View of bay and Giglio Campese. Green low vegetation and town on water's edge.


It may be famous for its incredible seascapes and dramatic coastline, but Giglio Island (Isola del Giglio) in Tuscany has three charming villages to discover onland as well. 

Giglio Porto (harbor), Giglio Castello (castle) and Giglio Campese are three very different towns. Though very small, they are the main hubs of 24 km² (9.3 square mile) Giglio Island, in the Tyhrrehnian sea off the coast of Tuscany. 

Cars are not allowed in the small town centers, so you can explore them carefree. 

My family and I go to Giglio Island numerous times every year. Here’s my guide to its unique, picturesque towns. I also have advice about how to get from town to town, when to go to Giglio Island, and how to get there. 

Want to know even more about Isola del Giglio? Read my Complete Guide to Giglio Island.



  • your gateway to the island: the ferry arrives right in town
  • charming shops
  • harbor front dining 
  • boat watching
Turquoise water and colorful buildings of Giglio Porto on Giglio Island. Above the town are small hills with low green brush.

Welcome to Giglio Island! The perfect-perfect pastel houses, fishing boats, and lighthouses of Giglio Porto, or harbor, await you.

A stroll along the harbor front, lined with bars, little shops and restaurants, is one of our favorite things to do on the Giglio. You can walk all the way from one lighthouse to the other, admiring the boats and looking for knick knacks and souvenirs on the way. 

Don’t forget to explore the town’s hidden passageways and corners as well.

Enjoy dinner at a restaurant overlooking the harbor. Or, there are alimentari (small food stores), bakeries and a butcher if you wish to have a picnic or make dinner yourself. 

For food recommendations, read Where to Eat on Giglio Island.

Giglio Porto even has two small beaches right in town. You can see Scalettino beach as the ferry pulls into the harbor. It has a small sandy beach, as well as rocks where you can sunbathe and take a dip into the water. 

Buildings right on the water and cruise ship in backround on Giglio Island in Tuscany.
Saraceno cove

Tucked behind the Torre del Saraceno, or Saraceno tower, is Saraceno cove. It has a tiny strip of pebbly beach, and is one of the island’s most special little spots.

Giglio Porto is the closest town to two of the island’s most picturesque small beaches: Cannelle and Caldane.

The pronunciation of Giglio Porto is: JEE-lyee-oh POHR-toh

Listen to how to pronounce Giglio Porto here:

Pronunciation tip: Giglio contains a tricky Italian sound: GLI.

GLI in Italian makes a kind of LYEE sound, almost like the LLI in million. Listen to how to pronounce the GLI AUDIO sound.

Man walks by ivy-covered restaurant above the sand in Giglio Porto in Italy. Shops and buildings on left.

How to get to Giglio Porto

Take the ferry from the mainland (Porto Santo Stefano): Giglio Porto is your entry point to the island


  • small food shops
  • restaurants
  • cafés (bars)


  • souvenir shops
  • clothing stores
  • post office
  • pharmacy
  • tourist office
  • ATM
  • emergency medical clinic 
  • scooter, e-bike and boat rentals
  • scuba diving excursions

Special events

The Palio Marinaro is a rowboat race held on August 10, the Feast of San Lorenzo, Giglio Porto’s patron saint day. The town’s four neighborhoods, or rioni, compete against each other as crowds lining the harbor roar and boisterously cheer them on.



  • medieval fortress in the clouds
  • feel like you’re on top of the world
  • incredible views
  • nooks and crannies to discover
Man and child walk through stone archway in small Italian village on Giglio Island.

Medieval Giglio Castello, or castle, stands guard on one of the island’s highest peaks 405 m (1328 ft) above sea level. There are incredible views from up here, and on clear days you can see the island of Monte Cristo. 

Giglio Castello is so high up that often it’s shrouded in fog in the morning, which makes it seem like you’re in a cloud (don’t worry, by late morning it usually burns off).

The village dates back to the 12th century, and is included in the association of Borghi Più Belli d’Italia, Italy’s most beautiful small towns. 

Inside the castle walls, there is a maze of cobblestone streets to get lost in, with small piazzas and vistas to discover. Bars, restaurants, stores and even an 11th century fortress (rocca) are hidden among the winding paths.

