There are plenty of exclusive hot spots across the globe where you either need to know a guy who knows a guy or have an ever elusive gold card. But none come close to the summer destination of Montecristo, the tiny island that allows only 1,000 visitors a year.
You will find this hidden gem Montecristo in the Tuscan Archipelago National park, off the coast of the province of Livorno, a nature reserve that includes the island Elba, Giglio and Capraia. Some may recognise the island from Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 novel ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’.
Visitors are only allowed to venture to the island between two periods throughout the year: August 1-15 and August 31 to the start of October. Moreover, only 1,000 visitors are granted special permission to venture to the island in total per year. Of these 1,000 limited spots, Montecristo reserves 600 for school trips and the remaining 400 must be visitors in groups of up to 40, meaning it is best to travel with a tour group or risk pooling together all your friends to make up the numbers.
Due to its unique biodiversity, Montecristo has had protected status since 1988. If you would like to visit to venture into literary history, you need to first apply with the Carabinieri. It can take three months to receive access to the port and three years to be granted a hiking tour.
With interest in the island ever-growing, the current president of the national park has intentions to raise the number of visitors to 1,500 per year.
If you’re lucky enough to find your way in, this is what you will find: