It’s hard to beat Marina di Campo, with more than a mile of fine golden sand, but one environmental group has called Marciana Marina the best beach in Italy. It isn’t the sand (the shore is lined with small, smooth stones), but the water is clear and pristine, and the marina is the kayaking center of the island. (Paddle west to see one of the island’s most beautiful shorelines.)
Most of the remote northwestern tip of Elba near Cabo Vita is accessible only by the sea (sailors love it when this happens). But head west from Bagnaia (where the views from an 11th-century fortress are superb) to San Giovanni (home to a popular thermal spa), then stop for lunch in the island’s main town, Portoferraio. If it’s spring, continue a short ways west to Capo Bianco, where the lovely coastline is adorned with an abundance of wildflowers.
Seafood, Tuscan-style … tempting? Start with a simple salad of shellfish drizzled with olive oil, followed by a black risotto (cuttlefish is the main ingredient, with its ink added to the rice at the end). Some restaurants allow you to choose your own fish (to grill or bake), and if you are on in the island in autumn, don’t miss the fresh-from-the-forest porcini mushrooms. As for wine, skip the chianti and savor an Elba rosso (mostly sangiovese grapes) or with shellfish, a Ansonica bianco.