We all know Tuscany for its wonders of art and architectures in the cities of Florence, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, Volterra, just to name a few. Tuscany is not just culture and art, Tuscany boasts breathtaking natural landscapes and wonderful islands that can keep you busy for weeks if you start indulging in all the little turquoise bays and the quaint ports that make the Tuscan Archipelago definitely one of a kind. To give you a bit of a guidance here we've created here a 7 day sailing itinerary to explore the archipelago comfortably on your boat starting off with....
7 day sailing itinerary around Elba and the Tuscan Archipelago
Day 1: Cala de' Medici
The Port of Cala de' Medici is located along the evocative Etruscan Coast. Inside the marina, you will find a wide variety of shops and restaurants. Marina Cala de' Medici is perfect for cruises within the Tuscan Archipelago which includes the island of Elba, the island of Capraia, the island of Giglio, Giannutri. These are typically Mediterranean islands with small villages built around natural coves where the port is often already the center of the country. Islands where the combination of nature, culture and traditions is perhaps the best you can find in the world.
But it is also the perfect base to move towards the north of Corsica, where the landscapes are more deserted, areas where you can only live in contact with nature. "Let's not forget that we are inside the cetacean sanctuary - sailing in our waters allows you to meet dolphins and often to spot whales. Sightings that arouse a really deep emotion for those who have never had this kind of experience," says Leonardo, the base manager of Marina Cala de'Medici. Not far from Marina Cala de' Medici lies Castiglioncello, one of the most famous destinations of the Tyrrhenian Sea, which has always been a destination, not only for those looking for a cultural holiday, but also for those who want to live moments of relaxation and fun.
Day 2: Capraia
The majestic cliffs of Capraia
The island of Capraia is not that difficult to spot when sailing. This island was once home to wild goats, hence its name (capre are goats in Italian). It is the third largest of the islands of the archipelago after Elba and Giglio. The small harbour on the island will allow you to land in a pleasant, brimming and colourful village. Originated from a volcano thousands of years ago, the ridge stretches steeply across the entire island and in some places reaches almost 450 meters high. Worth to take a dip in these waters is Cala del Ceppo and the Carbicina, a beautiful bay with turquoise and reddish tones.
Another stop you should not miss is Cala Rossa, ancient crater of the former volcano from which the Island of Capraia originated, easily recognizable by the bright red of the lava rocks creating an unusual contrast with the blue sea. Looking up you will notice the Zenobito Tower, an ancient watchtower built to defend the island from Saracen pirate attacks. If you can stretch the route further, get to the edge of the park for a snorkeling session at the Grotta della Foca Monaca. Finally, on the way back, dive into the beautiful waters of Lo Scoglio del Gatto.
Day 3: Marciana Marina
Aereal view of Marciana Marina's harbour
With its 6 km of coastline, Marciana Marina is the smallest municipality in the whole of Elba. View from the sea is set between sea and mountains, around a picturesque cove with its ancient port. Usually, it is love at first sight. Here, as in the rest of the island, you can moor in small coves where you can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and little noise. The waters are turquoise and crystal clear and nature is lush and colorful.
Day 4: Marina di Campo
The old city centre of Marina di Campo on a sunny summer afternoon
Marina di Campo can be considered the capital of Elban nightlife. Its historical centre has developed around what was once a small port for fishermen. Ideal for shopping, for a romantic dinner and also for the evening social life, thanks to the many clubs in the historic centre where you can relax in front of a good cocktail. Numerous events during the summer season, such as outdoor concerts on the beach.
Day 5: Porto Azzurro
Stretch of sandy beach in San Vincenzo
The arrival to Porto Azzurro at sunset is amazing, the sky tinged with red behind the hills of the gulf. In the evening the streets come alive with stalls in a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere. Piazza Matteotti, the most beautiful square on the island and one of the most beautiful in Italy, perfect for romantic walks and shopping, is a must. During the summer there are many events. Famous is the Carmignani promenade, a panoramic path directly on the coast of Porto Azzurro. The beach of Barbarossa, a beach on the island of Elba, is located in a bay near the town of Porto Azzurro, on the south-eastern side of the island, really not to be missed!
Top view of Barbarossa Bay
Day 6: Portoferraio
Portoferraio is usually the first destinations for who would like to sense Elba island. Visiting this city, you will start discovering the beauty of the natural treasures that the island holds. At first sight, coming from the sea, Portoferraio looks like a cove protected and fortified by the ramparts. The city was born as a set of fortifications, one of the most interesting attractions to visit, along with Napoleon's residence of San Martino and Villa dei Mulini.
The quaint harbour of Porto Ferraio
Day 7: San Vincenzo
San Vincenzo is one of the most famous seaside resorts of Tuscany and in particular, of the stretch known as the Etruscan Coast.
In the area, there are archaeological and naturalistic parks, an ideal destination for those seeking the beauty and scents of the Maremma. An excellent destination for wine lovers, as the area of the Etruscan Coast is very renowned for producing excellent Tuscan wines such as the famous Sassicaia, considered the best wine in Italy.
Q&A Interview with Marco, base manager of Scarlino in Tuscany
In this roundup we discover together with Marco, Sailing Sicily's base chief in Scarlino, one of the main ports of the Tuscan Archipelago, where in his view to take a dip in the sea and where to stop for an authentic culinary experience around the Archipelago.
"So here the classic tour that you do in a week is the Island of Elba, Capraia and the north of Corsica. Alternatively you can also do the south, Argentario, Giglio Island and Giannutri.
Not to be missed are the small harbours on the island of Elba with Rio Marina, Porto Azzurro, Marciano Marina, Marina di Campo and Porto Ferraio. As for the smaller islands Cala Rossa, Capraia and the small port of Capraia".
Are there any particular sailing difficulties?
"At the level of navigation there are no great difficulties, leaving the port of Scarlino towards the canal of Piombino you have to be careful of the fish farms that are on the route to Piombino. As for the shallows there is the Capo Bianco shoal in Porto Ferraio which is well signposted. To the south, entering the gulf Stella, there is the Secca dei Gemini. For the rest is a fairly easy navigation area both from the meteorological point of view and from the point of view of the shallows".
A bay worth to anchor for?
"As for a bay that in my opinion deserves a stop with winds from the south, so moving to the north of Elba, Samson and the Isola Paolina for a swim is definitely worth it. With winds from the north, the southern part of Elba, Ferrovaia certainly the most famous and I would recommend Punta Calamita, less known you can stay in peace and quiet in a seabed on the eight/ten meters of sand, very beautiful".
What are the procedures for booking the mooring?
"In the winter or spring months you can book by paying the deposit. Generally I recommend booking from the morning for the evening so you are comfortable to move according to the winds. In these ports, do not take reservations in August, in August you need to call the morning after 9 am".
Where do you recommend eating here?
"In Porto Ferraio, La Pittaventi on the port and Dal Lido in the square behind the port. At the port of Capraia La Garritta which is worth a stop."
Watch the whole interview with our base chief Marco (you can enable English subtitles by clicking on the Gear icon bottom right of the video, then subtitles and English):