The pronunciation of Giglio Castello is: JEE-lyee-oh kah-STEH-loh

Listen to how to pronounce Giglio Castello here:

How to get to Giglio Castello

  • Drive (about 15 minutes from Giglio Porto). Parking: there is limited street parking, and a parking lot outside of the castle walls
  • Bus from Giglio Porto (15 minutes) or Giglio Campese (15 minutes). Check current bus schedules here
  • Taxi van (Andrea Ansaldo: + 39 340 8732865, Antonio Blanco: + 39 347 1941888, Ottavio Brizzi: + 39 338 9706950, Adriano Pini: + 39 330 731424)


  • small food shops
  • restaurants
  • cafés (bars)


  • souvenir shops
  • post office
  • police station
  • ATM

Special events

September 15 is the Feast of San Mamiliano, Giglio Castello’s patron saint. It’s one of my all-time favorite festivals. After a day of festivities including a religious procession and donkey race, scores of people dance the quadriglia, a traditional local dance, in the piazza. Then there are fireworks over the Castello!



  • beach, beach, and more beach!
  • aperitivo and picnics at sunset
  • accessibility
  • beach amenities
Campese beach on Giglio Island in Tuscany. Sand, beach loungers, and closed beach umbrellas. It's near sunset time.

Campese is the town at the island’s largest beach. 

Restaurants and stores are scattered in various clusters among the houses and along the shore. But this town’s main attraction is the long, wide sandy beach looking out on the majestic bay. 

Keep an eye out for a large sea stack in the distance at the southern edge of the bay, called il faraglione. On the northern end of the bay is Campese Tower (Torre del Campese), built in the 1600s. Approaching Campese from above on the dramatic windy road is absolutely breathtaking.

The town itself is not as charming or picturesque as Giglio Porto or Giglio Castello. But if you keep your eyes facing the gorgeous blue water it doesn’t matter!

Campese is relatively flat, and its beach area has the most amenities and easiest access on the island. There are both free access public beaches, and beach clubs. 

If you like sunbathing on the rocks and swimming off the cliffs, check out the northern end of the bay.

Sunset is my favorite thing about Campese. 

The sun goes down right over the water, so you have strong sun the entire afternoon and well into the evening. I absolutely recommend having an aperitivo or eating a pizza on the beach as you watch the sun go down! 

Read more tips about What to Do on Giglio Island and Where to Stay on Giglio Island.

The pronunciation of Giglio Campese is: JEE-lyee-oh kahm-PEH-seh

Listen to how to pronounce Giglio Campese here:

Empty main piazza in Giglio Campese in Tuscany. Colorful buildings and souvenir stands line the piazza.
Campese’s main piazza, which is right along the beach

How to get to Campese

  • Drive (about 15 minutes from Giglio Porto). Parking: there is limited street parking, and a good size parking lot at the sports field
  • Bus from Giglio Porto (30 minutes) or Giglio Castello (15 minutes) . Check current bus schedules here
  • Taxi van (Andrea Ansaldo: + 39 340 8732865, Antonio Blanco: + 39 347 1941888, Ottavio Brizzi: + 39 338 9706950, Adriano Pini: + 39 330 731424)


  • small food shops
  • restaurants
  • cafés (bars)


  • beach clubs with daily umbrella and sun lounger rentals 
  • public SUP, kayak and paddle boat rentals at beach clubs
  • souvenir shops
  • ATM
  • boat rentals
  • scuba diving excursions

Special events

August 16 is San Rocco, Giglio Campese’s patron saint day. The festival is capped off with fireworks right over the bay!

People walking down main street in Giglio Campese, Tuscany. You can see orange building on left and blue umbrellas and tables on right.
Campese’s main street


Scooter, bus and taxi are your best bets if you’re going to Giglio Island for just a few days . Here’s the rundown on all your different options for getting around.


Even though I usually don’t recommend bringing a car to the Giglio, driving is the easiest and fastest way to get from town to town.

The problem is parking! It’s a major hassle.

Street parking is extremely limited, especially during the summer. Giglio Castello has a parking lot outside of the castle walls, and Giglio Campese has a decent sized parking lot at the sports field, but parking at Giglio Porto is scarce. At Cannelle and Arenella beaches there is limited parking, for a hefty fee.

Driving on the island is not for the faint of heart–  the roads are narrow in spots, and curvy with hairpin turns (with no guardrail in sight).

The town centers are very small and the best way to see them is on foot. They are closed to traffic. The charming cobblestone streets of Giglio Porto and Giglio Castello are so narrow that cars wouldn’t even be able to get through. 

My rule of thumb is definitely avoid bringing your car during the summer, unless you’ll be staying for at least a week, and your accommodation has designated parking. 

In May, June, September and October parking is easier to find. Bringing your car may be worth it, as long as your accommodation has its own parking spots. 

If you bring your car, be sure to reserve the ferry in advance.


My favorite way to get around Giglio Island is by motorcycle. It’s the most fun, the easiest and fastest. Nothing else comes close to whizzing up, down and around the island, taking in the breathtaking views from the back of my husband’s bike. 

