Enchanted gorges, volcanoes and breathtaking landscapes… We discover the beauties hidden within a short distance of the Sicilian city of Catania
21 Mar 2021
With spring just around the corner, many of us can’t wait to take advantage of the first warm rays of sun… In Sicily, Catania benefits from several destinations of great natural and historical interest, all just a few kilometres from town. Here’s a selection of our favorites for a perfect spring daytrip.
The fairy-tale Alcantara Gorges
Come to this enchanting place to discover Sicily’s primitive, vibrant, living nature. Located in their own botanical and geological park, the gorges form a natural fluvial canyon of lavic origin, and are a great place for nature hikes or river sports such as rafting and canyoning. Covering more than 1900 hectares, the gorges run through a landscape that alternates between rocks and wild, lush vegetation, in a truly enchanting area between the towns of Castiglione di Sicilia and Motta Camastra.
Higher and higher, up to Etna
Mount Etna UNESCO World Heritage Site is an active volcano on a 59,000-hectare protected natural reserve. The park has a wide variety of hiking trails for nature-lovers, including beautiful routes along the summit and its craters, offering an incredible opportunity to admire wonderful, vastly-different landscapes.
A breathtaking view of the Castle of Calatabiano
The Castle of Calatabiano rises on the edge of the province of Etna on a hill 220 metres above sea level, dominating eastern access to the Alcantara Valley, at the point where the Al Qantar river marks the border between the Provinces of Catania and Messina. Take a panoramic elevator to reach the evocative Castle – a very old Byzantine fortress with elements added during the Arab and Norman eras. From the top, the views are stunning out over Taormina, Mount Etna and the mouth of the Alcantara river.
Centuripe: discovering archaeological finds
The town of Centuripe is picturesquely perched on the chain of mountains that rises halfway between Catania and Enna. As well as the beautiful landscapes that make it a sort of inland Taormina, Centuripe is also blessed with a great amount of archaeological artefacts. Indeed, the Regional Archaeological Museum of Centuripe displays Sicily’s largest collection of Roman era archaeological finds, from all over the island.
A perfect spot for the first warming rays of spring: Aci Castello
This old village perched on the side of a cliff has a charming promenade and a view over the Faraglioni rocks. What more could you ask for on a relaxing day in the early spring sunshine? You definitely won’t want to miss the Norman Castle that dominates the town’s main square. One side of the square is simply a long balcony for admiring the picturesque Riviera dei Ciclopi and the sea below, including its castle built out of lava stone from Mount Etna, standing on a promontory of lava rock overlooking the sea…
Where to stay
After a day of hiking, canyoning, visiting castles and towns perched high on the rocks, you’ll be ready to indulge in an evening of cossetting at the Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze, located in the heart of Catania with a breathtaking view of Mount Etna. Come and enjoy this truly Sicilian idyll.