Photo of Elba

About Elba

Many visitors to Elba stick to their beachside town. But the interior is also worth exploring, on foot or by car, as there are lots of little villages, ancient forts and old churches, both ruined and still functioning, to visit. Elba has accommodation for every budget, from camping grounds to luxury resorts. It's worth looking beyond the capital though, as some of the best places to stay on Elba are outside Portoferraio.

Elba gets a bad rap because Napoleon was unhappy about being exiled here. But me thinks the general doth protest too much - he was exiled to a Tuscan paradise of sunshine, warm, clear seas, wild flower meadows plus fascinating old churches and historic sights.

Napoleon's Elba

Napoleon's nine months on Elba was lived far from the life of a prisoner - though he did start off his exile in the Torre del Martello, a red coloured tower which remained a prison until 1877. However, he quickly became the Emperor of the island, and moved to the Palazzo dei Mulini - now a museum. And in the summer, when it was hot in Portoferraio, he moved to a villa in the hills, now the Museo Villa Napolenica di San Martino.

Portoferraio's Pleasures

It was Napoleon who decided Portoferraio would be the island's capital, and he who drew many of Europe's great men to this city. Born as a fortified port, Portoferraio is protected by historic walls, built in the 15th Century and designed to protect it from pirates. Portoferraio's old town is a lovely web of narrow streets heading from the bay to the twin forts on the hill, pinkish Forte Stella and Forte Falcone.

Elba's Natural Charms

Elba has 150 beaches whilst the interior is green all year round, and especially beautiful in spring when it is carpeted with wildflowers. There are plenty of scenic drives on spaghetti-like road systems winding all over the hills - with views that spread from the bright blue sea to the pretty, Tuscan-style hilltop towns. And the surrounding blue seas are rich with marine life. The whole island is within the Parco Nazionale del l'Arcipelago Toscana, so it's protected from development.

Historic Elba

Elba isn't just naturally beautiful, it's also rich in minerals - which is why it's been so hotly contested through the ages. The Romans holidayed here and quarried materials for their columns, and the Etruscans have also left fascinating traces of their time here. As well as the sights and ruins themselves there are numerous museums displaying ancient treasures belonging to the island's former inhabitants.

Not To Miss

  • Whilst the island is surrounded by beaches, we'd recommend in particular the Spiaggia di Sansone, the Spiaggia di Capo Bianco and the Spiaggia del Relitto (all located in Portoferraio).
  • Take the lift up the Monte Capanne and marvel at the stunning panoramic views of the area.
  • Take a tour of the underground Miniere di Capoliveri to learn all about Elba's mining history and the strategic importance of this mine to the Italian government.
  • If you're a fan of museums then be sure to check out the Palazzina dei Mulini or the Museo Naxional delle Residenze Napoleoniche.

With such history and beautiful sites many of the best places to stay in Elba are snapped up quickly so be sure to book early.

For a Beach Break

  • If you're searching for peace in a waterside paradise, the Boutique Hotel Ilio is one of the best places to stay on Elba. Elba doesn't have a lot in the way of boutique hotels, and Ilio, with its 20 individually themed rooms, regular photographic exhibitions and restaurant focussed on serving locally sourced wonders, fills that gap nicely.

For An Apartment Or Villa

If you think you'd be best served by a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Weather-wise, Elba's obviously nicest in the summer months - in July the average daily temperature rises to 25°C. This however is peak tourist season, so if you fancy a quieter and cheaper time to visit then consider May or September.
  • Visitors can fly into Elba Airport at certain times of the year, with seasonal flights to and from Florence, Lugano, Pisa, Milan and Zurich among other destinations.
  • Or, you can fly to Pisa Airport and take the train to Piombino (85km away) before hopping on the ferry across to Elba.
  • For car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

    Still not sure?

    Best Hotels in Elba

    • Boutique Hotel Ilio Marciana, Elba 20 rooms from £74

      Laid back hotel on the north western corner of Elba. Twenty bedrooms are individually decorated, most with a contemporary style. Great choice of restaurants close by. Come here for total relaxation in an unspoilt region of Italy.

      Exclusive offer  -  Exclusive Offer Stay 7 pay 6
      Great walks  -  Range of trails straight from the door.
      Diving  -  Dive centre on the beach
      Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
      Views  -  Great views from hotel
      Check Availability
    • Indarsena B&B Portoferraio, Elba 4 rooms from £65

      This elegant B&B is nestled in a traditional townhouse in the heart of Portoferraio, a stone's throw from La Padulella beach. Inside, whitewashed walls are set off with splashes of print and bright colours in the soft furnishings. Start the day in the airy breakfast room before sightseeing.

