The Tuscan archipelago is a chain of islands located off the west coast of Tuscany, between the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Sea. These islands are not often on British sailors' radars, with Tuscany associated more with rolling hills and vineyards rather than a beautiful sailing ground. However, within the Tuscan Archipelago National Park there are seven islands affectionately referred to as the 'Seven Sisters' which are well worth exploring.
A destination where crews can combine their love of sailing, great food and spectacular scenery, we think sailing the Tuscan Islands is a winner!
With two weeks to relax, you can not only explore some of Italy’s northern coastline and the Tuscan Islands but you can even make it over to Corsica and get your hit of French culture along with all the Italian!
In the Tuscan Islands summers are dry, breezy and warm with a West – North Westerly prevailing wind. Around the islands of Capraia, Elba and down the mainland coast to Giannutri there are often South Easterly winds. Perfecto!
Like the rest of Italy, mooring fees for a 39ft yacht range from €30 to upwards of €100 per night, with prices sometimes rising to double the cost when staying over a weekend. When sailing in Italy there are anchorages available, some of the better anchorages have mooring buoys which you do have to pay for, but are less expensive than a marina.
Once you arrive at the base you will be met by the charter company who will handle your check-in. Once all the paperwork has been completed, you'll be shown to your boat and after a quick briefing it's time to relax! Follonica's a great starting point to explore the Tuscan Islands, the Castella di Valli is well worth a visit on your night here.
For your first sail we suggest you ease into things by sailing the short hop over to Piombino along the coastline. Whilst here make sure you visit the Gate of St Antonino which dates all the way back to the 12th century.
For the next few days why not go island hopping. Starting on Elba Island and then head over to Capraia.
Portoferrario is magical town that will bewitch you with its charms as soon as you arrive. Along every winding alley and up and down every set of steps you'll find a different bit of history be it a 16th century citadel to some classic 18th century buildings, its all here in Portoferraio.
From Portoferraio its a very short hop along the coast of Elba to Marciana. This medieval town is set up in the hills and its Pisan Fortress is not one to miss. You can also take a cable car up to the top of Mount Capanne for some spectacular views.
After Marciana why not head north up to Capraia, which is actually nearer to Corsica than Italy. As one of the only volcanic islands in the Tuscan Archipelago it really stands out and it also has a lovely lake, Lo Stagnone if you fancy swapping salt water with fresh one day!
And since we're so close it'd be a shame not to pop over to Corsica and experience some french influences. There's plenty of places to stop off in whilst admiring the Corsican coastline, we advise heading to Saint Florent first. The town is nestled between the Cap Corse mountains and the Desert des Agriates with a picture perfect beach in the middle, it's not hard to see why this ones popular!
From Saint Florent its around a 15 mile sail around the northern tip of Corsica to Macinaggio. The harbour here is great will lots of facilities and is known for having the best moorings on the island and be sure to try the local olive oil thats produced here.
If you keep sailing south from Macinaggio you'll get to Bastia, quite the contrast from Macinaggio, Bastia is the second biggest town on the island and there's plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes to explore once you've moored up in the large harbour.
If you fancy a good days sailing why not pop over to Pianosa from Bastia, it's around a 25-30 mile sail but you'll need a permit to anchor here because it's a marina protected area and you'll understand why when you see how idyllic the island is.
From Pianoso if you head back to the mainland of Corsica, to Campoloro you won't be disappointed, the nearby Ucelluline waterfall nearby is stunning and worth a visit.
The last place we'd recommend in Corsica is Solenzara, this little village set at the foot of the Bavella mountain is a great backdrop for a quiet dinner in a local restaurant.
If you made it all the way down to Solenzara in Corsica then it's a good full days sailing to get back over into Italian waters. Why not stop off in Giglio or Giannutri before heading north up the coastline of Italy.
The Isola del Giglio is a small island, only 17 miles long but size doesn't matter here, the coastline is varied and there's even a castle at the top of the hill which is if you can face the walk gives some great views!
Giannutri is said to be Tuscany's most beautiful island, it's a nature park now but in the past it was a bustling Roman port, you can't stop over night here but it's a great lunch stop.
On your last day it's time to head back to Follonica, the sail from Giglio and its surrounding islands is a long one so either make sure you leave with enough time to get back to the base before 6pm on the last day or break up the sail a bit by stopping off in Castiglioncello or Punta Ala before heading back to the base.
Below is an indication of the yachts that will sail on this flotilla. Please call us on 020 8459 8787 to check live availability.
Our Shore to Sail holidays are a combination of a one or two week flotilla sailing holiday with another relaxing week or two ashore.
These holidays will appeal to those who enjoy sailing but have family or friends who are not quite so enthusiastic about sailing - a compromise can now be made!
Most people opt for a week of sailing followed by a week of winding down on shore. However it is entirely up to you to do what you want to do (and when!)
Choose from studios or apartments beside the sea at the Iris Hotel, Stena, near Nidri. Or, really pamper yourself at the Salvator Villas and Spa Hotel in Parga, which also has a selection of two-bedroom villas with private pools.
We also have a brand new, exclusive villa available which is nestled in the olive groves on the hill above Sivota Bay on Lefkas Island.
We have no doubt at all that our flotilla sailing gang will really score a few points with the non sailors of the family by bringing them here! The combination of one of our yachts and a room here is about as good as it gets!
For 20 years, our flotillas have been enjoying the wonderful food from the 'Castello Restaurant' in Parga. Spiros and his six sons have now expanded their programme in Parga with a fabulous boutique complex of rooms, apartments and villas called the Salva…
The Iris Hotel is one of our accommodation options in the South Ionian, ideally suited for a shore based week before or after one of our Lefkas or Ithaka flotillas, or one of our two week flotillas which finishes in the South Ionian.
A 'beside the sea' base for your shore based week on Lefkas …