From stern to bow: discovering the island of Elba by boat

A holiday or just a day trip around the island of Elba on a sailing or motor boat makes an unforgettable experience full of extraordinary surprises: you will discover secret places accessible only from the sea, enjoy fantastic views and some of the most beautiful seabeds of the Mediterranean  – which will sorround you everywhere you are.

Elba’s jagged and varied coastline is hiding many secluded, wild spots, awaiting to be explored. Whether you are with a group of friends or with your partner, this is a unique experience worth doing. By boat, you can easily access almost all beaches of Elba: Just throw out the anchor at a safe distance from the coast to enjoy your favourites without worrying about driving to get there or finding a parking spot. This is especially the case with the most popular beaches, like Lacona and Fetovaia, where it can be hard to find a free spot during high season.

Some beaches are only easily accessible from the sea, for example Acquarilli and Remaiolo in the municipality of Capoliveri, Zupignano and Cala dei Mangani in the territory of Rio, and Cala dei Frati in the municipality of Portoferraio. There are beaches, especially in the Pomonte area, with such deep waters that make ideal diving spots, to explore shipwrecks or hidden and mysterious caves – always with due attention, of course. 

Elba by boat, from any point off the coast, makes a great opportunity for wonderful snorkeling sessions. Once you have found a quiet spot, you can take a leisurely swim or immerse yourself in contemplating the underwater flora and fauna of the seabed of Elba, well known for the richness of its biodiversity.


And what about exploring the numberless islets around the island, with their wild nature? Time seems to have stopped in Palmaiola, Liscoli, l’Ogliera, the “Scoglietto della Paolina” and the islet of Ortano, just to name a few. Up to you to find your favourite! PS: Some of them are privately owned, such as the islet of Cerboli, and therefore not open to visitors.

Did you know that Elba is part of the “Pelagos Sanctuary”, a marine oasis dedicated to cetaceans? In the south-west area of ​​the island, towards the island of Pianosa, whales and dolphins can be often spotted along one of their migrating route.

At sunset, sailing becomes even more exciting. The boats moored in the harbor light up the bays, creating a very suggestive effect; dining by candlelight or with a group of friends ends the day with a touch of romance and lightheartedness. What are the best bays to stop in? First of all Mola, sheltered from all winds or currents, yet a very charming spot. Lacona (Capoliveri),  Biodola, San Giovanni and the Darsena Medicea (Portoferraio) are also excellent locations, as well as Marina di Campo and Marciana Marina; Cavo and Rio Marina and the Gulf of Porto Azzurro are also delightful.

Whether you want to spend a holiday or even just a day on a boat, Elba offers many solutions for every type of experience; you can rent a boat or rely on the guided excursions offered all over the island. No matter your passion – windsurfing, sailing, photography, speed, sunbathing, archeology, paddling … on a boat, you can enjoy it.

Ph: Roberto Ridi

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