Island Hopping in the Tuscan Archipelago

Explore the islands of Elba and Pianosa off Italy’s Tuscan Coast, hiking flower-lined trails and adventuring in pristine waters

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Trip Ref #10542

Island Hopping in the Tuscan Archipelago

Explore the islands of Elba and Pianosa off Italy’s Tuscan Coast, hiking flower-lined trails and adventuring in pristine waters

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Italy

ANNUAL LEAVE

3 days off work

SEASON

May-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Pisa International Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Hotel

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Easy

With short hikes, paddles or rides most days, this is manageable by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and a sense of adventure.

Hike gentle Mediterranean coast paths, discovering the flora, heritage and fishing villages of unspoilt Elba Island

Kayak and snorkel protected turquoise waters teeming with marine life, paddling to secluded coves and along rugged cliffs

Cycle around the paradise island of Pianosa, a protected nature park known as the ‘Caribbean of the Mediterranean’

Kick back and enjoy picnics by dazzling beaches, indulge in an Italian feast, and sample local wines at a hillside vineyard

Day 1

To Elba Island!

Meet your host at Pisa Airport and drive to the coastal town of Piombino for your ferry journey to Elba. Elba is one of eight islands in the pristine Tuscan Archipelago National Park, the second-largest marine park in Europe. Here the crystalline seas, secluded coves and lush mountains remain pretty much off the international tourist radar. Settle in your comfortable hotel, take a walk to the nearby beach, then enjoy an Italian feast with your fellow travellers whilst you hear all about the adventure ahead.

Day 2

Explore the Enfola Peninsula

Kayaking

2.5hrs · 5km

Hiking

2hrs · 5km · 200m up · 200m down

Rise, shine, and hop in the shuttle for a short transfer to the Enfola Peninsula, where you'll meet with your kayak instructor for a short introductory briefing. Then you'll hit the clear waters, paddling along white cliffs and stunning beaches, exploring caves and natural arches. Stop for a picnic lunch by the beach before stretching your legs with a short coastal hike, walking amongst the Mediterranean flora of this 'garden by the sea'. Back at the hotel enjoy some time at leisure, exploring the local village and its restaurants.

Day 3

The 'Caribbean of the Mediterranean'

Cycling

2hrs · 15km · 150m up · 150m down

Enjoy an early breakfast before heading to Pianosa, 45 minutes away by ferry. This tiny island in the Tuscan Archipelago was once a maximum security prison, best explored on two wheels thanks to its flat trails. Set off on a gentle bike ride among the intoxicating Mediterranean scrub to discover secluded coves and dazzling beaches. Spend the afternoon either exploring the well-preserved 4th-century catacombs or snorkelling the protected marine area of Cala San Giovanni. Its Caribbean-like waters are home to cuttlefish, lobsters, sea bream, snapper, moray eels and many other species. Back on Elba Island, enjoy a free evening with your fellow travellers.

Day 4

Mineral trails, fishing ports and vineyards

Hiking

3hrs · 8km · 300m up · 300m down

Head to the south-eastern tip of Elba to visit Capolivieri and Monte Calamite, a historic mining area where the landscape reveals the heritage of the island's iron ore – among the oldest in the world. Hike there along picturesque coastal paths, where wild rosemary grows alongside deposits of magnetite and blue-green malachite, taking a short detour to the stunning Innamorata beach. End with an underground visit to the Ginevro Tunnels, where you can retrace the old miners' trails.

Visit the fishing town of Porto Azzurro before heading to some local vineyards in the hills, ending your day of exploration over a wine and olive oil tasting. Salute!

Day 5

Snorkelling Capo Sant'Andrea

Snorkelling

1.5hrs

Make the most of your final day today, rising early to head to Capo Sant'Andrea, famous for its crystal clear sea. Swim and snorkel amongst green carpets of posidonia, shoals of electric blue fish, needlefish, bream and porgies. Back at the hotel you'll check out at noon, in time for your transfer back to Pisa Airport for an evening flight.

