If visiting Porto Ercole in July or August, it’s likely that the lure of the sea will draw you in each day. This is certainly what attracts numerous wealthy Romans year after year, attracted by the clear turquoise water, beautiful beaches and stunning views of the islands in the distance! However, if visiting Porto Ercole in the Spring, early Summer or Autumn, most people are looking for a combination of lazy days on the beach with a spot of sightseeing. So here are our top 7 day trips from Porto Ercole.
Stay at this Porto Ercole villa and all these day trips are on your doorstep, just waiting to be enjoyed!
Explore the Parco di Vulci
About 45 minutes from Porto Ercole, the Parco Archeologico Naturalistico di Vulci offers visitors the chance to view some of the most important excavations relating to the ancient Etruscan-Roman period.
In its day, Vulci was a centre for trade and commerce thanks to its proximity to the sea and attracted the rich and famous of the time! As a result, its houses were bigger and better than those in other similar sized towns and its burial chambers were more elaborate. However the ancient city has been abandoned since the Etruscans and Romans left it in the 8th century BC. And these days, it’s a protected area and a vast open air museum where you can see the in tact remains of the ancient Etruscan city complete with houses, monuments, public baths, meeting halls and necropolises.
Also within the park, there is the Medieval Castello dell’Abbadia, home to an archeological Museum, accessed via the incredible Ponte del Diavolo. The latter is also where you’ll find some exceptional views.
A couple of words of advice: Set aside a whole day to do the site justice, wear comfy footwear and bring a bottle of water if visiting in the summer as there isn’t much shade. There are a couple of refreshment areas where you can buy drinks and snacks though!
Relax in the thermal baths at Saturnia
An hour from Porto Ercole is Saturnia. Tuscany is home to a number of thermal baths – ‘terme’ – and one of the most well known of these are the Terme di Saturnia where you will find natural waterfalls and pools, one hot and one cold. The waters are famed for their healing properties. Bring a picnic with you to enjoy on the banks of the river.
Drink wine at the Tenuta dell’ Ammiraglia
Approximately 40 minute drive from Porto Ercole is La Tenuta dell’Ammiraglia. This wine estate is located in Magliano in the heart of the Maremma region of Tuscany. The winery itself was designed by architect Piero Sartogo and is a striking building that, despite its contemporary style, manages to blend into the surrounding countryside. The soil in this region is perfect for growing grapes whilst the sun and reflected light from the Tyrrhenian Sea adds to the favourable growing conditions. Not only that but the hot Summer temperatures are tempered by the cooler breezes coming off the sea, creating the perfect location to grow grapes.
Enjoy a wine tasting whilst seated on their panoramic terrace that makes the most of the incredible views.
Visit the Tarot Garden
Il Giardino dei Tarocchi is a sculptural garden crammed with modern art, located about 30 minutes drive from Porto Ercole and sitting 5km southeast of Capalbio. The gardens are the creation of Niki de Saint Phalle, who designed the garden’s sculptures around tarot cards. The numerous designs are bright, contemporary and whimsical – most of them styled with mosaics, and many can be walked-through.
Whilst here, make sure you also take the time to explore the nearby charming Medieval village of Capalbio with its cobbled streets, grey towers and ancient walls (from where you can enjoy some spectacular views across the surrounding countryside). From May though to September each year, the village plays host to numerous festivals and events, not least the Capalbio International Short Film Festival which showcases the best short films from all over the world.
Spend the day in Grosseto
About 40 minutes drive north of Porto Ercole is Grosseto which boasts plenty for the holidaymaker to admire. We recommend starting your visit in the town’s main square – Piazza Dante – where you will discover the Canapone monument, a sculpture by Luigi Magi. Otherwise, buildings of note in Grosseto include the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo with its impressive dome, the Palazzo Aldobrandeschi, the Church of San Francesco and the Church of San Pietro as well as the town’s archeological museum, home to a treasure trove of Etruscan relics. Finish your trip by visiting the hexagonal-shaped 16th century walls which can still be seen today and which are home to a tree-lined walk and public park where you can enjoy a very pleasant stroll.
Take a walk around the Lago di Burano
Just 20 minutes from Porto Ercole is Lake Burano. The first WWF oasis anywhere in the world, Lake Burano is actually a coastal salt pond that is connected to the sea via a semi artificial canal that can be opened or closed. A 2km long path allows visitors to enjoy a guided tour of the area, a chance to see some of the 600 species of plants that the area is home to along with 274 species of birds and a plethora of mammals including deer, porcupines, badgers, skunks, tortoises, turtles and hedgehogs. This really is a paradise for nature and a visit comes highly recommended!
Stay at Villa Benedetta, a stunning 4 bedroom villa in Porto Ercole and you can rent e-bikes for around 40 euros and cycle to the lake for the day.
Catch a boat to the Isola del Giglio
One of the 7 islands that make up the Tuscan Archipelago, Giglio Island is an easy 40 minute ferry ride from Porto Ercole. Visitors to the island will land at the main village, Giglio Porto, a pretty village on the east of the island characterised by colourfully painted buildings facing out towards the sea. Other villages worth a visit include Giglio Campese on the west of the island and Giglio Castello, a fascinating village with huge towering city walls, charming narrow streets and a plethora of interesting churches. Make the most of the views from the village, particularly from the San Pietro Apostolo Church and see if you can spot the islands of Elba and Corsica.
Most of the island’s 21 square kilometres though is wild, offering the perfect home to rare species of plants and a range of animals, with this rural idyll surrounded by the most incredible clear sea. This is great snorkelling and scuba diving territory!
Just be aware: The island has a strict policy on cars and motorbikes. If heading to the island in August, you can’t drive your car on the island unless staying for more than 5 days. Instead, use public transport, taxis or rent a car when you get there.
Want to experience these day trips for yourself? Then there is nowhere better to stay in Porto Ercole than this stunning 4 bedroom villa.