The Mediterranean island of Elba is located in the province of Livorno in Italy and is the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago. On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies and ferries to Elba. Take a look at our travel tips, routes and book cheap ferry tickets with just a few clicks!
The breathtaking natural landscape and coastline of Elba
Vacation in Elba
According to the legend, Elba was formed from the centerpiece of the goddess Aphrodite’s necklace. It fell into the Mediterranean Sea and shaped the beautiful island of Elba.
Nowadays, it is one of the top destinations in Italy with thousands of visitors every year, eager to discover a paradisiacal corner between sea, history and nature. The island is an exotic blend of Mediterranean cultures: Etruscan, Greek, Roman, Spanish, French and Italian.
Elba is a heavenly place, smartly chosen by Napoleon Bonaparte to spend 10 months of exile in 1814. It is home to more than 100 beaches, archaeological finds and enchanting forests filled with chestnut trees.
Tip: the best time to visit Elba is during spring or autumn when you can fully enjoy the island’s pristine beauty.
How to get to Elba
You can reach Elba by car, train, bus, plane, and ferry.
The nearest railway station is Piombino Marittima, next to the port of Piombino. Also, direct buses are leaving from Florence, Grosseto and Milan to the Piombino port.
As for the closest airport, Marina di Campo is 13km from Portoferraio, the capital of Elba. The airport offers direct flights to/from Pisa, Florence, Milan and Bologna all year round.
Alternatively, you can reach Elba by ferry from the mainland, from the port of Piombino. Ferries to Elba also depart from Corsica and the island of Pianosa. For more information about schedules and tickets, you can have a look at the ferry routes to Elba.
The stunning panoramic view from the summit of Mount Capanne
What to do in Elba
Elba inspires the soul and the senses with its wonderful landscapes and variety of views! Explore the underground mining complex of Ginevro, swim to the crystal-clear waters of its countless beaches, follow the bike trails through the forest or dive to shipwrecks on the ocean floor!
The island’s best attractions are scattered between the communes of Portoferraio, Campo nell'Elba, Capoliveri, Porto Azzurro, Rio and Marciana. Picturesque villages, museums, mining and hiking trails in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park await you to experience an unforgettable adventure!
So, are you ready to explore all the natural wonders and cultural treasures of Elba within its 233 km²? Read on to find out all you need to know about your trip, including travel tips, useful information and what to do and see in Elba!
Beaches in Elba
With some of the most beautiful beaches of the Tuscan coast, the island of Elba consists of exceptional, diverse landscapes. From rocky coastlines and wild beaches to well-equipped sandy resorts, Elba invites you to discover its pristine natural beauty and spectacular beaches.
Here are the 10 best beaches in Elba:
- Fetovaia: it’s one of the most popular and mesmerizing beaches on the island of Elba. It’s part of a magnificent natural setting composed of fine granitic sand and crystal turquoise waters. There, you can find umbrellas, sun-loungers and showers. It is also equipped and accessible for people with disabilities.
- Sansone: it’s a serene beach backed by rocky cliffs located near the town of Portoferraio. You can reach it on foot, walking along a path for about 15 minutes. The beach offers plenty of quiet corners to chill and more busy ones with bathing establishments, services and restaurants. Also, its crystal-clear waters make it ideal for diving enthusiasts!
- Punta Rossa: it’s located in the mining heart of the municipality of Capoliveri. The coast is long and narrow, surrounded by red rocks. It does not offer bathing services and it is only accessible by sea.
- Forno: it is the smallest beach of the Biodola Gulf and is made up of various types of sand. It is a secluded and quiet beach with a bar and a restaurant. The shade of the beautiful pine trees along its shallow coastline makes it ideal for families.
- Laconella: it’s an unspoiled beach with white sand and crystal blue sea. The cape of Punta della Contessa with its cliffs surrounding the beach is perfect for snorkeling. It’s very close to the city of Lacona and easily accessible. However, there are no services so it’s preferable to bring some snacks and water with you.
- Sant'Andrea: it’s located in the northern part of Elba. It’s a small beach with light grey, granite sand and turquoise waters, ideal for scuba diving. It is equipped and offers rental services for canoes and pedal boats to explore the coast.
- Felciaio: you can find this small beach on the southern side of Elba. Rocks divide the beach into two parts with blue waters and fine pebbles. It’s equipped and you can reach it on foot following a narrow road.
- Madonna delle Grazie: it’s a tiny, mesmerizing beach very close to the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Grazie. It has fine sand and rocky bottoms, great for snorkeling. There, you can also find a restaurant, sunbeds and showers.
- Enfola: the narrow isthmus of Enfola has a beach on either side. On the south side, there is a small pier with smooth gravels mixed with gray-shaded pebbles. The beach offers umbrellas, sunbeds and paddle boats to discover the underwater world of the coast.
- Padulella: it’s a white-sand beach to the north of Portoferraio surrounded by white cliffs that plunge into the emerald green sea. It offers many bars, restaurants, sunbeds and umbrellas as well as pedal boats. Paduella beach is also part of the Protected Biological Area.
