Just a short sail from the mainland ports of Punta Ala and Follonica, the Tuscan Archipelago is one of those stunningly beautiful Mediterranean island groups that have attracted travellers for centuries. Popular destinations yet unspoilt, the islands of Elba, Capraia and their companions are a delight to explore by sail. And on an extended charter, it's just a short hop westwards to Corsica and a taste of France.
With its sunshine, food and wine, historical sites and rural scenery, Tuscany epitomises la dolce vita that attracts so many people to this region of Italy. But there's more to Tuscany than the well-beaten mainland tourist path. From the coastal cities of Punta Ala and Follonica you can charter a sailboat and explore further. The main sailing destination in this part of the Mediterranean is the Tuscan Archipelago, just a short, serene sail away.
The largest island in the group is Elba, where Napoleon Bonaparte had an enforced holiday and many now vacation by choice. The largest town is Portaferraio on the northern coast, a charming community with a vibrant tourist scene and full marina facilities. For more peace and seclusion, drop anchor off the beach below Capo d'Enfola. Learn about the natural attractions of this part of Italy by visiting the administrative seat of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, which covers the whole island group. Elba has a number of other boat-friendly settlements to call on, including Marina di Campo, before you set sail to discover more.
A short sail down the mainland coast, Isola del Giglio ("Place of the Goats") is a small island with a rugged coastline interspersed by sheltered bays. The main settlements are Giglio Porto and Giglio Castello, a hilltop town protected by fortress walls. Nearby is Giannutri, one of several islands with access restrictions.
Returning to Elba before venturing further north and west, pass by Monte Cristo, the rock made famous in literature by the French writer Alexandre Dumas. Casual landing on the protected island is not permitted, but it's a stirring sight. Further on at Pianosa, prior permission is required to stay overnight. Talk to us first about access requirements on all of the archipelago's smaller islands.
After Elba, Capraia is the next most popular island in the group, a favourite get-away for hikers and nature-lovers. Capraia is a popular stopping-off point between the Italian maniland and Corsica, just a small distance westward. It is a rocky island formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago and without beaches to speak of. Perfect for simply tying up at Porto, getting off the boat and exploring on foot before wining and dining.
Consider Tuscany for your Mediteranean holiday that includes sailing. All that's great about mainland Italy with charted course that's just a little less travelled, and all the better for it.
Our client reviews about charter sailing in Italy
We had a great time in the Aeolian Islands, and I highly recommend them as a destination. The beauty is that the islands each have a different character and are close to each other. The longest ‘passage’ is about 10 miles, and some are a lot shorter. Two of the largest islands, Vulcano and Lipari, are only 800m apart, but very different! The marinas are well located and were reasonably priced (€70-100 per night) and at Panarea there are only moorings but for €70 you also get a 24/7 water taxi service which was perfect. We found mid / late July to be superb.
David, New Zealand, Aug 16th, 2019
Rating: 5 / 5 We found the boat to be nicely designed and very comfortable. The sails were near new and a treat to sail with. The highlight destination was Capri where because of unsettled weather we stayed in the marina. We found a brilliant restaurant in Ana-Capri and enjoyed strolling the narrow streets. San Michelle villa was delightful. Service was 10/10. Mario at the marina went out of his way to help us with ideas advice and making sure we wanted for nothing. Peter, New Zealand, Oct 24th, 2018
Rating: 5 / 5 The cat performed well with everything working as expected. The only issue was batteries not lasting a night and having to run an engine both in the morning and again in the late afternoon when sailing and not motoring. Sails were easy enough to hoist and the electronics worked well. Lipari was a great spot to stop with a nice town to explore. But the nicest island I found was Panarea. Less tourists with very friendly locals. James, Australia, Jul 22nd, 2018
Rating: 4 / 5 The Aeolian islands are a beautiful part of the world with many highlights. The standout was watching Stromboli erupt at night from nearby offshore. Sail Connections service was as always excellent. Russell, Australia, Jul 16th, 2018
Just a quick note to say we had a fabulous holiday and fantastic charter. The boat was perfect and the skipper Salvo and hostess Lucia were excellent could not fault anything. Salvo took us to some amazing places, always had our comfort and safety in mind, and was a lovely guy, Lucia was an amazing cook we ended up having most of our meals on board she was so good, also great company and very friendly and helpful. Everyone at North Sardinia Sail were also helpful and very friendly. Tony, Australia, Aug 31st, 2016
I just wanted to say thank you. We had a great time sailing though Italy and we appreciate your help putting that together. We had a blast on the trip! Cilento is beautiful and I'm really glad we went south before heading across the bay to Capri and Amalfi. Happy to share more stories/insights from the trip so you can help other explore this beautiful region, Thanks again. John & Leah, USA, Sep 30th, 2015