BEST BEACH SPOTS
It pays to know your spiagge (beaches), given that Elba's beaches on its 147km-long coast embrace
everything in the way of shade and size of sand, pebble and rock. You'll find sandy strands on the
south coast and in the Golfo della Biodola on the opposite side of Capo d'Enfola to Portoferraio; La
Biodola has the nearest sandy beach to Portoferraio. The quietest, prettiest beaches are tucked in bijou
rocky coves and often involve a steep clamber down. Parking is invariably roadside and scant.
Just 6km west of Portoferraio, it's not so much the grey pebbles as the outdoor action that lures the
crowds to this tiny fishing port. There are pedalos to rent, a beachside diving school, and a family-
friendly 2.5km-long circular hiking trail around the green cape. The Parco Nazionale
dell'Arcipelago Toscano visitors centre (Tuscan Archipelago National Park;
05 6591 9411;
Sansone & Sorgente
This twinset of cliff-ensnared, white-shingle and pebble beaches stands out for its turquoise, crystal-
clear waters just made for snorkelling . By car from Portoferraio, follow the SP27 towards Enfola.
Parking is challenging.
Morcone, Pareti & Innamorata
Find this trio of charming sandy-pebble coves framed by sweet-smelling pine and eucalyptus trees
some 3km south of Capoliveri on the southeast part of the island. Rent a kayak and paddle out to sea
on Innamorata, the wildest of the three; or fine dine and overnight on Pareti beach at Hotel Stella
Maris ( 05 6596 8425; www.albergostellamaris.com ; Pareti; half-board per person d €70-110;
), one of the island's few three-star hotels to be found on the sand.
Colle d'Orano & Fetovaia
The standout highlight of these two gorgeous swathes of golden sand on Elba's western coast is the
dramatic drive - a real island highlight - between the two. The journey follows the island's splendid
southwest coastal road (SP25). Legend has it Napoleon frequented Colle d'Orano to sit and swoon
over his native Corsica, which is visible across the water. A heavenly scented, maquis- (herbal scrub-
land) covered promontory protects sandy Fetovaia, where nudists flop on nearby granite rocks known
as Le Piscine .
Portoferraio & Around
Known to the Romans as Fabricia and later Ferraia (since it was a port for iron exports),
this small harbour was acquired by Cosimo I de' Medici in the mid-16th century, when its
distinctive fortifications took shape.