Cut through the edge of Portoferraio's new town to the north shore, past Le Ghiaie, Portoferraio's only real (but not great) beach. Farther beyond are slightly better beaches at Acquaviva and Viticcio. However, the nearest really good stretch of sand is in the sheltered bay at Biodola, 7km (4 1/2 miles) southwest of Portoferraio. The next major bay heading west, Procchio also has decent sand and a shallow shelf for little ones, but -- like its south-coast counterpart at Marina di Campo -- it's developed and can get crowded in season. Farther west still are some of Elba's best sands: At the pretty little cove of Sant'Andrea, where there are also rock-pools, and at the idyllic crescents at Fetovaia and Cavoli. Any of the three will get busy in peak periods. Lacona is another fluffy, but well frequented beach on the south coast. The coast west of Capoliveri has excellent sand-and-pebble beaches aligned for sunset watching, at Zuccale, Barabarca, Morcone, and Innamorata.

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