Portoferraio, Island of Elba travel guide - Things to do and see in Portoferraio
Itinerary Portoferraio: Sightseeing tours - bike tours - day tours - wine tours

Portoferraio is the capital of the island Elba and its cultural and economic center. The city has about 12.251 inhabitants (as of December 31th, 2011). The name „Portoferraio“ means „ iron harbor“, which can be attributed to the iron mining on Elba. 

Portoferraio is located at a ledge in the north of the island Elba. The ledge stretches far to the east into the sea and thus creates a natural bay. 

 

Things to see in Portoferraio

 

  • The winter residence of Napoléon Bonaparte, the palace Villa Mulini
  • The harbor Darsena with its bustling acitivity
  • The octagonal defense tower Torre della Linguella 
  • The Museo Civico Archelogico

 

 

Typical cuisine of Island of Elba

 

The cuisine from Elba was considered a „poor cuisine“, yet with the onset of tourism it gained much finesse. Are you planing a day trip to Portoferraio, Island of Elba or to the tuscany countryside?

 

Please check our travel guide for the best restaurants in Portoferraio, Island of Elba, wine tasting courses or selected wine tours discovering the most famous tuscan wineries of the Chianti or the Brunello region guided by a certified Tuscan wine sommelier.

 

Specialties (old recipes from Elba) are e.g.: dried cod “alla Riese“, a delicious dish with stockfish, onions, basil, tomatoes, parsley, green paprika, black olives, pine nuts, capers, oil, chili and salt.

 

The “Gurguglione” (vegetable stew), “Riso al nero di sepia” (black calamari Risotto), stuffed squid, the “Cacciucco” (fish soup made from 5 types of sea animals), fried picarels, stuffed sardines, “Sburrita di Baccalà” (codfish), the “Zeri Marinati” (marinated fish) and the “Classico Polpo Lesso” (classically cooked calamari), as well as “Schiaccia briaca” (drenched dessert cake).

 

Moreover you can find quite good wines in Elba for example the Elba Bianco, Elba Rosso, Rosato, the Ansonica, the Moscato and the Aleatico. 

 

Check our insider's travel guide to Portoferraio, Island of Elba, featuring the best Events of Portoferraio, Island of Elba, Night Live of Portoferraio, Island of Elba and sightseeing tours to discover the stunning landmarks, markets, churches, museums and monuments of Portoferraio, Island of Elba Tuscany.

 

Events of Portoferraio

Portoferraio, the town that once was the site of Napoleons exile for 300 days, still celebrates a mass in honor of the emperor in the church Chiesa della Misericordia. 

Portoferraio organizes every year an accompanying event for the Napoleonian May. 

 

Things to do in Portoferraio

Discover the marvelous countryisde of Portoferraio, Island of Elba and Tuscany joining a grape harvest festival or olive harvest festival, taking a bicycile tour in Tuscany visiting one of the nature parks or follow up our tracking itinerary.

 

If you want deeply to relax and re-charge all your energies a Spa journey would be perfect within your Portoferraio, Island of Elba or Tuscan holiday. Tuscany has many natural hot springs. In most towns there is a modern spa where hot springs water is brought into a swimming pool and you pay a daily ticket to use the pool.

 

Diving

Lovers of snorkeling and diving will discover real hidden treasures in Elba‘s / Portoferraio‘s underwater world. 

 

Sport Fishing

Sport fishing for amateurs in the crystal clear water of Elba's ocean is allowed in defined areas.

 

Sea Kayak

Kayaks and kayak excursions can be booked in many places.

 

Sailing

There are numerous sailing schools on the island / Portoferraio. 

 

Hiking

On Elba / Portoferraio there are sufficient hiking trails. 

 

Mountain bike

The mountain bike is due to the nature of the beautiful landscape of the island / Portoferraio a particularly suitable means of transport in order to get to know Elba. 

 

Free climbing

Also for free climbers there are particularly beautiful locations on the island / Portoferraio. 

 

Golf

The golf club „Acquabona“ on Elba has a 9-hole course.

 

Tennis

There are plenty of tennis courts and tennis clubs

 

Horseback riding

There are several riding stables on the island of Elba / Portoferraio. 

 

Playgrounds

On Elba / in Portoferraio there are different playgrounds for every age and every taste. 

 

Water games

Appropriate equipment (e.g. banana boat, water skis and skysurfing boards) guarantees you to have even more fun at Elba's beaches.

