My dear Paper Plane friends, today we are going to discover an amazing part of Tuscany, the Elba and Giglio Island.
I have to say I have been to Elba now 3/4 times and in my opinion the best way to enjoy its beautiful coast is with a boat. Why am I saying that?
First of all the island is pretty small so with a boat or a catamaran (more comfortable) you can easily explore more beaches, also in the same day. You will be able to avoid huge traffic to reach the most popular once, which believe me it can be so stressing especially if you add that in most places they have few parking spaces. Lastly, as you can imagine those beaches are often pretty crowded and the shore is not so spacious, so also finding an acceptable distance within people is also very difficult.
Let’s proceed by step by step: HOW TO REACH ELBA
From Piombino harbor (1hour driving distance from Livorno and 50min from Grosseto) you have frequent ferries to reach Elba, the best arrival seaport is Portoferraio which is in the north side of the island. The duration by ferry is around 1 hour. The average price (only passenger with no vehicle) is around 15/20 euros one way.
WHERE TO STAY
Portoferraio is pretty strategic to visit the Island and also is a medium size town so you can find many services there: shops, pharmacies, restaurants, bars, taxis, hotels, apartments, boat rental and some of the nicest beaches are at a reasonable distance from here. Other very nice villages where to stay are Marciana Marina and Porto Azzurro. Of course if you rent a catamaran for some days as we did, will be the best solution because you can stop every day in a different village and you can also reach the beautiful Giglio Island. There are very few luxury hotels here, the nicest hotels are by la Biodola beach (15min driving distance from Portoferraio): The Hermitage and Baia Bianca Suites. But one of my favorite towns is Porto Azzurro, always the best views (also if it doesn’t show the sunset over the sea but opposite) and best night life, there you can find very nice apartments where to stay.
BEST BEACHES (the ones where I have been, of course there might be more, just the ones I am reporting here, I have been and I can assure you are really beautiful)
Near Portoferraio: Spiaggia delle Ghiaie, Spiaggia di Sansone, Viticcio, Capo Bianco, La Biodola, Scaglieri.
Near Capo Liveri: Spiaggia Innamorata
Near Marina di Campo: Spiaggia di Cavoli, Fetovaia
Near Marciana Marina: Spiaggia della Paolina, Le Sprizze
RESTAURANTS AND NIGHT LIFE
In terms of night life there are two villages which have always a nice offer, Portoferraio and Porto Azzurro.
In Porto Azzurro we had dinner at Da Floriano (no website but here is the TripAdvisor) which was pretty nice, inside their cellar, of course mainly seafood as everywhere in the island we expect it to be.
Faro di Punta Fenaio at Il Giglio island. This place is absolutely breathtaking. We arrived for the sunset and I think I can say it was one of the best view ever. But before booking there you have to know that: the road to reach the restaurant is a white narrow country road, so they come to pick you up with a pick-up at the closest parking (even taxis will stop there) and drive you to the restaurant, comfortable and closed shoes are highly recommended. Otherwise you can walk down the road, which will take you around 20min, in some parts seems hard but if I did, everyone can do it. The Faro is right open to the sea, so there might be wind and temperature can low down a little bit, so a jacket or a sweatshirt is also recommended. They also have a Relais with a small private beach in case you wish to spend the night there. Food and wine list very nice, with a lot of local recommendations, the service not perfect but the view paid everything.
Sale Grosso, Marciana Marina (also here no website but TripAdvisor). Probably the place where I did eat better around Elba and Giglio. A great restaurant with an amazing fresh seafood menu, very good service and a quality/price wine list. It is located right in the center of the town so very nice also to walk around before or after dinner.
In terms of wine I have an absolute winner, which is the Ansonaco from Vigneti Altura, a natural wine from Il Giglio island, orange (of course), macerated in contact with skins for two weeks. I think we ordered 8 bottles of this wine at dinner at Il Faro.
At Elba and Giglio there are two main white wines, the Vermentino and the Ansonica (native grape from the island which is cultivated also in the south of Tuscany). The first one in my opinion results in more standardized wines, especially if compared with vermentino from Liguria and Sardinia. The most interesting expression of wines from the island for me are absolutely the Ansonica or Ansonaca, how they call it here. Vigneti Altura has been my favourite but also I would higly recommend to try Arrighi and Valle di Lazzaro.
Also having our catamaran allowed us to have one night dinner on the boat which we cooked by ourselves, like many lunches and we had a lot of fun. Moreover we were able to fill the boat’s fridge with our wines and so we enjoyed also some champagne while sailing around the Elba and Giglio.
Sounds like a perfect vacation doesn’t it? Well yes, I really recommend to visit those islands at least once if you are in Italy, they are very close to Tuscany, easy to reach and beautiful. Watch the video below or check my YouTube channel for more videos about itineraries.
Feel free to leave a comment on this topic !