Trekking in Sicily's Alcantara river park
In the valley of Alcantara, between the Nebrodi mountains and the beaches of Giardini Naxos, collosal columns of dark basalt testify to how, thousands of years ago, molten lava from Mount Etna flowed into the ice-cold river and quickly cystallized to create one of Sicily's most spectacular natural wonders: the Gole dell'Alcantara.
When can I visit the Gole dell'Alcantara?
You can visit the gorge all year round, walking along the panoramic Gorge and Eleonora trails which trace the entire length of the river. Particularly breathtaking views can be seen from the Terrace of Venus and the Balcony of the Muses. You'll need to buy a ticket to access the paths.
Want to explore on horseback?
There are three bridleways in the river park: from Castiglione di Sicilia to Naxos, from Randazzo to Castiglione di Sicilia and from Floresta to Randazzo. You'll come across a number of resting stations on route as well as the park's visitor center, in Francavilla di Sicilia, where you can pick up maps and other useful information.
Want to walk? The TerraAlcantara association has created the "Giroalcantara" circuit, comprised of four walks of varying difficulty, covering the whole of the botanic and geology park
Ready for adventure?
Designed for only the most adventurous of holidaymakers, TerraAlcantara organizes a series of hair-raising river treks. Equipped with safety helmet, life jacket and neoprene wetsuit, you'll wade your way through the icy waters of Alcantara, accompanied by an expert guide.
Getting to the gorge
To reach the Gole dell'Alcantara take the A18 Messina-Catania motorway and exit at Giardini Naxos. Proceed along the SS185 towards Francavilla di Sicilia - Gole Alcantara until you get to the park. Having bought tickets, walk through the lava stone archway, and down the scenic path which leads all the way to the river bed. If you don't fancy making the uphill return journey on foot, you can always use the lift instead!
Don't want to pay? There's a public footpath about 100meters away from the main car park. Be warned, the path starts in a curve in the road in and it's extremely difficult to park here.
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