There’s one thing memorable and multi-faceted about going white water rafting. It is the teamwork concerned in getting the raft into the right place. The adrenaline rush of navigating the rapids, being carried alongside by the river and feeling the chilly splash of glacial water in your face. Then there’s the calm that comes afterwards, drifting gently downstream and ready eagerly for the subsequent part of white water.
Europe provides quite a lot of breathtaking areas for white water rafting. There’s the wild Vjosa river in Albania, the place activists have efficiently fought to stop it from being dammed. Then there’s the Voidomatis River, which meanders by way of an unspoilt nook of mountainous northern Greece. Europe can also be a great vacation spot for packrafting, the place mild, moveable rafts are carried from one physique of water to a different.
We’ve chosen seven of the perfect locations to go white water rafting and packrafting in Europe, serving up spectacular surroundings and a few thrilling white-knuckle rapids. So seize your paddle and prepare to take to the water.
1. Vjosa River, Albania
Rafting down the Vjosa’s Osumi Canyon. Picture: A lot Higher Adventures.
Finest for: untamed rivers and spectacular surroundings
Different causes to go to: mountain climbing and wild swimming within the Osumi Canyon
The Vjosa is one among Europe’s final wild, free-flowing rivers – its 169-mile size is totally undammed, as activists fought laborious and gained a battle in opposition to the implementation of hydropower tasks. It has additionally not too long ago been designated as a nationwide park, guaranteeing the conservation of its pristine atmosphere. The Vjosa’s fast-flowing waters make it a great location for white water rafting, however there are additionally calmer stretches the place you may drift and benefit from the surroundings.
We’d significantly advocate rafting the stretch of the Vjosa that passes by way of Permet Valley. The clear turquoise river is surrounded on each side by forested mountains, and there are additionally some enjoyable grade three rapids to deal with. The Osumi Canyon can also be an amazing spot for rafting, with excessive limestone cliffs rising up steeply on both facet of the river, and including to your sense of journey.
2. Voidomatis River, Greece
Rafting the clear waters of the Voidomatis River. Picture: Getty.
Finest for: fairytale surroundings
Different causes to go to: mountain climbing within the Vikos Aoos Nationwide Park, and exploring the idyllic Zagorohoria.
The Voidomatis River is a tributary of the Vjosa (referred to as Aoös in Greece). It rises up within the lovely Vikos Gorge, within the coronary heart of the distant Pindos Mountains, and flows previous the fairytale stone villages referred to as Zagorohoria. The Voidomatis is a comparatively calm river, famend for the cleanliness of its clear, turquoise waters.
There are many good spots for rafting alongside the river, however we advocate launching from the financial institution close to the Bridge of Aristi. You’ll raft by way of the guts of the Vikos-Aoös Nationwide Park, passing by way of verdant woodland, small waterfalls and thoroughly carved stone bridges, and might cease for a refreshing swim if you want. Midway by way of the journey, you’ll move the abandoned Agioi Anargyroi monastery, positioned precipitously on the sting of a cliff. Your journey will end on the Bridge of Kleidonia.
3. Soča River, Slovenia
Efficiently navigating the rapids of the Soča River. Picture: A lot Higher Adventures.
Finest for: exhilarating white water rapids
Different causes to go to: canyoning and cliff leaping in Triglav Nationwide Park.
The Soča River is a vibrant, emerald inexperienced color, as a consequence of small particles of bedrock that are mirrored blue or inexperienced within the mild. It runs by way of western Slovenia and throughout the border into northeastern Italy. Some of the scenic areas it passes by way of is in Slovenia’s Triglav Nationwide Park, the place you’ll discover the snowcapped Julian Alps that slope right down to forested valleys.
The Soča River has some class II, class III and sophistication III+ rapids, which means you could be certain of an adrenaline-fuelled rafting expertise. Some of the in style stretches of river is the ten kilometre-stretch from the bridge close to Boka Waterfall to the small village of Trnovo ob Soči.
4. Tara River Canyon, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Rafting the Tara River Canyon. Picture: A lot Higher Adventures.
Finest for: fast-flowing whitewater
Different causes to go to: hikes alongside the Through Dinarica, sightseeing in Mostar and Blagaj
The Tara River originates within the Dinaric Alps of Montenegro, and flows alongside, then throughout its border into Bosnia and Herzegovina. Round half of its 91 mile size runs by way of the Tara River Canyon, the longest in Europe and now a UNESCO World Heritage Web site – in some locations, the sheer limestone partitions are over 1,300 metres excessive.
Nevertheless it’s not simply the epic surroundings that makes the Tara Canyon a wonderful rafting spot – it additionally has some exhilarating rapids (as much as class V in April, when the water is excessive). In Bosnia, head to Durmitor Nationwide Park to raft a stretch of the Tara River Canyon – a white knuckle journey down a collection of rapids.
5. Tara River, Montenegro
A peaceful part of the Tara River. Picture: A lot Higher Adventures.
Finest for: calm sections of river
Different causes to go to: to climb Mount Maglic (2386m), Bosnia’s highest mountain
Yup, that is the very same Tara River as within the earlier entry. It’s such a great place it will get a second point out, solely this time in Montenegro, the place you’ll discover 87 of its 91 mile size.
We significantly just like the stretch of river close to the Montenegrin border, which flows previous forested hills and calm swimming pools, fringed with waterfalls. However as you glide by way of this idyllic atmosphere, you’ll hear the roar of rapids downstream. You’ll deal with round 17 rapids between grade II and III earlier than pulling ashore on the riverside city of Šćepan Polje.
6. Mrežnica River, Croatia
Rafting down waterfalls on the Mrežnica River. Picture: A lot Higher Adventures.
Finest for: chasing waterfalls
Different causes to go to: mountain climbing the Krupa River Canyon
The Mrežnica River in Croatia is understood for having 93 waterfalls alongside its 39 mile size. It’s uncommon to come across a protracted stretch of open water and not using a waterfall – making it the right vacation spot for packrafting (the place you pack up your raft and carry it in your backpack to keep away from obstacles).
Head to the city of Zvecaj, located on a relaxed stretch of the Mrežnica River. It’s right here you may have a packrafting ‘bootcamp’, studying the way to pump and pack your raft, paddling and self-rescue strategies. Begin off from Zvecaj packrafting throughout a flat and simple part of the river, earlier than graduating to the wilder higher stretch of the Mrežnica. You’ll weave by way of slim channels, tackle some rapids, and even paddle down one of many waterfalls.
7. Lake Kovero, Finland
Packrafting within the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’. Picture: Getty.
Finest for: exploring peaceable lakes within the Finnish wilderness
Different causes to go to: wild tenting on distant lake shores
Finland is nicknamed the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes’, which makes it a great vacation spot for packrafting – paddle the size of 1, then carry your raft to the subsequent. Lake Kovero, its shores surrounded by dense forest, is an excellent place to start out off a lake-hopping journey.
As a result of Finland’s permissive perspective in the direction of wild tenting, you may arrange camp on the lake shore too. For those who fancy an extended journey, from Lake Kovero you may portage throughout a slim isthmus to the adjoining Lake Luoma. From Luoma you may hike alongside a series of small lakes to Helvetinkolu – an historical crevasse that splits the forest. Paddle its size and also you’ll find yourself at serene Lake Haukkajärvi.
Impressed? Try our rafting adventures by way of a number of the most unspoilt areas in Europe.