Fantastic Whitewater Rafting Destinations in Europe

When most people think of European travel destinations, the typical iconic images that pop up are Paris’ Eiffel Tower, London’s Big Ben, Rome’s Colosseum or Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. However, for those adrenaline-seeking adventurers, Europe has a lot to offer in terms of exhilarating whitewater rafting.

Whitewater rafting is a recreational activity that requires constant navigation rough waters while sitting in an inflatable raft. In wilder sections of rivers, rafting becomes an extreme sport that can sometimes have a fatal outcome so it’s important to know that there are certain difficulties to this activity. Wild water rafting is then better left to real hard-core adrenaline junkies whereas whitewater rafting can easily be done by entire families on vacation.

Europe has several fantastic world-renowned destinations for white-water rafting that are best experienced in the prime paddling months between May and October.

Neretva River, Bosnia And Herzegovina

Neretva River flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia before flowing into the Adriatic Sea with a full length of 225 km. The river is categorized by a rapid rating of Class II-IV. The upper flow of Neretva River is an ideal destination for white-water rafting which can begin at Glavaticevo and end at Konjic Bridge, covering a distance of about 20km. Once there, you will enjoy the spectacular deep canyon walls and crystal clear waters. Other activities that you can enjoy at the river are swimming, diving, and sunbathing.

Rafting, Neretva river

Una River, Croatia

Una River flows through Una National Park and forms a natural border between Croatia and Bosnia. It has a rapid rating of Class I-IV with an exciting spot for rafting beginning which is located just below Strbacki Buk Waterfall, with a height of almost 18 meters.

Rafters of all experiences can enjoy rafting on Una as it offers calm sections for children and families. The rafting centre at Bihac offers great accommodation and guides who provide all the necessary equipment and advice to visitors. The entire area boasts stunning beauty with unspoiled nature.

rafting, Una River, Croatia

Tara River, Republic of Srpska/Montenegro

Tara River is 143km in length with its longest part flowing through Montenegro and the remaining portion in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska. It has a rapid rating of Class III-IV. Tara River Gorge is situated in Durmitor National Park and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

More adventurous rafters love starting their rafting journey at a steep section running at Brstanovica but this is also a very most common point for tourists as well as. This section is around 25 kilometres long and ends in the local rafting Tara centre. This section of the river Tara has virtually all rapids so the tour here is frequently nicknamed “the adrenaline tour”. Going through the canyon to Foca will take you through numerous splashy rapids, waterfalls, and beautiful scenery. Popular rafting packages at Tara River include one-day high rafting adventures, three-day ultimate rafting experience, splashdown scouts and family outdoor adventures.

rafting, Tara River, Republic of Srpska / Montenegro

Noce River, Italy

Noce River runs through Val di Sole, a valley commonly referred to as the Valley of the Sun, located in North Italy. The river possesses a rapid rating of Class III-V and is considered to be among the top ten white-water rafting destinations in the world. The rafting area is surrounded by a spectacular background consisting of the Dolomites mountain range. The navigable waters of the river run for more than 25 km and are welcoming to all types of paddlers who can find great accommodation at local rafting centres. Apart from white-water rafting, you can enjoy other activities such as cycling, skiing, and mountain climbing.

rafting, Noce River, Italy
Photo by:
Comano Cattoni Holiday via Flickr

Rhine River, Switzerland

Rhine River flows through Central and Western Europe and flows into the North Sea with a length of over 1000km. Switzerland is a world-renowned skiing destination but it’s also a haven for white-water rafting. Rhine River’s portion in Switzerland has a rapid rating of Class III-IV with trips from May to October. Rhine River is calmer so it offers no challenge to experienced rafters but it’s ideal for daring first-timers and those with moderate experience.

rafting, Rhine River, Switzerland

Sjoa River, Norway

Sjoa River is located in Norway arising from Lake Gjende and flows into River Gudbrandsdalslagen. It’s classified as Class II-IV. Sjoa River caters to all levels of rafting from first-timers and families to experienced paddlers. The most popular section of the river is through Heidal on middle Sjoa that covers a length of about 16km and it takes you through popular rapids but avoids the wilder ones.

rafting, Sjoa River, Norway
Photo by: Sigurd Rage via Flickr

White-water rafting is one of the most dangerous activities so you need to take all the safety precautions and be well informed of the region and the river itself. Hopefully, this list will help you pick your ideal spot to start your rafting adventure!