Alcantara River

Alcantara River: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Taormina: Full-Day Etna, Wine & Alcantara Canyons Tour

1. From Taormina: Full-Day Etna, Wine & Alcantara Canyons Tour

Travel in a small group with a guide from Taormina to Etna on this full-day tour. See craters, walk along the volcanic underground, enjoy a 3-course lunch, and visit the Alcantara Canyons. Enjoy a 2-hour hike around the perimeters of extinct craters and along lava-covered paths at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level. Visit the volcanic underground, discovering one of the wonders of Etna. Stop for lunch and visit a local winery for a guided tasting of Etna wines (DOC). The 3-course lunch features typical Sicilian antipasti, a main course, and a delicious dessert. Last on the itinerary is a visit to the Alcantara Canyons, formed thousands of years ago when lava flowed into the Alcantara River, from a panoramic viewpoint.

Sicily: Mt. Etna, Wine and Alcantara Tour

2. Sicily: Mt. Etna, Wine and Alcantara Tour

Tick off two of Sicily’s must-see attractions in one day on this tour with hotel transfers from Catania. Explore volcanic caves and rock pools on a trek through Alcantara Gorges. Walk around the craters of Mt Etna with an Alpine guide. Make a stop at a local winery for a traditional lunch with wine. Start your Sicilian adventure by meeting your guide in Catania, either at your accommodation or another agreed-upon location. Take a brief, scenic drive by an air-conditioned van to either the Sartorius craters or the 2002 crater on the Northeast side of Etna. Let your guide introduce you to the fascinating world of volcanic phenomena. Walk through ancient woods, extinct craters, and old lava flows. Witness deserts of lava and ashes, peculiar formations, and traces of previous eruptions. Reach a maximum altitude of 2000 meters. Then, strap on your helmets and lamps to explore a volcanic cave like the Grotto del Ladroni or Grotta Cassone. Stop at a nice winery up along the mountain road for an authentic Sicilian lunch including appetizer, first course, water, and wine, which will be served outdoors or indoors depending on the weather. Visit the Alcantara canyons, formed thousands of years ago from the lava flow that invaded the bed of the Alcantara river. Enjoy the spectacular scenery along the Alcantara River. End your day back in Catania where you were picked up.

From Taormina: Mount Etna and Alcantara River Tour

3. From Taormina: Mount Etna and Alcantara River Tour

Depart from Taormina and head to the Rifugio Sapienza on Mount Etna. Learn the history of the volcano and visit the sites of its last eruptions. Choose to trek along the nature paths of the Parco dell’Etna or take the cable car to an altitude of 2,504 meters and continue by 4WD minibus to the Torre del Filosofo. Get stunning views of the scenery stretching down to the sea and admire the craters and old lava flows that characterize the landscape. Explore a lava cave with all the proper equipment. Continue down the mountain and stop at the organic farm for a delicious sampling of local products, including honey, wine, and oil. Discover the different corners of the Alcantara River. Walk down small paths, past cultivated fields, and see the natural pools and waterfalls and continue to get up close to different basalt and unexpected lava formations.

Sicily: Mount Etna 4x4 Jeep Tour with Lava Caves & Forests

4. Sicily: Mount Etna 4x4 Jeep Tour with Lava Caves & Forests

2002 Lava frontThe first visit is the 2002 lava flow, reachable by jeep through a winding dirt road surrounded by chestnut and oak forests. The 2002 eruption lasted from October 27th to January 29th, 2003 and it is considered one of the most explosive eruptions of the past one hundred years Corruccio Cave’sContinuing our excursion you'll reach the Ragabo pine forest where hidden among pines and brooms, you'll discover the cave of Corruccio (1350 meters above sea level) a cave formed by flowing lava. Piano ProvenzanaLater, drive along the Mareneve road to reach Piano Provenzana (1800 meters above sea level), a ski resort, and theater of the great eruption of 2002. Enjoy an espresso, then take a short walk to visit the ruins of the hotel Le Betulle destroyed by a molten lava flow. Monti SartoriusYour tour continues with a short walk to some of the side craters, the Sartorius Mountains (1700 meters above sea level), formed in the year 1865 and characterized by seven small, aligned eruptive cones (or "buttonholes").  This area holds great geological and botanical treasures, and your tour winds along clearings rich in endemic species, large volcanic “bombs” and woodlands dominated by birch trees (Betula Aetnensis).  Halfway down from the top of one of the craters, marvel at breathtaking views of the Ionian coast, from Riposto to Taormina, the Calabrian coast, the North-East Crater (3350 meters above sea level), the lava formations from 2002, and the eruptive mouths near the tourist resort of Piano Provenzana. Traveling through one of the wine roads of Sicily and crossing large expanses of vineyards (Etna D.O.C.), arrive at a local restaurant. This is the ideal place to enjoy relaxing moments surrounded by nature while sampling local cuisine and excellent wines. (Lunch not included) Alcantara RiverIn the afternoon discover a unique canyon comprised of basaltic lava (the “Alcantara” Gorges) and shaped by the waters of the Alcantara river. The Alcantara's vertical cliffs reach 30 meters in height and its structures have been forged by high-intensity geological and geothermal events. In prehistoric times, a river flowed here over clay sediments until a massive volcanic eruption channeled magma into the river bed forming the current canyons. After this stop, end your memorable day and return to town.

