Kayak sailing along the coasts of Elba

For those who love the sea and kayak sailing, for those who love sailing along the rocky coasts in between the cliffs, and discovering beaches and coves surrounded by Mediterranean scrub, then there is only one place for them: the Island of Elba.

Although the routes we suggest are best done in perfect weather conditions, they are suitable for both experts and amateurs , but are only some of the areas where you can circumnavigate the island in stages. Inshore, Elba is full of surprises, all you need to do is come and see them for yourself.

The south west coast: from Marina di Campo to Procchio

Starting point: Marina di Campo.
Destination: Procchio.
Mileage: 47 km.
Difficulty: challenging as regards mileage, but if you wish, you can do the route in stages.
Interest: scenic and geological.

Starting off at the beautiful beach of Marina di Campo you head south west for the gulf of Galenzana. The "bagnolo", a sandbank that is above the surface of the water at low tide won't be a problem for our canoes that slide gracefully through even very shallow water. Turning past Punta Bardella and sailing along the coast takes you to the Grotto del Bue Marino and then Vescovo Grotto, where you can go right inside without getting out of your kayak.

Once past Capo Poro, you leave the high, rocky coast and reach some stony beaches, just waiting there for you to go in for a swim. When brilliant white cliffs appear before you, you're at Grotta Azzurra: crystal clear water and incredible plays of light. Go past the gulf of Cavoli, then the sandy beach of Seccheto, and you get to the scenic, white sandy "Caribbean" beach of Fetovaia.

The moment you're past the furthermost point, another pleasant surprise awaits you: you go from the numerous black and white beaches of Le Tombe, to the Ogliera rock with the shipwreck lying only a few metres below the surface of the clear blue sea. Here you will see other islands on the horizon, the nearest is Pianosa, then unmistakable Montecristo. Behind Pomonte, a tiny sea town built where there was once a Roman port, Monte Capanne stands proud, and the green vineyards in Poio Valley contrast with the blinding white granite cliffs.

By now you're on the western side: crumbly, layered rocks take the place of the white cliffs of Chiessi, Corsica so near yet so far, and Punta Nera, the furthermost part on the western side of the island.

After the lighthouse in Punta Polveraia, you paddle past tiny grottos and rocks sticking out from under the water and get to La Zanca and Capo Sant'Andrea, once an important reference point for sailors.

The lush, mediterranean scrub of the northern part of Elba opens before your very eyes, as well as Capraia and the mainland in the distance, and if you're lucky, you might even glimpse some whales. These magnificent cetaceans have been sighted on several occasions only some hundred metres from the coast precisely in this area of sea that separates the island from the mainland.

With the magnificent Nasuto Rock behind you, sail past the Tower of Marciana Marina, with the chestnut trees on Capanne high above. Go past Punta della Crocetta, round the tiny La Paolina Rock and you get to Procchio beach; here your trip comes to an end.

The south coast: from Marina di Campo to Lacona

Strating point: Marina di Campo.
Destination: Lacona.
Mileage: 15 km.
Difficulty: challenging because of the mileage, but if you wish you can do the route in stages.
Interest: scenic and geological

Starting off at Marina di Campo beach sail towards the left hand side of the gulf, between the coast and the tiny island of Porto Caccamo: only a sea kayak can get through the semi submerged rocks and still be "in one piece". It is stable, easy to control, and thanks to its watertight peaks you can take a change of dry clothes with you as well as something to eat, should you wish to stop for a make-do picnic on the beach.

Anyway, back to our trip. Emerald green sea and air full of Mediterranean scrub perfumes. The tiny,enchanting cove of Ischia, with two tiny shingle beaches, lies before you, like jewels set in pink granite. Further along you reach la Rota, tiny inlets one after the other engraved in the black rocks.

Past the gulf of Fonza, and round Priolo you get to Longio, where the brilliant white colour of the granite stands out from the turquoise sea. The Valle del Re above brings past legends of the island to mind.

Past Le mete, the Triglio rock behind you on your left, the first place you get to is Ripa Nera, then Cala del Fico, where beautiful granite crystals make the steep rocks glitter in the sun. Further along there's a tiny grotto where a natural water spring is home to many sea birds.

Keep going till you get to the Coralline sandbank, a massive granite column that goes down 73 metres under the incredibly crystal clear sea; here sea life is plentiful, and you often see the elegant cormorants plunge down into the water in search of food.

The lovely Paradiso beach, unaccessable by boat or rubber dinghy, is perfect for a swim or a stop in the shade inside a beautiful grotto. Shortly later you will get to the Cale dell'Inferno, where you'll see a colony of seagulls and a seabed very rich in posidonia, the perfect habitat for many species of fish.

Behind la Contessa you can still see what were once military posts during the second World War; once you get to the soft, sandy Lacona beach your journey comes to an end.

Description by the Tuscan Archipelago Board of Tourism

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