Elba Island, a favorite in the Tuscan Archipelago, is perfect for active vacations with its conventional and more “extreme” sports.
If you love long walks or mountain biking along hilly dirt tracks, Elba Island offers opportunities for a vacation that’s both fun and scenic.
Holidaymakers in pursuit of new experiences will feel at home here. To get to know the island from a different perspective, try your hand at free climbing or paragliding. Here are our tips!
Elba Island is paradise for free climbing lovers, a chance to get in touch with nature and with ourselves. There are a few places on the island that can only be reached along free climbing trails, at varying levels of difficulty and with some via ferrata (cable paths) to enjoy the challenge and conquest of nature, far away from mass tourism. Our recommendations include the rocky trails near Chiessi, Pomonte and Marciana. On the northern slope of San Bartolomeo there’s a via ferrata that allows visitors to climb easily to the top.
The thrill of the silent flight of falcons and seagulls is one of the most interesting experiences on Elba Island. There are many takeoff points for paragliding, especially various points on the even but bulky contours of Monte Capanne, the perfect launch pad even when there’s no wind for free gliding from the woodland and Mediterranean brush to the sandiest of beaches.
The top of Monte Perone is another good place to start gliding, to the north and south. On the island’s eastern ridge, begin from the summit of the Volterraio, making the most of the strong currents above the scenic valleys or simply gliding. You’ll have an easier time from lower-lying hills, which open out over striking scenery, such as the slopes in central Elba, from Monte Orello and Norsi, towards the stunning inlets of the southern coasts and Portoferraio Bay.
Elba Island, with its hills and breath-taking colors, is the perfect place to go mountain biking and cycling. Starting in Capoliveri, cycle along the Costa dei Gabbiani (“Seagulls’ Coast”) through pinewoods, past farms and the Innamorata (“Beloved”) beach. From the picturesque Rio nell'Elba village, you can bike beside the coast, skirting the Rio People Mining District Museum and the Santa Caterina Hermitage. The more intrepid will love the western tour of Elba Island, starting and ending in Portoferraio.
The Monserrato Way, the Enfola Headland, the Calao del Mausoleo route: there are many hiking trails (at all levels of difficulty) for walking lovers. Dirt roads, mountains with cliffs dropping down to clear seas and archaeological sites: by hiking here you discover the beauty and wonders of this island, one of the seven gems of the Tuscan Archipelago.
What could be better than taking a swim in the sea off Elba Island? In the summer, with a bit of luck, you’ll glimpse truly unique fish species and all the colors in the spectrum. Snorkeling lovers will feel at home!
The island’s coastline is a favorite among scuba divers. With kilometers of reefs, beaches and coves, you’ll be kept occupied following fish, lobsters and forgotten shipwrecks. The island offers marvels seas that are part of the biggest marine park in Europe. Crystalline, temperate waters are perfect for discovering picturesque underwater rock formations and sunken ships. Most fascinating, however, are the creatures that live in these waters: conger eel, grouper, moray eel, Gorgonia, coral, lobster and octopus, and you can sight dolphins that are protected in a sanctuary for cetaceans. The major points of interest include: the islets of Corbelli, off Monte Calamita; the Formiche della Zanca, rock formations near Capo di Sant'Andrea and the Ogliera rocks near the beach at Pomonte, off the cost of Monte Capanne; the Scoglietto north of Portoferraio with an underwater statue of Christ; the shallows off Capo Vita and the Grotte alle Coralline near Capo di Fonza.
If you like kayaking and canoeing, explore the rocky coastline among cliffs and hidden beaches to discover Mediterranean brush. With a canoe or a kayak you can better navigate between the rocks that emerge from the crystalline waters and stop among the granite coves of Marina di Campo, or actually enter the grottoes that host fresh water springs and are home to countless sea birds. It is a simple and fun way to discover the most precious and fascinating sights this island has to offer.
The particular climate conditions and the jagged nature of Elba's coasts guarantee perfect winds for sailing. Indeed, it is often the venue for regional, national or international competitions where you see sophisticated craft manned by internationally renowned crews. If you want to learn this ancient skill there are many sailing schools and boat yards throughout the island that hold courses at all levels.