From Taormina: Etna Summit Area, Lunch & Alcantara Tour

5. From Taormina: Etna Summit Area, Lunch & Alcantara Tour

Reach the summit area of Etna, ascending 2750 meters by either cableway or off-road vehicle on this tour from Taormina. Hike the base of the active craters with a naturalistic guide, experience the lunar landscapes, and savor a typical Sicilian lunch with local wine and drinks. Begin your tour with a pickup from your accommodation (or close vicinity in Taormina and the surrounding area). You'll travel in a small group of no more than 8 people for a more intimate and personalized experience. Drive to Mount Etna where you'll start the ascent to the summit area (2750-2800 meters of altitude). Depending on the availability and the circumstances, in order to guarantee an optimal service, the ascent can be carried out either by cableway or off-road vehicles only. Once at the summit area, enjoy light trekking with a volcanological guide and a naturalistic guide. Walk through a desert of black ashes and extinct craters, while admiring the lunar landscape and the spectacular view of the active craters from a close distance. Back at 2000 meters, you'll be given the proper equipment, such as helmets and torches, to visit one of the striking lava caves of the volcano. Then, enjoy a typical Sicilian light lunch with local wine and drinks during the midday break. Finally, you'll admire the Alcantara Gorges created when thick lava flows invaded the bed of the icy river Alcantara, giving rise to geometrically perfect rocks.

Private Tour of Alcantara Gorges. Including Food and Wine

6. Private Tour of Alcantara Gorges. Including Food and Wine

During this private tour by comfortable air-conditioned car, you will visit a Sicilian natural phenomenon - Alcantara Gorges National Reserve. This tour is private - only for your party, nobody else, to ensure the highest standards for clients, and includes pickup and drop-off at your accommodation or the port in Taormina, Catania, or Messina. Several thousand years ago, the river Alcantara's bed was blocked by a lava flow from Mount Etna. As the lava was cooled much more quickly by the water than it would have done otherwise, it crystallized in the form of columns. Over the next millennia, the river naturally eroded a channel through these columns, resulting in impressive gorges and ravines. During this private tour to Gole Alcantara, you will visit the Alcantara park relaxation area. Your friendly private English-speaking guide will explain to you about the origins of this natural phenomenon, about Etna, and Sicily itself. After this refreshing experience, your guide will chauffeur you to the charming seaside town of Giardini Naxos - the first Greek colony in Sicily. You will visit one of the best wine bars and have a delicious and hearty food and wine tasting. You will taste different types of Sicilian Etna DOC red and white wines with locally produced organic food - cheeses, salami, prosciutto, bresaola, olives, mushrooms, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh bread.

Sicily: Alcantara River Park Guided Trekking Experience

7. Sicily: Alcantara River Park Guided Trekking Experience

The route includes a combination of water trekking, climbing and views of breathtaking landscapes within the Park. Your adventure will begin at the Alcantara River Valley and, accompanied by a multilingual guide, you will enjoy the enchanting beauty of the Mediterranean scrub and unspoiled landscape with rare flora and fauna. You will walk along a path of about 4 km that winds along the valley and travel upstream along the river bed, through eddies, small waterfalls, rapids and small lakes, until you reach the entrance to the Gorges. The last half will take you to Ciappa Mill, where hydroelectric power generation was pioneered in the late 1800s. This hike will make you appreciate this beautiful landscape to the fullest, with a dash of adrenaline and lots of fun.

