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Fringed by the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea's Tuscan Archipelago National Park and with a rural countryside feel, Elba is a pearl of tranquillity in the Tuscany region. Unlike the many other islands that pepper the Italian coastline, for most of the year Elba is peaceful and tranquil paradise escape, a carpet of olive groves, vines, sandy coves and white cliffs. Elba is made up of eight charming towns, the largest being Portoferraio, built around a yacht-filled marina with fortress walls and some great restaurants and bars. There's not much to do on a villa holiday in Elba but soak up the sun, lie on secluded sandy beaches and explore local towns and the island's national park, with Elba just 28km-long and 19km wide. Our villas in Elba are all near to the coastline, but also towns and villages. Enjoy hiking, wine tasting and exploring, before returning to your luxury Elba villa with a private pool to enjoy a golden hour. Elba is best known as Napoleon's place of exile, but we have to say, he had it pretty lucky.

Things to do in Elba Island

The beauty of an Elba villa holiday is freedom, and villa guests can explore the island on foot or hire a car to go further afield. Life revolves around being outdoors in Elba, as the island is part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and home to craggy peaks for hiking and climbing and a plethora of gorgeous sandy and shingle beaches, more peaceful than found in many holiday hotspots. Elba also has eight unique towns and villages to explore, the 'capital' being Portoferraio. For lazy days, hire a villa with a private pool in Elba to make the most of the gorgeous views and peaceful atmosphere. Visit Portoferraio to see the archaeological museum, a handful of forts, the famous Portoferraio lighthouse and the house where Napoleon lived during his year on the island. Dining in Elba is also easy, especially in Portoferraio, and you'll find some great restaurants peppered along the waterfront. Make sure to indulge on stuffed squid, squid ink risotto, zerri fritti (very small fried fish), and stuffed sardines – all delicious Elba specialities caught straight from the gin-clear sea.

Elba Island, coastline and sea, Tuscany
Portoferraio from above, Elba Island, Tuscany

History and Culture in Elba Island

Despite its size and reputation today as an oasis of tranquilly, Elba has had a fascinating history. Elba is probably best known as the places where the French emperor Napoleon was exiled, and you can visit the house where he lived today in Portoferraio. It's easy to reach Portoferraio from wherever your Elba villa is on the island, and well worth a visit for other historical sites like the three forts (Stella, Falcone and Inglese) and the Archaeological museum – a great way to get to know the history of the island. Also in Portoferraio, there's the historic Portoferraio lighthouse built in 1548 by the Medicis. Lovers of the antiquity will go mad for Elba's three ruined Roman villas, located in La Grotte, Linguella and Capo Castello.

Family holidays in Elba Island

Families staying in one of our family villas on Elba will love how peaceful and safe the island is, offering ample activities for both children and adults to enjoy. For a fantastic family day out under the hot Tuscan sun, pack up the car (or stroll down to, depending on where your Elba villa is) one of the many sandy or soft singled beaches. Fenicia beach has coveted Blue Flag status with shallow waters, umbrellas and sunbeds to rent and handy facilities. Biodola beach is also a family favourite with its long and wide white sands. Another great day out from your Elba family villa is a trip to the Aquarium of Elba, packed with local dish and molluscs.

Beach holiday
Speed boat off the coast

Adventurous activities in Elba Island

If you're an adventure and outdoors lover, then a large villa for a group holiday in Elba is perfect for you. For starters, there are plenty of great hikes and treks on the island, thanks to its rugged terrain. If you fancy a challenge, hike to the top of Mount Capanne, the highest point on Elba island which also has a cable car. You can also horseback ride or mountain bike through the mountain and around the national park. For something more high-octane, head to the shores where a myriad of water sports await. Tour operators are dotted around the island offering kayaking lessons, diving, snorkelling, sailing, you name it. Adventurous types will also love an off-road tour to the abandoned mines on Elba's north side – think eerie tunnels, rusting equipment and ghost settlements. The region also has a decent amount of biking trails and mountain bikes are extremely easy and affordable to rent.

Romance in Elba Island

Elba is the perfect romantic villa holiday destination, be it for a honeymoon or just a couple's escape. Its sunsets are endless, its beaches perfect, its scenery breathtaking – and there are eight charming little villages and towns to explore along the way. Spend a day away from your Elba couple's villa by exploring the towns of Portoferraio, coastal Marciana Marina, historic Porto Azzuro and hilltop Capoliveri – where you will discover dozens of charming eateries for a romantic date night. Visit one of Elba's charming wineries for a day of tasting and touring or sunbathe on stretches of sandy beach – many secluded and off-the-beaten-track. For the ultimate romantic gesture on your villa holiday in Elba, treat your loved one to a sunset sailing cruise out of the harbour.

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Having worked within the villa industry collectively for over 50 years, there isn’t a Mediterranean holiday location we haven’t visited. From couples retreats to large, family properties - our carefully curated collections offer something for everyone. Villa holidays are our passion - let us help you find your perfect destination.

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