West coast and Elba

My first stop on the west coast was Piombino. I had a look on the map and this looked like a nice place to start exploring this part of Italy. The weather was finally summerlike with loads of sun and warm temperatures. Perfect for doing some hikes along the coast. I absolutely loved this area! The views were amazing and it was not busy with people. You could even see Elba, Capri and Corsica.

From Piombino I drove a little bit south to do some more hiking around Portiglioni. Also a very nice area with almost no people...

Then I started driving to Pisa to pick up Carlos. He had a few days off and we decided to spend some time together in Italy :)

From Pisa we drove back to Piombino because we wanted to take the ferry to Elba. We both haven't been there and it seemed like the right place to go for a few days.



The ferry from Piombino to Portoferraio took only one hour. The weather was beautiful and as soon as we arrived on Elba we did a tiny drive (the island is super small!) to Parco Nazionale dell'Arcipelago Toscano to go for a hike.

After this first hike on Elba we drove a little bit further along the coast and then inland where we found a remote and peaceful spot for the night. From there we planned to do another hike the next morning.

I was really happy that I finally had my "driver" back and somone carrying the heavy water canisters :) Grazie mille! And of course more than happy that I had my favourite person back, although it was only for a few days!


Monte Capanne (1019 metre) is the highest mountain on Elba. You can reach the summit by taking the cute yellow cable car or by hiking. We decided to hike up to the top and then maybe go down by taking the cable car. At least this was the plan. When we were on top of the Monte Capanne we found out that the cable car was not working. So we didn't have a choice and had to hike down the mountain as well.

The hike was super nice with stunning views! A bit steep and tricky in between but absolutely worth the effort!

Another day. Another breakfast. And another hike. This time close to Lacona (Anello della Calce).


From there we drove a bit further along the south coast... We only saw a few other campervans and all in all Elba was really quiet at this time of the year (mid of March). In Rio Marina we finally found some pizza (many places were closed because of the off-season) and stayed there for the night.

Our last day on Elba was quite lazy. We did a tiny roadtrip along the west coast with beautiful views, found some really nice gelato and got a bit worried because Sue was making weird noices when the engine was switched off. It sounded like some kind of ventilator was running and didn't stop. The only way to switch off the sound was to disconnect the main battery. Since the motor was running normally we decided to keep going and figure out what to do when back on the mainland. 

The last night we stayed in Rio Marina again and went for a nice sunset-run. While enjoying our dinner we got a text message that our ferry the next day was cancelled. The communication with the ferry company and the provider with whom I booked the ferry was a bit confusing and we didn't really know what to do. Since Carlos had a flight to catch, we decided to just drive to Portoferraio early in the morning and try to catch an earlier ferry. Luckily that was really easy and we even had time to enjoy some coffee at the port.

Back to the mainland

From Piombino we drove back to Pisa. I dropped Carlos off at the airport. I think I will never really get used to saying goodbye :(


But I had the perfect distraction: Trying to figure out what was wrong with Sue and what to do about it. Since it was Saturday afternoon most of the garages were closed. Fortunately I found an open on close to Pisa and the guys there were super friendly. They really took their time to figure out what might be wrong. But in the end they assumed that there was something wrong with the air conditioning and they couldn't fix it.

Since the next day was Sunday, there wasn't much that I could do. I drove a bit further to Lucca and as soon as I had parked the van I disconnected the battery to make the sound stop and to make sure that the battery didn't run empty.


On Monday I drove to another garage. Again everyone there was super friendly but we had a bit of a communication problem. They didn't speak any English and my Italian was way to basic. Thanks to google translator I explained the problem and the mechanic there tried to figure out what was wrong. As far as I understood the sound was coming from the heating or at least something realted to this. So he disconnected a cable. Seriously I don't really know what he did, but the sound stopped and I could keep driving. Unfortunately this is not the end of the story. After "whatever he did" there were two warning lights switched on which was making me a bit nervous. So why not stop at another garage!? Haha. Welcome to vanlife. The mechanic there spoke a bit of English and used the computer to read out the errors. Turned out there was something wrong with two temperature sensors. But according to him I should be fine driving back to Germany (around 900 kilometre). Let's see if he was right :)

The plan was to drive slowly back to Germany. Although the engine was running smoothly I didn't feel too comfortable with these blinking lights and the fact that something was wrong with Sue.


But there were also good news. After some rainy days in Pisa and Luca the sun came back and I found another hike along the coast. I parked Sue in Montemarcello and hiked along the coast to Tellaro and all the way back. At first I thought it would be a tiny hike but it turned out to be quite steep with loads of ups and dows. But also with amazing views. Again: Definitely worth the effort!

I really really liked this place! It was so peaceful and quiet! I even stayed two nights in the same spot which doesn't happen very often :)


Since I was super close to Cinque Terre I thought I couldn't miss this "tourist highlight". And I thought it might be not too busy because it was still before Easter. Puh. It was quite busy! Not busy busy but I just don't like people and for me it already felt like a lot of people. Furthermore the roads to get there were very narrow and the parking situation in the Cinque Terre area was difficult. Fortunately I found a parking spot along the road from were I went for my hike: From Riomaggiore to Manarola. The hike was not long but very special! The two villages are situated next to each other, but divided by a 249 metre hill. So you can imagine what the trail looked like! Steep up and then steep down again. 620 steps on each side of the hill. And because it was so much fun (haha) I didn't take the train back, which would have lasted 2 (!) minutes and costed 5 Euro, but hiked all the way back.


Usually there should be another option to walk from Riomaggiore to Manarola and back: Via Amore along the coast. Unfortunately this trail was closed due to construction work.

I think it's the same with most of the tourist highlights. Of course they are beautiful but they are also (always) busy with people. For me the "perfect" place has it both: It's beautiful AND peaceful and quiet. So I should probably work on my FOMO (fear of missing out) and skip the touristy places :)


I kept driving along the coast up north and it was getting busier and busier. All these tiny roads with so much traffic. I tried to drive to Portofino but I had to give up. All the parkings were full and there was no way to stop. And then I just had enough and left the coast to drive into the mountains. Usually it's much more quiet there... Arrivederci, costa e mare!

Kommentar schreiben

Kommentare: 2
  • #1

    Ruth (Donnerstag, 18 April 2024 17:36)

    Juhu, ein neuer Eintrag, wie schön! Klingt sehr abwechslungsreich und die Fotos schauen toll aus. Und die Servietten sind ja süß :)!

  • #2

    Barbara (Donnerstag, 18 April 2024 19:40)

    @Ruth: Danke dir :) Ja, nach anfänglichen "Startschwierigkeiten" war's dann doch ganz schön in Italien!