 

Cinema and theater

Elba offers many cinemas outdoors, but also regular movie theaters, also with 3D. 

 

Nightlife

Especially during summer there are many places in Elba / Portoferraio to enjoy the nightlife.

 

Further education

All year round you can take classes in various disciplines in Elba / Portoferraio.

 

Wellness

The thermal spa of San Giovanni in Portoferraio is known all over Italy and throughout Europe for the unique healing fango.

 

Beaches

West of Portoferraio you will find beautiful pebble beaches. The bright white stones on the beaches of Le Ghiaie, La Paduella, Le Viste, glow in the clear water, inviting you to go swimming.

Le Ghiaie

On the north coast of Portoferraio there is the 400 meters long beach Le Ghiaie. 

 

La Paduella

Two white rock formations surround the 150 meter long beach La Paduella. 

 

Le Viste

Colorful pebble stones and sand line the quiet beach Le Viste.

 

 

 

Holiday in Portoferraio, Island of Elba or Tuscany countryside

The Coast line of Tuscany offers many splendid white beaches. A guide to Tuscany's best beaches with reviews and what to do when you're there, chosen by our local experts.

 

Indulge your passion for Italian food or life style on a cookery holiday combined with language courses in Portoferraio, Island of Elba Tuscany and enjoy our hands-on cooking lessons and cookery courses in Tuscany Portoferraio, Island of Elba.

 

Our portfolio of hand picked rental villas with pool, holiday houses, romantic country houses and cottages, apartments or rooms for rent with a view in Tuscany offers you authentic, charming and private accommodation for a unique holiday experience.

 

No matter if you favor family holidays, beach holidays, golf holidays, luxury holidays or a pet friendly accommodation, we have the best private rentals in Tuscany available for you!

 

History

For millenniums there have been settlements in „Portoferraio“ , first dominated by Etruscans, Ligurians and Greeks before they finally became part of the Roman Empire. Until the 16th century the town was called „Feraia“ – a term for ore shipping.

 

The fortifications of Portoferraio were built in the years 1548 to 1552.  They were composed of the forts "Falcone“, “Stella” and “Linguella” that were connected with a wall. On May 4th, 1814 Napoléon Bonaparte landed in Elba, where he was exiled to. He chose Portoferraio and built his winter residence there. 

 

Economy

Before tourism started to play a major role in Elba/Portoferraio, the mining industry was the most important economic sector on the island. The dominance of the mining industry, which developed over the years, can still be detected looking at the present day landscape. The huge demand of charcoal for processing the minerals and the steady demand of wood for the architecture of the mines lead to the clearance of the durmast oak forests. 

 

The vegetation of the island today is mainly characterized by the “high” maquis with Erica, strawberry trees, mastics and myrtle. 

 

Climate

Elba has a typical Mediterranean climate, with fairly mild temperatures. On average, rainy days are seldom. 

 

The prevailing wind on Elba is the Scirocco (from the south-east), which is rather seldom very strong, and in the summer it is often replaced in the afternoon by the cooler Maestrale (north-west wind), making the days at the beach more comfortable and less hot. 

 

In contrast, the Libeccio (from the south-west) and the Ponente (west wind) are not as prevalent, but they are often stronger and lead to a high swell. 

 

Arrival

Elba / Portoferraio can be reached with the car ferry from Piombino. There are ferry services to the harbors of Portoferraio, Cavo (municipality Rio Marina) and Rio Marina. The airport Marina di Campo is located in the municipality Campo nell’Elba.

 

Local transportation

The island Elba / Portoferraio has a good network of roads. All important villages and towns are well marked and easy to reach via asphalted roads. 

 

For those who decide to visit Elba without their own car, there are numerous rentals on the island / Portoferraio that rent cars, motorcycles, scooter, quad bikes, bicycles and boats; or you simply take a cab or use the busses that connect the most important villages of the island. 

 

On the busiest days, like the bridging days April 25th and the May 1st as well as the weekends in July and August, you should leave early for the harbor of Portoferraio, as there might be traffic jams on the roads from Porto Azzuro and Procchio to Portoferraio, depending on the departure time of your ferry.

 

Bus

Departure times and information about the busses that service the entire island.  The Marebus that heads to the sea. The Elbacard can be bought as subscription as well. 

 

Taxi

Numbers and addresses of the taxis and rental cars with chauffeur in all the mayor towns of the island Elba.

