The Dramatic Scenery of the Alcantara Gorge, Sicily

Alcantara Gorge, Sicily
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One of the many astounding sights on Sicily is the Alcantara Gorge, a massive tree-lined chasm falling 65 metres to the river below, with water tumbling down the cliff side. It is popular with tourists in search of walking, nature or geological interest as well as those who just want to goggle at the dramatic scenery.

Alcantara Gorge, Sicily
The people are dwarfed by the towering chasm of the Alcantara Gorge

Ancient Origins of the Alcantara Gorge

There are various legends associated with the gorge. In one version it was the result of a quarrel between Vulcan and Venus; in another it was created by the gods to punish a dishonest farmer. The reality is more prosaic but no less interesting, the gorge having been formed from volcanic rocks caused by the eruption of nearby Mount Etna. The cold water of the Alcantara river, one of Sicily’s few year round rivers, caused the hot lava to crystallise, creating the strange shapes in the rock that can still be seen today.  

Alcantara Gorge, Sicily
The crystallisation process has created strange shapes in the rocks

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Exploring the Alcantara Gorge

There are a number of hiking trails at the top of the gorge, but many visitors like to make straight for the river at the bottom. There is a path that you can walk down, or you can do it the easy way by taking the lift.

The most intrepid visitors can don giant waders and walk into the water. Guided walks are available alongside (and occasionally into) the river. But most people are happy just to stand on the small beach area, dip their toes in the water and admire the view.

Alcantara Gorge, Sicily
Some visitors don waders but others are content just to paddle in the water

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16 thoughts on “The Dramatic Scenery of the Alcantara Gorge, Sicily”

  1. Wow, the rock formations really are remarkable. I'm always astounded by some of the landscapes that mother nature manages to form! It's also interesting to hear the different legends that the locals believe. Did you do any hiking around the top of the gorge?

  2. It's amazing the what vulcanos create. It's a mix of both destruction and something beautiful that comes after when the lava is cooled by the water. It reminds me of many such rock formations in the Azores. And the legend that goes with it is also great.

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About Karen

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren. I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 60 countries at the last count). I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica (I still hope to get there one day…), and my current favourite destinations are Italy, Spain and North America. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.

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