15 Best Things to Do in Elba (Italy)

15 Best Things to Do in Elba (Italy)

Welcome to Elba, one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. Located just off the coast of Tuscany, Elba is a beautiful island that offers a range of activities and experiences for visitors. With its crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and stunning landscapes, Elba is the perfect destination for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and unwind in a natural paradise.

Elba is a unique destination that combines history, culture, and natural beauty. The island has a rich history, with famous figures like Napoleon Bonaparte and Michelangelo having left their mark on the island. Visitors can explore the island’s history by visiting museums, forts, and ancient ruins, or by simply strolling through the charming medieval towns and villages that dot the island.

But Elba is not just a destination for history buffs. The island is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, with crystal-clear waters and pristine sand. Visitors can spend their days lounging on the beach, swimming in the sea, or taking part in a range of water sports. For those who prefer to stay on land, Elba offers a range of hiking trails and natural parks, allowing visitors to explore the island’s stunning landscapes and diverse flora and fauna.

Visit the Napoleon Bonaparte Residence

Napoleon Bonaparte, the infamous French emperor, was exiled to Elba in 1814, and his residence, Villa dei Mulini, is now a museum open to the public. Visitors can step back in time and explore the rooms where Napoleon lived during his exile, including his bedroom, living room, and study. The museum offers a fascinating insight into the emperor’s life on the island, with exhibits showcasing his personal belongings and stories of his time on Elba. Make sure to check out the stunning gardens surrounding the villa, which offer breathtaking views of the harbor.

Explore Portoferraio

Portoferraio is the largest town on the island and offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors. The town’s most famous landmark is the Medici Fortress, a massive 16th-century fortress that overlooks the town and the sea. Visitors can explore the fortress and enjoy the stunning views from the top. The town is also home to the Archaeological Museum, which offers an insight into the island’s rich history, and the Church of the Misericordia, a beautiful church with stunning frescoes and paintings. Take a stroll through the town’s narrow streets and enjoy the colorful houses, small shops, and bustling harbor.

Go Beach Hopping

Elba is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Italy, with crystal clear waters and pristine sand. Sansone Beach is one of the most famous and boasts turquoise waters and white pebbles. Fetovaia Beach is another must-visit, with its soft white sand and clear blue waters. Spiaggia delle Ghiaie is a unique beach made up of smooth white pebbles, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing day in the sun. With over 70 beaches to choose from, beach hopping is a great way to explore the island’s coastline and enjoy the warm Mediterranean sun.

Take a Hike in the National Park

Elba National Park covers a large part of the island and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park offers several hiking trails, from easy walks to more challenging routes. One of the most popular trails is the Monte Capanne hike, which takes visitors to the island’s highest peak and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. The Sentiero delle Capanne e del Volterraio trail is another great option, taking hikers through the park’s lush forests and past ancient ruins.

Visit the Medieval Town of Capoliveri

Capoliveri is a charming medieval town located on the eastern side of the island. The town is home to narrow streets, small shops, and beautiful churches, and offers stunning views of the sea. Take a stroll through the town and enjoy the colorful houses and small cafes. Make sure to check out the church of San Michele, which dates back to the 12th century and boasts beautiful frescoes.

Visit the Iron Mines

Elba has a rich mining history, and the iron mines are a testament to this. The mines can be found on the eastern side of the island and offer a unique glimpse into the island’s past. Visitors can explore the mines and see the different stages of the iron extraction process. The mining museum offers an insight into the island’s mining history, with exhibits showcasing the different tools and techniques used in the industry.

Take a Boat Tour

One of the best ways to explore the island is by boat. Take a boat tour around the island and enjoy the stunning views of the coast. The boat tour will take you to secluded beaches and hidden coves that can only be reached by sea. Make sure to bring your swimsuit and snorkeling gear to fully enjoy the crystal-clear waters.

