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The Island of Elba with Kids

You will love visiting the Island of Elba with your kids. Isola d’Elba is the third largest island in Italy with over 100 beautiful beaches to visit. Elba Island is also where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled (which apparently the whole world knew, except us!).

Visiting the Island of Elba with kids is great for families that love outdoor activities. It’s easy to rent a bike to get around, there’s plenty of good family hikes and, of course, your kids will love playing on the beautiful Italian beaches.

the beautiful countryside on Elba Island has thousands of wildflowers

The idea of escaping to a beautiful Italian island for a week sounded wonderful. We just needed to figure out how to get from Rome to Elba and find an affordable Elba accommodations over Easter.

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How To Get to Elba from Rome

It is quite easy to get to Elba from Rome by train and ferry.

Taking the train in Italy with kids was a lot of fun - goofing around at the Campiglia Marittima train station

From Roma Termini in Rome, we took a beautiful 3-hour train ride through the Italian countryside to Campiglia Marittima. From here, we took a short 30 minute train ride from Campiglia Marittima to the ferry terminal in Piombino Marittima.

The kids loved taking the train from Rome to Elba

More info on taking the train from Rome to Piombino Marittima.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a couple of food options and play areas (one inside and one outside) at the Piombino Marittima ferry terminal. In addition, our Moby ferry to Elba had a great play area for kids.

This, in conjunction with the Epic reading app, kept our kids entertained on our travel day from Rome to Elba.

An outdoor playground at the Piombine Marittima ferry terminal
About to board our Moby ferry to Elba at the Piombino Marittima ferry terminal
Our ferry to Elba had a huge play area for kids

There are four companies that run ferries from Piombino to Elba every day, all day (in the summer months). Ferry tickets to Elba for all four companies are available on Aferry.co.uk.

More information on taking trains in Italy with kids.

Where to Stay on Elba with Kids

We chose to stay in Portoferraio on Isola d’Elba with our kids as it was convenient to get to-and-from the Elba ferry.

We found a beautiful Portoferraio Airbnb just outside of the main part of town. It was in a quiet area with easy access to beaches, town and the grocery store. We didn’t realize it until we arrived, but we were also right around the corner from a great little playground for the kids.

Big smiles at the Portoferraio playground

Visiting Elba with kids, it was nice to have the convenience of a large grocery store in Portoferraio. Plus, with nearby beaches, hiking and an interesting historical town center, there was plenty to do in Portoferraio with kids.

There are plenty of kid-friendly Island of Elba Airbnb rentals to choose from. If you are new to Airbnb, you can sign up with our link and get a nice discount towards your first stay.

If your would prefer an Elba hotel for your family vacation, we personally use and recommend using Booking.com as their Top Picks for Families search filter makes it easy to find good family-friendly accommodation.

Getting Around the Island of Elba with Kids

We didn’t rent a car on our family vacation to Italy. We were able to get around the Island of Elba with rental bikes. The Portoferraio bike rental company, Twn-Rent, was able to secure a child seat big enough for our 3-year old. They did not have bike helmets for our kids, so we brought our own from home.

With Portoferraio rental bikes, we cycled to Bagnaia, Italy with kids

Things to do on Elba with Kids

The Island of Elba is an outdoor paradise. With rolling hills and the Mediterranean Sea never far from sight, you’ll love exploring all that Elba Island has to offer. We spend our week in Elba with kids biking, hiking and relaxing on its beautiful beaches.

Biking Elba Island with Kids

As the Elba ferry approached Portoferraio, we were surprised to see how big the hills on the island were! We quickly realized that our aspirations of taking our rental bikes to some of the far corners of Elba Island might not happen. 

Though we had wanted to do more cycling on Elba, we had underestimated the time required to bike to some of the places and overestimated our abilities! With a week of hiking in Cinque Terre ahead of us, spending some lazy afternoons on the beautiful beaches of Elba Island started to look pretty good! 

The beautiful countryside of Isola d'Elba, Italy

We found two really enjoyable bike rides near Portoferraio, plus we used our bikes to get groceries and to explore the historical town center.

Bike to Capo d’Enfola

Capo d’Enfola, famous for its ancient tuna fishing port, is a peak that is joined by a small strip of land to the rest of the island of Elba. Though there are several Elba beaches nearby, our plan was to bike from our apartment then do the hike to the top of Capo d’Enfola.

