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Unique in the Italian and European natural landscape, the Alcantara Gorges are one of the must-see attractions of Sicily. Located about 20 km from Taormina, the gorges are real canyons made ​​of black lava walls up to 50 meters high, in the typical shape of a prism that the rocks have taken during the cooling process.

Within the grooves, the toning and crystal clear waters of the river Alcantara run surrounded by an unspoiled landscape, with rare flora and fauna.

The purity of the natural habitat has been facilitated by its hidden position, which has preserved its existence; until the fifties, in fact, this site was completely unknown.

The Alcantara Gorges have by now become a famous attraction even beyond national borders, and it is considered one of the most beautiful and natural sites in Italy.



Over the years we have seen a succession of hypotheses about the creation of this exceptional natural setting. And still today there is no certainty of which events gave rise to the Alcantara Gorges. For sure we know that in prehistoric times there had been an exceptional lava eruption from Etna that flowed into the current site of the Gorges. What happened next is still the subject of studies.

A first hypothesis theorizes that during the consolidation phase, the glowing mass experienced a split due to internal tensions. However, the heterogeneous structure of the rocks does not seem to confirm this theory.

A second hypothesis, however, has suggested the possibility that the two branches of the powerful lava flow would be reunited at the site of the Gorgessurrounding a mass of much colder clay soil. This would have caused an abnormal cooling of the massive lava flow, which losing heat so suddenly would have given off the crystalline material present in the magma.

The waters of the river Alcantara, through the action of thousand years of erosion, would then have completed this work of natural art, digging the clay mass, thus giving birth to the spectacular canyons of the Gorges of Alcantara.


Alcantara gorges are open all year round thanks to the paths that allow the feasibility of the place even in the event that the river should be in the flood period.

The path to the beach is one of them. The route passes through the Alcantara Gorges from the origins of the site to the famous beach. Along the way, there some points of observation have been built, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view.

The path of Eleanor got its start at the Botanic and Geological Park of the Alcantara Gorges: the beautiful views of the canyon continue for more than 600 meters. It includes the descent to the beach via a lift.

The path of Venus will cross the various beaches, waterfalls, the Mitoggio Gorge and the Arabic bridge. It lasts for about 2 km from the beach of the Gorges, continuing along the river.

The Canyoning is the most characteristic and charming route of the Alcantara Gorges: it plans, in fact, the crossing of the most important Gorges, the steepest stretch and the most spectacular jumps that the river performs inside the canyon.


The name of Alcantara, which characterizes both the river and the entire valley, dates back to the Arab period, from the term Al Qantarah, referring to a Roman bridge, so well constructed, to be able to withstand the numerous and abundant river floods.

The Alcantara River has its source in the Nebrodi Mountains, on the slopes of Mount Soro. It runs for over 50 km, with an average measurement of the river bed of about 5 meters. It passes through several towns, both on the slopes of Messina and those of Catania.

The flora is assorted with specimens typical of the Mediterranean: you can see the typical prickly pears, citrus fields, and hazelnut groves, several examples of chestnut trees, olive trees, poplars, birches, and willows. In addition to this, there are very beautiful wildflowers such as violets, orchids, poppies, and anemones.

The fauna includes numerous species of animals: among the fish, although not numerous, are specimens oft rout, tench, car pandeel. Many, however, are the amphibians, with specimens of the green frog, common toad, and green toad. Among the birds, it is not uncommon to see gray crows, kingfishers or lovers. Among the rare animals, there have been reported weasels, martens and wild cats, in addition to the discoglosso dipinto, frog found only in Sicily, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula.