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The Argentario is a fascinating promontory in southern Tuscany: behind the mount on the sea there are the lagoons of Orbetello,
but kayaking is fantastic especially along the rocky shores between Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole.
These two seaside resorts are crowded in summer, and they deserve all the tourism they get, but by paddling just a few minutes
you get away of the confusion and you find yourself immersed in isolated landscapes, with beautiful beaches
and clear water. The distance by kayak from Porto Santo Stefano to Porto Ercole is about 25 kms, which will amaze and surprise you.
Uner the map of the Argentario peninsula (with distances to plan your kayaking trip along the coast),
we add a guide to this part of the coast taking a cue from our last experience in kayaking.
Departure from Porto Santo Stefano
Of course it is possible to paddle along the Argentario from north to south, that is from Porto Santo Stefano to Porto Ercole, or
in the opposite direction.
It's a good idea to choose according to the weather forecast, considering the wind and the waves, but the direction described here -
from Santo Stefano to
Ercole, to summarize - it is advisable also because
it offers an escalation of emotions, a climax of beauty.
You can start your kayaking trip from the beginning of the limited traffic zone of Porto Santo Stefano, where there is a
convenient seaport; you can hope to find a parking place on the road the goes uphill behind the town. When you are ready to go, just leave behind
you the beautiful houses on the sea, and soon you are paddling along cliffs with strange shapes, definitely shattered
thousands or millions of years ago by eruptions and earthquakes.
After an hour or so you meet the first beaches, beautifully positioned at the bottom of picturesque coves; clear water and lush nature,
the highlight of this first part of the itinerary is probably cala Moresca.
From Cala Moresca towards south-east
Some of the beaches of Argentario are busy in summer because they can be reached from the road or through some trails; most of the coves,
however, can be reached only by sea, and if some of them present some boats moored, others are completed deserted,
really amazing bays just for kayakers.
Approaching Porto Ercole, in particular, from the kayak you can admire really sublime landscapes. Here the water
is so clear and transparent that you fail to see New Zealand only because there is the bottom of the seas in the middle. (I'm exaggerating
a little bit because I don't know what to write, the photos speak for themselves!)
From Porto Santo Stefano to Porto Ercole there are about 25 km: we paddled them in one, full day, enjoying the beaches and following
every small cove, but it is advisable to split the trip into two parts, camping halfway through in some secluded bay.
(At Giglio camping is prohibited, while at Monte Argentario there should be no problems... at least,
so I was told... check out again for the latest news before wild-camping).
You could also
click here to find the best offers for accomodation.
After having stopped in yet another heavenly bay, perhaps the most beautiful of this trip, you enter
the last big arc of coastline (where there is il Carubbo on the map above).
Also in this bay there are cliffs and clear sea; most importantly, here, during our kayaking trip, we had a staggering surprise.
In fact, we were paddling over crystal clear waters along high cliffs when, in a large cave
obviously accessible only by sea, we noticed the presence of some inhabitants!
There were hanging clothes and most importantly - this clue was bombproof - when we approached the cave
we saw some people; for a moment we thought they
were hippies or out-of-age troglodytes. Instead - and it was even more amazing -
they were archaeologists who studied some remains dating back to the times of the Neanderthal man.
The archaeologists were kind enough to give us a guided tour, which was really interesting and unexpected, especially for
a kayaking trip! Once again, our curiosity was rewarded. And here I should write a brief
philosophical essay about how important an open mind is: amazing beauties and exciting experiences are at hand,
if you have some wit and initiative.
With the latest paddle strokes we reached the picturesque and lively (in summer) Porto Ercole;
from here, a taxi took us to Porto Santo Stefano to retrieve the car.
(The taxi costs 35 euros; there are also buses, but they stop in Orbetello: we were too late, as well as
too exhausted to waste time).
Finally, a few tips: as you might guess (we are in Tuscany!) at Argentario you can eat very well.
For our kayaking trips we
had some sandwiches with the typical roasted pork (a very light lunch, I must say), and for dinner we tried a
farm between Porto Santo Stefano and the lagoons (full dinner with wine for only 20 Euros) and a very good fish restaurant in Orbetello
(Il Cavaliere, where the bill is more salty).
So, visiting the Monte Argentario is recommended, but doing it by kayak is almost compulsory, it's really amazing:
the bays that can be found by the kayakers are really a different world compared to the crowded beaches accessible by road.
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If you love the sea, you'll appreciate also these trip reports full of photos: SAILING ITALY - PHOTOS AND TRAVEL ITINERARY
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