The Alcantara Gorges are one of the most wonderful and famous places in Eastern Sicily. Their formation is due to the Alcantara river carving the canyon through basalt rocks.
The name of the river has Arabian origins and comes from an ancient bridge that spanned over it (“Al qantarah” means in fact “the bridge”). The Alcantara river originates on the Nebrodi mountains and has its mouth in the Ionian sea; the river extends over 600 km² between the territories of the cities of Messina and Catania and passes through various villages that make up the River Park of the Alcantara. The nearest to the coast is Giardini Naxos, followed by Calatabiano, Castiglione di Sicilia, Francavilla di Sicilia, Gaggi, Graniti, Malvagna, Mojo Alcantara, Motta Camastra, Roccella Valdemone, Randazzo e Taormina.
In particular, in the territory of Motta Camastra, there is the most famous and massive canyon of the Alcantara, which is 6 km long and is easily walkable for 3 km. The characteristic feature of this canyon is the wall structure; the canyon was the outcome of the encounter between a steamy lava flow and the cold water of the river. The latter quickly cooled the burning volcanic material, which solidified in irregular fractures of various configurations.
On the sides of the river, there are also small beaches where you can relax or sunbathe in summer. The bravest ones dip their bare feet in the river and walk up to the gorge but, as the water reaches 8 C°, it is advisable to wear a wetsuit if you want to take a longer route.
To this regard, a legend tells that the transformation of the Alcantara river from hot to cold was nothing but an act of revenge. In fact, after Venus rejected his love, the god Vulcan decided to freeze the waters the goddess loved bathing in.
With our tours “Etna, Wine and Alcantara” and “Top easy” you will have the opportunity to visit this enchanting place; you will also be able to bathe in the waters where even immersed Venus, the goddess of beauty. In wintertime, you will enjoy the spectacular view of the Alcantara Gorges from panoramic points of observation.