The Island of Elba is about 10 km from the mainland, while it is a little more than 23 km from Portoferraio to Piombino. All the ferries to the Island of Elba leave from the port of Piombino, and you can choose from four companies (Moby Lines, Toremar and Blu Navy and Corisca Sardinia Ferries that connect the mainland to Portoferraio (a 1 hour and 10 minutes crossing), or to Rio Marina and to Cavo (the former takes 45 minutes and the latter 35).
For those who are travelling without a car, there is also a quicker way of crossing, by hydrofoil which only takes 20 minutes to get to its first stop Cavo, in Rio Marina, and then continues on to Portoferraio, arriving 15 minutes later, and a fast ferry if you are taking your car over on the Piombino - Portoferraio crossing with the Corsica Sardinia Ferries Shipping Company (that takes about 30 minutes).
During the summer months there are crossings more or less all day every day. During the winter months although there are a lot less crossings you can be sure of at least one to and from the island more or less every 2 or 3 hours.
If you are taking your car across it is best to book the ferry, especially at Easter, or from April 25th to May 1st and all weekends in July and August. There are never any problems for passengers without a car.
If you wish to leave your car in Piombino, there are car parks with watchmen both outside and inside, free or for a fee.
Advice from Infoelba: if you wish to take your car over to use it on the Island of Elba, we advise you to book the ferry beforehand so you can be sure of finding room, getting the best price and avoiding any problems.