sailingThe Tuscan Archipelago is a beautiful mish mash of secluded beaches, rocky cliffs and impossibly small islands. It's the Amalfi Coast of the Maremma and it's truly a sight to behold.

Small tours of the coastline depart from Porto Santo Stefano almost every day from May to September. These tours are usually run by small yachting companies and take you to the most beautiful spots in the archipelago. Depending on your tour, you can flit from Porto Giglio with its majestic castle and gorgeous wineries to the isolated nature reserve that is Giannutri Island.

Cheap As Chips - Ferries

Being on a budget is no reason not to explore Argentario's islands, even if it means taking the ferry sans the scuba gear and seafood lunches.

Toremar makes regular trips from Porto Santo Stefano to Giglio Island. Depending on when you travel, you can expect four trips to the island and four back every day. The website is in English and you can book online.

Tickets are €10.50 for adults and you can even bring your car for €35.

The Argentario Coast's other ferry provider is Maregiglio.

Maregiglio's website isn't in English, but it's pretty easy to figure out. They also make four trips up and back between Porto Santo Stefano and Giglio Island every day. Tickets are €12 and you can't buy online, but you can call 0564 812920 or 0564 809309 or email them info@maregiglio.itThey should speak English.

The reason why I mention Maregiglio at all is that it's the only ferry company that also travels to Giannutri Island.

The current schedule to Giannutri is every day between June and September. The ferry departs from Porto Santo Stefano at 10am and returns at 4pm. Tickets are €20 for adults return, but you can't bring your car.

Affordable Convenience - Maregiglio's Cruises

There's another reason why I mentioned Maregiglio: They do tourist cruises!

You'll need Google translate for this one. But don't let that stop you. Quality in the Maremma is not dictated by whether a website is in English or not. We're talking about places where international tourism is still a novelty and you'll find that most tour operators speak English, even if their website isn't translated.

Maregiglio has three tours to choose from:

Porto Santo Stefano-Giglio-Porto Santo Stefano: This one leaves on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (Saturdays and Sundays upon request) at 9:50am. It does a loop of the island, stopping at the best coves to give to you a chance to snorkel, swim or sunbathe. You then have the whole afternoon to explore Giglio Island before returning to the mainland at 5:30pm. Tickets are €23.

Porto Santo Stefano-Giglio-Giannutri-Porto Santo Stefano: This is the cheapest way to see both island in one day. The ferry leaves Porto Santo Stefano at 9am and takes you to Giglio, where you can do your own thing until 2pm. You then hop back on the boat and head to Giannutri Island. You're back on the boat to the mainland at 5pm. Tickets cost €26 for adults. Tours are Wednesdays (Saturdays and Sundays upon request).

Porto Santo Stefano-Giannutri-Porto Santo Stefano: If you just want to see Giannutri, pick this tour. It leaves Porto Santo Stefano at 10am and you can head back to the mainland at either 3pm, 5.15pm or 6.30pm. The boat will take you to the best beach destinations on the island. Tickets are €26 for adults and you can go on Wednesdays (Saturdays and Sundays upon request).

All the tours do a fish lunch for an extra €13 at the on-board restaurant. To book call 0564 812920 or 0564 809309 or email them at info@maregiglio.it

The Ultimate Luxury - Blu Navy Cruises

If you're looking for a cruise where everything is taken care of, Blu Navy is your tour guide. With a click of a button, their website can be translated into English.

Blu Navy has tours to Giannutri and Giglio Island, as well as Elba Island (where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and built two magnificent mansions), Montecristo Island and Capraia Island. However, only the tours to Giannutri and Giglio depart from Porto Santo Stefano. All the others depart from nearby Castiglione della Pescaia. You can also get the Giannutri and Giglio Island cruises from Talamone.

The Giannutri and Giglio Island cruise covers both islands in one day! Food is provided on board and you'll have time to snorkel and swim on all tours. Tickets start at €45. Blu Navy also arranges mini walking and guided tours on all the islands for an extra €9.

To book, call 0564 071007 or fill in the contact sheet.

The Down Right Strange - Isla Negra

I've more than used up my word limit for this post, so I'll provide you with the link to this vintage sailboat cruise company and leave it to you to make what you will with it. It's all in English though!

www.islanegra.it/itineraries.htm

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