The Island of Elba is a wonderful treasure trove of history, nature and culture right in the heart of the Tyrrhenian Sea and just a few miles from the Tuscan coast. At the centre of myths and legends since the times of ancient Greece, the island has always been a strategic point thanks to its position and the rich mineral deposits in its subsoil.
If you're planning your next Italian holiday and wish to get inspired, in this article we have listed the best beaches not to miss on Elba Island, particularly focusing on those that are more sheltered from the winds and it is safe to anchor. We asked for help from a sailor, born and bred here, who gave us exclusive tips on the area. Meet Leonardo, base manager in Marina Cala de' Medici harbour:
"Elba is very green and abundant with water. The wealth of its vegetation is even more evident when arriving from the sea. Of equal beauty is the morphology of the rocks surrounding the island, which make it a unique scenery. An overall wonderful view that is even more fascinating from the sea."
Le 10 spiagge più belle dell'Isola d'Elba
3. Cavoli Beach
6. Ghiaie Beach
10. Fetovaia Beach
Calanova beach is located on the eastern side of the island of Elba between the beaches of Malpasso and Istia.
It is a quiet oasis of about 80 metres, surrounded by lush vegetation, maritime pines, and cork trees that grow right down to the beach. Since it is not easy to reach by land, it is less visited by tourists, which makes it the perfect spot for a relaxing break. A small jetty can welcome a few boats. The beach is exposed mainly to winds from north, north-east and east, and the water is always crystal clear. From there, you can enjoy the fantastic view of both Porto Azzurro's coast and the back of Forte Focardo, located on the rugged eastern side of Elba.
Probably the most characteristic beach of Elba, the Shipwreck beach is located near Pomonte, on the south-western side of the island. As the name suggests, the crystal-clear waters of the beach are home to the wreck of the Elviscot, a merchant ship that sank in the 1970s that now lies at a depth of just ten metres.
Given the clarity of the water, the shipwreck is visible even from the surface and can be easily reached by free-diving. It is now home to all the local fish and offers a unique spectacle that is perfect for snorkelling and diving.
The bay is exposed to the winds, so the beach attracts many windsurfers for its perfect conditions.
Perhaps one of the most famous on the island, thanks to its crystal clear waters and the unique microclimate. The beach faces south and is protected from the north winds by Monte Capanne, so it always presents a mild climate which is perfect for a good tan and a swim even during the low season. Cavoli Beach is located in an inlet surrounded by the typical Mediterranean bush as well as rows of cliffs.
If you are looking for absolute peace, go west of the beach and far away from the lidos. On the other side, those who love to party and listen to live music can reach the easter side of the beach to have fun, especially during July and August.
Arriving from Portoferraio, halfway along the road to Procchio (in the area called Capannone), you will find one of the most enchanting and well-known bays of Elba: Biodola Beach. The beach takes its name from the reed that used to grow along the dunes of this area. "It's a perfect bay for a boat stop, away from the villages," Leonardo tells us.
The beach is located in a natural amphitheatre created by the surrounding hills of Serone Delle Cime, Capannone and Colle Pecorara, all covered by a coppice of Mediterranean bush. Together with Mount Perone and Mount Capanne, they stand out against the sea and generate a beautiful scenario.
The beach is exposed to north-westerly winds but sheltered from southern ones. The Biodola Beach can be described as a painting of absolute beauty: six hundred metres of fine, gold sand and Mediterranean bush running down to the beach. It is possible to go water skiing, scuba diving and surfing.
Compared to Lacona beach, its bigger sister, Laconella Beach is usually less crowded and located in a natural, unspoilt setting. It opens out on the right-hand side of the Gulf of Lacona, and is characterised by the spectacular V-shaped cliffs of Punta Contessa that jut out into the sea. The crystal-clear aquamarine water makes this bay ideal for snorkelling enthusiasts, particularly between the cliffs of Punta Contessa where a tiny, fine-grained beach opens out.
Located on the northeast side of the island, Ghiaie Beach is famous for its underwater life and its grey-blue pebbles. Legend has it that Jason's Argonauts are the reason for these pebbles' colours: they used them during their search for the Golden Fleece to dry their sweat, leaving them as coloured as we see them today.
A lighting system makes night swimming possible, a magical experience that is definitely worthwhile for those who love night diving.
This is the ideal place for a postcard. The crystal-clear waters, the white sandy beach and the stony seabed create the most perfect scenario, from which you can also admire some of the best sunsets on the island: here the sun plunges into the clear sea framed by the white cliffs that descend to the line of the waves.
Sheltered by high, steep cliffs, Capo Bianco is the perfect beach when the Scirocco wind blows because the sea is still calm and crystal clear.
This beach is located in the Capoliveri area, on the southern side of Elba Island, and it is a paradise for lovers of unspoilt nature. The characteristic of the Felciaio Shore is a series of rocks, artificially transported and laid there several years ago, which have created a sort of natural swimming pool that is very suggestive and perfectly inserted in the natural context.
The absence of any kind of establishment and the natural pool formed by the cliffs on the right-hand side is the perfect setting for enjoying the view of the Island of Montecristo.
Once called Cala de lo Ferro, the Innamorata Beach is located at the edge of the old iron mines area, one of the least urbanised and wildest on the island.
The nearby Gemini islands create a unique landscape. The islands are a great location for excursions by canoe, pedal boat or simply by swimming. The seabed, which is rich in marine fauna, makes this part of the island a popular destination for snorkelling enthusiasts.
On the left side of the Innamorata is the small beach of Punta delle Ciarpe. Here you will find traces of mining activity immersed in the Mediterranean maquis. On the right side, among the rocks of punta di Pareti, you will find a pleasant secluded cove, ideal for excursions with tube and mask. The beach is largely protected from the north winds by the Pareti Point and from the south winds by Ciarpa Point and the Gemini Islands.
Last but not least, on the southwest side of Elba, Fetovaia is definitely a must-see beach. Set in a completely natural setting, Fetovaia's gold sand and granite cliffs, together with the beautiful colour palette of the water, create a surreal atmosphere. It almost looks like you're sitting on a Caraibic beach!
Sheltered from all the winds by a rugged promontory (Punta Fetovaia), it's covered by lush Mediterranean bush. With the good weather, it's great for short excursions by pedalo.
If you wish to enjoy absolute peace, check the wide, smooth granite slabs to the left of Fetovaia, perfect for sunbathing, diving or just relaxing.
The beautiful natural scenarios of Elba Island make it a must-see place for tourists from all over the world. If you wish to know more about the island, don't miss our last article about the top locations on Elba, and get inspired for your next holiday!
If you are planning your next Italian vacation, we suggest checking our boat availability in the area.