Palazzina dei Mulini, once the official residence of Napoleon, is a National Museum. It is an ancient residence built in 1724. The peace of the Villa is an experience for those who are searching for a holiday where art, history and culture are in harmony . At the Villa you can breathe an air of familiarity, surrounded by the beauty of nature, the river and the mill wheel that turns in the garden.
- Mediterranean Aquarium: is considered one of the most complete aquariums in the Mediterranean thanks to its size plus the variety of species therein.
- Taste Excellent Fish Gastronomy: there are popular dishes such as the Rio style stockfish, an exquisite dish made with salted anchovies, onions, tomatoes, basil, parsely, green peppers, black olives, pine nuts, capers and of course oil, chilli peppers and salt, the gurguglione speciality which made from vegetables, cuttlefish ink risotto, stuffed tattlers, the famous cacciucco or fish soup, but also very simple dishes like boiled octopus, fried picarels or stuffed sardines. In addition Elba wines are first class and many bear the DOC label, such as the excellent: Elba White, Elba Red, Rosato, Ansonica, Moscato and Aleatico
- Several sports - hiking/biking/ kayaking/ trekking: the island is ideal for many activities and sports
- Places for diving / Formiche della Zanca: Forniche della Zanca is a group of small islands and rocks that rise up on the northwest coast of the island of Elba. They are located in the waters between south-eastern Liguria and the Corsica Channel.This area offers various diving routes of varying depths. Lobsters, octopus, morays, eels and the constant possibility of seeing pelagic fish such as barracuda, tuna and rays
- Visit historical hamlets: the island has interesting towns and untouched villages where walking in these areas is one of the favorite activities of visitors who discover its history
- Admire magnificent sunsets: enjoy stunning sunsets from the beaches of Chiessi and Pomonte, or from the terrace of Capoliveri
Beaches of Elba
The beaches of Elba Island vary from those with sand or rocky, more rugged or natural beaches to the organised ones usually found in well-equipped resorts. See the most popular beaches and visit the one that is closest to your preferences!
- Cavoli beach: a beach of 300 meters of fine white sand which lies on the southern coast of the island and is considered the most popular on Elba because there are always a lot of parties and is selected mostly by young people. Is usually quite crowded, so it is not ideal for those looking for peace and tranquility
- Sansone beach: is a beach with white pebbles and crystal clear waters. It is quite popular and is an ideal backdrop for photos!
- Fetovaia beach: the town of Fetovaia is about 8 km from Marina di Campo and has a golden sandy beach with crystal clear waters, with the mountains and rocks in the backdrop
- Chiessi beach: is located on the west side of the island and has a pebble beach, bordered by unusual rocks with smooth sides
- Sant'Andrea beach: is a wonderful small sandy beach with big rocks on the sides, in the Sant'Andrea creek in the north-west side of the island
- Laconella beach: is a quiet and relaxing beach with crystal clear waters and the rocks under the water are full of fish. Suitable for kayaking!
- Pareti beach: a sandy beach approximately 50 meters long and, due to the protected position and the services offered, it is ideal for families with children
- Le Ghiaie beach: is the "town beach" of Portoferraio, with crystal clear waters and a pebbly beach. It is also a protected area
- Biodola beach: is the "town beach" of Portoferraio, with crystal clear waters and a pebbly beach. It is also a protected area
- Barabarca beach: is situated approximately 1.5 km from the town center of Capoliveri. It is a small pebbly beach in front of the Capo Stella peninsula and is surrounded by green area
Hotels in Elba
Hotels in Elba offer a wide range of 5 star resorts, smaller boutique hotels, old villas renovated with lovely gardens!
- Elba Sara Beach & Golf Resort
- Villa Elba
- Elba Lanzarote Royal Village Resort
- Elba Castillo San Jorge & Antigua Suite Hotel
- Elba Palace Golf & Vital Hotel
- Elba Carlota Beach & Convention Resort
- Camping Valle Santa Maria
- Camping Scaglieri Village