Not only that, even when cars can’t find a parking spot, there’s always a little corner for a motorcycle or scooter. 

If you bring your own motorcycle or scooter, in the summer I’d recommend reserving the ferry in advance. 

There are many rental agencies at Giglio Porto where you can rent a scooter if you don’t bring your own.


Regular bus service runs between Giglio Island’s three towns all day long during the summer. The route runs from Giglio Porto to Giglio Castello (15 minutes) and then on to Giglio Campese (another 15 minutes), as well as vice versa. Check current bus schedules here

You can buy tickets at the local tabaccheria (tobacco shop), on the AT App, or the Tabnet app. Find up to date prices here

During the summer the buses fill up quickly and get very hot and crowded. If you get car sick like me, I do not recommend the bus (I’ve had a couple close calls!). 


There are several taxi vans that go between Giglio Porto, Cannelle beach, Arenella beach, Giglio Castello and Giglio Campese. 

I absolutely recommend calling ahead to reserve, since taxis are very busy in the summer. Usually you end up sharing the van with other people. Prices vary depending on the number of passengers and the route, so make sure to find out the fare in advance.

Andrea Ansaldo: + 39 340 8732865
Antonio Blanco: + 39 347 1941888
Ottavio Brizzi: + 39 338 9706950
Adriano Pini: + 39 330 731424


Isola del Giglio is not a large island. Its three towns are small, and the few sandy beaches fill up fast. 

In July and August, when Italians go on vacation for ferragosto, the restaurants and beaches are crowded. If you wish to eat dinner out, or rent an umbrella at a beach club, make sure to call ahead of time to reserve a spot. 

To get a break from the crowds, I recommend visiting Giglio Island in June or September. In July it’s best to go during the week. 

If you don’t necessarily want to go in the water, April, May and October are also lovely. 

The Giglio is pretty deserted the rest of the year. There are only about 1400 residents, so very little is open.



MareGiglio and Toremar have frequent, regular ferry service between Porto Santo Stefano (on mainland Italy) and Giglio Porto (on the island). The 18 km trip takes about 1 hour each way. There is service every day of the year (weather permitting). 

To buy your tickets in person, in Porto Santo Stefano head to the ticket office at Piazza Facchinetti 6/7. It sells tickets for both ferry companies.

In Giglio Porto, Maregiglio’s ticket window faces the ferry, while Toremar’s ticket window is adjacent to the ferry. They open just one hour before each scheduled departure of their company’s own ferry.

You can also buy tickets online at Maregiglio and Toremar’s websites. 

I absolutely recommend reserving ahead online if you are:

  • taking your car
  • returning to Porto Santo Stefano on a Sunday afternoon or evening, with or without your car.

In August, you can only bring your car on the ferry if you’re staying on the island for a minimum of 5 days. You must provide a supporting self declaration form.



The nearest airport to Porto Santo Stefano is Rome Fiumicino Airport (FCO), which is about 146 km away from Porto Santo Stefano (about a 1 hour 45 minute drive). The closest other airports, with distances from Porto Santo Stefano, are:

  • Rome Ciampino (CIA), 166 km (2 hr drive)
  • Florence Amerigo Vespucci (FLR), 194 km (2 hr 30 min drive)
  • Pisa International  (PSA), 200 km (2 hr 15 min drive)
Where to park in Porto Santo Stefano

If you’re not taking your car with you on the ferry to Giglio Island, there are numerous long term parking lots in Porto Santo Stefano within walking distance to the ferry. 

My family has used Parcheggio Fanciulli, right on the harbor, for decades. Economy parking is about a 10-minute walk away from the harbor, but has also taken good care of our cars. 

Definitely call ahead to reserve parking, especially in the summer and on weekends. 


There is bus service to Porto Santo Stefano from Orbetello-Monte Argentario train station in Orbetello, Tuscany. In the summer buses leave about every 30 minutes, and take about 20 minutes to reach Porto Santo Stefano. Look up complete bus schedules here


The town of Orbetello is the closest you can get to the Giglio ferry by train. From Orbetello, take a bus to the ferry in Porto Santo Stefano (see the bus section above). 

To get to Orbetello-Monte Argentario train station from:

  • Rome Termini station: trains leave about 10 times a day, and take about 1 hr 45 minutes
  • Pisa Central station: trains leave about 8 times per day, and take a little over 2 hrs
  • Florence Santa Maria Novella train station: there is frequent daily train service, but you need to change trains at least once.

To buy train tickets online, see complete train schedules and find fare information, visit the official website of Trenitalia