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Portoferraio

Portoferraio, Island of Elba travel guide - Things to do and see in Portoferraio
Itinerary Portoferraio: Sightseeing tours - bike tours - day tours - wine tours

Portoferraio is the capital of the island Elba and its cultural and economic center. The city has about 12.251 inhabitants (as of December 31th, 2011). The name „Portoferraio“ means „ iron harbor“, which can be attributed to the iron mining on Elba. 

Portoferraio is located at a ledge in the north of the island Elba. The ledge stretches far to the east into the sea and thus creates a natural bay. 

 

Things to see in Portoferraio

 

  • The winter residence of Napoléon Bonaparte, the palace Villa Mulini
  • The harbor Darsena with its bustling acitivity
  • The octagonal defense tower Torre della Linguella 
  • The Museo Civico Archelogico

 

 

Typical cuisine of Island of Elba

 

The cuisine from Elba was considered a „poor cuisine“, yet with the onset of tourism it gained much finesse. Are you planing a day trip to Portoferraio, Island of Elba or to the tuscany countryside?

 

Please check our travel guide for the best restaurants in Portoferraio, Island of Elba, wine tasting courses or selected wine tours discovering the most famous tuscan wineries of the Chianti or the Brunello region guided by a certified Tuscan wine sommelier.

 

Specialties (old recipes from Elba) are e.g.: dried cod “alla Riese“, a delicious dish with stockfish, onions, basil, tomatoes, parsley, green paprika, black olives, pine nuts, capers, oil, chili and salt.

 

The “Gurguglione” (vegetable stew), “Riso al nero di sepia” (black calamari Risotto), stuffed squid, the “Cacciucco” (fish soup made from 5 types of sea animals), fried picarels, stuffed sardines, “Sburrita di Baccalà” (codfish), the “Zeri Marinati” (marinated fish) and the “Classico Polpo Lesso” (classically cooked calamari), as well as “Schiaccia briaca” (drenched dessert cake).

 

Moreover you can find quite good wines in Elba for example the Elba Bianco, Elba Rosso, Rosato, the Ansonica, the Moscato and the Aleatico. 

 

Check our insider's travel guide to Portoferraio, Island of Elba, featuring the best Events of Portoferraio, Island of Elba, Night Live of Portoferraio, Island of Elba and sightseeing tours to discover the stunning landmarks, markets, churches, museums and monuments of Portoferraio, Island of Elba Tuscany.

 

Events of Portoferraio

Portoferraio, the town that once was the site of Napoleons exile for 300 days, still celebrates a mass in honor of the emperor in the church Chiesa della Misericordia. 

Portoferraio organizes every year an accompanying event for the Napoleonian May. 

 

Things to do in Portoferraio

Discover the marvelous countryisde of Portoferraio, Island of Elba and Tuscany joining a grape harvest festival or olive harvest festival, taking a bicycile tour in Tuscany visiting one of the nature parks or follow up our tracking itinerary.

 

If you want deeply to relax and re-charge all your energies a Spa journey would be perfect within your Portoferraio, Island of Elba or Tuscan holiday. Tuscany has many natural hot springs. In most towns there is a modern spa where hot springs water is brought into a swimming pool and you pay a daily ticket to use the pool.

 

Diving

Lovers of snorkeling and diving will discover real hidden treasures in Elba‘s / Portoferraio‘s underwater world. 

 

Sport Fishing

Sport fishing for amateurs in the crystal clear water of Elba's ocean is allowed in defined areas.

 

Sea Kayak

Kayaks and kayak excursions can be booked in many places.

 

Sailing

There are numerous sailing schools on the island / Portoferraio. 

 

Hiking

On Elba / Portoferraio there are sufficient hiking trails. 

 

Mountain bike

The mountain bike is due to the nature of the beautiful landscape of the island / Portoferraio a particularly suitable means of transport in order to get to know Elba. 

 

Free climbing

Also for free climbers there are particularly beautiful locations on the island / Portoferraio. 

 

Golf

The golf club „Acquabona“ on Elba has a 9-hole course.

 

Tennis

There are plenty of tennis courts and tennis clubs

 

Horseback riding

There are several riding stables on the island of Elba / Portoferraio. 

 

Playgrounds

On Elba / in Portoferraio there are different playgrounds for every age and every taste. 

 

Water games

Appropriate equipment (e.g. banana boat, water skis and skysurfing boards) guarantees you to have even more fun at Elba's beaches.