Included

Guides

Local, expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

4 nights in a comfortable hotel with pool

Meals

All breakfasts, 3 picnic lunches and 1 dinner

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Equipment

Everything you need for kayaking, cycling and snorkelling

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Dishes found in Elba make use of simple, fresh ingredients grown on this fertile island, as well as fresh fish and seafood, all influenced by the migration of different cultures to the island over the centuries. The result is a very distinct cuisine with a combination of flavours and ingredients found nowhere else in Italy. Some of the best known specialities include stoccafisso alla riese (stockfish with garlic, parsley, potatoes, onion, tomato, chilli), sburrita (fish soup with spices and vegetables, accompanied by Tuscan bread) and gurguglione (mixed vegetable pot). You'll get the chance to try some great local restaurants during the trip. The island also boasts some first-class DOC-label wines, which you'll get to sample on a wine tasting included in the trip.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Marciana Marina or Marina di Campo

You'll usually spend four nights at the comfortable 3-star Hotel Marinella, located directly by the sea in the quaint village of Marciana Marina. Thanks to its prime location, you'll be within walking distance of great bars, restaurants, shops, markets, a picturesque marina and a lively promenade. The comfortable hotel also offers a pool surrounded by lush gardens as well as a great, traditional restaurant with a sea view. You'll stay in twin or double air-conditioned rooms which include a TV, private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.

On some departures, depending on availability, you may stay at the 4-star Barracuda Resort, located in the heart of the vibrant village of Marina di Campo on the southern coast of Elba. This hotel is a 10-minute walk from the beach and offers a pool, stylish rooms a great restaurant. Your host will confirm which hotel you'll be staying at prior to your departure.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Pisa International Airport

11:00 on Day 1

Ends

Pisa International Airport

18:00 on Day 5

Transfers

Due to the distance and transport logistics involved in travel to and from Elba Island (two transfers and a ferry), we recommend joining the set arrival and departure transfers arranged by your host and included in the trip.

On Day 1 you'll be met in the morning at Pisa Airport. If you fly in on the first day of the trip, please make sure you book a flight that lands by 11:00 at the latest (your host will inform you of transfer logistics and exact timings prior to your trip). A set departure transfer from Elba back to Pisa Airport is also included on Day 5 and you'll be dropped off at the airport around 18:00. We recommend booking an inbound flight departing Pisa no earlier than 20:00.

If you would like to arrive early or extend your stay, your host can arrange accommodation for an extra cost. See the Optional Extras section for further details.

Travel options

There are regular direct flights to Pisa airport from major airports across the UK and Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All kayaking, cycling and snorkelling equipment

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Main luggage or duffel bag
  • Daypack (20 litres)
  • Waterproof liner for kitbag/rucksack, or drybags

CLOTHES

  • Breathable, light-weight clothing
  • Fleece jacket or similar for the evenings and shoulder season
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking shoes or boots (worn-in)
  • Trainers
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Your own snorkelling gear (optional)
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre
  • Biodegradable wet-wipes
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks

Additional Night in Elba Twin/Double Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Elba Twin/Double Room

Additional Night in Elba - Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Elba - Single Room

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 108kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

No previous experience is needed for any of the activities, only an average level of fitness and a sense of adventure. Although the itinerary is quite busy to make the most of the time on the island, all activities will be conducted at a leisurely pace and are not particularly challenging. A brief introductory training and safety briefing will be provided for the kayaking excursion, so this is suitable for first-timers. Cycling in Pianosa will be gentle and of short duration (max. 2 hours/15km), with stops and flat terrain throughout. Hiking will mainly follow coastal paths where a few hills can be expected - you should be comfortable hiking up to 2-3 hours, sometimes in hot weather. Snorkelling will be fully guided, but you must be comfortable in the water and able to swim.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. The amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The tap water on Elba Island is safe to drink. Please bring along your own reusable water bottle to fill up at the hotels, public fountains and at restaurants to avoid buying single use plastic bottles.

The climate in the Tuscan Archipelago is mild for most of the year. It will be warm to hot during the summer months of July-September with temperatures reaching 25-31 °C. Rain is possible at any time of year, although it's less common between June and September. The average water temperature is about 20°C in May, 24°C in June, 25-27°C in July-September and September and 23°C in October, making it an ideal location for water-based activities such as snorkelling and swimming.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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