Beach of Sant’Andrea
Thanks to the turquoise, crystal clear water and the smooth, granite rocks that go right down to the sea, this is one of the most famous beaches in the Commune of Marciana.
The bay of Sant’Andrea is on the northern side of the Island of Elba, and to get there just follow the scenic road round the foot of Monte Capanne.
Sheltered by two promontories that keep all the winds out apart from the north ones, Sant’Andrea beach is a 130 metres long stretch of golden sands, with facilities run by the Cooperative society bearing the same name. The water that is shallow till quite far out, and the soft, sandy sea bed, make it the perfect beach for small children.
But what really make it unique are the breathtaking “cote piane” as they’re called in Italian, that is, the granite mixed with orthoclase crystals cliffs at both sides. These breathtaking rock formations of unique beauty that the sea winds over the centuries have smoothed off turn to fuchsia in spring when the flowers of the Hottentot Figs are in full bloom.
On the left they join up with the beach via wooden footbridges that go past the promontory that makes them concealed and that you can only see from the sea. There are holes in the granite so you can use them to sit your sun umbrella, while you will find it impossible to resist going into the crystal clear water and do some snorkelling; you can watch the sun set over the Islands of Capraia and Corsica as they slowly turn glowing red.
On the right, there is a footpath carved out of the cliffs by skillful stone cutters with pine trees all along that takes you right to the suggestive, tiny beach of Cotoncello; with its white rocks and emerald green sea it is yet another jewel on the Island of Elba.
There are numerous facilities for water sports on Sant’Andrea beach: pedalò, canoe and boat rental if you want to go on a tour of the coast, and a diving centre. The sea in this part of the Island is rich in fauna, and there are also the shipwrecks of two Roman boats, while some of their remains are on show in the Archaeology Museum in Marciana.
You can choose from the free, public car park that is 200 metres from the left of the beach, or leave your car in the small, fee paying private car park.
You will see the signpost for both the town and the beach on the main road from Marciana to Pomonte; turn ff here and go down for about 1,5 km.