The Elba Island, discover the "Iron Coast"

Cycling in the oldest part of one of the most popular Italian islands

Land, sea... and bicycles. The Island of Elba has always been considered a small paradise for cycling aficionados as here they can find winding paths with often unpredictable trajectories, jagged coastlines, mountains, and beautiful views on the crystalline sea.

A journey through the Mediterranean nature, between cultivated lands and wilder areas, going quickly dawn to dusk in days spent discovering small fishing villages.

The proposed itinerary explores the eastern part of the island, the oldest one, between Rio Marina and Cavo, where there are the iron mines that made the island famous throughout the Mediterranean since Etruscan times.

Itinerary description:
The ring route is 21 km long, with departure and arrival point in Rio Marina.

From the village, head north towards Cavo: first bend inwards, slightly uphill, then, after passing Rio Albano, continue up to Cala del Telegrafo from where a gradual downhill stretch follows the coast up to Cavo.

From here cycle back towards the south but in the hinterland, facing the most challenging stretch of the route, the “Salita della Parata”, a road surrounded by scrubland that in 7 km reaches the Pass of Parata (242 m), located between Mount Serra and Tower Giove.

From the pass follow the downhill path towards Rio nell’Elba (worthy of a stop), before riding along the last few kilometres towards Rio Marina and returning to the coast.

Technical advice:
The itinerary does not present excessive technical difficulties but nevertheless is challenging: the first section (4 km) is characterized by some uphill and downhill stretches while the Parata climb, although not steep, is constant for 7 km.

Points of interest


Considered the mining centre of the Island of Elba for a long time, the area, for millennia, has been tied exclusively to the extraction and transportation of ferrous material and it was only recently, with the closure of the mines, that tourism has started taking hold. Today, in the small village, visitors can admire the remains of this flourishing past by visiting the Museum of Minerals and taking guided tours through the Mining Park to learn more about the main mining areas nearby. Framed by hills, the village concentrates its activities in the area of the marina, where visitors can find Tower Appiani near the beach. A short distance from the town, moreover, in Il Piano area is the important rocky necropolis of Rio Marina, a collective burial site dating back to the Copper Age.


One of the oldest towns on Elba and located on the north-eastern side of the island, perched on Mount Capannello, this area has been home to important mining activities since ancient times. Indeed, there are a number of iron mines dating back to the Etruscan age and a great variety of minerals and other resources is now on display in the local Archaeological Museum of the Mining District. The town is also home to other historic and cultural sites such as the Church of S.S. Giacomo e Quirico, built in the 11th century, which today features an outer Renaissance structure and an inner Baroque one; the “Lavatoi”, or wash houses, fed by the 16th-century Fonte dei Canali, used until the middle of the last century by the women to wash laundry; and the nearby Hermitage of Santa Caterina.




Technical data

City of departure: Rio Marina

Departure: Rio Marina

City of arrival: Rio Marina

Arrival: Rio Marina

Length (Km): 21

Difficulty: Average

Discipline: Cycling

Type of Itinerary: Half Day

Difference in height (m): 400

Difference in downhill (m): 400

Highest point (m): 237

Lowest point (m): 1

Duration (h.): 2