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Cycling the Tuscany Coast: Pisa to Elba

Cycling the Tuscany Coast: Pisa to the Island of Elba

Overview

This is a tour that combines the typical hilly landscape of Tuscany with its mixture of colours and scents and the striking scenery of the Etruscan coastline. The local cycle paths will take you through Pisa, Livorno, Piombino, feeling the warm Mediterranean sea breeze and enjoying beautiful white sandy beaches. You will also explore the fine vineyards and silvery olive trees of the hinterland along the wine route of Costa degli Etruschi. You will be able to celebrate the completion of your cycling adventure on the historic island of Elba.

  • Cycle around the leaning tower of Pisa
  • Beautiful views across the Etruscan Coast
  • The medieval wine village of Bolgheri
  • The Island of Elba

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Pisa

In the evening, you will have your welcome briefing and get your bikes. Depending on your arrival timing, you will also have some time to explore the charming old town.

Day 2: Trip to the Sea | 30 km

From the Piazza dei Miracoli, home of the Leaning Tower, there are lovely trails winding through the national park Macchia Lucchese directly to the sea. Along the sandy beach, you will reach the charming seaside spa-town of Viareggio. On the way, you might be tempted to take a swim break in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. A short train ride takes you back to Pisa.

Day 3: Pisa – Castiglioncello | 40 km

In the morning, you take a train ride to Livorno. The historic harbour has a lot to offer, including its many canals, including the well-known quarter of Venezia Nuova. Once you cycle past the Belle Epoque villas along the river promenade, the route continues deep into the hinterland. A long ascent takes you through the national park Monti Livornesi, passing through traditional Tuscan villages along the way, after which you descend towards the coast, enjoying the magnificent sea views.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Miramare or similar
  • Cycling for the day: approx. 40 km

Day 4: Castiglioncello – Marina di Castagneto | 50 km

Today’s section is all about the Etruscan coastline. You cycle through the famous white sandy beaches of Vada entering an impressive pine forest. After that, a cool cycle path in the shade leads you through the nature park of Tomboli and then on to Bibbona, from where you continue to the famous wine region of Bolgheri. It is there where the top Tuscan grapes are pressed! After passing the longest Italian avenue lined with cypresses, you get closer to the sea again and continue to Marina di Castagneto, a classic Italian seaside town with its many beach cafes and promenades.

Day 5: Marina di Castagneto – Piombino | 60 km

The day starts with an ascent towards the medieval town Castagneto Carducci. After a well-deserved break over a cup of cappuccino and some stunning views, you continue on a curvy mountain road through romantic cork oak forests. On the way, you can enjoy a few breaks in little traditional villages with the characteristic stone-built houses before descending through olive groves to the well-known beach of Golfo di Baratti, where you can also explore the local Etruscan excavation sites. After a few kilometres, you reach Piombino, an impressive seaside town where you can relax on the Piazza directly by the sea.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Esperia or similar
  • Cycling for the day: approx. 60 km

Day 6: Day trip to the Island of Elba | 30 km

A ferry ride takes you to Portoferraio (duration approx. 1 hour). As you get on the ferry you will be able to enjoy the sea scenery and first glimpses of the island of Elba. A short cycle path along the panoramic route will lead you to several secluded bays and coves. There is also a longer option for the day taking you through the hilly hinterland with its characteristic island vegetation of Macchia Mediterranea. On the return journey to Piombino, you will be able to enjoy a picturesque sunset and reflect on your cycling adventure in Tuscany.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Esperia or similar
  • Cycling for the day: approx 30 km

Day 7: Departure

Departure or extension upon request

What to Expect

Accommodation

3-star hotels during the trip, most of them located by the sea, 4-star hotel in Pisa. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

Hotel Repubblica Marinara, Hotel Miramare, Hotel Alta La Vista, Hotel Esperia

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

A breakfast buffet is included on all days. When no restaurant is available on the route, lunches and snacks can either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or the restaurants in the town where you stay for overnight.

Difficulty & terrain

The terrain is mainly flat to slightly hilly. The only two strenuous stretches are during the two legs in the hinterland. Nearly all cycle paths are asphalted, and some segments along the sea will be on dirt but well-maintained trails.

Due to a lack of cycle paths along some sections, cycling for short stretches on roads with moderate traffic is unavoidable (read more about difficulty grades).

When to go

This trip is available from May until October, departing each Sunday.

Season 2023: Between 11th June and 9th September, departures on Saturdays as well.

Alternative departures are possible upon request, as the exact pricing depends on the size of the group.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival/departure airports for this holiday are the ones in Pisa and Florence.

By train or bus
  • The best-connected train station is in Pisa. There are good train connections from Piombino to Pisa for your return journey.
  • Public garage in Pisa costs approx. €15 per day, payable locally, no reservation possible.

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation in 3-star hotels along the route and a 4-star hotel in Pisa
  • Breakfast buffet or extensive breakfast
  • Welcome briefing by our local representative
  • Luggage transfer between the hotels
  • Holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route notes and maps (digital copy sent by email and a hard copy delivered at first hotel)
  • Train journey Viareggio – Pisa and Pisa – Livorno incl. your bike
  • Return ferry to Elba on Day 6 including your bike
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Bike rental, including bike insurance
  • Additional nights in Pisa or Piombino
  • Return transfer by minibus to Pisa, payable on the spot

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