      Local exploring  -  With a central location in the town, a stone's throw from the beach, book this hotel as a base for local exploring in Elba
      City Style  -  Set in a traditional property with bright interiors in Portoferraio, this hotel has lots of contemporary Tuscan style
      Romantic Break  -  With well-appointed rooms and an unbeatable location, book this boutique B&B for your next romantic getaway
      Local markets  -  Visit the daily fresh produce markets on the island; enquire with your hosts for recommendations of the best markets to visit
      Check Availability
    • Marina Garden Hotel Marciana Marina, Elba 42 rooms from £86

      This stylish hotel is located in Marciana Marina, the smallest village on the island of Elba. The newly renovated guestrooms have a subtle nautical theme, picked up in work by local artists. Unwind on the deck by the outdoor pool or head down to the pebble beach, a few minutes' walk away.

      Romantic Break  -  With stylish suites and a romantic sit-out terrace with a pool, book this hotel for your next couples' getaway
      Local exploring  -  Surrounded by bars and restaurants, book this hotel as a base for your local exploring in Marciana Marina
      Beach Life  -  Situated close to the coast on the charming island of Elba, book this hotel for a relaxing seaside break
      Sights nearby  -  Take a day trip to Poggio and visit the ancient Romanesque churches San Nicolò and San Lorenzo while exploring cobbled streets
      Check Availability
    • Suite B&B Portoferraio, Elba 4 rooms from £108

      This boutique B&B makes a stylish hideaway in Portoferraio. At just four guestrooms, the hotel feels intimate and personal. The contemporary, whitewashed villa opens out onto a verdant garden with a shady terrace and saltwater pool, perfect for long afternoons lounging in the sun.

      Local exploring  -  With the picturesque beaches, markets and historical sites of Portoferraio close by, there is lots to explore local to this B&B
      Romantic Break  -  With a handful of romantic private suites and a luxurious terrace and pool, book this hotel for your next couples' getaway
      Hideaway  -  Set in a secluded spot overlooking Portoferraio, this hotel makes a charming hideaway holiday destination
      Local markets  -  Discover the bustling local markets in the town with expert guidance from your hosts, who can give tips on the best places to go
      Check Availability
    • Il Casale di Monserrato Porto Azzurro, Elba 5 rooms from £174

      This B&B is tucked away in the Valley of Montserrat on the Tuscan island of Elba. The heritage villa is shaded by the region's emblematic cypress trees and has a chic terrace with a plunge pool. Inside, terracotta arches and exposed beams will transport you back to 17th-century Tuscany.

      Hideaway  -  Set in a secret garden nestled within the beautiful Monserrato Valley, book this hotel for a luxurious hideaway holiday
      Romantic Break  -  With heritage rooms, a beautiful garden and sit-out terrace, book this hotel for a relaxing couples' getaway
      Local exploring  -  Set in Porto Azzurro on the Tuscan island of Elba, this hotel is a great starting point for local exploring
      Sailing  -  Porto Azzurro is a great spot for sailing; take sailing classes at the Circolo Velico to get started
      Check Availability
    • Hotel Hermitage Portoferraio, Elba 112 rooms from £203

      This luxury, five-star hotel is nestled on Biodola beach on the Tuscan island of Elba. Most of the guestrooms sit within private cottages built into the rock on the hillside facing the Mediterranean. Foodies will be spoiled by the resort's four restaurants, serving gourmet Italian cuisine.

      Beach Life  -  Set on the beautiful Biodola beach in the verdant grounds of the Tuscan National Park, book this hotel for a luxury beach break
      Families  -  Offering spacious family suites, a kid's club and lots of family-friendly activities, book this hotel for your summer holidays
      Foodies  -  With four restaurants within the hotel serving different takes on classic Italian cuisine, this hotel is great for foodies
      Sights nearby  -  Visit Villa dei Mulini, Napoleon’s former home and now a National Museum. The property dates back to 1724
      Check Availability
    • Il Termine Rio Marina, Elba 6 rooms from £330

      An 18th-century Tuscan residence is the setting for this luxury hotel and spa, tucked away in the woods close to Rio Marina. Guestrooms are dressed in hand-selected antiques, complementing the property's heritage details. Complete the authentic country experience by booking an aperitivo nature walk.

      Romantic Break  -  With effortlessly stylish suites, a full-service spa and swimming pool onsite, book this hotel for a unique romantic hideaway
      Back to Nature  -  The philosophy of this hotel is based on connection with the natural environment, making it a chic nature retreat
      Country Escape  -  Nestled in a beautiful forest on the island of Elba, book this hotel for a luxury country escape
      Fishing  -  Try your hand at big game fishing at this hotel, which hosts the first fishing lodge of its kind in Italy
      Check Availability