Giglio Island, one of the islands of the Tuscan archipelago located off the coast of Tuscany, is a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore the beauty and culture of Italy. From sunlit beaches and captivating architecture to vibrant markets selling delicious food and souvenirs galore, this beautiful island offers something unique and unforgettable for all travelers.
Whether you’re interested in soaking up some rays on pristine shores or exploring quiet mountain trails deep in the countryside, there’s something for everyone here. Read on to find the best things to do and places to stay on this beautiful Italian island.
Where Is Giglio Island In Italy?
Giglio Island, known as Isola del Giglio in Italian, is a small island in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Tuscany. It is located 10 miles from the mainland and is a popular tourist destination for travelers visiting southwest Italy.
Giglio Island is located south of the towns of Orbetello and Porto Ercole, where it captures breathtaking views of Monte Argentario and Corsica. With its enchanting peaks rising from the crystalline waters, Giglio Island is an otherworldly paradise for visitors who come to soak up its ancient history, lush greenery, and captivating beaches.
What to do on Giglio Island
1. Relax on the beaches
Giglio Island in Italy has some of the most pristine, unspoiled beaches in the country. Those looking for a relaxing beach vacation can lounge on white sand beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters.
Travelers can take advantage of the many activities available, including snorkeling, fishing, swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, and more.
2. Diving and Snorkeling
Enjoy the beautiful natural ocean life of Giglio Island by taking a dive or snorkeling adventure. This small island in and around Italy is home to an impressive variety of sea life – dolphins, sea turtles, and even whales at certain times of the year. The crystal clear waters make it easy to spot colorful and exotic fish while diving or snorkeling around the unspoiled reefs on the edge of the island.
There are several dive spots on the island ranging from shallow reefs to deep caves and walls. So whether you’re an experienced diver or looking to take your first plunge, Giglio Island has something to offer.
Snorkellers will find a plethora of truly stunning sites to explore. For example, some of the best and most worthwhile places are located off the western coast at Campese Beach and the eastern coast at Aranella Beach. On the sides of Aranella beach, there are two low cliffs to be explored with a mask and snorkel.
One of the best ways to experience Giglio Island’s beauty up close and personal is by going on a hike. There are different trails available depending on how adventurous you feel. Isola del Giglio is protected by the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and is considered a special protection area.
If you’re after a more leisurely trek, follow a coastal path that winds along the rocky terrain, offering breathtaking views of shimmering waters and forests below. For something more challenging, venture into the island’s hilly interior for magnificent landscapes.
Whether you are an experienced hiker or just getting started, Giglio Island has something to offer everyone. The trails range from beginner to advanced, so you’re sure to find one that is right for your experience level. Hiking through Giglio Island allows visitors to take in lush green valleys and rugged hillsides.
Read more: Hiking in Tuscany
4. Mini Cruises
If you’re looking for an incredible experience, a mini cruise to Giglio Island is the perfect way to spend your vacation. These amazing cruises often provide tourists with great opportunities to enjoy live music and excellent food as they travel around the island, taking in the sights and sounds along its rocky cliffs and sandy beaches.
From swimming to snorkeling, there are plenty of activities available so that everyone can make the most of their time on Giglio Island before returning home with treasured memories of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
5. Renting a Boat
Renting a boat is the perfect way to experience all that Giglio has to offer. Also, it lets you control your own itinerary. Crewed charter boats can take you to some of the best-hidden spots and give you exclusive access to secret coves and bays.
Alternatively, you can hire a private boat and explore the stunning waters at your own pace. With one, visitors can enjoy a fully customized island experience.
Whether you’re searching for an isolated spot along the shoreline or want the chance to spot some dolphins or other marine wildlife, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for with your own private vessel. The laid-back atmosphere and crystal clear waters provide profound beauty only accessible by boat – it makes for a unique and unforgettable vacation.
6. Wine Tasting and Exploring the Vineyards
Giglio Island is an excellent destination for wine connoisseurs and even casual drinkers. The warm sun gives the vineyards a unique character and results in some truly wonderful selections of wine.
A tour of the vineyards is a great way to introduce yourself to the many varieties offered on the island – each providing its own distinct flavor and tannins. Furthermore, several wineries offer wine tastings where you can sample some of the finest wines on Giglio island. Perfect for anyone wishing to get an introduction to various styles of Italian wine.
For a truly immersive experience during your stay on Giglio Island, set aside some time to take part in a local wine tasting and tour to experience a dry and full-bodied white wine.
Read more: Best wineries in Tuscany
7. Giglio Porto
Giglio Porto is the main tourist hub of Giglio Island. Home to a long waterfront promenade and sandy beaches, this picturesque harbor village provides the perfect destination for relaxation and exploration.
Visitors can stroll through a vibrant historic center with quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants offering mouthwatering dishes – everything from fresh fish specialties to homemade gelato.
8. Giglio Castello
Giglio Castello is a captivating village on the Island of Giglio. Perched on the highest point of this picturesque landscape lies a medieval village that beckons tourists to explore its captivating walls and towers that encircle the entire settlement.