The bike ride from Portoferraio to Capo d’Enfola was approximately 3.1mi (5km) along a country road. Early in the morning the traffic was light, but the road did have several curves and a few big hills, so keeping to the side was important.

A few of the hills were hard work on our rental bikes, but it was worth it for the views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Elba countryside.

Our toddler loved his child seat on our Portoferraio bike rental

Bike from Portoferraio to Bagnaia

Our second Elba bike ride took us 6.8mi (11km) from Portoferraio to Bagnaia, a charming seaside town across the bay.

We decided to cycle to Bagnaia as the bike route looked reasonably easy. Even though we never got higher than 50m (164ft) above sea level, we still had to take some rest breaks along the way.

Most of our bike ride to Bagnaia was along a highway, which initially made us nervous with our kids in bike seats on the back. Thankfully, Italian drivers are surprisingly courteous and we never really felt in danger.

The scenery along our family bike ride to Bagnaia was beautiful, with many vineyards, ocean views (mostly of Portoferraio across the bay) and several rows of trees towering overhead lining the road.

We enjoyed riding our rental bikes from Portoferraio to Bagnaia
Approaching Bagnaia, Italy after a family bike ride from Portoferraio, Elba

We stopped for a short visit in Bagnaia. A visit to Bagnaia with kids is great for parents as it is pedestrian only (no cars allowed!). This allowed the kids (especially our toddler) run around without worry. The Bagnaia beach wasn’t that impressive compared to some of the nicer beaches on the Island of Elba.

Beach in Bagnaia on Elba in Italy

We rewarded the kids with some play time at the Bagnaia playground. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with some cappuccinos and croissants at a waterfront Bagnaia cafe before conquering the hills on the return bike ride to Portoferraio. 

Our toddler was happy to play at the Bagnaia playground after cycling from Portoferraio, Italy

Hiking Elba with Kids

Between cycling around Elba and playing at the kid-friendly Elba beaches, we didn’t have much time left over for hiking. But we love hiking with our kids, and the Island of Elba is so beautiful that we simply had to do a few good hikes on Elba with our kids.

Hike Capo d’Enfola

Hiking Capo d’Enfola was the second part of our Elba biking & hiking adventure. This short kid-friendly Elba hike can easily be done with small children.

The short Campo d'Enfola hike was fun with kids

Along the way to the peak of Capo d’Enfola we were treated to great views of the sea and the countryside. Our April visit to Elba meant plenty of spring flowers along the path adding to the beauty of the Mediterranean bush and sea views.

We enjoyed the views after the Campo d'Enfola hike

Nearing the top, there are remnants of WWII defense structures to explore. Finally, as you approach the top of Capo d’Enfola, there is a path which circles the summit of the hill. There were some decent views in spots, but it was mostly treed in along this path. 

Exploring some of the WWII historical sites while hiking Capo d'Enfola on Elba, Italy
Our kids enjoyed exploring this abandonded building on the Campo d'Enfola hike on Elba Island, Italy

The Capo d’Enfola hike is approximately 3.1mi (5km) return. Our 3-year old walked most of the way up (with some complaining) but ended up on my shoulders. And as hiking with kids sometimes goes, we quickly ended our hike as our little guy screamed and cried for the last part of it. 

We have an entire post full of all our best tips for hiking with kids and this one with all the best hiking gear for kids.

Hike Monte Poppe

We chose the “Monte Poppe” hike as it was within walking distance of our Airbnb. As it turns out, the trail was not well used and we had to bushwhack a lot. The summit of Monte Poppe was well treed and there were no views to enjoy.

Although there was occasionally some nice Island of Elba scenery, we wouldn’t recommend this Elba hike with kids.

hiking Monte Poppe

Island of Elba Beaches with Kids

We knew the weather in Elba in April wouldn’t be perfect for beach time, but we had a great time anyways. Visiting the uncrowded beaches on Elba with our kids was one of the highlights of our family vacation!

As is common around parts of Europe, the beaches on Elba are not sand beaches – they are covered with pebbles of various sizes. Although they are hard to walk on without (water shoes, they are great for kids who like to throw rocks in the water or search out ones with interesting colors.

