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Buongiorno Elba!

A viewpoint in the Capo di Stella national park

We just can’t get enough of this wonderful, laid back island so we are back for the 4th time! After 3 consecutive years of coming to Elba (in 2018, 2019 and 2020), last year we ended up going to Corsica instead for Covid related reasons and I will write a blog post on this at some point too. Fabulous as Corsica was, coming back to Elba again was like putting on your favourite flip flops.

It’s a straightforward drive and such an easy crossing that we are always amazed that more Brits don’t come here. In fact, we have barely seen any in all our four trips. We marvel at how much more peaceful it is here than on the mainland too. The minute you cross over it’s like a different world. We take the Piombino to Portoferraio crossing which take only an hour and if the conditions are good, feels more like a mini cruise. Once off the boat, we have stuck with tradition and based ourselves in Lacona which is less than 20 minutes drive from Portoferraio. We initially chose this resort when we came with our kids, albeit almost grown up ones. Firstly with my daughter Charlie and her then boyfriend in 2018 and then with Chris’s daughter Pheobe and her friend in 2019. We used to stay at Camping Stella Mare which is a commercial site but has some amazing pitches dotted into the steep cliffs with incredible ocean views and direct access to both the national park of Capo di Stella and lovely beaches. There is plenty to do for youngsters but also lovely walks and little remote coves for us to explore.

Once the kids stopped travelling with us, we had by then discovered Orti di Mare, a beautiful campsite based around an organic farm, tucked away behind Lacona Beach. It also has a low cost motor home area that immediately piqued our interest so we had to check it out. A few pics below but I have written a separate blog post on this that you can view to get more details. A real gem!

Lacona is laid back enough to feel like you are surrounded by nature (the national park is, after all on the doordstep), but you can still walk out for a morning coffee, to get a meal in a restaurant or gelato without getting in the car. Apart from the beautiful main beach of Lacona (which is very busy during the day so we tend to go early morning or at night for a stroll), there are several other beaches that you can walk or cycle to in no time. The images below show beaches and coves in and around Lacona.

We have explored the south coast of Elba by boat and further round to the west and north in the van and there are amazing places all along the way. Not to mention going inland to visit the beautiful hilltop town of Capoliveri which is perfect for a late afternoon/evening stroll and aperitivo then dinner. Below is a video of a recent drive around the coast from Lacona towards the west coast and around the north west tip of the island, taking in many beautiful spots along the way. Lovely beaches we passed worth checking out are Cavoli, Fetovaia, Chiessi and Sant’Andrea. There are lots of stops where you can pull in to enjoy the sunset over the sea towards Corsica on west side of the island.

A drive around the west side of the island

The national park of Capo di Stella to the east of Lacona projects out into the sea like a fat finger and there are stunning walks all around the headland with dramatic cliffs and tiny coves along the way. It is quite steep and rocky in places but the panoramic views are well worth the effort. A full loop will take just over three hours depending on how many stops you want en route for photos or a rest stop to admire the views.

Further along the south coast heading east from Lacona you pass the abandoned mines at Vallone giving a nod to Elba’s industrial past, being an island rich in natural minerals. The old mine shafts are set into the cliffs and step dramatically down to the sea so they are best viewed from the water.

Round to the east side lies the exquisite town of Porto Azzuro. This beautiful little port has all the character and charm of a Tuscan town with the allure of the sea. You can take in stunning ocean views by walking around the headland on the coastal path or soak up the ambience with aperitivo in the main square or dinner in one of the quaint back streets. Checking out the pretty boats lined up in the marina is also a lovely way to while away some time.

A walk around the headland from Porto Azzurro

Aperitivo in the main square

There is so much more to Elba that what I’ve covered here but hopefully it will give you a flavour of the island. We are hoping to explore a few more places and also get to the north of the Island during the rest of our visit so there will definitely be a part 2 to this blog post so keep reading ……

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