Once on the ferry to Portoferraio, the visitor arrives in the largest town on the island Elba, known worldwide for its natural beauty, charm, and rich history!
In memory of this glorious era, the traveller can visit the two villas where Napoleon lived, San Martino and Villa dei Mulini.Arriving from the sea, Portoferraio looks like a bay, protected from pirates by its ramparts that are still partly well preserved and, together with the historical walls and the dock built during the Medici period and in the XVI century to protect the city from pirates , are one of the most popular tourist attractions of Portoferraio.
There are many suggestions for those who want to visit Portoferraio with interesting events such as the international jazz and classical music festival "Elba Isola musicale d'Europa" - Elba, musical island of Europe, which is usually held in different parts of the island in September and cooking events such as "Polpando e gli antichi sapori", where octopus is the star of a really delicious food event! An ideal place for culture lovers, with the Archaeological Museum of the city as an important attraction, but also for lovers of good food!But apart from the good food and unique cultural attractions this place is unique for the amazing sea, as the island has both sandy and rocky beaches, all of them fascinating.
Take advantage of our online booking engine, check the ferry schedules, the accommodation type you prefer and book in advance since this destination is particularly popular in July and August
Portoferraio ferry routes
The Portoferraio ferry routes are basically from Piombino in the province of Livorno and connect the Italian mainland with the island of Elba.Another ferry connection links Portoferraio with Cavo, located north and east of Portoferraio and only runs during the high season months, from June to September.
More specifically the Portoferraio ferry routes are:
- Portoferraio to Piombino: 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 one hour depending on the ferry company and the ferry
- Portoferraio to Cavo: there is a frequent connection with ferries running from Piombino to the tiny port of Cavo, on the northeast side of Elba. This is the easiest and fastest route to the island, as the journey takes just 20 minutes
The routes are served by two shipping companies with vessels carrying passengers and vehicles and the duration of the trip depends on the routes, the type of ship and the weather conditions.
Port of Portoferraio
The port is located on the north coast of the island of Elba, in a wide bay and divided by the same name, and consists of several different ports, which are located in close proximity to each other.The port is accessible twenty-four hours a day and currently has three piers which are intended for use by ferries, a particularly intensive traffic during the summer months.
Transportation in Portoferraio
The transportation in Portoferraio is mostly done on foot because all the attractions are easily accessible. However, there is a bus service and the possibility to use a taxi or to rent a car/scooter.
Since all of the attractions in Portoferraio are easily accessible and due to its small size walking tours are an option. In addition there are places that are not accessible by car due to the fact that one has to climb stairs
The bus service is primarily based on the needs of the island's residents and connects Portoferraio with Cavo and Rio Marina throughout the year. Buses depart approximately every hour from Monday to Saturday, with reduced services on Sundays and public holidays. Between June and September, the regular bus services are accompanied by an additional shuttle bus service called Marebus. This service acts as a link between Portoferraio and its main beaches.
Taxis are available 24/7. Book one in Portoferraio Taxis.
Rent a car or a scooter
You can also rent vehicles and scooters while on the island, with several agencies located in and around Portoferraio's port.
Vacations in Portoferraio
Vacations in Portoferraio mean real pleasure and relaxation.
In summer the island is filled with beach lovers, while in late April, when the spring flowers are in full bloom, the island is ideal for exploring both on foot and by bike.
Portoferraio is one of the oldest towns on the island of Elba and its imposing aspect can be seen from the sea as soon as the traveler arrives by boat. The imposing Medici fortresses are certainly one of the most characteristic features of Portoferraio, as is the majestic Falcone Fortress, from where the sea view is breathtaking. The visitor will have the opportunity to enjoy many monuments of cultural interest that bear witness to the history of this city, such as the beautiful and austere Pisan Romanesque church of Santo Stefano alle Trane, the ancient Etruscan fortress of Castiglione, the Italo Bolano International Art Centre and the Giardino Botanico dell'Ottone.
In Portoferraio, visitors can taste all the dishes and typical products of the island of Elba, starting with schiaccia briaca, a legacy of the Barbary pirates, whose recipe (originally alcohol-free) has been revised and enriched with local ingredients, such as Aleatico DOCG from the island of Elba.
Portoferraio is the perfect destination for tourists who love the sea, with a varied range of beaches, from sandy, mixed sand and gravel beaches to pebble beaches.Also from Portoferraio, the tourist can easily reach all the beaches of Elba Island, which are magnificent with their sandy floors and coves overlooking the endless blue.
There are many highlights around Portoferraio. Whether you enjoy hiking or cycling, Portoferraio is an area with hidden gems waiting to be explored. Below we give you the top places worth visiting for an unforgettable experience.
- Napoleonic Mills House: an amazing experience as the visitor comes into contact with Napoleon's iconic physiognomy. The place is really beautiful, with a very romantic garden and a wonderful atmosphere. Don't forget to notice the exquisite works of art on the ceilings
- Palazzina dei Mulini: in the heart of Portoferraio, you will find one of Napoleon's residences, the Palazzina dei Mulini
- Museo Archeologico Portoferraio: is located in the age-old building of the Linguella salt warehouse. Here you can find archaeological treasures from Elba and the Tuscan islands, with a chronological arc stretching from the end of the 8th century BC to the 5th century AD
- Portoferraio Lighthouse: between the ramparts of Forte Stella, there is the lighthouse of Portoferraio which was built in 1788. Although it is not open to the public, it is worth a visit for the panoramic view
- Villa Romana delle Grotte: at the opposite end of the bay of Portoferraio, there are the ruins of this villa
- Villa San Martino: Napoleon's second residence, is located in the countryside
- Pinacoteca Foresiana: was donated in 1914 by Dr. Mario Foresi, an intellectual with many literary, artistic and musical interests. The museum is housed in the historic De Laugier barracks
Beaches of Portoferraio
The beaches of Portoferraio are among the best and most famous of the island of Elba. They are sheltered from the winds and thus have calm and clear waters like natural swimming pools. There is a wide variety of beaches from sandy ones to those with white pebbles that highlight the turquoise sea.
Below we give you a list of the most famous beaches in Portoferraio:
- Capo Bianco Beach: formed by a white rock and white stones on the bottom, it is 300 meters long and with waters that have a thousand shades from turquoise to bright blue make this beach a real paradise! It has a large free parking area, but we recommend you arrive, especially during the high season, early in the morning to find a parking space for your car
- Le Ghiaie Beach: is located right in the center of Portoferraio, a few minutes walk from the port.Beach is 400 meters long and formed by white cobbled streets, it is very popular especially in high season periods. There are all the important services such as umbrellas, bicycle and kayak rentals, bars, pizzerias and restaurants
- Spiaggia delle Viste: is located in the historical centre of Portoferraio, just below the Napoleonic house "Villa dei Mulini".It is about 200 metres long, not so much visited by tourists because of the difficulty of access.It is made up of small stones and pebbles of different colours, the water is always clear and clear. There are umbrellas and rented sunbeds and a bar-restaurant where you can enjoy beautiful sunsets over the sea
- Viticcio Beach: is located a few kilometers away from the center of Portoferraio and consists of 2 small beaches, the most visited is the beach on the right, it is about 150 meters long. Its seabed consists of large smooth cobbled streets
Hotels in Portoferraio
Portoferraio offers a variety of accommodation, both in the city centre and along the coastal roads and the winding country roads that start from it. In the town center, near the ferry terminal, you will find budget hostels and simple hotels. Just outside this commercial area you will find high-class hotels, beach resorts and apartments for rent along the coast.