Why choose a cruise to Elba?

elba port italy

With picture-perfect beaches, charming coastal villages and mouthwatering cuisine, an Elba cruise will take you to one of Italy’s most alluring and under-visited islands. Located just six miles from the mainland, this Tuscan gem is best known for harbouring exiled emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814. Today, it offers visitors an idyllic retreat of unspoilt landscapes and historic intrigue.

Cruises dock on the northern coast in Portoferraio – Elba’s largest town – home to medieval forts, boutique shops and bustling markets. The breathtaking sea views and pine-clad hills are ideal for hiking and biking, while the clear, calm waters are a diver’s paradise. In the evening, dine on delicious seafood and island wines in one of the traditional trattorias.

A guide to Elba’s hotspots

cruise ship elba island

Elba’s main attractions are its glorious and varied beaches, ranging from long stretches of sand to secluded, pebbly bays. The island has numerous white sand beaches on the southern shores, with popular spots including Cavoli and Fetovaia. Ghiaie and Biodola beaches near Portoferraio are some of the best on the island, while Procchio and Marina di Campo offer calm, shallow waters and great facilities for families.

Though it can be tempting to dock at Portoferraio and make a beeline for the beach, it’s worth spending some time exploring the historic harbour town first. Try local produce at the Friday Market, enjoy the cafés and shops, or relax in the San Giovanni Thermal Baths.

For those who want to discover more about the island’s past, there’s a variety of museums and cultural attractions on offer. Explore Portoferraio’s historic centre and the Medici forts, or take a trip to Villa dei Mulini, where Napoleon once resided.

If it’s stunning scenery you’re after, the area around the Monte Capanne peak is home to an abundance of unique flora and fauna. For hiking and biking, you’ll find numerous trails along the coast and inland for all levels of ability.

Cruise lines that sail to the port of Elba

The best time to visit Elba


High season in Elba is in August, when the beaches and towns are at their busiest. For the best weather, June to August sees temperatures reaching their high 20s with little chance of rain. Island activities are in full swing during the summer, with the chance to scuba dive, hike and play golf. Live entertainment, music and food festivals also take place during the warmer months.

In the spring and autumn, the island is relatively quiet and there’s plenty of secluded places to relax and unwind. In September and October, the weather is still balmy and the sea remains warm, making it an ideal time for watersports and hiking. Although temperatures drop from November to March, the island still enjoys clear, blue skies and it’s also a great time to try local produce.

Did you know?

  • French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to Elba in 1814 for nine months
  • It’s the largest island in the Tuscan Archipelago and the third-largest in Italy
  • Olive oil, fruit, honey and wine are produced on the island
  • Elba is part of the Arcipelago Toscano National Park – the largest marine park in the Mediterranean
  • In ancient times, the island was known for its iron resources and many of its mines can still be visited today.