Pianosa is a lovely island in the Tuscan archipelago and the closest to Elba. Mostly known as a former prison island, Pianosa is now a small unspoiled paradise open to tourism (but can only be visited with authorized guides).
On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies, ferries to Pianosa, and book your ferry tickets easily!
Pianosa's coast and its natural beauty
Vacation in Pianosa
If you want to spend 1-2 days relaxing between sea and nature, Pianosa is an excellent choice.
There are some restrictions to visiting it, such as the limited number of visitors per day and the fact that you can only move in certain areas with experienced guides. These restrictions have undoubtedly contributed to the preservation of the environment, which has remained pristine and unique.
If you're looking for a special place surrounded by nature but without the usual amenities, consider a trip to Pianosa. You can visit during the day or stay overnight in the island's only hotel.
How to get to Pianosa
Pianosa was inaccessible until 1998, but it is now accessible year-round by ferry from several Tuscan ports.
You can reach Pianosa in a short time from Piombino and the ports of the island of Elba (Marina di Campo and Rio Marina). The tours are guided and limited in number; in fact, the island can only accommodate a maximum of 250 people per day.
Learn more about the available routes in the section dedicated ferries to Pianosa.
Important: keep in mind that there is an entrance fee to Pianosa. Only children under the age of 12, people with disabilities, and those visiting Pianosa for service purposes are exempt from payment.
The port of Pianosa with its historic buildings
What to do in Pianosa
When you disembark in Pianosa, you'll probably have the impression that you're in a ghost town with a unique charm. The only part of Pianosa that you can explore on your own is this one, where you'll find opulent neo-Gothic buildings as well as some ancient ruins.
To find out more about the history of the island, stop by the tourist information office in Pianosa. You can also reserve a spot on one of the many excursions that take place along the paths of Pianosa, or you can swim at Cala Giovanna's stunning beach. Instead, those interested in marine life can join organized snorkeling excursions to discover the amazing depths of the island.
Important: Pianosa is ideal for beach lovers, but not so much for those seeking services and activities that have little to do with nature.
Beaches in Pianosa
The beautiful sea in Pianosa is reminiscent of a tropical paradise. Some areas, like many beaches, have remained untouched since much of the island is inaccessible.
The only beach on Pianosa where swimming is allowed (without passing the obelisk) is Cala Giovanna. Only from a distance or with qualified guides is it possible to see the other coves.
Cala Giovanna beach is a long stretch of golden sand just a short distance from the island's port. Its pristine nature and crystal-clear waters make the surroundings very suggestive. The ruins of Agrippa's Villa are also nearby.
To enjoy Cala Giovanna in peace, we recommend visiting early in the morning or after 17:00.
Tip: if you enjoy snorkeling, don't miss the stunning Cala dei Turchi. Access to the cove is only permitted with the assistance of environmental guides, who will take you to a place with a unique fauna.
The beautiful sea of Cala Giovanna, in Pianosa
Sightseeing in Pianosa
Despite its small size, Pianosa has significant architectural and archaeological sites.
Here are some of the must-see attractions in Pianosa:
- The Palazzo della Specola, beautiful building built in 1835 on the ruins of an ancient castle
- The Casa del Direttore, the most important building in Pianosa
- The Villa of Agrippa, place of exile of Prince Agrippa Postumus, nephew of Emperor Augustus
- The Casa del Parco at Villa Literno, the island's information point
- The Scoglio del Marzocco, a landmark which resembles two human silhouettes
- The church of San Gaudenzio, the island's patron saint
- The Casa dell'Agronomimo, a lovely building with a museum tour of Pianosa's history
- The catacombs, which date from the late 4 century A.D.
- The Forte Teglia, a strategic fortify complex built on Napoleon's orders to control the island
The Forte Teglia complex on a promontory overlooking Pianosa's port
Food in Pianosa
Pianosa's cuisine is essentially a simple seafood cuisine. The gastronomy of the Tuscan Archipelago includes traditional recipes based on the available products.
There is only one restaurant in Pianosa (Da Brunello), an authentic meeting place for islanders and visitors. Its menu always includes fresh fish and vegetables grown in Pianosa's gardens.
Here are 3 tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Pianosa:
- The only hotel on the island, Hotel Milena, is open from April to October. If you plan to stay in Pianosa, you should book well in advance.
- If you want to capture the beauty of Pianosa with your drone, you should know that you can only do so with the park authority's permission.
- If you are planning a one-day excursion on the island, we recommend that you bring garbage bags with you, as there are no baskets on the street in Pianosa.
Useful information about Pianosa
Pianosa is a protected reserve and a former penal colony, so there are rules to follow. To avoid unpleasant situations and hefty fines, we've listed a few of them:
- Except on a guided tour, it is not permitted to cross the wall that separates the village from the rest of the island.
- Fishing is completely prohibited.
- You are not permitted to pick flowers, plants, stones, or shells.
- It is forbidden to enter abandoned buildings.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Pianosa
Here are some numbers that may prove useful during your vacation on the island of Pianosa:
- Casa del Parco in Pianosa: +390565908231
- Piombino Port Authority: +39056522921
- Port Authority of Portoferraio: +390565914000
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Pianosa
Pianosa is a small island where you can mostly get around on foot, as a part of the island is off-limits to visitors. Vehicles are also not permitted to board ferries to Pianosa.
In addition to trekking, excursions by bus, mountain bike, or horseback riding are available. Keep in mind that you can wander around freely in Pianosa, but only in a limited way and without deviating too far from the road.
Tip: for more information on the activities offered in Pianosa, visit the official website of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.
A path in Pianosa surrounded by nature
Port in Pianosa
The port of Pianosa, which only has one pier, is situated on the eastern side of the island. Ferries from the island of Elba and Piombino arrive here every day.
It is a small port set in a historical setting with several palaces and important buildings. The only bar and hotel in Pianosa, as well as the Casa del Parco (tourist information point) and a diving center, are just a short distance from the port.
Pianosa ferry: schedules and tickets
From Piombino and the ports of Marina di Campo and Rio Marina on Elba, there are year-round ferry connections to Pianosa.
There are 2 ferry companies that offer trips to the island: Toremar and Aquavision. The crossings are available on certain days of the week, depending on the season.
Here you can find more information about the ferry routes to Pianosa:
- Piombino - Pianosa ferry: the ferry from Piombino to Pianosa operates all year, with 3 weekly crossings depending on the season. The trip duration ranges from 2 to 3 hours, depending on the type of vessel and ferry company.
- Elba Island - Pianosa ferry: the ferry from Elba to Pianosa connects the two Tuscan archipelago islands. There are 1-2 weekly crossings depending on the season, with departures from Rio Marina (on the eastern side of Elba) and Marina di Campo (on the southern coast). The trip duration can range from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the operator and port of departure.
The famous landmark Scoglio del Marzocco in Pianosa
Where to book ferry tickets online to Pianosa
On Ferryhopper, you can book your ferry to Pianosa and the other islands of the Tuscan archipelago at no additional cost. Find all the available routes on our Map of ferries and start planning your trip!