Elba Island: the 10 most beautiful beaches

Arriving on the Island of Elba by sea is the most evocative and comfortable way to get close to the island, enjoying an enchanting view that has never been seen before.

The view of a golden sandy beach or a narrow strip of pebbles, landing in one of the many villages overlooking the sea or mooring in a protected bay, will certainly be the best way to start a holiday. Certainly this will allow you to fully experience the sea of the island.

With its varied landscapes, colourful beaches, hidden coves and cliffs rising from the crystal water, the Island of Elba is a treasure to be discovered.

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1. Biodola

Halfway between Portoferraio and Marciana Marina, Biodola is the most beautiful beach of all. It is located in the bay of the same name, which also offers good anchorage.

Immersed in the nature of Elba, Biodola beach is a glimpse of pure beauty. It is six hundred metres of fine golden sand, Mediterranean scrub reaching down to the sea.

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The seabed, which slopes gently into the turquoise sea, makes it possible to stroll through the water and makes the beach very popular with families with children who enjoy playing on the shore.

To the left of the beach is the start of the beautiful Sentiero della Salute (Health Trail), which runs along the coast through tunnels and Mediterranean scrub, leading to two unspoilt beaches, Lamaia and Porticciolo, and then on to Procchio.

2. Cavo

Near the small port of the beach of the same name and divided in two by the small village, the beach is made up of fine sand to which material from the mining area has been added: fragments of ochre, limonite and hematite, now transformed by the sea into small pebbles.

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The town’s beach stretches along a long stretch of coastline – about 420 metres – from the jetty to the rocky promontory topped by Villa Tonietti and is lined with a beautiful promenade adorned with palm trees and sculptures.

From the beach there is a pleasant view of Piombino and the small island of Palmaiola, only 3 kilometres away.

3. Cavoli

It was once the point where granite was quarried and loaded, and its sea is crystal clear thanks to the sand made up of tiny grains of quartz.

The southern exposure and Monte Capanne, which protects the bay from the northern winds, favour a mild climate that allows a golden tan and swimming even out of season. The beach is popular from March until November.

Cavoli beach is one of the most famous – and in summer crowded – beaches on the island. It owes its success to the clarity of the sea, the beautiful sand and its special microclimate.

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Consisting of grainy sand, Cavoli beach overlooks a beautiful inlet surrounded by Mediterranean scrub and long cliffs that, together with the shallow waters, contribute to the transparency of the water.

Equally important, on the eastern side of Cavoli you can go and discover the splendid Grotta Azzurra, also called Grotta di Mare; it is a sight not to be missed.

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The Grotta Azzurra owes its name to the intense blue colour of the water inside, thanks to the sun’s rays reflecting off the seabed and the surrounding rocks. 

The Blue Grotto is one of the most popular destinations for hikers, the transparent waters of the cave lend themselves to snorkelling. 

4. Palombaia

Palombaia is located near the Cavoli bend, just over two miles from Marina di Campo, and is one of those truly unique beaches. Also known as the beach of a hundred steps, because to reach it from the hinterland you have to climb a long flight of granite steps, it is 300 metres wide and is made up of gravel that reaches the seabed, giving the water a special colour.

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It is an enchanting paradise that ensures, even in high season, a day of sea and sun, far from the usual crowds of bathers.

The clear sea and the presence of the cliffs make this an ideal place for those who love snorkelling.

5. Fetovaia

Situated in the south-western part of Elba, Fetovaia is one of the most evocative beaches on the island. The beach is set in a magnificent natural context of golden sand, granite cliffs and the colours of the sea, which vary from deep blue to light green and the white of the sand, offering incomparable sensations.

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Fetovaia, 420 metres long, is made up of fine, golden granite sand that flows into water so crystal clear that it is the envy of the Caribbean.

It is protected by the wild promontory of Punta Fetovaia, which is covered in Mediterranean maquis.

6. Galenzana

Located on the south coast, Galenzana is Marina di Campo’s most beautiful beach: 200 metres long, it is an enchanting sand and pebble beach.

Environmentally and scenically intact, Galenzana beach is surrounded by high scrub, pine and holm-oak forests with tamarisk trees reaching almost to the seashore.

It is a place of extraordinary charm: the crystal-clear sea is a spectacle of colours, rich in posidonia and interesting marine fauna for snorkellers.

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Since Etruscan times, when Elba was exploited for its iron deposits, the beach has been the site of furnaces that melted the iron material on site, before transporting it by sea, because this area was rich in woods and therefore in firewood. Signs of this transformation are still visible on several points on the beach, with numerous fragments of casting residues, which resemble polished stones of the colour of iron, between dark brown and black.

7. Lido delle Ghiaie

Very close to the historic centre of Portoferraio, the Ghiaie beach is famous for the incomparable beauty of its seabed and white pebbles polished by the sea, stained, according to legend, by the drops of sweat from the Argonauts.

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8. Innamorata

Composed mainly of sand and small pebbles, it is set in a beautiful landscape characterised by the nearby Gemini Islands. Thanks to the seabed rich in marine fauna, the two islets are also very popular with snorkelling enthusiasts.

Once called Cala de lo Ferro, it is located on the edge of the area of the old iron mines, one of the wildest and least urbanised areas on the Island of Elba.

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In the romantic Innamorata cove, every 14 July you can watch the re-enactment of the historical legend of two lovers: Lorenzo and Maria, dating back to 1534. This spectacular torchlight procession features a hundred participants in 16th-century costumes.

The legend of the Innamorata tells that the young bride-to-be, in an attempt to save her beloved, who had been kidnapped and dragged onto a sailing ship by Barbarossa’s pirates, threw herself into the sea and disappeared into the waves. Only her shawl was found on a rock, since then called the Ciarpa.

9. Marina di Campo

Marina di Campo is the longest beach on the Island of Elba: the shoreline stretches for almost 1.5 km; it is made up of fine golden sand due to the disintegration of the granite rocks of Mount Capanne. The sea water falls very gently: in some places, for more than 50 metres from the shoreline, you can walk and play ball or rackets with the water not above waist level.

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The wildest and freest stretch is to the east near La Foce, where a beautiful pine forest, equipped with games for children, offers shelter in the hottest and sunniest hours. From La Foce, a rocky coastline begins, full of coves and inlets that extends as far as Capo Fonza. The cliffs can be reached by footpaths or simply by sea.

10. Terranera

Terranera, near Porto Azzurro, is a small, unspoilt 120-metre beach of ironstone mixed with gravel, which is illuminated by the sun’s rays with silvery reflections.

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The uniqueness of this place is due to the beautiful Terranera pond (from which the beach takes its name): a small emerald green body of water, in stark contrast to the deep blue of the sea. A combination of bright and unusual colours for this small natural oasis makes the place truly unique. This particular colour is due to the presence of hematite and pyrite dust, iron minerals in which the island of Elba is very rich. Remains of iron both on the surface and underwater make the landscape even more fascinating.

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From the island of Elba, it is also possible to sail towards the other pearls of the Tuscan Archipelago, such as Pianosa or Capraia. Elba is also a very popular destination for scuba diving because it offers wonderful seabeds. Finally, cetacean lovers can go dolphin watching in the open sea.

The three main ports on the island are: Marina di CampoPorto Azzurro and Portoferraio


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