It’s middle August and it’s time to talk about my personal chart of best southern Tuscany beaches!
Even though I still haven’t visited all southern Tuscany beaches I wish to, I’m feeling ready to write down my own list of the beaches I’ve been so far. Take this as a work-in-progress post!
1. Cala Violina
It’s hard to say which beach is really the best, but I put this beach on top because of its shallow crystal clear waters, its white sand and the totally natural surroundings. In fact, there’s only one way to reach Cala Violina: walking through Bandite natural reserve’s pine woods. It’s a pleasant 15-20 minute walk with few ups and downs. So, once you get to the parking (it costs 7€ for the full-day stay) wear comfortable shoes and bring some water and food with you, as you won’t any bar: a street food truck only, from June to September, which are not the months I suggest to visit this beach. I suggest to get there during the last days of May or in late September/ early October. In October you will bathe for sure because the water will be still warm. The legend of its name it’s the plus that makes this beach win over others: thanks to its half moon shape, the woods at its back and the size of the grains of the sand, walking in some points you’ll be able to hear a romantic violins-like sound!
2. Sansone beach
This beach is located in Elba island. That means it takes an hour cruise on the ferry boat to reach Portoferraio from Piombino, plus a 10 minute drive (most of the time you won’t find a park in the park lot, because it’s very small, so you have to park on the side of the road) plus a 15 minute walk on a not paved winding path! But I can assure it will be worth it. Sansone is s big white pebbles beach surrounded by white cliffs. Thanks to the colour of these stones, the water colour changes from a clear turquoise to a stunning blue the more it gets deep. On the right side of the beach there is a big rock with a little cave inside, so be sure to bring your mask with you, because it’s full of sea life there! The beach is partly equipped with sun chairs and sun umbrellas for rent. There is a bar at La Sorgente beach, which is the first beach you meet before arriving at Sansone.
3. Cala di Forno
This is my home beach! But the harder to reach, even for me. The easier way to get there is by private bus, only available in July and August. You take this bus in Collecchio and it stops 30 meters from the beach. It costs 30 euros for a day long stay (9am-6pm). Before becoming a natural reserve dedicated to wildlife preservation, Maremma Natural Park was a private estate. A huge villa faces Cala di Forno beach and her owner is used to feed the deers coming from the woods all around. So it isn’t hard to find deers on the beach. They are quite smart and hungry, so never let your food out of your sight! Except for the villa, there is absolutely nothing there: no toilets (you can’t enter the private villa, of course) and no bars. Another way to reach the beach is by foot trough a 3 hours’ (yes! 6 hours of walking in total) easy, not paved path. You reach the itinerary starting point by bus. From mid June to mid September, you must be accompanied by a guide of the Park. The tour (minimum 6 people) must be booked in advance and takes 9 hours in total. I did it in a warm december day, without the Park guide and it took 6 hours (plus one hour spent at the beach). Dogs are not allowed all year round.
4. Cala del Gesso
It’s hard to say which Argentario beach is the most beautiful, so I chose Cala del Gesso because of the 16th-century Spanish tower ruins you can admire there. It’s a little beach, not easy to reach: you have to park on the side of the road and then go down some “stairs” and a downhill path in the pine woods. So, once again, remember to wear comfortable shoes and to take food and water with you. Don’t forget your mask: Cala del Gesso it’s a great place for snorkelling!
5. Cala dello Smeraldo
Giglio island would definitely deserve a dedicated post. Few people know this little gem off the coast of Argentario, in the very southern point of the Tuscan Archipelago. You get there after an hour’s cruise from Porto Santo Stefano. Once there, since the island isn’t so big, I suggest you to rent a boat or take a taxi boat and reach the little “coves” (cale) like Cala dello Smeraldo (“Emerald Cove”) which is only an example. Thanks to its off the beaten touristic tracks position (most of the tourist go to Elba island) and the fact that there aren’t many easy places for passing by boats to anchor (Campese bay only, I think) the underwater sea life is still perfectly preserved. Sadly, the 2012 Costa Concordia cruise ship accident endangered this hidden paradise, but now the ship wreck has been totally removed.