At center stage is Piazza XVIII Novembre, where Rocca Aldobrandesca stands, making it an alluring destination full of character and history!
Within walking distance is Church di San Pietro built in 15th-century housing precious relics, including Pope Innocent XIII’s treasure and Giambologna’s ivory Crucifix – both unique pieces telling tales from past era.
9. Giglio Campese
Giglio Campese, an enchanting coastal town on the west side of Giglio Island, is a must-visit for tourists. With beautiful sandy beaches and views provided by the Faraglione cliff to one side and the impressive Medici tower with its heroic history from centuries ago – it’s certainly worth seeing!
10. Megalithic Site of Cote Ciombella
Giglio Island is home to the megalithic site of Cote Ciombella, believed to date back as far as 2000 BCE. The mysterious stones at this excellently preserved site attract visitors from all over the world, eager to discover its secrets.
While there, you can view standing stones and boulders carved into curious shapes, ranging from semicircles and squares to more complex designs that exhibit fascinating geometric patterns.
11. Capel Rosso lighthouse
One of the top spots on the island to visit is the Capel Rosso Lighthouse. It provides panoramic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the charming fishing village of Giglio Campese. It was also where scenes from the Sorrentino movie “La Grande Bellezza” were filmed!
Giglio Island’s Best Beaches
There are four main beaches on Isola del Giglio: Cala della Caldane Beach, Cala delle Cannelle Beach, Arenella Beach, and Campese Beach.
The Cala delle Caldane Beach is on the east coast of Giglio. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Tuscany.
Arenella Beach is located on the island’s east coast, and the underwater alternating stones with sand give the bay an almost tropical paint. Campese Beach is situated on the west coast, and it is the largest beach on the island.
How to Get to Giglio Island
Accessible by boat or a passenger ferry, Giglio Island offers several ways to get there. Ferries leave Porto Santo Stefano-Monte Argentario and are active all day, departing from 7:00 am to 8:00/8:30 pm.
Ferries depart every hour during the high season and take about an hour to reach Giglio Porto on the island. Alternatively, boats can be chartered directly to Giglio for those wanting a more private option.
Best Places to Stay in Giglio Island
Whether you’re looking for luxury or something more budget-friendly, Giglio Island has it all. From lavish hotels with spectacular ocean views to cozy bed & breakfasts with quaint decor and private beachfront.
Hotel Castello Monticello
At Hotel Castello Monticello, guests are in for a treat. Since 1902, the hotel offers luxuriously elegant rooms and Mediterranean fare with tranquil panoramic views of the glittering sea and Giglio Port.
Hotel Giardino delle Palme
Enjoy a relaxing stay by the Mediterranean Sea at Hotel Giardino delle Palme! Set in the picturesque Campese village of Isola del Giglio, this hotel offers comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and air conditioning—all just 50 yards away from the beautiful Giglio Campese beach.
La Guardia Hotel
Offering stunning views of the glimmering bay and serene coastline, La Guardia Hotel at Giglio Porto is just a 20-minute scenic stroll away from Le Cannelle Beach. Guests can relax in one of its lush gardens, linger over drinks in the shared lounge and terrace bar, or take advantage of their room service & concierge services for added convenience!
Where to Eat – Restaurants in Giglio Island
Located in Giglio Porto, this historic restaurant offers excellent seafood dishes. Among the specialties of the house, octopus, gnocchetti with scampi cream, fried fish and seafood appetizers, but also traditional Tuscan dishes such as pici with Cinta Senese sauce. In addition to the quality of the cuisine, it’s worth mentioning the freshness of the fish and the splendid view of the port.
Read more: Tuscan dessert
Pizzeria Ristorante Giglio
On the island of Giglio you eat above all fish, but if you feel like pizza, the Pizzeria Ristorante Giglio is the best place on the island to enjoy a good pizza. The restaurant is located in the village of Giglio Castello and it is possible to eat at the tables set up outdoors along the alley in front of the pizzeria. In addition to an exquisite pizza, you can enjoy fried food, seafood and vegetable first courses, appetizers and delicious desserts.
Read more: Tuscan food
La Grotta del Pescatore
In an old fishermen’s cave overlooking the port of Giglio Porto, this restaurant offers seafood dishes such as Spaghetto alla Gigliese, linguine with redfish or lobster paired with an excellent selection of wines from Giglio Island and other areas of Tuscany and Italy. The quality of the food is very high and the service is good, while the place is rather small: especially in high season, reservations are recommended.
How to Get Around on Giglio Island
Getting around on the beautiful Italian island of Giglio is a breeze! The most popular way to get around is bike rental – a bike will allow you to explore as much or as little of the island as you like. Bicycles are available from bike stations across Giglio and can be hired at very reasonable prices. Another popular option scooter rental.
Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for four wheels, there are plenty of car rentals and on-demand car services if you need a quick ride somewhere. You can also use the island mini-bus service, which connects all of the main points on Giglio, including some of its stunning beaches.
However, for those who prefer a more leisurely pace, taxis are always available. Or why not take advantage of one of the many coastal hiking trails? So no matter how you decide to get around, discovering this incredible island is an unforgettable experience.