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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

4 nights
3 days off work
Up to 14 people
Pisa International Airport




Based on 17 reviews

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 seven 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 dinner with your fellow travellers whilst you hear all about the adventure ahead.

Day 2

Explore the Enfola Peninsula


2.5hrs · 5km


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'


2hrs · 15km · 30m up · 30m 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 bike ride among the intoxicating Mediterranean scrub to discover secluded coves and dazzling beaches. In the afternoon enjoy snorkelling in 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 the evening with your fellow travellers.

Day 4

Mineral trails, fishing ports and vineyards


3hrs · 8km · 300m up · 300m down

Head to the south-eastern tip of Elba to visit Capoliveri 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. 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

Explore Bella Portoferraio


1.5hrs · 4km

Make the most of your final day, set out for a morning hike around the historic port of Portoferraio. Famous for Napoleon's Villa and the Cosimo De' Medici Fortress, stretch those legs and explore the little streets with a good gelato in hand, enjoying the last of your time on Elba. Then at noon, it's time to say goodbye to island life, for your ferry to the mainland and transfer back to Pisa Airport for an evening flight.



Local, expert, English-speaking guides


4 nights in a comfortable hotel with pool


All breakfasts, 3 picnic lunches and 1 dinner


To and from the airport and everything in between


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




Day 2 – Day 4

Hotel · Twin share




Day 5




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.


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




Pisa International Airport

12:00 on Day 1


Pisa International Airport

18:00 on Day 5


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 11:30 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 in Elba, although transport to/from the island needs to be arranged independently (your host can provide detailed instructions on how to reach Elba on request). Alternatively, we recommend booking any extra accommodation in Pisa and take the pre arranged transfer on Day 1 of the trip.

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 during activities

What do I need to bring?


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


  • 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


  • 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)
  • Tick removal tool (known to be present on Pianosa)
  • 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
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Additional Night in Elba - Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Elba - Single Room

Additional Night in Elba Twin/Double Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Elba Twin/Double Room

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

- Sue(October 2023)

A great trip with relaxing adventures in a beautiful corner of the Mediterranean. The water was so clear and the weather incredible for October.

- Thomas(September 2023)

It is a perfect trip to relax and take in all of the history Elba and the surrounding islands offer. All the activities were curated so it felt like you were doing something, but never felt like you had pushed too far by the end of the day. The lunches from the hotel were amazing, and the hotel is perfectly located, with some great restaurants and bars nearby for the evenings.

Monica and the team were great - I would definitely recommend this trip for a nice balance between culture and light adventure.

- Lizzie(September 2023)

This trip was packed to the brim with adventure. We finished each day happy but exhausted. The island is beautiful and our guide, Monica, was fantastic: organised, knowledgeable, fun. The hotel was fine and did exactly what we needed although a little dated in places - if it kept the cost down I think it was the right thing. I personally would have liked a little more free time but we did manage to do a lot in just a few days!

- Natalie(September 2023)

Where has Elba been hiding all my life :) I was very pleasantly surprised by the island and I feel having that inside info and a wonderful guide (Monica) to take us on the journey was just perfect! Pianosa was such a treat and most likely my highlight! Everything was perfectly organised and timed and it was definitely an easy trip. Long days meant we got tired in a good way! Accommodation was basic and clean and fit for purpose. I’d love to go back and this time take all my friends and family.

- Margaret(September 2023)

Fantastic trip - smoothly organised so we could all just relax and enjoy the trip. Local guides were charming and helpful, clear about when and where we were going but unhurried so never felt rushed. Activities were varied and hugely enjoyable. And the group of fellow travellers were were great fun. Will definitely travel with Much Better Adventures again. Thank you!

- John(September 2023)

Nice mix of activities and an amazing group of people. My only complaint is it all went by far too quickly.

- Carlo(July 2023)

Great location, activities and guides! Highly recommended if you like outdoor activities combined with cultural travel and deep dive to the local history and natural life!

- Tamsin(July 2023)

Really great trip. Elba is a beautiful island and the atmosphere is enhanced by the preponderance of Italian holidaymakers. We are a family group (20 year olds and older parents) and enjoyed the variety of activities (without the stress of organisation!). Nothing was too taxing - although it was quite hot when we were there. So surprised by the beautiful clean sea swims and the variety of fish when snorkelling. Helpful, knowledgeable local guides. The island of Pianosa was a highlight. Highly recommended.

- Penelope(July 2023)

I was really looking forward to visiting Elba and it more than met my expectations. The island is truly beautiful and the people are all v friendly and welcoming with tourists. The itinerary was a perfect mix of activities and visits in stunning surroundings. Alex and Monica our guides were great - really accommodating and informative. From the pick up at Pisa airport everything went smoothly. All the people we met for the different visits / activities were really keen to share their passion with us. The group gelled well with a lovely group of ladies - lots of laughs. I personally loved the vibe of the 3* family-run Italian hotel which was right on the beach and the resort where multi generational Italian families were holidaying. The breakfast had absolutely everything you needed from delicious cake to fruit. In the evening you could choose from loads of bars and restaurants in the pretty church square or all along the seafront and people watch before trying out the delicious ice-cream. It was my first holiday of this type and I am definitely keen to do another.

- James(July 2023)

I really enjoyed my first trip with MBA.

The trip was incredibly well-organised and it felt like we experienced a lot in a very short space of time. I liked that the trip combined daily physical activities with learning something about the nature and history of the location. The Elba team, especially Monica and Marika, were excellent - it felt like touring with local friends.

Although it is hard to pick one activity that I enjoyed the most, the day trip to Pianosa was definitely a highlight. Before we caught the boat to Pianosa, Monica showed me a new turtle's nest, which was an unexpected treat. On Pianosa, we first cycled around the island and were rewarded with some magnificent views. We were then treated to a snorkelling experience and swam with the fish. Gelato on the way home. What a wonderful way to spend a day.

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 2023 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 70% 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 for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

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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