Boating vacations: Capraia and Giglio Island, pearls of the sea


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Capraia, the marina.
Capraia, the marina. © Luca Aless/CC BY-SA 4.0

Capraia and Giglio Island are the two islands from the Tuscan Archipelago closest to the coast, Giglio, and farthest away, Capraia. But both are very “maritime,” especially enjoyable and usable in la barca.


Capraia two “steps” from Corsica

Volcanic and rocky, the westernmost of the Tuscan islands tells a story of wilderness and lonely caves.

About 4 miles long, from Punta Teglia in the north to Punta dello Zenobito in the south, Capraia has a coastal development of about 15 miles and is 16 miles from Cape Corso, the tip of Corsica.

It is recognizable from the sea by the rugged bulk of 447-meter-high Mount Arpagna, which towers on the north side. Like all islands in the Tuscan Archipelago, Capraia is part of the marine area and there are restrictions on anchoring.

Wild and clearly volcanic in origin, Capraia was from the 1800s until 1986 the site of a prison. Today the island seeks to transform itself into an environmentally conscious tourist resort and the preservation of its unique natural features.


Ports and anchorages in Capraia



(43°03′ 10N – 09°50′ 35E)

A picturesque little harbor surrounded by a small village, it is enclosed between two wharves, S and N, which are entirely docked. Approach: the dock is set at the end of a beautiful bay, recognizable by the lighthouse and tower overlooking Cape Ferraione.

Mooring: on docks and on shore where indicated. Max boat length: 30 meters. Depth: 1-4 meters.

Services: water and electricity at the dock. Toilets and fuel on the ground. Available: various types of ship repairs and services. On the ground: bar, bank, post office stores and restaurants in the village, a ten-minute walk away.

Port of Capraia
Port of Capraia


(43°01′ 59N – 09°50′ 19E)

Covered by Punta Civitata, it is a wide bight overlooked by high and spectacular cliffs. The best place to bottom is north of the inlet on sandy bottoms of 5-8 meters, good tenor. Exposed to winds from the S and E.



(43°01′ 50N – 09°49′ 70E)

Smaller bay located SE of Cala Ceppo, you can give bottom in 10-14 meters of water on sand, approaching 50 meters from the shore.



(43°01′ 20N – 09°49′ 20E)

Just S of the two previous anchorages, it takes its name from a rock about 5 meters high and located on the S side. It anchors on uneven bottoms (in 9-20 meters of water), which rise rather rapidly toward shore: always be careful in maneuvering.



(43°00′ 40N – 09°48′ 42E)

It is the S tip of Capraia, topped by a tower. On its NE side opens Cala Rossa, a cove about 100 meters wide and a fascinating landing place with contrast between gray rock of lava origin and bright red basalt. The bottom is bad tenor. On the O side of Punta Zenobito, on the other hand, is Cala del Moreto, where you give bottom in 10-15 meters of water on sand and rock bottom.


Navigating between caves and volcano

A circumnavigation allows you to quickly discover the true essence of Capraia. In the eastern part, first of all, you can admire valleys that open onto creeks where streams flow, creating small bends, pebble beaches, and caves. Toward the south not to be missed is Cala Rossa, where a rift in the Zenobito volcano shows the deep gray interior of the crater, while fiery red rock stands out on the eastern front. Depending on the incidence of the sun’s rays during the day, the colors change tones and shades. The nearby cove of the Dead or Moreto is also worth visiting.

In contrast, the coasts on the west side of Capraia are high and rocky and hide caves all to be explored and natural arches. It was erosion caused by wind and eruptions of the Zenobito volcano that created large cavities, called “tafoni.” The most famous of the caves is that of Bue Marino, and the best known arch is that of Cala del Reciso, fascinating indeed and also swimable. On nearby Seagull Island, birds rule the roost, and the Sea Ox caves provide ancient thrills.


Giglio Island among fortresses, towers and sheltered bays

Beautiful and much loved by tourists, including foreigners, it is home to magical beaches as well as a unique mix of historical and artistic relics.

So named because in spring it transforms into a green oasis covered just by the white flowers, Isola del Giglio is a municipality in the province of Grosseto that also includes the smaller island of Giannutri, located 11 miles to the southeast.

Mountainous–the maximum height is reached by the 498 meters of Poggio della Pagana–it is the second largest in the Archipelago, thanks to its 15 miles of coastline and an area of 21.2 square kilometers.

Separated from the stretch of Tuscan coast where Argentario towers by 8 miles of sea, it hosts three villages on its territory: Giglio Porto, Giglio Castello and Giglio Campese.

The first two have medieval origins, while Campese, once home only to fishermen’s huts, has been transformed into a tourist center for the past few years, thanks in part to the presence, right on the edge of the village, of a beautiful beach.

Until a few decades ago terraces with granite dry-stone walls, called greppe, were carved out of almost the entire area of the island’s hinterland and used for cultivation. Today, unfortunately, they are almost all abandoned, but they give the island a special look.

Giglio Island
Giglio Island. © thedirector /CC BY-SA 3.0

Ports and anchorages at Giglio Island



(42°21′ 61N – 10°55′ 21E)

Located on the NE coast of the island, it is the only marina: protected by two piers, it is folkloric and always full of traffic. Approach: conspicuous the village settlement and Saracen Tower.

Mooring: there are about 60 berths along Docks E and O. Max boat length: 20 meters. Depth: 1-2.5 meters. VHF: 14 and 16.

Facilities: water and fuel in dock. Available: electrical and motor repairs, slide and crane. Ashore: market, stores, bars and restaurants in the village.

Giglio Porto
Giglio Porto


(42°21′ 00N – 10°44′ 00E)

Located S of the harbor on the shore hosts a beautiful sandy beach. You can anchor in the NW corner of the bay in front of the rocky shore in 8-13 meters of water on sand and seaweed bottom.



(42°20′ 37N – 10°55′ 20E)

On the E coast, rounded Cape Marino Point, there is this small and wild bay with a small beach, in front of which to give bottom, 100 meters from the shore, in 5-10 meters of water on seaweed and sand bottom.



(42°21′ 00N – 10°52′ 90E)

Recognizable from the Cappa rock which is 400 meters S from the entrance to the bay. Give bottom 100 meters from the reef in 7-10 meters of water on rock.



(42°22′ 18N – 10°52′ 79E)

In front of the beach of the same name is this excellent anchorage ridged by all winds except those from NO. Give bottom in 3-8 meters of water on sand.



Don’t miss the other installments of Boat Vacations in the Tuscan Archipelago



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