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The island of Giglio is located off the Argentario peninsula in southern Tuscany, an hour by ferry from Porto
Santo Stefano. As a holiday destination is quite popular, especially with Italians, but it could be even more famous if you
consider the incredible beauty of its coasts that, when explored by kayak, are a continuous source of excitement. And we must not
forget its three picturesque villages: Giglio Porto, where the ferries arrive, GIglio Campese, with its beautiful beaches and marina,
and the medieval village of Castello, perched on the mountain at the center of the island (and therefore difficult to reach by kayak :)).
Under the map of the island (with distances in order to plan your kayaking trip along the coast)
we write a guide to the Isola del Giglio starting from our latest experience of circumnavigation of the island by kayak.
How to get to Isola del Giglio
Ferries to Giglio Island leave from Porto Santo Stefano, a beautiful town on the coast of
Tuscany, in the province of Grosseto. There are two companies, Toremar and Maregiglio, with similar prices:
a person can travel for about 10-12 Euros each way; there is also the possibility of
loading the car (40-45 Euros each way), although in high season access to the island could be granted only to the residents' vehicles.
To carry the kayaks to the island, the most convenient solutions is to load the car on the ferry with the kayaks on the roof (or with an
inflatable canoe in the trunk), although Maregiglio also offers the opportunity to embark simply a kayak on the ferry.
Once in Giglio Porto, you can explore this quaint village, with views that can now roam on the
cliffs to the north (where the Costa Concordia tragically stranded years ago).
If you travel to Giglio by car, you can park it for free by following the road signs for Campese: along the road going uphill, after a
kilometer or two, there are some free spaces where to park the vehicle. Please leave the kayaks in Giglio Porto before embarking
in such endeavour!
From Porto Giglio to Campese
Once you put the kayaks in the water at Porto Giglio, you can start your circumnavigation of the island going clockwise or counterclockwise.
For those who get off the ferry at 2:30 PM, as we did, it's better to proceed counterclockwise, because in this direction
Campese is just 8 kms away and therefore it can be easily reached before dinner (at Campese ther is the only camping of Giglio island,
as well as hotels, restaurants and shops). On the contrary, if you have more time on the first day than on the second, it is recommended to
paddle along the coasts of Giglio clockwise.
You can look for the most convenient
places where to sleep here.
The coast to the north of Porto Giglio is immediately amazing: clean water and nature. Only flaw, there might still be some works in progress
due to the post-Concordia wreckage: in this case, you have to paddle off to the yellow buoys. Then you meet Arenella beach, where we
stopped because the clear water and the rocks and the houses on the sea were - and still are - very spectacular.
By kayak you can follow closely the low cliffs and the pristine nature of this side of the island for several kilometers.
There are no other beaches, but some flat rocks where you can stop. After a lot of nature, you meet the first buildings:
the Baia del Sole camping is just before Campese and you can notice it by looking out for bungalows and tents.
For those who stay here, the flat rocks just below the aamping are a convenient landing space for kayaks.
If you want to get to Giglio Campese town, you have to paddled for few hundred meters more. At first you meet an imposing tower
on the sea; to its left there is a small stone bridge under which you can pass by kayak, entering the beautiful marina.
Giglio Campese lies on a wide arc of beach with umbrellas, bar and everything you need to enjoy yourself.
The restaurant Da Tony serves delicious seafood at reasonable prices.
Campese - Porto Giglio
Paddling south of Campese, you meet another imposing tower, but this time it's righe in the middle of the sea, it's made of rock and
it's natural! The coast becomes increasingly steep,
with sheer cliffs topped by the green lush vegetation of Giglio. There aren't many beaches,
but the clear blue sea is a good consolation.
Along the most spectacular landscapes you arrive at the southern tip of the island, topped by a lighthouse. From here,
you can see Giannutri and Argentario in the distance. Giglio Porto is not very far, so it is likely to
meet more boats. Going north, you meet again some beaches,
really nice even though they might be crowded. Gliding over green and clear water,
you arrive at Porto Giglio.
The interior of the island of Giglio
At this point, no matter how happy and tired you are after the kayaking trip, before boarding a ferry and living Giglio you
have to explore its verdant interior. There are several trekking paths that cross the island, which is a natural park (this
means the wild camping is prohibited). The village of Castello, perched on the highest point of the island,
is made of medieval housesa and narrow alleys and boasts beautiful views over Isola del Giglio and the wide open sea.
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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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