The turquoise waters and stunning scenery of Fetovaia beach on Elba
Sightseeing in Elba
Elba presents itself as a sparkling gem surrounded by the deep blue waters of the Tuscan Archipelago.
You can get familiar with the glorious past of the island by peering into the archaeological findings in its museums. Stroll in its stone-paved alleys and explore the impressive fortresses and military constructions such as the Volterraio Castle.
Here are the 10 places of Elba you shouldn’t miss:
- The Fortress of Giogo, a shelter from the invasions of the Barbary pirate Barbarossa
- The Civic Archaeological Museum, home to many fascinating archeological artifacts found in Elba
- Mount Capanne, for hiking in the highest mountain on the Italian island of Elba
- The Butterfly Sanctuary, with over 50 different species of butterflies
- The Elba Aquarium, offering a panorama of the incredible biodiversity of the island
- The Monserrato Sanctuary, built in 1606 on the rocky ridge of Mount Santo
- The Volterraio Castle, the oldest fortification on the island of Elba
- The Baths of San Giovanni, a natural spa with thermal waters in the Gulf of Portoferraio
- The Shipwreck of the Elviscot, lying on the ocean floor since 1978
- The Sassi Neri Mine, with its tiny greenish lake backed by red rocks
The magnificent Volterraio Castle overlooking the sea on the island of Elba
Nightlife in Elba
Elba offers various entertainment options, especially during the summer. You can choose between beach parties, music concerts, disco nights or drink a cocktail in one of the clubs near the coast.
However, if you want to feel like an Italian you should have an aperitif before dinner as locals do! You can find the most popular bars for the best aperitif in Portoferraio, Marina di Campo, Marciana Marina and Capoliveri. Among the best, we recommend the Caffè Roma and Anfiteatro.
Food in Elba
Simplicity is the key to success for Elba’s local delicacies. Fish is the main ingredient in the island’s cuisine and it is lavishly used in the gastronomic specialties of Elba.
However, vegetarian dishes and delicious traditional desserts are also part of the island’s menu! Elba also stands out for its wine production. According to legend, Napoleon tried to encourage the cultivation of grapes because he loved Elba’s wine!
Here are some of the most delicious local dishes:
- stoccafisso alla riese (stockfish, garlic, onions and potatoes in herbed broth)
- cacciucco elbano (soup made with a mix of fish trimmings such as mussels and octopus)
- risotto al nero di seppia (squid ink risotto)
- gurguglione (vegetable stew with peppers, eggplants, zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes)
- goat cheese
- sburrita (stockfish soup with vegetables served with garlic-flavored croutons)
- schiaccia briaca (red cake with Aleatico red wine)
- l’imbollita di fichi (sweet bread with figs, fennel seeds and honey)
- Ansonica (white wine) and Aleatico (red wine)
The traditional seafood stew cacciucco
Villages in Elba
If you can stay on the island for a few more days, you should visit the nearby picturesque villages of Elba. Wander around the stone-paved alleys, try some delicious local products and dive into the rich history of Elba!
Here you can find a list of the best villages in Elba:
- Marciana Alta: it’s a small medieval village on the slopes of Mount Capanne. Marciana is a great place offering many hiking trails. Go for a long walk surrounded by unspoiled nature and enjoy the mountain air. After your hike, do not forget to treat yourself to tasty local products!
- Poggio: it’s a charming village where the Chestnut Festival is held. For the past 30 years, food stalls have offered typical Elba specialties made from chestnuts in the Chestnut Tree square. You can try chestnut pasta and cakes as you stroll along the spiral-shaped center of Poggio and its narrow, granite-paved streets.
- Porto Azzurro: it is situated in the southern part of Elba. Porto Azzurro is a coastal town with golden beaches and clear waters. It has a beautiful central square and magnificent buildings dominating the old part of the enchanting village. During your visit, you can take the Carmignani walk leading you to the Barbarossa beach. It's only a 1km walk offering many breathtaking panoramas and it’s an easy route suitable for children.
- Capoliveri: this picturesque village is situated on a small hill. It is famous for its wine and mineral extraction. You can visit the mines of Mount Calamita and learn more about the fascinating history of iron extraction. Walk in the narrow alleys, pass under the characteristic archways and find the best-handcrafted gifts from the small local shops of Capoliveri.
Tip: do not miss the annual Grape Festival, held every October in Capoliveri! It is a 3-day celebration dedicated to the ancient harvest and the authentic flavors of Elba.
The picturesque village of Capoliveri on the island of Elba
Tips for Elba
Here are some useful tips for your holidays in Elba:
- The minimum recommended time to visit the island is 3 days.
- For those who do not want to move around and are mainly looking for a beach to relax, it is best to stay near Portoferraio, Porto Azzurro or Rio Marina.
- The island can be an expensive destination depending on the season so the best low-cost options in Elba are the area of Marina di Campo or campsites.