 

Cinema and theater

Elba offers many cinemas outdoors, but also regular movie theaters, also with 3D. 

 

Nightlife

Especially during summer there are many places in Elba / Portoferraio to enjoy the nightlife.

 

Further education

All year round you can take classes in various disciplines in Elba / Portoferraio.

 

Wellness

The thermal spa of San Giovanni in Portoferraio is known all over Italy and throughout Europe for the unique healing fango.

 

Beaches

West of Portoferraio you will find beautiful pebble beaches. The bright white stones on the beaches of Le Ghiaie, La Paduella, Le Viste, glow in the clear water, inviting you to go swimming.

Le Ghiaie

On the north coast of Portoferraio there is the 400 meters long beach Le Ghiaie. 

 

La Paduella

Two white rock formations surround the 150 meter long beach La Paduella. 

 

Le Viste

Colorful pebble stones and sand line the quiet beach Le Viste.

 

 

 

Holiday in Portoferraio, Island of Elba or Tuscany countryside

The Coast line of Tuscany offers many splendid white beaches. A guide to Tuscany's best beaches with reviews and what to do when you're there, chosen by our local experts.

 

Indulge your passion for Italian food or life style on a cookery holiday combined with language courses in Portoferraio, Island of Elba Tuscany and enjoy our hands-on cooking lessons and cookery courses in Tuscany Portoferraio, Island of Elba.

 

Our portfolio of hand picked rental villas with pool, holiday houses, romantic country houses and cottages, apartments or rooms for rent with a view in Tuscany offers you authentic, charming and private accommodation for a unique holiday experience.

 

No matter if you favor family holidays, beach holidays, golf holidays, luxury holidays or a pet friendly accommodation, we have the best private rentals in Tuscany available for you!

 

History

For millenniums there have been settlements in „Portoferraio“ , first dominated by Etruscans, Ligurians and Greeks before they finally became part of the Roman Empire. Until the 16th century the town was called „Feraia“ – a term for ore shipping.

 

The fortifications of Portoferraio were built in the years 1548 to 1552.  They were composed of the forts "Falcone“, “Stella” and “Linguella” that were connected with a wall. On May 4th, 1814 Napoléon Bonaparte landed in Elba, where he was exiled to. He chose Portoferraio and built his winter residence there. 

 

Economy

Before tourism started to play a major role in Elba/Portoferraio, the mining industry was the most important economic sector on the island. The dominance of the mining industry, which developed over the years, can still be detected looking at the present day landscape. The huge demand of charcoal for processing the minerals and the steady demand of wood for the architecture of the mines lead to the clearance of the durmast oak forests. 

 

The vegetation of the island today is mainly characterized by the “high” maquis with Erica, strawberry trees, mastics and myrtle. 

 

Climate

Elba has a typical Mediterranean climate, with fairly mild temperatures. On average, rainy days are seldom. 

 

The prevailing wind on Elba is the Scirocco (from the south-east), which is rather seldom very strong, and in the summer it is often replaced in the afternoon by the cooler Maestrale (north-west wind), making the days at the beach more comfortable and less hot. 

 

In contrast, the Libeccio (from the south-west) and the Ponente (west wind) are not as prevalent, but they are often stronger and lead to a high swell. 

 

Arrival

Elba / Portoferraio can be reached with the car ferry from Piombino. There are ferry services to the harbors of Portoferraio, Cavo (municipality Rio Marina) and Rio Marina. The airport Marina di Campo is located in the municipality Campo nell’Elba.

 

Local transportation

The island Elba / Portoferraio has a good network of roads. All important villages and towns are well marked and easy to reach via asphalted roads. 

 

For those who decide to visit Elba without their own car, there are numerous rentals on the island / Portoferraio that rent cars, motorcycles, scooter, quad bikes, bicycles and boats; or you simply take a cab or use the busses that connect the most important villages of the island. 

 

On the busiest days, like the bridging days April 25th and the May 1st as well as the weekends in July and August, you should leave early for the harbor of Portoferraio, as there might be traffic jams on the roads from Porto Azzuro and Procchio to Portoferraio, depending on the departure time of your ferry.

 

Bus

Departure times and information about the busses that service the entire island.  The Marebus that heads to the sea. The Elbacard can be bought as subscription as well. 

 

Taxi

Numbers and addresses of the taxis and rental cars with chauffeur in all the mayor towns of the island Elba.

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