Feature: Elba's Finest Beaches
Given the wide range of bays on Elba's 147km-long coast it pays to know your spiagge (beaches). You'll find sandy strands on the south coast and in the Golfo della Biodola, on the western side of Capo d'Enfola; La Biodola has the nearest sandy beach to Portoferraio. The quietest, prettiest beaches are tucked in bijou rocky coves and often involve a steep clamber down. Parking is invariably roadside and scant.
Colle d'Orano & Fetovaia
The standout highlight of these two gorgeous swathes of golden sand on Elba's western coast is the dramatic drive between the two. Legend has it Napoleon frequented Colle d'Orano to sit and swoon over his native Corsica, which is visible across the water. A heavenly scented promontory covered in maquis (herbal scrubland) protects sandy Fetovaia, where nudists flop on nearby granite rocks known as Le Piscine.
Just 6km west of Portoferraio, it's not so much the grey pebbles as the outdoor action that lures crowds to this tiny fishing port. There are pedalos to rent, a beachside diving school, and a family-friendly 2.5km-long circular hiking trail around the green cape.
Morcone, Pareti & Innamorata
Find this trio of charming sandy-pebble coves framed by sweet-smelling pine trees some 3km south of Capoliveri in southeast Elba. Rent a kayak and paddle out to sea on Innamorata, the wildest of the three; or fine-dine and overnight on Pareti beach at Hotel Stella Maris, one of the few three-star hotels to be found on the sand.
Sansone & Sorgente
This twinset of cliff-ensnared, white-shingle and pebble beaches stands out for crystal-clear, turquoise waters just made for snorkelling. By car from Portoferraio, follow the SP27 towards Enfola. Parking is challenging.
Procchio & La Biodola
Just 10km west of Portoferraio, the beach town of Procchio and adjoining resort area of La Biodola draw the summer-time crowds thanks to one of Elba's longest stretches of golden sand. West from Procchio, the road hugs cliffs above Spiaggia di Spartaia and Spiaggia della Paolina, beautiful little beaches requiring a steep clamber down.
Worth a Trip: Rio dell'Elba & Rio Marina
Mountainous and relatively remote, northeast Elba was the heart of the island’s mining operation, and heritage attractions here bring that industrial history to life vividly. The two main towns, hill-top Rio dell'Elba (population 1212) and coastal Rio Marina (population 2233), sit amid a network of plunging, twisting roads that will test your nerve and driving skills.