The marine reservation constituted about forty years ago in the Tuscan Archipelago has greatly helped to maintain the splendid natural beauty of these crystal clear waters. It is among the largest European maritime reservations and features 7 beautiful islands, each one with its strong character to be discovered. Some islands are not inhabited, others are mostly summer retreats for a few fortunate home owners, while others, such as Elba, are populated throughout the year. Here you are very likely to find splendid villas Tuscany coast to live like Tuscans do and savor the sweet shores of the island. Nevertheless, there is an even better way to live the Tuscan archipelago, and that is by joining a cruise that will let you discover all the islands in 4 days or even a week for a more relaxed tour.
These small cruises in the Mediterranean sea usually involve either a motor yacht or on a large sailing boat. You will not have time to get bored, as there is always a place to explore, a special beach to relax on, or a snorkeling session to take while sailing in front of the Tuscany coast. Each sailing company offering archipelago cruises include experienced professional guides that can accompany you through each activity and the exploration of the sea bottom to enrich your experience greatly.
Do not expect the usual cruise with evening animation and few stops between long sea-trip legs. These cruises are much more hand on, involving you and your family into a much more direct contact with the natural environment you will be visiting.
Some information on the islands:
Giannutri is a must see. It used to be a colony of the Roman empire at defense of the imperial villas on the Tuscany coast constantly threatened by enemy incursions. No Roman vestiges are left, just a few typical houses of more recent construction that leave all the space to uncontaminated natural landscapes.
Have you ever heard of the Count of Montecristo by Dumas? The island of the novel and the movies made from the novel is exactly the Montecristo island in the Tuscan archipelago. A former ancient prison, it is completely inhabited and can be visited only after special permits have been granted. It is a strict nature reserve and can be approached with non-motor boats only.
The major islands are Elba and Giglio, where the latter is the smaller of the two. Here tourism was developed much more strongly than on any other island of the archipelago. However, their beauty is still intact and severely protected. Castles, typical cliff towns and fisherman villages patch parts of the coast with colorful accents amidst extensive woodlands. If you are looking for crazy nightlife, here is where you should head to.
Pianosa and Gorgona share the common destination of being peanal islands. However, Pianosa’s penitentiary was closed in 1998 and now provides for a fascinating penal museum that can be toured with a rental-bike. Gorgona’s prison is still active, and is among the most successful corrective institutions in Europe thanks to the agricultural employment of its inmates, who produce gourmet products and crafts you can acquire as a special souvenir.
If during your cruise in the Tuscan archipelago you want to dedicate a day to hiking, you have to visit Capraia, an almost bare island offering unmatched views from its notable elevations.