Meet your driver at the established place. Off the highway in Giardini Naxos, we will start a panoramic drive in the area surrounding the riverbed of the Alcantara River and stop at the Alcantara gorges.
These impressive basalt formations originated when hot lava touched the cold waters of the river.
The gorges, located in the Alcantara Valley between the villages of Castiglione di Sicilia and Motta Camastra, look like a natural canyon that the river has carved over the centuries by running through the lava stone. In some points, the canyon walls reach a height of 25 metres (82 ft) and a width of 4-5 metres.
Once you get there, you can choose between (1) visiting these 8,000-year old Alcantara gorges by taking the numerous public steps and (2) buying a ticket to access the Parco Botanico e Geologico delle Gole d’Alcantara (Botanical and geological park of the Alcantara gorges).
Facilities like public restrooms, restaurants and elevators are available on site, just like sport or leisure activities you can join such as: trekking or biking along the Gorges trails, body rafting (for both children and adults), river trekking (equipment supplied on the spot) or just sunbathing after trying the cold waters of the river.
Your driver will take you back to Giardini Naxos, today a tranquil seaside town, known for being the first Greek colony in Sicily (named after the Greek city of Naxos).
The place boasts a sweeping view taking in the entire bay, Taormina, perched on its Monte Tauro, and the rock of Castelmola, further uphill. A quiet place during wintertime, Giardini Naxos attracts droves of tourists from May to September.
Enjoy a short orientation drive that will have you discover this little town, its marina and the lava rocks off its coasts, dating from past eruptions. Take a walk along the beachside, maybe savouring your ice cream. Your last stop will be in Castelmola: a small, picturesque medieval village perched 501 metres a.s.l, on a rock looking straight onto the Ionian Sea.
Looking south, you can take in the view of Mount Etna and the bay of Giardini Naxos, looking north you will see the Strait of Messina and the Calabria region, on the mainland.
You will find benches at the panoramic “piazzetta”, a terrace dedicated to Sant’Antonino, where you can sit down and sip the typical, delicious almond wine.