Alcantara Gorges
Alcantara Gorges
5 things to do

5 Things to do at the Alcantara Gorge


Take the time to discover where nature and water converge

In this article, we will tell you about what you can do at the Alcantara Gorge, which excursions and tours are recommended to make the most of this unmissable canyon in eastern Sicily.

If you are on holiday in Catania or in the vicinity of Taormina, it would be a real shame to miss the opportunity to visit this enchanting place where nature and water come together to create waterfalls, natural pools, and a spectacular canyon with basalt columns that can reach heights of up to 30 meters.


Amazing Canyon


The Alcantara Gorges, also known as the Larderia Gorges, are the result of an ancient volcanic activity dating back approximately 8,000 years. The meeting of basaltic lava flows and the river's waters gave rise to this unique and varied landscape.

Over time, the Alcantara River carved its way through these lava flows, creating a canyon that continues to attract thousands of tourists each year.


Tours and Adventures at the Alcantara Gorges

In this guide to the Alcantara Gorges, we will recommend the best excursions you can take and provide all the useful information to help you decide what suits you and your family best. Live your experiences and choose your next adventure!


1. Body Rafting


If you're looking for an adventurous and adrenaline-pumping activity, this adventure is definitely for you! Taking part in a body rafting activity is the most fun way to explore the wildest areas of the Alcantara River.

How does this tour work: After donning all the necessary equipment provided to you (wetsuit, booties, helmet, and floatation vest), you will embark on this adventure with the guides inside the Gurne, right where the most spectacular section of the Alcantara River begins.

  INFO: Several agencies offer this rafting excursion, but we recommend ensuring that you choose the Gurne body rafting route.

In this section of the canyon, the vegetation is lush, the route is filled with breathtaking natural pools to dive into (the Alcantara Gurne), and the river descent is a series of fun waterslides winding along the river for about 1.6 kilometers.

It's an hour and 30 minutes of pure fun. And finally, the most important thing is that in this place you are completely away from the “crazy crowd” of people who visit the Alcantara Gorges between July and August.


Live a spectacular Body Rafting experience at the Alcantara Gorges.

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2. River Trekking at the Alcantara Gorges


Immersed in the heart of the Alcantara Valley, this excursion in direct contact with nature will lead you to discover the endless natural beauties of the Alcantara Gorge Canyon.

River Trekking in the Alcantara Gorges is a more challenging activity compared to body rafting because the route we take winds for approximately 3/4 kilometers, and through rapids, waterfalls, and sections against the current, we will visit unique landscapes in the heart of the Alcantara Gorges.

In river trekking, there is no use of ropes or special harnesses because the entire activity involves walking in the river and crossing obstacles, some more challenging than others. The equipment consists of overalls (wading boots) and a helmet. You will always be accompanied by qualified guides who will explain how to progress during the journey and how to navigate the natural obstacles along the way. In the end, you will have experienced an exciting adventure in close contact with nature!

  TIP: If you only wish to visit the 300-meter section of the Gorges, it doesn't make much sense to rent wading boots. You can easily visit it without a guide and without the use of a wetsuit; the only drawback is the very cold river water.

If, on the other hand, you feel like embarking on a river trekking excursion, we have designed a route of varying difficulty that lasts approximately 2 hours, where, accompanied by an experienced guide, we will explore the most spectacular stretches of the river.


3. Quad Adventure in the Alcantara Valley


The quad tour in the Alcantara River Park is one of the most sought-after experiences by groups of young people. There are many dirt trails to choose from when exploring the Alcantara Valley.

All the routes wind through paths in the midst of nature, where you'll encounter muddy trails characterized by stones and water, small streams, and the most scenic views of this valley that will make this experience the essence of pure fun. 


Let's see the routes in detail:

1. Alcantara Valley Route 1 hour - This excursion is suitable for both beginners and experts. We will traverse the dirt trails of the Alcantara Valley and cross small watercourses. 60% off-road and 40% on paved roads.

2. Alcantara Valley and Castiglione di Sicilia Route 2 hours and 30 minutes - This excursion is also suitable for everyone. In addition to exploring the classic routes, we will reach the fantastic medieval village of Castiglione di Sicilia, where breathtaking views will frame our journey.

3. Alcantara and Mount Etna Park Route 5 hours - This one is for the serious adventurers! This quad tour is suitable for people with some experience. We will tackle the toughest trails of the volcano, reaching an altitude of 2000 meters. A 15-20 minute stop at the chalet for refreshments and recharging. Departure times for this tour are 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM from Monday to Saturday.


Take part in an adventure quad tour to the Alcantara Gorges.

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4. Horseback Ride in the Alcantara Valley


For those who love relaxation, it's possible to discover the beauty of this area by taking a leisurely horseback ride along the banks of the Alcantara River. Along paths immersed in nature and along the riverbank, you will visit the small gorges (made of unique basalt rock formations), the Byzantine Cuba (a very ancient rural church built between the 10th and 11th centuries), and a stretch of the river.

This horseback tour is also suitable for people with no experience who wish to spend a few hours in total relaxation amid nature in complete freedom. 


5. Visit the Alcantara Gurne


Many people are unaware that the Alcantara River is approximately 48 km long and that in a portion of it, precisely in the section between the municipality of Castione di Sicilia and the municipality of Motta Camastra, about 2 km from the Alcantara Gorges, dense vegetation conceals 16 natural pools, the Alcantara Gurne.

Due to the lack of information and proper signage, tourists often do not know or even find a way to reach them. However, we at Sicily Adventure, being natives of this place, provide you with the right information on how to discover them.

The Alcantara River Gurne can be reached from Gravà a hamlet of Castiglione di Sicilia, link Google Map, or from Francavilla di Sicilia, link Google Map.

  TIP: We suggest reaching the Gurne via Francavilla di Sicilia, which is approximately 4-5 km from the Alcantara Gorges. From here, the trail is well-marked, and it's easy to find free parking at the starting point of the trek.

If, on the other hand, you go through Gravà, you might encounter a green gate along the path that prevents access to the trail. However, to the right of it, there is a small path that leads to a fantastic hidden Gurna amid the vegetation.


Questions and answers



Where Are the Alcantara Gorges Located

The Alcantara Gorges are located between Castiglione di Sicilia and the Municipality of Motta Camastra, in the province of Messina. They are approximately 25 minutes away from Taormina (16 km) and about 56 minutes from Catania (56 km), and they are easily accessible by public transportation as well.


  • BY BUS How to Reach the Alcantara Gorges by Bus from Letojanni, Taormina, and Giardini Naxos: Check the Interbus bus schedules and the nearest bus stop to your accommodation.

  • NOTE: The bus stops not far from the municipal ticket office.

  • Distance from Taormina: approximately 20.9 km, about 37 minutes.

  • Distance from Giardini Naxos: approximately 14.7 km, about 23 minutes.

  • Distance from Catania: approximately 55.7 km, about 1 hour.

  • BY TRAIN: Not reachable by train.

  • Highway Exit: Giardini Naxos. If your route to the Alcantara Gorges involves using the highway, take the Giardini Naxos highway exit and continue in the direction of Francavilla di Sicilia.


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