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Giglio Island, The Hidden Paradise Of Italy

Photo credit: Visit Tuscany

GiglioIsland (in Italian “Isola del Giglio”) is a wonderful island of Tuscany surrounded by the Tyrrhenian sea. The island is one of seven that form the Tuscan Archipelago. Full of hidden beaches with crystal clear water, this is the perfect place to spend your holiday! We can guarantee it will turn all your friends green with envy when you come back! Overall, it’s just the kind of island where you can truly forget about your concerns.

If you have a wandering soul, it is advisable to try a number of different sites, ranging from the vast expanses of fine sand to the unique pebble beaches surrounded by enormous rocks that give you the impression that you are swimming on the set of an adventure movie.

A hidden treasure of Tuscany, Giglio Island resembles a miniature continent, with astounding geographical diversity. Within half an hour, the landscape morphs from glittering bays, glitzy coastal towns and fabulous beaches to saw tooth peaks, breathtaking valleys, dense forests and enigmatic hilltop villages. Holidays in Giglio Island will therefore be incredibly varied: from hiking, bird-watching, scuba diving and sailing to working on your tan, enjoying a leisurely cruise, delving into the island’s rich history and sampling local specialties.

I’ll suggest you some nice places to visit in Giglio Island: these locations could be busy and very popular on Summer or quiet and secluded, sheltered in a tranquil bay or facing out to the wide open seas. Whatever the case, they are always beautiful so don’t miss them!

First you should go in the harbor: the small port of the island is composed by a colored village facing the sea, two lighthouses and the old Saracen tower (“Torre del Saraceno”). From this point you can easily reach by ferry some of the Giglio’s best beaches: Cannelle, Caldane and Arenella. Ferries are packed in summer, so arrive early and be patient! 

Cannelle beach

Photo credit: Silvia Molinari

It is a beautiful small bay perfect to take a relaxing bath as the water, partly enclosed by land, is often warmer and calmer. Its golden beach is backed by fiery cliffs and traditional Mediterranean woodland, rich with native wildlife. You will see crystal clear water in a thousand shades of blue, perfect for snorkelers as well as divers. Tip: stay until the sun goes down because the sunsets here are incredible: at their blood-red best during Spring, but streaky-pink at any time of year.

Caldane beach

Photo credit: Maurizio Manetti

This is another stunning bay which looks extraordinarily enticing as you approach from the sea, with its classic arcs of tiny pebbles framed by dramatic cliffs and touched by crystal clear water. With hordes of tourists visiting every day, the area is not exactly private, but the bronze pebble beach and mesmerizing turquoise Caribbean waters more than make up for it!

Arenella beach


Arenella beach is a beautiful beach with powder-white sand that leads to some of the world’s clearest, most crystalline waters. The water is so transparent that the fish are clearly visible swimming near the shore. You will find a paradisiac perfect mix of caramel-colored sand and transparent water. Ideal for families and children!Once you’ve visited the beaches you can have a tour in the main cities: Giglio Castello and Giglio Campese.

Giglio Castello


Photo credit: Simonetta Viterbi

This city, in the middle on the island, is a medieval fascinating village and the fortified neighborhood of the island. Feel like walking and enjoying great views of the Giglio Island? You should also visit the San Pietro Apostolo Church from which you will enjoy an amazing view overlooking the island and, if you’re particularly lucky, you’ll be able to see the islands of Giannutri, Elba and Corsica. Giglio Castello is beautiful and enchanting, with its many medieval towers still rising high into the air and its narrow streets with balconies full of flowers. And again, don’t forget to visit old churches: whether you’re Catholic or not, the scenes will compel and draw you in. Moreover, this town, thanks to the Mediterranean sun, has plenty of figs and grapes, so why you should try “panficato”, a typical sweet from Giglio Island. And if you’re thirsty, just find some canteens where you can taste the local wine, the Ansonaco (tasty and very strong!).

Giglio Campese


Photo credit: Visit Tuscany

This city is settled on the West side of the island and it’s about 5 km far from Giglio Castello and 9 km from Giglio Porto. Unlike Giglio Castello and Giglio Porto, Giglio Campese is quite new: its most ancient building, Campese Tower, was built in the sixteenth century as a lookout tower to spot ships arriving from the west side of the island. Nowadays Giglio Campese is the island’s most important touristic spot. Here you can find an amazing sandy beach with clear azure water where people usually windsurf thanks to the steady wind. Don’t forget the geographical location of the town, on the western side of the island: that will allow you longer sun exposure and breathtaking sunsets.

How to get there

Choose the best way to get to Giglio Island but remember that cars’ policy is quite strict during the summer! During the month of August, tourists’ cars and motorbikes are not allowed on the island. You can bring your car only if you stay on the island for more than 5 days filling out a self-certification that you have to place in the car during your holidays. You can also bring your camper or caravan if you can prove that you’re going to stay at the one and only island’s camping for at least 4 days.

To reach the island you can take a ferry boat from Porto Santo Stefano (municipality of Monte Argentario) to Giglio Porto. There are two main ferry companies: Maregiglio and Toremar.

If you’re coming from abroad know that the nearest airports are in Pisa (around 150 km) and in Rome (Fiumicino and Ciampino).

If now you are dreaming of balmy days spent in a beach with a drink in your hands, don’t worry, it’s normal! And while it still doesn’t quite feel like summer yet, there’s no better time than now to think about where to go after this rainy Spring! If you want radiant sun, delicious food and clear waters you can never go wrong with a trip to Giglio Island! So, what are you waiting for? This is a place unlike anywhere else, it’s that kind of place where beaches are prototypes of paradise and where you can forget about your everyday life… until you have to go back to reality!

Have a great holiday!

Written by: Isotta Pieraccini

If you liked this article, read also “BEST WINE FESTIVALS IN ITALY THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

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