10 Best River Adventures in Europe
Over the years, Europe has made significant strides in conserving its ecosystem. In a world that is gradually replacing forests with buildings, a vacation in a vast city no longer thrills most people. Instead, people nowadays prefer to spend their holidays with nature away from all the buzz of city life. Additionally, they prefer engaging in fun sporting activities that will keep them fit even when they are on holiday.
Europe has become a top tourist destination for nature lovers. It is mainly, the case for lovers of water sports and river adventures. Notably, Europe has over 70 rivers. Are you a water adventure enthusiast? Here is our recommendation of top river adventures for those who prefer active leisure activities
1. Sjoa River, Norway
The Sjoa is viewed as one of the best rafting rivers in the whole of Europe. Sjoa Rafting Camp along the Sjoa River is a perfect place to experience the outdoors. The camp accommodates a wide variety of water sports including rafting, canyoning, and river boarding.
Canyoning is recommended for adults regardless of age. The participant can choose how exciting or relaxed they want their canyoning trip to be. These trips often involve jumping off cliffs and swimming in various pools along the river.
Riverboarding at the Sjoa give tourists an intimate connection with nature. The camp views this as the most intense river adventure along the Sjoa River. It is best suited for those who have advanced rafting skills. The activity is physically demanding and may not be fit for anyone who prefers less tiring water sports.
Rafting along the Sjoa River is a life-changing experience. The tour is 11 kilometers long and takes a minimum of 3 hours. With a smooth start and a refreshing finish, the trip provides exquisite scenery and exciting surf waves.
2. Neretva River, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Neretva River provides a perfect opportunity for you to test your courage and challenge your physical strength. The most popular river adventure here is rafting. The Neretva is endowed with four white river rapids that are any adrenaline junkie’s dream. The rafting trip covers 25 kilometers and takes a minimum of 5 hours. It gives adventurers enough time to soak in the beauty of the outdoors, including the astounding nature along the river banks.
There are also water sports that accommodate adventurers who prefer less energy-intensive activities. Such tourists can visit the Rakytnica canyon along the river where they can jump off cliffs and swim in rapids. All these are recommended group activities that are equally handy team building exercises. A first-time traveler to the Neretva River may opt to visit RaftKor, which is a camp that facilitates these adventures. They have certified skippers to ensure your rafting experience is as safe as it is exciting.
3. Douro, Portugal
Are you a wine and river adventure lover? Then a cruise up the Douro Valley is definitely a trip that you would enjoy. The Douro Valley in Northern Portugal is widely known as one of the oldest wine regions in the world. The 209-kilometer cruise is a life-changing experience that exposes tourists to a beautiful and serene natural environment. The travelers get a chance to unwind and meditate in the wild.
Adventurers may choose to take part in kayaking expeditions along the Douro Valley as well. Kayaking is a recommended water sport for tourists who prefer energy-intensive outdoor activities. Paddling the magnificent river gives the adventurer a better view of the grapevine terraces and tall walls.
Additionally, kayakers make stops on their trip to visit various attraction sites such as the famous Rock Art Museum which has over 5000 stone engravings. The river is perfect for a kayaker seeking a challenge, as it has the Valeria Cataract which is a hard one to navigate. Subsequently, swimmers can enjoy the cool river waters and a natural spring that is near Porto Rei.
Tourists who wish to visit the valley can organize their trip with Douro Kayak Expeditions, which is a reserve that caters for trips up the river. They have five expeditions annually and world-renowned kayakers to guide their participants.
4. Ticino, Switzerland
Ticino River is famed for being the location of the Battle of Ticinus in 208 BC. This by itself is often enough reason why most tourists consider it a top destination. The river is 270 kilometers long, and flows through Lago Maggiore. River adventurers describe the Ticino as nature’s adventure playground.
Tourists get to enjoy a variety of water sports including rafting, canyoning, and hydrospeeding on the river. Adventurers can go on a rafting trip or engage in paddle boarding adventures. Rafting trips are often between Cresciano and Bellinzona on the Ticino. The route passes through Riviera valley which provides adventurers with a great view of the surrounding mountains.
Stand up paddle boarding is a water sport that is both fun and relaxing. While it may seem easy, this sport helps the adventurer get a full body work out. Paddleboarding along the Ticino ensures that the adventurer enjoys the warm and sunny weather and beautiful mountain scenery. You may be lucky enough even to spot some wildlife!
You can organize a family or friends’ trip with Valrafting, which is a Swiss company that deals in water adventure.
5. Soca Valley, Slovenia
Soca River flows through one of the most beautiful landscapes in Slovenia. Soca Valley is a perfect place for any outdoor adventurer. The river is ideal for a wide range of water sports including hydrospeed.
Hydrospeed is a life-changing experience for adrenaline junkies. The river’s rapids and rocks are a thrill for any adventurer since you have to be fast to conquer the currents unharmed. Soca Valley is also a perfect getaway for visitors who enjoy nature rafting. It is also a great form of exercising.
