Thinking of Sicily, one automatically thinks of the beaches and the enchanting sea, but this region offers a great variety of landscapes, such as the Nebrodi Park, which with more than 80 thousand hectares of surface, is the largest protected natural area on the island. It represents a breathtaking sight, through its paths and paths there are to be discovered different types of vegetation and a rich wildlife community and complex. The ancient Greeks called this area "the land of roe deer", and it is precisely from "nebros", roe deer, that the name of the park was born.
Today we want to provide you a guide to visit the Nebrodi Park, in Sicily: where is it, when to go and what to see!
- Where it is
- How to reach us
- When to go? Info on climate and best time
- Hours and entrance costs
- What to see Nebrodi Park: the park areas and main attractions
- How to visit the Nebrodi Park: where to sleep, itineraries and how to get around
- How much does it cost to visit the Nebrodi Park? Prices, offers and advice
- User questions and comments
Where it is
The Nebrodi Park it is located in the northern part of Sicily, exactly between the two provinces of Messina to the east and Palermo to the west. Its territory constitutes the Sicilian Apennines, faces the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north and bordered by Etna to the south. The municipalities falling within the park area are 24: 19 in the province of Messina, 3 in the province of Catania and 2 in the free municipal consortium of Enna.
How to reach us
- How to get there from Catania: by car following SS121 and SS284 up to Bronte, then SP87 towards Strada Statale dell'Etna and Madonie / SS120 up to Cesarò (about 2 hours) - Get directions
- How to get there from Messina: by car taking A20 / E90 up to S. Agata Militello and then take the SS289 up to Cesarò (about 2 h 30 min) - Get directions
When to go? Info on climate and best time
- Weather: the wooded complexes considerably affect the nebroid territory. Unlike the rest of Sicily, it is characterized by long and rigid winters with heavy snowfalls, and hot but not sultry summers.
- Best time: in spring or summer, with mild temperatures and sunny days
- Period to avoid: winter, with low temperatures and precipitation, even of a snowy nature, which make outdoor activities difficult
- Clothing / Equipment: clothing suitable for the season for mid-mountain, for example boots, jacket, hat, sweater, trekking equipment. Don't forget your camera and binoculars
Hours and entrance costs
- Inputs available: the entrances are numerous and in the municipalities that affect the area, you will find the main visitor centers in Cesarò, Mistretta and Caronia
- Times and costs: the park is always accessible and admission is free. Permits are provided for activities such as hiking or mountain biking, to be requested at least a week in advance on the official website
What to see Nebrodi Park: the park areas and main attractions
The elements that most strongly characterize the natural landscape are the asymmetry of the various slopes, the diversity of modeling of the reliefs, the rich vegetation and the numerous humid environments. The peaks, which reach 1.847 m with Monte Soro, they have rounded sides with extensive terraces and open in wide valleys crossed by countless rivers that flow into the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Inside the park there is also theAdventure Park: located exactly in the suggestive Bosco Soprano, in Contrada Pado, about 4 km from the town of Longi. It represents a pleasant and fun way to experience the beauty of the wonderful landscapes typical of the Nebroid area, through exciting sporting routes such as climbing.
The Nebrodi Park is divided into 4 areas, in which particular prohibitions and limitations operate, indispensable for the conservation of the resources that make up the heritage of the protected area. Particularly, the main attractions are concentrated in the first two areas architectural and naturalistic to see.
1 - Zone A
Zone A, of integral reserve, is extended for 24.546 hectares and includes wooded systems at higher altitudes, some rocky outcrops and high altitude wetlands. In this area it is allowed to go hiking and horseback riding, grazing, continue agricultural activities and carry out maintenance and restoration interventions on the building heritage.
Here's what to see in Zone A:
- Borgo Stella: a still intact testimony of a pastoral village typical of the Nebrodi. It is located under the Rocche del Crasto near the Stella stream. The shelters for animals, the stone houses and the typical "paghiari" are characteristic
- Lake Biviere: it constitutes the high altitude wetland of greatest naturalistic value in Sicily, also for its plant and animal population. In the summer months, the waters of the lake turn red due to the flowering of a microalgae
- Bosco della Tassita: at 1.247 m, the only exceptional example of Taxus baccata wood in Sicily, extended for about 50 hectares in the Moglia district in the territory of the municipality of Caronia
2 - Zone B
Zone B, general reserve, is extended for 47.058 hectares and includes the remaining wooded formations and large grazing areas.
Here's what to see in Zone B:
- Chapel of the Three Virgins: at 1.325 m, it is a place of worship in the Tortorici area. It takes its name from a legend that tells of a Moor who attacked three virgins in the locality of Acquasanta
- Nelson's Obelisk: in Serra del Mergo, along the Path of the Springs. Here you can stop to admire the view. It was built in 1905 by Duke Alexander Nelson-Hood in honor of his father
- Catafurco waterfall: at 976 m, it is fed by the waters of the San Basilio stream and offers a suggestive natural spectacle. It can be reached along a well-marked path bordered by wooden fences
- San Teodoro cave: in the town of Acquedolci, it can be used free of charge all year round. Inside, important findings have been made that have offered data of exceptional interest for the knowledge of the oldest inhabitants of Sicily
3 - Zone C
Zone C, of protection, extends for 604 hectares and includes 9 areas, strategically distributed throughout the territory, where activities aimed at achieving important purposes for the park are allowed, such as the construction of accommodation and cultural structures.
