If you are looking for a thrill and to share an unforgettable experience with friends, then rafting may just be the perfect activity for you.
Descending a tumultuous river on a raft is the kind of rush that stays with you for a lifetime, white-water rafting consists using an inflatable raft and a paddle to navigate your way down a river with rapids or another bodies of rough water. The term “rafting” is derived from the English word “raft”, which means float. Since the 1980s, rafting has become very popular, and today, it is a must-try for sports enthusiasts who love to be in nature.
These rafts are, in theory, unsinkable and very stable, which allows you to cross currents which are far too violent for any other boat to attempt (except kayaks). Grab a wetsuit, life jacket and helmet and embark on a memorable family-friendly experience. Find yourself filled with joy as you paddle over the river’s rapids with the cold water splashing your face and while you try and keep your balance and stay on course. A strong cohesion between teammates is key to managing the dramatic descent, with constant communication between each person, it’s a great way to bond a team, test one another’s trust and generally have a good time with a nice dose of adrenaline.
Rafting, today, is an activity that can be practiced on all continents of the globe but we chose to explore the best spots to visit Europe for starters, here is our selection of the most beautiful destinations on this old continent to try rafting:
Gorges du Verdon (France)
A sumptuous canyon situated between Pont-de-Soleils and Lake St. Croix with a thrilling descent perfect for rafting and getting the heart rate pumping. Located between the Var and the Alpes de Haute-Provence, this canyon is one of the largest in Europe spanning down to 700 metres in depth. One of the best-known spots in France with a course stretching 45 km between Castellane and Lake Sainte Croix. This area is also nicknamed the Middle Verdon, to locate it in relation to the Bas-Verdon which goes as far as the Durance and the Haut-Verdon which goes up to the source of Val d’Allos. Rafting is practiced from Castellane to Rougon, on the first 21 kilometres of the Gorges. This rafting trip is the best way to discover the Gorges du Verdon. A truly accessible family day out whether your 6 or 66 years old, offering a rare chance to share an unforgettable adventure as a team! On the rafting route there are different sections throwing up frothy rapids, slaloms between the rocks and waterfalls and, to top it off, enjoy a refreshing swim in the river and the chance to launch yourself of a 2-metre high ledge.
The Cetina river (Croatia)
Located a couple of kilometres off the coast, discover the beautiful canyon of the river Cetina in Omis with a 10-km descent lasting on average around 3 hours. Choose between an extreme or more tame descent aboard your inflatable raft, both options offering a variety of stops for a quick bathing session, tombstoning in the deep river, spotting wild animals and plants and a refreshing shower under a waterfall … As a bonus, have the chance to explore a cave of fresh spring water with stalactites passing through a waterfall, then find your way under the falling water, enter the first room lit by beautifully reflected daylight and swim about 12 meters through the fresh, and drinkable, spring water. To complete your adventure, paddle through the magnificent and exciting rapids for 5 km before ending up the day in the deep waters of the Tisne Stine Canyon.
The Noce River (Italy)
The Noce in Val di Sole (Valley of the Sun) is a 105-kilometer long flowing stream in the Italian Alps, a tributary of the Adige in the alpine paradise of the Dolomites in northern Italy and one of the longest routes in Europe with over 28 kilometres of waterways. and undoubtedly one of the best places to try rafting. Fed by melting glaciers, the Noce River is famous for its smashing rapids that swirl in the gorges of the Mostizzol and is dramatically towered by its steep cliffs and snow-capped peaks. This activity will also offer you sensations at the level of the view because you have a breathtaking panorama all along the crossing.
Rafting is always guaranteed to fill with you joy and a bit (or a lot) of adrenaline, and, even better, you don’t need to have any previous experience in the sport. The Simme is a very fun class 3 river located in a beautiful and picturesque Swiss valley, this white-water outing is ideal for a group of family and friends looking for a new thrill. Discover the Lütschine river, by far the most exciting of the Bernese Oberland and once the icy snow of winter has finally melted under the warm spring sunshine it fills the river with exciting rapids. After a thorough briefing from experienced guides, you will embark on the rafts in the beautiful valley below the famous Eiger with its sumptuous landscape of forests, mountains and lakes.