- Some of the most beautiful beaches of Elba are pebbly, so it is good to bring water shoes with you!
- Very often, due to the tropical temperature of the waters in summer, the sea of Elba is populated by jellyfish. Therefore, to avoid close encounters during your holidays, we recommend that you see where the wind blows and choose the beaches on the opposite side.
- Spend a day visiting the nearby Giglio Island. Guided excursions to discover the wonderful island leave every Wednesday from Porto Azzurro.
Useful information for Elba
Elba offers various services to residents and visitors. In the island’s major towns, you can find many accommodation facilities, supermarkets, banks, post offices, petrol stations, pharmacies and tourist information centers.
As for the health facilities, there is a hospital and a medical center in Portoferraio. Also, the tourist medical guard service is active throughout the summer in case of any emergency.
When it comes to accommodation, Elba is full of hotels, villas and guest houses for all budgets. The cheapest options are around Portoferraio, a few minutes by car from the city center and the island’s best beaches.
The island of Elba is well equipped to ensure a well-rounded stay. Some beaches are also equipped with services for people with special needs, offering platforms and special cabins.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Elba
Here are some useful contacts to keep within reach during your trip to Elba:
- Tourist Medical Guard: +39800064422
- Municipality of Elba: +390565979311
- Elba Port Authority (Portoferraio): +390565914000
- Elba Airport: +390565976011
- Portoferraio Hospital: +390565926111
- Radio taxi services: +3905651822
- Emergency Police: 113
- Roadside Assistance: 116
- Sea Rescue: 1530
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Elba
The most comfortable way to get around Elba is by car or motorbike. You can embark your own vehicle on the ferry or rent a vehicle when you get to the island. Elba offers several rental services and the daily rates are around €35.
However, if you don't want to drive motor vehicles, a bicycle is ideal for exploring the island! Rent a mountain bike and follow one of the mountain biking trails in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, surrounded by nature!
Tip: many bike trails are suitable for inexperienced bikers. However, qualified centers provide courses and guided excursions to improve your mountain biking skills.
The bus service is also quite efficient. There are 3 suburban lines connecting the villages of Elba with departure from the Portoferraio station (very close to the port).
Ports in Elba
There are 3 ferry ports on the island of Elba: Portoferraio, Rio Marina and Cavo.
All Elba’s ports connect to Piombino port. Also, an internal ferry route connects Portoferraio and Cavo, allowing you to move between the 2 ports in just 20 minutes.
Here you can find more information about the ports of Elba:
- Portoferraio: it is the main port of the island and is located in the capital of Elba. It is close to Marciana, Procchio and Marina di Campo.
- Rio Marina: it is located in the eastern part of Elba, only a short distance from the most famous beaches and the charming village of Porto Azzurro.
- Cavo: you can find the port in the north-eastern part of Elba, in one of the most beautiful tourist resorts. It is also the closest port to the Tuscan coast.
Island hopping from Elba
From Elba, you can reach the nearby islands of Pianosa and Corsica by ferry.
Here you can find more information about all the ferry connections from Elba:
- Elba - Pianosa ferry: the ferry route from Elba to Pianosa includes up to 3 weekly connections departing from the ports of Rio Marina and Marina di Campo. The crossings can last from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
- Elba - Corsica ferry: from Elba you can reach Corsica in 1.5 hour. The ferries depart from the port of Portoferraio and arrive in the town of Bastia. There are 2 weekly trips usually operated by Corsica Ferries.
The imposing lighthouse and the historic buildings near the port of Portoferraio
Elba ferry: schedules and tickets
The ports of Elba are well connected with many destinations. Ferry connections from the port of Piombino to Elba are daily and are operated by 4 ferry companies: Blu Navy, Corsica Ferries, Toremar and Moby Lines.
They offer up to 77 daily crossings with ferries and hydrofoils. Depending on the various destinations, the rides can last from 15 minutes to 1 hour.
Tip: during the high season (especially on weekends), we recommend you book in advance, especially if you want to board your vehicle.
Here you can find more information about all the ferry connections from the port of Piombino to Elba:
- Piombino - Portoferraio ferry: the ferry route from Piombino to the port of Portoferraio includes 24 daily crossings lasting between 40 minutes and 1 hour.
- Piombino - Rio Marina ferry: the connection from Piombino to the port of Rio Marina includes up to 28 weekly trips with crossings of 45 minutes.
- Piombino - Cavo ferry: the ferry from Piombino to the port of Cavo includes up to 10 daily connections with crossings of 15 to 30 minutes. Traveling from Elba to other islands
Tip: keep in mind that travel times change depending on the ferry operator.
Take a look at our Map of ferries with all the connections available from the port of Elba and start planning your getaway right away!
Where to book ferry tickets to Elba online
Can't wait to catch the ferry to one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean Sea? The paradisiacal island of Elba awaits you to discover its pristine beaches off the Tuscan coast. On Ferryhopper, you can find all connections to Elba, compare prices, departure times and book your ferry tickets online safely!