Visit the Sanctuary of Madonna del Monte

The Sanctuary of Madonna del Monte is a beautiful church located on a hill overlooking the town of Marciana. Visitors can take a cable car to the top of the hill or hike up for a more challenging adventure. The church is home to stunning frescoes and beautiful views of the island, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Elba. The church also hosts a range of events and concerts throughout the year, so make sure to check the schedule before you visit.

Explore Rio Marina

Rio Marina is a small town on the eastern coast of Elba known for its colorful houses and vibrant atmosphere. Take a stroll through the town and enjoy the small shops, cafes, and restaurants. Don’t forget to visit the Rio Marina Mining Museum, which offers an insight into the town’s mining history. The town also boasts a beautiful promenade that offers stunning views of the sea, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing walk.

Try Local Cuisine

Elba is known for its delicious food, and there are plenty of local dishes to try. Some of the must-try dishes include cacciucco alla Livornese, a seafood stew, and torta di riso, a sweet rice cake. Be sure to also try the local wines, such as Aleatico and Ansonica. Many restaurants on the island offer a farm-to-table experience, using fresh local ingredients to create delicious dishes.

Attend a Festival

Elba hosts several festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from food to music to history. The most famous festival is the Festa dell’Uva, a grape festival held in September that celebrates the island’s wine production. Other festivals include the Marciana Marina Jazz Festival and the Rievocazione Storica, a historical reenactment of Napoleon’s arrival on the island. Attend a festival and experience the island’s unique culture and traditions.

Go Scuba Diving

Elba is a great place to go scuba diving, with crystal clear waters and a diverse range of marine life. There are several diving centers on the island that offer courses and guided tours. Explore the underwater world and discover the island’s hidden treasures, including shipwrecks, colorful reefs, and schools of fish.

Visit the Forte Stella

Forte Stella is a historic fortress located in Portoferraio that was built in the 16th century. The fortress offers stunning views of the town and the sea and is a great place to learn about the island’s history. Visitors can explore the fortress and see the different rooms and exhibits, including a display of historic weapons.

Take a Wine Tasting Tour

Elba is home to several vineyards and wineries, producing some of the best wines in Italy. Take a wine tasting tour and sample some of the island’s delicious wines while learning about the wine-making process. Many wineries offer tours of their vineyards and cellars, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the wine production.

Enjoy the Sunset at Marciana Marina

Marciana Marina is a picturesque town on the western coast of Elba and is the perfect place to watch the sunset. Enjoy the stunning views of the sea and the surrounding hills while sipping on a refreshing cocktail. Many bars and restaurants in the town offer outdoor seating with a view of the sunset, making it the perfect end to a day of exploring the island.

In conclusion, Elba is a beautiful Italian island that offers a range of activities and experiences for visitors. From exploring the island’s history to enjoying its natural beauty, there is something for everyone to enjoy. So, pack your bags and head to Elba for an unforgettable vacation.


What is the best time to visit Elba?

The best time to visit Elba is from May to September when the weather is warm and sunny.

How do I get to Elba?

Elba can be reached by ferry from several ports in Tuscany, including Piombino, Livorno, and Portoferraio.

Is Elba expensive?

Elba can be expensive, especially during peak season. However, there are budget-friendly options available for accommodations, food, and activities.

Is Elba suitable for families?

Yes, Elba is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities and attractions for all ages.

Can I rent a car on Elba?

Yes, there are several car rental companies on the island that offer a range of vehicles for rent. However, it is recommended to book in advance, especially during peak season.


  • Annie Attwood

    Meet Annie Attwood, a travel enthusiast with a knack for capturing the essence of every place she visits. Annie is a nomad at heart, always on the lookout for new adventures and experiences to add to her travel journal. Whether she's exploring the winding streets of Paris or lounging on a secluded beach in Bali, Annie's passion for travel shines through in every moment. With her trusty camera in hand and a thirst for knowledge, she immerses herself in the culture, history, and natural beauty of each destination.

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