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10 things to do on Elba Island

10 things to do on Elba Island

Make your experience unique

1. Visiting the red lake of the Conche

In an almost Martian-like landscape, a wonderful lake of mining origin appears, almost suddenly, to the eyes of the curious visitor. The body of water is located below the road and is hidden by dense Mediterranean vegetation: it will only be glimpsed when you get right in front of it. Stunning shades of red and yellow contrasted with the immense green surrounding the area in a true riot of color. The excursion is also possible by e-bike.

2. Peering at the view from the ancient fortress

The Volterraio fortress is the most striking and magical site on the island, especially when reached at sunset.
The fortress soars from its 395 meters set in the rock from which it emerges as if by enchantment that becomes even more intense at sunset, when it transforms into a striking terrace over Elba and the other islands of the Tuscan Archipelago. An extraordinary panorama shows the outline of the eastern ridge and on the horizon the slender shape of the island of Pianosa and the austere silhouette of Montecristo. In front, the central part of the island with the soft hills, wide southern gulfs and the inimitable morphology of the Gulf of Portoferraio, with the imposing massif of Mount Capanne behind. Further to the right is the wild island of Capraia and, in the background, the snow-capped mountains of Corsica with Cape Corso stretching northward.

3. Change the beach every day

Biodola or Cavoli? Padulella or Sansone? Sand or rocks? What is the right beach for your mood today?
The island offers a wide selection of them, all of which can be reached in just over half an hour. Snorkeling enthusiasts can find their ideal destination in Sant’Andrea, while Marina di Campo is perfect for families.

4. Diving into the wreckage of a wrecked ship.

Ogliera beach, not far from Pomonte, in more or less coarse dark gravel, consists of two small beaches nestled between high cliffs, barely visible from the road. From this beach one can set off for the adventurous dive near the Elviscot wreck, which can be reached by swimming and which thrills divers and snorkelers alike. La nave, naufragata sugli scogli oltre 50 anni fa, richiama appassionati e curiosi.

5. Spotting whales on a whale watching sailing trip

An unforgettable experience to experience firsthand the observation of cetaceans in their natural environment. Together with an environmental educator who is an expert on cetaceans, you can comment on sightings and learn about the 8 species of cetaceans that inhabit the Tuscan Archipelago marine area, as well as learn the basics of good sailing practices in respect of the sea and its inhabitants. Elba Island is located at the center of the Pelagos Cetacean Sanctuary, the first international marine protected area in the Mediterranean that was created by an agreement between Italy, France and the Principality of Monaco to protect the marine mammals that frequent it. Whales have also sometimes been spotted near the shore.

6. Playing sports like there's no tomorrow

Sports fanatic? Passionate with little time to spare except on vacation? Bicycle, tennis, windsurfing, hiking, sailing, golf or e-bike? What is the sport that you have always been tickled or passionate about? Elba offers well-equipped trails and fields so you can never leave your sporting passion at home or practice it in a unique setting, or just get curious for a day, alone or with your family.

7. Search for turtle tracks and help them protect themselves

It seems that Caretta caretta turtles are doing just fine in Elba, so much so that in recent years they have chosen the island’s beaches to lay their eggs, which are then opened to surprise.
Therefore, in Elba, one can go hunting for tracks and collaborate in the defense of the eggs, protecting the hatching. The egg-laying turtle is large, 100 to 150 cm long, and very heavy; when it emerges from the water, dragging itself, it leaves a clearly recognizable track in the sand that resembles the tracks of a small crawler, with an unmistakable horseshoe-shaped path to and from the sea.
In case of sightings of turtles or the footprints left in the sand, it is important to immediately alert the Coast Guard and notify the contact persons of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, which also periodically activate courses dedicated to turtles.
Among the projects recently launched is the TartaLove Project, through which Legambiente and PNAT want to involve beach establishments, blue spots and all beach operators in a program to protect sea turtles, which represent an extraordinary value to biodiversity.
Bathing establishments and blue spots that decide to become “turtle-friendly” after adhering to the Protocol for Responsible Beach Management will be awarded Tartalove’s blue flag to be displayed at their businesses.

8. Descend into the underbelly of the earth to visit iron mines

The Ginevro magnetite mine, the only tunnel mine that can still be visited on the island, is the largest deposit in Europe and is considered a strategic iron reserve by the Italian state, so much so that it is still protected for its importance.
Equipped with a helmet and a spirit of adventure, with the help of guides, you will be able to descend into the belly of the island, immersing yourself in an experiential visit. How did the miners live? What habits did the small community dedicated to digging have? What did it mean to work underground? The visit answers these and other questions, in a multifaceted tour along the mine’s tunnels and common areas, where one will more than once get the feeling of seeing the activity still going on, thanks in part to the presence of instrumentation left on site immediately after the closure in the 1980s.
Two routes are planned: one at elevation +6, which is flat and suitable for everyone, and a second at elevation -24, which involves descending 220 steps.

9. Observe the wonderful world of butterflies

In the heart of the island, on the ridge that connects Mount Perone to the summit of Capanne, is the Butterfly Sanctuary, a magical place where colorful wingbeats are the undisputed masters. Jason, Macaone, Cleopatra, Silvano Azzurro, Vanessa del Cardo and Vanessa Atlanta are the names of some of the species that inhabit the island, which at night transforms into the realm of moths: from the smallest to the imposing Saturnia del Pero, whose life lasts but a summer, after a long, quiet existence as a fruit-gourmand caterpillar.

10. Taste aleatico, the ancient wine loved by Napoleon

Aleatico is a head-turning wine. This is what we hear most frequently around this renowned wine, prized enough to boast DOCG status since 2011. Its origin is lost in the origins of the island: already the Etruscans had created vats for harvesting grapes. The tradition was passed down to more recent times, when it was given to Napoleon, who became a great fan of it.
This brightly colored nectar is especially prized because it is made according to a strictly natural process that has been handed down for generations: it is produced only by drying Aleatico vine berries. Just think that a maximum of 22 liters of wine can be made from 100 kg of grapes.