Monte Argentario in Tuscany: spectacular landscape on the sea
Surrounded by fantastic clear turquoise waters and boasting amazing scenery and spectacular views, Monte Argentario is a fabulous seaside destination in Tuscany, and not just for sea lovers!
Lying in southern Tuscany, in the wonderful Maremma area, almost on the border with Lazio, Monte Argentario is a beautiful scenic promontory, covered by dense vegetation and wild nature and with a long unspoilt stunning coastline, made by little bays and pebble beaches.
It’s literally an impressive and suggestive sight! You can reach the Argentario driving over a lagoon that formed as the sea was silting up. As you cross the lagoon to get to the Argentario, you soon realize how peculiar and amazing is this place of Tuscany! Monte Argentario is a beautiful mountain that rises straight out of the deep blue sea 🙂
The mountain was originally an island, then, due to rivers’ rubbles and the work of sea currents, the island joined to the Tyrrhenian coast with two stripes of land, Feniglia and Giannella, now enclosing the Orbetello lagoon.
Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole
The road leading to Porto Santo Stefano, Monte Argentario’s main town, is curvy, running right over the cliffside, a spectacle!
The two main centers of Monte Argentario are Porto Santo Stefano and Porto Ercole. From their harbors you can reach the beautiful islands of the Arcipelago Toscano, such as the near islands of Giglio, Giannutri, and Montecristo.
Porto Santo Stefano, on the northern coast of the Argentario, faces a beautiful bay dominated by an imposing Spanish fortress, from which depart a series of suggestive alleys and stairways. Do take a pleasant stroll along the lovely promenade!
If you love fish, you’re in the right place, the town is full of restaurants serving great seafood.
Porto Ercole is a more characteristic fishing village with an enchanting old center. Two beautiful Spanish fortresses face each other on the opposing sides of the harbor. Entering the old town you see a plaque commemorating the famous painter Caravaggio, that died here in 1610, because of a sunstroke.
If you have your own car, I suggest you drive along the via panoramica, stretching from Porto Santo Stefano to Porto Ercole for a scenic drive around the mountain; the landscape here is of rare beauty. That’s an impressive panoramic route running along the entire promontory between small coves, high ridges, little bays, and watch towers.
And if you are a trekking lover, you are in the right place! There are beautiful hiking trails, and from il Telegrafo, the highest part of the mountain at 635 meters, you can admire the Tuscan Arcipelago and the Corsica. If you then rent a boat to travel all around the headland, it could be fantastic!
Monte Argentario Sights: What to see
1. Giglio Island
A ferry from Porto Santo Stefano will take you to this extraordinary rocky island of the Arcipelago Toscano. Its sandy beaches and incredibly clear waters are delightful!
2. Giannutri island
This smaller island is particularly scenic and suggestive! Beyond its clear waters, you’ll find the remains of an ancient Roman villa with pillars, in a unique wild setting overlooking the sea!
Beautiful and characteristic hill town I highly suggest you visit as it is just few kilometers away from Argentario. It is a typical medieval village with walls rising atop a hill with lovely views. Go here also to have a great lunch, the local speciality is the wild boar.
4. Stunning panorama from the Convent
Go up to the mountain to visit the Convento dei Padri Passionisti, from where you can enjoy magnificent views over the Laguna di Orbetello.
5. The Ruins at Cosa
Just before arriving to the town of Ansedonia, do visit the wonderful Etruscan ruins of Cosa, set in a fabulous position right overlooking the sea.
6. Talamone and the Natural Park of Maremma
In little more than half an hour you can reach Talamone and the magnificent Park of the Maremma, wild and unspoilt territory stretching along a breathtaking coastline, with pinewood forests and marvelous beaches. That’s the perfect spot for great walks.
7. Magliano in Toscana, Manciano, and Montemerano
In no more than one hour you can reach these picturesque medieval hill towns. The circle of walls of Magliano is impressive and can be seen from a far distance.
Monte Argentario beaches
Monte Argentario is full of splendid beaches where to lie under the Tuscan sun and have fantastic swims 🙂
The beaches of Monte Argentario are: Acqua Dolce, Bagni di Domiziano, Cala Grande, Mar Morto, Il Siluripedio, La Cacciarella, La Cantoniera, Le Cannelle, Le Viste, and Spiaggia Lunga.
The coast is almost entirely rocky with many cliffs and reefs scenically overlooking the sea. There are long sandy beaches (la Giannella, la Feniglia, and i Bagni di Domiziano) as well as many charming coves and bays that can be reached only by sea, or through arduous paths. The beaches of Monte Argentario are not always easy to reach, but once you get there crystal clear waters and unique landscape will reward you!
From the via panoramica you can admire an amazing panorama over the beautiful Cala Grande, full of boats, the vegetation here comes right up to the shore. Cala Piccola and Cala del Gesso are also wonderful!
Where to Stay: Hotels in Monte Argentario
If you are wondering about a good hotel with great views right overlooking the sea, I suggest Hotel Torre di Cala Piccola, nice hotel with restaurant and spa rising next to a beautiful Spanish watchtower. The panorama is breathtaking, being in front of the Giglio island. The hotel is ideal if you have children and pets, like me 🙂
Located on the road leading to Porto Santo Stefano, Hotel Baia d’Argento is an elegant and very comfortable 4 star hotel right on the seafront, with its private equipped beach. It also has a good restaurant and breakfast is very good.
Hi Elena – fantastic website!
Planning our first visit and used it more than any other for ideas and inspiration – thank you
Finishing with a last few days in Monte Argentario (again from your site), and trying to decide whether to base in Porto Ercole or San Stefano – which place are the pictures on your site of?
We like charm and history, but not too quiet – want some restaurants and bars also!
So happy you like my website! I’m only very sorry for my late reply, I’m back again after a long pause.
If I can still be of any help just come back, and you’re welcome to tell us about your trip to italy! 🙂
a friend of mine are going to stay in Monte Argentario in September for 4 days and I have the same question Tom had. So far we booked a hotel in Porto Santo Stefano – about 30 min walk towards it, and one in Port Ercole. We would like to go out a bit during the evenings to have some dinner and some glasses of wine afterwards, so we thought it’s better to stay close to Porto Santo Stefano. As you wirte though, that Porto Ercole has a more charming fisherman village character, we’re not quite sure yet…What would you recommend?
Ciao Karolina 🙂 happy you came across my blog!
Porto Santo Stefano is beautiful and is perfect to enjoy delicious dinners and good wines, together with a more lively atmosphere. Porto Santo Stefano offers more than porto Ercole especially in terms of bars, clubs, and nightlife, but also Porto Ercole is a great place, and with many bars on its promenade to enjoy drinks, like Bar del Porto. Porto Ercole is more characteristic and probably more fascinating than Porto Santo Stefano, and still offering a lot of restaurants and bars. I suggest you take a look at gastronomic guide to Porto Ercole.
Much depends on the type of vacation you have in mind, but if you’re moving around by car, consider that you can explore both towns at your ease, being about 17 minutes car from one another. You could then have a romantic and delicious dinner at Restaurant il Pellicano Porto Ercole on in one of the many beautiful places facing the sea.
Maybe you could choose your base depending on the hotel you like the most 🙂
I’m here for any other suggestions! Happy to help!
Let me know then about your stay in this wonderful location in Tuscany!
ciao from Florence, elena