Elba is the third largest Italian island and the biggest in the Tuscan Archipelago. Although the island’s perimeter is only 147 kilometres, the island offers a mild climate and a multitude of different landscapes: romantic fishing villages, little hillside hamlets, ancient castles, green valleys and enchanting gulfs alternate with splendid sand and shingle beaches.
In just a few minutes you pass from the sheer cliffs that dominate the crystal clear sea to the Mt. Capanne granitic massif, (1019 metres).
The presence of numerous historic and cultural testimonies combined with extraordinary natural beauty make this island one of the world’s most magical and unique places.
Superb beaches, breathtaking cliffs, green hills with the scent of flowers, forests with centuries-old trees, silent little villages on the sea front or perched on mountain ridges.
All this – and more besides – is there for you to discover when you visit the Isle of Elba and make your way along the numerous trails in the National Park with a knapsack on your back, on horseback, on a mountain bike or as you plough the waves in a canoe or sailing boat.
Daily excursions are organised, accompanied by a guide, on mountain bike, on foot or in a kayak around the island or in the splendid nearby Island of Pianosa.
Diving in the Elban sea is every scuba-diver’s dream, and of course all relative services are provided. And a wide variety of seabed scenarios is there for you to explore: shallows, submerged shoals, mountain faces that plunge deep into the sea, magnificent places where you can admire a multitude of marine fauna and flora.
Flora and Fauna
Although the islands are small, there is a wide variety of scenery: from Elba’s indented and complex landscape to the Pianosa plateau, to the rocky cone of Montecristo. Along the coasts forged by the sea, cliffs and grottos alternate with little beaches protected by wild promontories, while a variety of flowers in bloom cover the rocks and crags, reminding us of man’s millennial presence.
The island’s characteristic vegetation consists of “high” shrubs, mainly heather and strawberry trees, combined with lentisk and myrtle.
Low shrubs grow in the windier areas, where red rock roses and marine rock roses prevail.
A fine forest of a mixture of hop-hornbeam, common alder and chestnut trees, with relict specimens of yew, cover the slopes of Mt. Capanne on the Isle of Elba. Endemisms, which are present in only some of the islands, like the Elba violet and cornflower and the wild snapdragon of Capraia, are particularly interesting.
Birds are an important part of the faunal patrimony which includes the herring gull (600 nesting pairs) the Corsican gull (approx 200 pairs), shag (30 pairs), Cory’s shearwater and puffin, raven, peregrine falcon, solitary thrush and wild pigeon, in addition to a large number of migratory species.
History and Culture
Elba’s wealth lies not only in its natural resources, but also in its history and culture. The traditional folk festivals are an absolute must , some of which are quite outstanding and enthralling, like the Inamorata legend pageant and the Wine Festival, as well as firework displays, village fêtes, cinemas, concerts and theatre shows.
In the summer months numerous competitions and races are held, many of which of international importance: sailing-boat, windsurf, mountain bike, walking and golf competitions, vintage car rallies; these and other sports events all fit well into the island environment.
Elba has a classic maritime climate, with mild temperatures even in the winter months. There are few rainy days, especially in the summer.
The prevailing wind is Sirocco (from the south-east), although it rarely blows with great intensity; during the summer months it alternates in the afternoon with a cooler north-westerly wind (Maestrale) which contributes to lessen the sultry atmosphere and make days spent on the beach more enjoyable.
Conversely, when the strong south-westerly wind (Libeccio) and westerly wind (Ponente) blow, albeit less frequently, they tend to make the sea swell considerably.
Ferry connections between the island and the mainland are rarely suspended due to bad weather and this may occur at the most once or twice a year, and rarely for a whole day.
The bitter Tramontana north wind and Gregale from the north-east rarely blow, except on a few sporadic days in the winter, and thanks to the particular conformation of the coastline, the island invariably provides shelter from the blustering wind.