Adventurers also see hidden spots along the river, including emerald pools on their rafting trip. The area between Zmuklica and Trnovo ob Soci is best for long rafting trips which are popular when the snow is melting. The panorama of the Soca River is suitable for white water kayak adventures. Experienced kayakers can encounter a welcome challenge between Zmuklica and Cezsoca where rapids are fastest. Also, the river has several pools that are suitable for swimmers.
To find these and more activities, you can visit Dolina Soce Camp, which organizes sports and adventures along Soca Valley.
6. Tyrol, Austria
Tyrol has several spots favorable for water sports. Imster Schlucht is one of the most popular rafting spots in Europe. This section of the Inn River is perfect for rafting enthusiasts looking for a challenge. The route down to Roppen is characterized by many rocks, thundering, and tall waves.
Adventurers can also take rafting trips on the lower part of Otztaler Ache river. This section is considered so risky that each group has to be accompanied by a minimum of 2 experienced guides. The route is also suitable for kayaking. Tourists can use the Boa Constructa and Waldschlucht passages for a more scenic view.
Tyrol has a wide variety of hotels ranging from spa hotels to bio hotels and rustic mountain lodges. Book your holiday today and enjoy a life-changing encounter with nature.
7. Bavaria, Germany
Bavaria is blessed with rivers namely Isar, Wiesent, Lech, Inn, and Main. Kayaking on the 120 low current kilometers on the Altmuhl between Treuchlingen and Toging are any kayaker’s daydream. River Main is a paradise for canoeists. The 354-kilometer trail is marked by a yellow wave. These are symbols that show visitors which route to follow. Also, it gives information on where they can find accommodation and local infrastructure.
Tourists can explore Bavaria’s golf and spa region by canoe or kayak. A tour along the Koblaner Bach is one of discovery. The 12-kilometer route from Barnau to Lower Bavaria goes through fields of mint and bulrushes which offer a relaxing natural environment for the adventurer.
River Isar is most suitable for rafting adventures. The section between Lengries to Bad Tolz has plenty of beautiful landscapes which makes rafting trip all the more adventurous. Swimmers also enjoy sliding down a waterfall in Allgaeu. It comes as part of water adventure tours in this region.
Tourists engage in canyoning in Gunzesrieder Ostertaltobel Ravine or Starzlachklamm Gorge. Following this wild stream, adventurers can participate in sliding, jumping, and abseiling, which is all part of the canyoning adventure. It is a life changing experience that presents participants with a real challenge which helps build their character. Fishing is also a common water sport in Bavaria. The best fishing season is between May and October.
8. Omis, Croatia
Omis is both a natural and historic town. Water adventure in this destination comes in the form of kayaking and snorkeling tours along with canyoning. The kayaking trip on river Cetina is an unforgettable experience. The 5 miles trip is full of mystery, making the trip more exciting for History lovers.
River Cetina is also a place to be for canyoning enthusiasts. Beginners can enjoy basic canyoning in Cetina’s canyon which has a depth of 150 meters. They can enjoy safe, yet fun, canyoning activities such as swimming through the rapids and cliff jumping off waterfalls on the river.
Tourists with prior experience in canyoning and are seeking a challenging adventure can engage in abseiling along the Great Gubavica waterfalls. The first waterfall is 60 meters long while the second is 20 meters high. It is bound to be a life-changing experience especially for a first timer as it will help build their courage and confidence.
9. Segovia, Spain
Hoces del Rio Duraton Nature Reserve in Segovia is located about an hour and a half from Madrid. River Duraton flows through the reserve, carving out narrow gorges that are not only outstandingly beautiful but are also a tourist attraction for lovers of outdoor activities.
Canoeing is one of the primary water sports that take place on River Duraton. The boat tours start from Seblcor and end at San Frutos. This route is about 25 kilometers long. It is the part of the river that is easiest to navigate. Canoeing down the river at a tranquil pace gives the adventurer a chance to admire the rocky cliffs and ruins of the Monastery of La Hoz. A variety of birds of prey are also popular in this area.
Tourists can also enjoy the adventure of a life-changing encounter with nature while canyoning through the mountains of Madrid. Canyoning also presents a chance for the adventurer to challenge themselves.
It gives them a chance to explore hidden routes in the mountains and enjoy a leap into natural pools along the Duraton. The river has eroded a different canyon. Rappelling down the canyon is an adventure you wouldn’t want to miss. The descent includes vertical abseils and waterfalls.
10. Chamonix, France
When many think of France as a holiday destination, they often picture the Eiffel tower and interaction with Parisians. While this may be a dream come true, an adventurer with a zeal for the wild may not enjoy being in the city for the entire holiday season.
Mont Blanc Valley in France is a tourist destination for lovers of water sports and adventure. Additionally, you may opt to raft through the Mont Blanc massif. It is not only a great work out activity, but also gives you a great view of the mountainous landscapes as you ride through the six rapids. Tourists who enjoy canyoning can also enjoy a series of jumps, 20 meter high abseils, natural slides, and zip lining to satisfy their craving for outdoor adventure.
A vacation in the wild is nothing short of an adventure. If you are looking for a much-needed break from the noisy city life, then a river adventure in Europe is all you need. You can even choose to turn off your electronics during your stay, so that you can enjoy and appreciate nature to the maximum. That said, feel free to add a river adventure to your bucket list!