As an added bonus, each of the Elba beaches we visited with kids was reached by walking from our Portoferraio apartment! 

A toddler throwing rocks into the water at a Isola d'Elba beach

Spiaggia Di Sottobomba Beach

You reach the stunning Spiaggia Di Sottobomba Beach by walking down a steep staircase. There’s not a lot of distance between the towering cliffs and the water but the beach is long.

At 4pm on a sunny April afternoon, the beach was near empty. The mix of sand and pebbles made it hard to walk on without shoes, but that’s a small price to pay.

beautiful scenery at the Portoferraio beaches

Spiaggia Capo Bianco Beach

Spiaggia Capo Bianco Beach is the #2 rated beach on TripAdvisor on Elba Island. It’s deeper and wider than Spiaggia Di Sottobomba but also more popular.

Spiaggia Capo Bianco Beach is filled with beautiful small white rocks with blue specks. These rocks are smooth and easy to walk on. 

Incredible Mediterranean colors on the beaches of Elba Island
Toddlers love playing with rocks at the Elba beaches

Spiaggia Seccione Beach

Spiaggia Seccione Beach was a bit hard to find. Thanks to Info Elba, we found a set of stairs further down the highway than we had thought it should be. We didn’t actually see any signs for the beach, so you need to look for cars parked on the side of the road and a few visible steps leading down to the beach.

It’s a long way down from the road to Spiaggia Seccione Beach, with approximately 120 steps. It’s nice and secluded with only a few other people on the beach.

Spiaggia Seccione has patches of actual sand and bigger rocks, making it a little harder to walk on in places. This Elba beach has a beautiful setting with a towering rock rising above the east side of the beach.  

Wear water shoes to the Elba Island beaches as the pebbles are hard on your feet
Kids love playing on the rocks at Spiaggia Seccione Beach, Elba, Italy

Spiaggia della Padulella Beach

The Spiaggia della Padulella beach is right around the corner from Spiaggia Capo Bianco and is one of the most popular Island of Elba beaches.

Spiaggia della Padulella is a small beach, making it feel more crowded than the other Elba beaches. We recommend bringing water shoes as the beach has some larger rocks mixed with small patches of actual sand. 

Beautiful water color at this beach near Portoferraio, Elba

The water at Spiaggia della Padulella beach had small waves, but it got deeper faster than the other beaches. It was still ok for the kids to go in a little bit, just watch them closely.

The nicest thing about the Spiaggia della Padulella beach was the varying colors in the water and the really nice view of the Forte Falcone fortress across the water in Portoferraio.  

Playing on the beach near Portoferraio, Italy

Portoferraio Historic Town Center

On our last day on the Island of Elba, the weather had turned a bit chilly and we had to return our rental bikes. It was the perfect opportunity to go into Portoferraio and spend some time exploring the historic town center.

Portoferraio’s U-shaped harbour was stunning, filled with sailboats moored all around and colorful buildings providing an interesting background.

Portoferraio, Italy harbor
The rolling hills of Isola d'Elba behind the Portoferraio harbour

We randomly walked through the town center to Piazza della Repubblica then up the stairs to the Napoleonic Mills House.

The house Napolean was exiled in on Elba, Italy

The long set of stairs was probably the highlight for the kids though it took some encouragement to get our toddler to keep going.

The kids loved this long set of stairs in Portoferraio, Elba, Italy

The medieval part of Portoferraio features city walls, forts and narrow streets is a lot of fun to just explore with kids and see where you end up.

Entertaining kids in Italy can be as easy as letting them play in a plaza
Exploring Portoferraio, Italy with a toddler

After what ended up being a more relaxed week on the Island of Elba than we had intended (though thoroughly enjoyed and in hindsight, really needed), we took an early morning ferry back to the mainland then a train up to Cinque Terre. 

Still working on your Italy Itinerary with kids? Here is our 4 week itinerary for Italy with some suggestions for a 2 week Italy Itinerary and a 10-day Italy Itinerary with kids.

Visiting Italy with Kids

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Exploring the Island of Elba with kids! Here is how we spent a week in Portoferraio with kids.  | Family Travel | Travel with kids | Toddler Travel | #familytravel #toddlertravel #travelwithkids #italy #elbaisland
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