I get a lot of emails about cruises on the Argentario Coast.

It’s not a surprise. It’s summer after all and the Argentario Coastline is at its most magnificent in summer. Truly, it’s a wonder why anyone would go to the tourist-packed Amalfi when they can get scenery that’s just as magnificent without all the tourists in Tuscany.

In case you’re unsure, the Argentario is where the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank earlier in the year. Okay, so maybe that’s not the greatest claim to fame, but at least you know where I’m talking about now.

The Argentario Coast is also one those gosh darn lucky places that just happens to have everything going for it – picturesque seaside towns and to-die-for family and couple’s beaches. Not to mention, it’s two closest islands, Giglio Island and Giannutri Island, are made for snorkeling and diving. They’re pretty amazing above water too!

And because I don’t write enough practical articles for this website, I thought I would put together a list of the best cruise providers on the Argentario Coast. If you have at least one day on the Argentario Coast, then I recommend spending it exploring either Giglio or Giannutri Island. If you have two days, explore both, you’ll be blown away!

1. Do it yourself: 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 up to the island and four back every day. The website is in English and you’re can book online.

Tickets are €10.50 for adults and you can even bring your car for €35 if you feel so inclined.

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 a day. Ignore the fact that the dates on their website are for 2011, they mean 2012.

Tickets are €12 and you can’t buy online, but you can call 0564 812920 or 0564 809309 or email them  info@maregiglio.it. They should speak English, but I can’t make any promises.

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: Everyday from now until September 1 – departing from Porto Santo Stefano at 10am and returning from Giannutri Island at 4pm. Tickets are €20 for adults up and back, but you can’t bring your car.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t travel with Maregiglio or Toremar. Both will get you to the islands. They’re reliable and give you plenty of time to explore on your own if you’re not into group tours.

2. 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:

1. 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 for adults.

2. Porto Santo Stefano-Giglio-Giannutri-Porto Santo Stefano:

This is the cheapest way to see both island in one day. It 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).

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

3. 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, which saves me explaining them all.

Blu Navy has tours to Giannutri and Giglio Island, as well as Elba Island (where Napolean 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. See the full itinerary in English on page two of this pdf.

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. For full prices, check out this page.

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.

4: 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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