If you have experienced a kayak excursion at least once in your life, you know the relaxing sensation of paddling in the silent nature, the great feeling of gently gliding over the waters. Sicily offers incredible views that you can only admire while floating on the waters of rivers, lakes and seas.
Are you ready? Let’s paddle.
A few kilometres from the centre of Syracuse, there is the mouth of the river Ciane.
If you don’t have a canoe, don’t worry: many local facilities are offering a rental service. Once equipped with oars, we can glide over the water into the River Ciane Natural Reserve. Its name
comes from the Greek word cyanos, meaning ‘blue-green’, referring to the colour of its waters. As well as a wide variety of birds (black-winged stilts, moorhens, coots and bitterns), we will also see the papyrus: it is the most famous attraction of the reserve. Here ( and at the Arethusa Spring, inside the town) grows the only spontaneous papyrus cultivation in Europe. Its origins are still unclear, we do not know whether it is an indigenous plant or if it was imported from Egypt or by the Arabs. There are many different versions, but in any case, this plant has been growing luxuriantly in the Ciane area for many centuries.
Let’s move northwards, heading to Acireale. As you paddle, you can admire this amazing baroque city built on the cliffs of the coastal strip. The walls of the timpa (‘steep and high rocky crag’) have incredible basalt columns of volcanic origin. This natural heritage is protected by the Riserva Naturale Orientata della Timpa (Timpa Oriented National Reserve).
If you are not tired, let’s carry on discovering Sicily by canoe. Direction: inland. After the river and the sea, here are the lakes. Let’s stop first at Lake Ancipa, in the Nebrodi mountains, between Troina and Cerami. The lake is not natural, it is created by the Sartori dam (112 metres high) and is surrounded by green forests. Kayaking here requires a concession from the Nebrodi Regional Natural Park (ask for it to the authority).
We now head down to Regalbuto and stop at Lake Pozzillo. In Piano Arena we will find the Pro Loco info point, where we will be provided with life jackets and paddles to enjoy the experience in safety. The staff is ready to help us with anything we may need during the tour.
Another artificial lake surrounded by nature is Lake Nicoletti, in Enna. The lake is part of the Rocca di Cerere UNESCO Global Geopark. Here we can go canoeing and enjoy many other organised water sports activities.
If you still have energy, let’s go to the westernmost tip of Sicily: Marsala. More precisely, the Stagnone Islands Natural Reserve. The ‘stagnone’ is a lagoon, the largest in Sicily, characterised by shallow waters. Included in the reserve there are also the famous salt pans. Once here, you’ll be amazed by the incredible explosion of colours: the white of the salt piles, the blue of the sea and the red of the sky at sunset.
By kayak we can reach the small islands of this area: Isola Grande, Isola di Santa Maria and the Island of San Pantaleo, the ancient Mozia, which was a Phoenician colony. Organised tours are available here.