Murillo de Gallego (Spain)
Murillo de Gallego is the best rafting area in the Aragonese Pyrenees with the huge Gallego River that runs through the province of Aragon and is nearly 194 kilometres long. Because of its imposing size, the river has different straits that are very popular for rafting and other white-water activities such as kayaking or canyoning. Murillo de Gallego notably has the best fast-flowing canals called Carvavilla Central, Presa del Pantano de la Peña and the section of Sta in Puente. Whatever the route and the class choice, according to the difficulty, the crossing will last about 3 hours and is guided from start to finish by certified rafting instructors.
The Isar in Munich (Germany)
Facing the magnificent panorama of the Bavarian Alps, you’ll have the opportunity to share an adventure on the wild and romantic river of Isar, a healthy outdoor activity surrounding you with the beauty of nature and the great thrill of rafting. Germany is a country internationally known for its beautiful art scene and engineering, but it’s not necessarily a country you’d immediately think about when looking for an adventure sport. However, the southern region near Munich offers an incredible opportunity to go white-water rafting with picturesque little towns dotted along the route providing a unique backdrop. For those who prefer a smaller craft or just want to experience a chance to surf in Germany, located on the Eisbach, a tributary of the Isar, there’s a small artificial wave which has been keeping the surfers of Munich happy since 1972. In short, there is plenty of fun to be had on this charming German river.
Thonon les Bains (France)
Located in Haute Savoie, near Lake Geneva, the Dranse offers a 15 kilometres trip, arguably one of the most beautiful white-water sports sites in France with the route crossing a protected delta. A perfect mix between a physically demanding descent and the chance to explore an enchanting natural environment. Thanks to the nearby dam, the river’s flow is regulated which means that you’ll be rafting on a similar stream during the whole season, and furthermore, another positive of this place is the fact that the water of the Dranse is surprisingly warm, even though it’s an alpine river. Once you push of from the bank in your inflatable and unsinkable boat, you’ll realise that the raft is truly the most exciting and fitting way to discover this river trail and the surrounding environment.
East & West Glacial River (Iceland)
For this adventure, we head the freezing waters of Iceland for an unforgettable rafting session. Scattered with hot springs and beautiful canyons alongside the river, this circuit offers the whole family the opportunity to have fun with a paddle and explore the beautiful wilderness of Iceland. As you navigate the gentle rapids through the meanders and turns of this awe-inspiring gorge, take a breather and sample some hot cocoa from the natural kettle. Enjoy a trip through this magnificent canyon to relax and admire the breath-taking scenery. Whether heading east or west on this icy river, you’ll be exposed to simple rapids with wide and clear canals. Thick dive suits are provided but take a warm fleece anyway because the temperatures are never very high in the region, which consequently, is also what makes this place so charming. To top it off, for the bravest of the bunch, there is a thrilling cliff jump into deep water you can try.
The Ötztaler Ache (Austria)
The Ötztaler Ache is a river located in the Tyrol region of western Austria. This right tributary of the Inn and sub-tributary of the Danube is fed by the snow that melts in the Austrian Alps. When spring arrives, the thaw increases the level of Ötztaler Ache and turns it into a perfect spot for white-water sports. Splashing over cool, clear waters, you and your raft will ride through the water while avoiding the rocks and raising your adrenaline level. The water is a little cold, which will help you stay focused … So, hold on to your paddle and check out the incredible mountain range that surrounds the river. In Austria, the difficulty level of the white waters is classified into 4 classes, from easy to difficult. An environmentally conscious site that gives the highest priority to the preservation and protection of nature so that future generations can also benefit from this wholesome activity.