Black Beaches




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The dark side of Elba

Photography by Roberto Ridi

“black pearls”

The unique, geological complexity of Elba lends many, varied colours to stretches of the island’s coastline. Besides the famous beaches of bright, white, aplite pebbles, Elba also offers a number of little gems, which islanders like to call their “dark” beaches. These are our favourites.

Visit Elba Island Tuscany Tourism Black Beaches

Norsi Beach, Capoliveri, Elba.


Norsi and the nearby Acquarilli form two stretches of extremely natural, dark-coloured beach, each sheltered by imposing serpentine rocks, small pebbles of which line the coastline. Not listed among the most popular beaches, they nevertheless deserve a visit for their natural simplicity. Norsi beach offers some facilities, albeit fairly informally. Acquarilli is unspoilt and also very natural and is one of the few nudist beaches on Elba.

Visit Elba Island Tuscany Tourism Black Beaches

Cannello Beach, Rio Marina, Elba.

Visit Elba Island Tuscany Tourism Black Beaches

Cannello Beach, Rio Marina, Elba.


What makes Topinetti Beach and many others on the eastern coast unique is the fine, black, sparkling sand resulting from the mines that were once worked just behind the beach. The beach is equipped, but do not expect luxury, and offers friendly and informal hospitality; despite many visitors, the beach still retains its natural appeal.

Visit Elba Island Tuscany Tourism Black Beaches

Le Tombe Beach, Campo nell’Elba, Elba.

“le Tombe”

Access to this wonderful beach is along footpath no. 173. The path descends through shrubs of rosemary, fennel and other aromatic plants typical of the area; the final stretch is steep. A wall of detrital rock, which protects from winds from the northwest to the east, extends behind the beach, making it very pleasant when the Mistral and Tramontana winds blow. The beach consists of dark shingle derived from to the crumbling of huge blocks of serpentine, a mineral of eruptive origin that gives the pebbles a dark colour with greenish reflections and a pearly lustre. The seawater is generally very clear. The dark colour of the pebbles and southerly aspect make this beach a very pleasant even in spring and autumn.

Visit Elba Island Tuscany Tourism Black Beaches

Contessa Beach, Capoliveri, Elba.

“la Contessa”

Small (about 15 metres long) and without facilities, this secluded beach is set in the headland namesake, Punta della Contessa in the bay of Golfo Stella, Capoliveri. Access by land is from Laconella beach. The beach, of very dark shingle, is sheltered from northerly, easterly and westerly winds in an intimate bay, protected by two long rocky headlands; in the western one a natural “window” about halfway up can be crossed; you can swim there or walk (depending on the tide), taking care not to slip. Alternatively, you can swim round the promontory in the company of multitudes of salps and other fish typical to the Mediterranean.

If you’re looking for solitude, Le Tombe is the beach for you, you can also get there by canoe, from Fetovaia or Pomonte, for example. Alternatively, Norsi or Topinetti beaches are livelier and have facilities.

For a romantic experience, rent a boat and go to Contessa bay or le Tombe. If you need advice for making the most of your holiday, book this Boutique Hotel, where a Personal Elba Consultant can help you plan everything to make stay truly memorable.

When you go to black beaches, make sure you have comfortable shoes to protect from the heat of the beach, especially around midday, when it can become too hot for walking barefoot. Among the most suitable black beaches for families we recommend Norsi (shingle) with bar, parking and umbrella hire, or Topinetti (sandy) bar and parking area.

By Loredana Zugno
Loredana, originally from Biella, moved to the island of Elba in 1991 and has never since left. Owner of the publishing house Edizione Immagine, which publishes countless tourism editorials about the wonders of the Tuscan Archipelago, she told us at Elba Unexpected Paradise about some of the aspects that have fascinated her the most about this magnificent area.

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