Barabarca, Isola d’Elba

So, I have a list of places to write about from our travels in the past couple of years. It’s just that I absolutely must tell you about our recent trip to Elba Island before summer is underway.

View of Portoferraio

Elba is a small island off the coast of Tuscany, accessible by a one-hour ferry ride. You probably know it as the place of Napoleon’s exile about 200 years ago. My family knows it as our happy place.

Safari Tent Campeggio Rosselba

We found a great deal on a “glamping” setup near Portoferraio, the first port from the mainland. More on that later, along with the beaches in Portoferraio. It’s all in the guidebooks. You have to check this out:

Barabarca SUP

I confess we aren’t the greatest city tourists. While history, architecture, and culture are fascinating with a proper guide, we have these two incredibly noisy little people who make it really hard to enjoy city breaks to the fullest. Plus, nature is relaxing. We do better as a family when we can marvel at the natural beauty of our planet and let our kids run wild.

So when we stumbled on this beach – near a mountain bike trail my husband wanted to catch – we decided Napoleon’s residences could wait for another visit. We tossed our plans out the window.


It isn’t the most accessible beach, but there is a bar and it’s worth the climb. Barabarca is a calm, little bay, mostly protected from the winds. The water is clear, the waves are minuscule, and the beach is the cleanest I’ve seen in ages.

Barabarca SUP Aerial

Best of all? The weather was perfection and there were barely a dozen other groups of people there.

Or maybe it was the spectacular paddle boarding? You can rent kayaks, chairs, and umbrellas from the bar if you don’t want to mule it all in like we did.

Barabarca Beach View

Or that my kids were entertained by the sand and stones for seven hours straight while my husband got in some epic mountain biking.

In short: we want to go back. The ragazzo at the bar explained that it’s pretty busy in July and August, but June and September are pretty quiet. But don’t all you go at once! It’s nice this way.

Have you ever accidentally discovered an amazing place that inspired you to ditch your best laid travel plans? I’d love to hear about it!

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