From Catania: Mount Etna and Alcantara River Tour

8. From Catania: Mount Etna and Alcantara River Tour

Benefit from pick-up at your accommodation in Catania and journey by bus to Rifugio Sapienza on the slopes of Mount Etna. Visit the sites of recent volcanic eruptions and the old Silvestri craters. Choose from different options at Rifugio Sapienza and trek the nature paths of the park or ride the cable car to 2,504 meters above sea level. Continue by 4WD minibus to Torre del Filosofo for an additional fee. Get up close to the central and southeast craters and marvel at how the landscape has been shaped by lava flows. Visit locations where the volcano flourishes before you return to Rifugio Sapienza to look inside a lava cave using helmets and torches. Sample the local produce at an organic farm in Zafferana, and get stunning views of the Alcantara River. Walk the small paths past cultivated fields to see the natural pools of Gurne dell'Alcantara and the ruins of Francavilla Castle. Admire the basalt columns and lava formations of the gorge.

Trekking at the Alcantara Gorges

9. Trekking at the Alcantara Gorges

You will make the pick-up at your accommodation in Catania and you will reach Francavilla di Sicilia. From here you will follow the path that will lead you to the Gurne delle Gole dell'Alcantara, along the path you will even meet the excavations of a Greek settlement, dating back to the fifth century. BC and the ruins of the ancient Norman castle of Francavilla di Sicilia. Continuing the trek to the Alcantara Gorges you will reach a footbridge that crosses the Alcantara river. From here you will enjoy the splendid landscape of the Gurne: small lakes along the river created by the erosion of water on the lava stone, surrounded by lush vegetation: poplars, downy oaks, willows and oleanders. You will end this part of the experience with the observation of the Ciappa Mill, where the production of hydroelectric energy was experimented in the late nineteenth century.

Alcantara River: Body Rafting & 'Pasta Alla Norma' Lunch

10. Alcantara River: Body Rafting & 'Pasta Alla Norma' Lunch

Your guide will meet you at your hotel, or a meeting place of your choice in Taormina, and take you by comfortable private car the Alcantara river. The river is an ecological wonder, with limestone rocks that make it perfect for letting the rapids take your body on an exciting descent. When you arrive, our specialized guides will take you on your body rafting adventure. Enjoy the views of the rocks as this unique experience allows you to use your body as the raft, with the upmost confidence in your safety. At the end of the tour, your guide will accompany you to the nearby village of Giardini Naxos where you can have lunch with the traditional "pasta alla norma" with good local wine – a just reward for all of your exercise earlier.

Other Sightseeing Options in Alcantara River

Want to discover all there is to do in Alcantara River? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Alcantara River

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 479 reviews

A very nice and interesting day trip! This excursion is 11 hours long, although most of the time was spent on transportation, during which the guide gave interesting facts and highlights. First stop was Alcantara Gorge... beautiful scenery! But we only had 1 hour there so we only went down to the gorge and walked in the cold water (Tip: wear shorts and sea-footwear to be able to walk deeper in the gorge) - we did not have enough time to walk above the gorge. Then with the coach we went to Randazzo and boarded the Circumetnea train... quite interesting but takes too long. Went round Etna and arrived at Adrano - from there to Rifugio Sapienza with coach. Went up with cable car to 2500m and then with jeep up to 2750m. Here we walked with the guide to the Caldera and on the way down we had the opportunity to walk up a crater (quite a tiring walk up-hill but worth the effort!). We had sufficient time here and finally made our way back to hotel.

Our guide was Marco and he was great! Very knowledgeable and full of stories about Etna and Sicily. We enjoyed all the stops of the trip. The hike up to the 1865 craters was great, if a bit heavy for a couple of us but totally worth it. The trip down into the Alcantara gorge was AMAZING. The only disappointing thing about the whole trip was the lunch at Rifugio Ragabo. There were four of us and nobody was impressed. The salad probably came out of a pre mixed bag and the egg must have been boiled a couple of days before... The bruschetta was dry and hard and my friends pasta tasted like something out of a shop. Not great. All in all I will recommend the trip wholeheartedly, but maybe bring your own food and drinks and have a picnic instead of paying at one of the tourist trap restaurants...

Great communication. Timely pick up. Full day of activities. No hanging around. Marco was very friendly and knowledgeable. Great explanations of the volcano in perfect English. Good fun. Lunch location was lovely and loads of food - red wine only offered though. Swimming in the gorge was a great experience if you’re up for the cold water and lots of steps. Overall very pleased and good value for money.

Trip as expected. The train ride was a peaceful change from the hectic roads. The gorge was a lovely calming place and Mount Etna was amazing. You need to be prepared for lots of walking and climbing as it’s strenuous but worth it. The guide was very knowledgable as well.

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