The Gole dell’Alcantara

The Gole

Ancient lava flows formed these canyons up to 25 m high where the river Alcantara flows, through unique rocky formations and rocky walls. The Gole dell’Alcantara are located in a natural park near Castiglione di Sicilia, a small town in the province of Catania. Inside the park there are waterfalls, small lakes and deep canyons that you can explore following pathways with different levels of difficulty. The level is showed on specific signs indicating the directions.

One of the easiest itineraries is the route called “sentiero delle gurne”. The “gurne” are small lakes formed by the river along its way where you can have a bath in summer, even if the water is cold. This route is ideal also for kids and several school groups visit this area of the park rich in panoramic views, typical plants and animals.

Gole dell'Alcantara

Another pathway, called “Piccole Gole dell’Alcantara”, is rich in wonderful landscapes and goes through small waterfalls and lakes. This route is mostly flat. However, the most beautiful route is certainly the one called “Gole di Larderia o dell’Alcantara” that includes the most fascinating areas of the natural park. It is possible to watch herons and other migratory birds feeding on the edge of the riverbed.
The park is very interesting from the panoramic and geological point of view, but it is also possible playing amusing sports and doing activities for kids and young people. You can do excursions, bike rides, river hiking – that is walking in the riverbed equipped with special suits and guided by experts – and river sports such as body rafting.

The activities for kids include body rafting, excursions with guides and baby quad. There is also a waterpark for children, where they can have fun safely.
The park of the Gole dell’Alcantara is a must-see attraction for those who love nature, excursions and outdoor activities.


The history

Contrary to what one may think, it wasn’t the river Alcantara that dug the canyons. Actually, they are lava formations dating back to 300 thousand years ago and serve as riverbed.

The deepest canyon is located near Motta Camastra and is accessible for about 3 km out of a total of 6 km. Its unique feature is represented by the prismatic shape of the rock, due to the rapid cooling of the lava flow caused by the water. In other points of the river flow there are basaltic formations resembling the shape of harps, organ pipes and poles.