4 - Zone D
Zone D, of control, extended for 13.648 hectares, it is the preparco area. In fact it constitutes the external part of the protected area and allows the gradual passage in the areas of greatest naturalistic value.
How to visit the Nebrodi Park: where to sleep, itineraries and how to get around
The Nebrodi Park also offers so many hiking alternatives and it is essential to choose in advance the type of experience you intend to live. You can carry out the activities either on your own or by relying on some expert guide. For more info you can consult the official website.
Just remember, on any path, of wear suitable clothes for the season for the mid-mountain and comfortable shoes. Bring food and water with you, on the way you will find tables with benches where you can stop for a break.
Here we have selected the possibilities for you most interesting of the itineraries:
- Dorsal of the Nebrodi: route on foot or a mountain bike that stretches from east to west for almost 75 km, on a total altitude difference of 2.300 meters. We stop in some municipalities of the park such as Mistretta and Floresta. Duration 3 days, approximately 7 hours a day, daily altitude differences of 700/800 meters. The difficulty of the route is quite high
- Rocche del Crasto: path that develops around the Rocche del Crasto, very particular crystalline rocks that show shades of different colors based on the reflection of the sun's rays. This route has three variants, starting from three different points (Portella Gazzana, Lemina Bacco, Sorgente di Malirò). All the variants have a length of about 7 km, a walking time of 2 and a half hours, a difference in height between 250 and 270 meters, all for an average difficulty rate.
- Holly itinerary: the route takes place entirely on road surfaces and starts from Militello Rosmarino, with main stops in Contrada Fontanazza-Agrifoglio-Lago Maullazzo. Walking time 2 hours, medium difficulty
- Bosco Mangalaviti-Serra del Re: in the territory of the municipality of Longi. The wood can be reached through Portella Gazzana. It is an easy circular route among the most representative botanical and fauna species of the park
- Lake Biviere itinerary: the path, which starts from the lake, continues uphill entering the beech forest of Scavioli. In some places the wood is denser, while in others it is open in large clearings
- Lake Pisciotto itinerary: in the municipality of Tortorici at 1.250 m, easily reachable by taking the asphalted road that from Portella Mitta continues towards Porcella Castagnera and then to the Buzzarita Badessa district, after a small bridge, turn right and reach the lake
- Portella Female Morta-Monte Soro-Lake Maullazzo-Lake Biviere: from Portella Maschio Morta continue to Portella Calacudera where the road forks. Going up to the right you reach the highest peak of the Nebrodi, along the way you can admire the mountain maple, one of the largest in Italy. Going down to the left instead you arrive at the two lakes
- Path of the Springs: the route passes by numerous sources, starts from Maniace, with main stops in Serra Spina-Serra del Mergo-Sorgente del Medico. Journey time 8 h, suitable for those with trekking experiences
Equipped areas and adventure parks
Another solution to appreciate the natural wonders of the area are the equipped areas where you can relax and enjoy the tranquility of nature
Here are some areas equipped recommended:
- Urio Quattrocchi Lake: features tables, benches, walkways for the disabled and water points - Get directions
- Orto Noceri: camping area immersed in a fabulous green oasis - Get directions
- Equipped area Source Orto Noceri: Perfect for Sunday picnics and packed lunches - Get directions
- Roe deer area, near Galati Mamertino, offers environmental education services for children and spaces equipped for parking - Get directions
- Equipped area Cicogna, offers restrooms and everything you need for a picnic - Get directions
- Ciccaldo Equipped Area, offers restrooms and everything you need for a picnic - Get directions
If, on the other hand, you want to treat yourself to a dynamic day full of fun, the Nebrodi Adventure Park is what it does for you. Here you can try your hand at excursions and routes for all ages. For more info visit the website: http://www.nebrodiadventurepark.it/
There are some accommodation facilities in the province of Messina who have adhered to a specific disciplinary proposed by the Park Authority, with which there is a mutual relationship of protection and support. Of these we recommend the Agriturismo Rural Tourism Leanza and the Hotel Mazzurco in Cesarò, and also the Fontanapietra farmhouse in Tortorici.
The area can be visited on foot, and the trails are easily accessible by anyone. It is not recommended to use the car inside, the only means that can be used is the bike.
How much does it cost to visit the Nebrodi Park? Prices, offers and advice
The Nebrodi Park is possible visit also in complete autonomy, in this case you will save on the costs of guides and tours. But if for you this is the first approach to an excursion in such a vast park, there we recommend that you rely on an expert.
It is possible to find numerous environmental associations online that allow activities to be carried out in total safety and harmony. There booking online is the prerequisite for being able to participate. Costs obviously vary according to the type of excursion, the duration and also the groups (generally groups up to 6 people € 80,00 per person; from 21 to 50 people € 10,00 per person).