Elba: Culture & Crustaceans

You may know Elba as the island where the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after his forced abdication in 1814. Not such a punishment, it seems. Elba’s history stretches back to pre-Roman times, when it was occupied by the Ligures. The largest Island in the Tuscan archipelago, Elba lies in the Tyrrhenain Sea, 50km east of Corsica, within the Arcipelago Toscano National Park. This green oasis is a place of limitless horizons and photo opportunities: a landscape of granite rocks and sweeping beaches, stony paths and lush flora, great for biking and hiking, swimming and diving.

Portoferraio, the capital of Elba, is a cultural highlight. The scenic harbour is worth a walk around, before heading to Napoleons Villa, the bastions of the Medici and the Villa Romana delle Grotte – all which serve as a reminder of old Italy. If you are only passing through Elba, set aside a languorous afternoon and drop anchor just off Paglicce Beach. The eponymous restaurant has tables on the beach and a chef whose attention to detail makes a long lunch here worth a trip to the island. Order a seafood platter and a bottle of Tuscan rosé.


When to go:

April – end of October

High season:

July – August

Highlights

1

Take the cable car up to the top of Monte Capanne, known as the roof of the Tuscan Archipelago

2

Snorkel from little Padulella Beach – because it is stony it has the clearest water imaginable

3

Hire a bike and explore Marina di Campo, picking up some fresh fish for dinner

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