All you need to know about rafting
If you are looking for thrills and want to share an unforgettable experience with friends, rafting is undoubtedly the right solution.
It's time to speed up your heart rate with a rafting session full of adrenaline. Rafting is an activity which consists in sailing in white water aboard a boat about 7 meters long and 3 meters wide, handled by a group of people with a paddle to navigate.
Who can go rafting?
An activity accessible for the whole family from 6 years old to share unforgettable moments! Rafting is practiced in teams of 4 to 8 people, usually in the company of a qualified guide who directs the trajectory. The object of the game is to descend a river by paddling from a starting point to an ending point on a course where successive different portions with rapids, slalom between the rocks and waterfalls. Riding a river on an inflatable raft is an intense adventure that you will not soon forget. The term "rafting" is derived from the English word "raft", which means float. This sport was born on the Colorado River(USA) in the 1950s. From the 1980s, rafting became very popular and today, it is an essential activity for lovers of sport in the wild.
Note that these rafts are theoretically unsinkable and very stable, which means that they can cross currents that are sometimes quite violent and that no other boat (except kayaks) could pass. Put on your wetsuit, your life jacket and your helmet and let's go for a great experience for several people. The joy of paddling on the currents of a river with the cold water splashing in your face while trying to keep your balance. A strong team spirit is recommended with lots of communication between you, a good way to bond a team and test their confidence. A great way to have a good time with your family and a nice dose of adrenaline in the process.
Here are the different classes of rapids
The Ministry of Youth and Sports created this classification in 1995 to differentiate river rapids according to their technical difficulty:Class 1: easy. Regular course, small eddies, simple obstacles.Class 2: not very difficult. Irregular course, small waves, small rapids, simple obstacles in the current.Class 3: moderately difficult. High waves, large eddies, whirlpools and rapids. Boulders with various obstacles in the current.Class 4: difficult. Continuous waves, strong rollers, technical rapids and steep slopes with unseen passages.Class 5: extremely difficult. Unavoidable reconnaissance, dangerous obstacles and narrow passages, very high drops with difficult entrances and exits.Class 6: limit of navigability. Almost impossible to cross, too risky.
Today, rafting is an activity that can be practised on all continents of the world as long as there is a river or a white water course. It is however essential to know how to swim because even if it is a risk-free activity, you can always be thrown overboard if you don't hold on tightly enough.
Don't forget your swimming costume as well as your trainers as you may be "slightly drenched"... Also note that rafting is highly dependent on weather and water conditions, so it is possible that the activity will be cancelled or postponed if there is too much or too little water (rain, drought...).
Here is our selection of the most beautiful destinations in Europe for rafting.
The Gorges du Verdon (France)
A sumptuous canyon dug by the Verdon between Pont-de-Soleils and the Sainte-Croix lake with a rafting descent always synonymous with great moments. Located between the Var and the Alpes de Haute-Provence, this canyon is the largest in Europe with a depth of 700 metres. One of the most famous spots in France with a course that stretches over 45 km between Castellane and the Sainte Croix lake. This area is also known as the Middle Verdon, to situate it in relation to the Lower Verdon, which goes as far as the Durance, and the Upper Verdon, which goes up to the source of the Val d'Allos. This rafting trip is the best way to discover the Verdon Gorges. For more sensations and a maximum of freshness, a stop is planned to learn how to swim in the river and also to try a 2 meters high jump in the Verdon, as in canyoning!
The Cetina River (Croatia)
Located a few kilometres from the coast, discover the beautiful Cetina River canyon in Omis with a 10 kilometre descent that will take an average of just over 3 hours. The programme includes more or less extreme rafting, but also a few stops for a swimming session, jumping from the rocks into the deep river, observing wildlife and plants, showering under a waterfall... As a bonus, you will explore a cool spring water cave with stalactites while passing through a waterfall. After passing under a waterfall, you will enter the first room illuminated by beautiful daylight reflections and swim about 12 meters. To finish your adventure, you paddle through beautiful and exciting rapids for 5 kilometres before stopping 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 kilometre long river running through the Italian Alps, a tributary of the Adige located in the alpine paradise of the Dolomites in northern Italy. It is one of the longest waterways in Europe with over 28 km of waterways and is undoubtedly one of the most suitable for rafting. Fed by melting glaciers, the Noce River is famous for its thundering rapids that swirl through the Mostizzolo Gorge. With steep cliffs and snow-capped peaks towering over your journey, this activity will also give you a thrill in terms of the view as you have a breathtaking panorama all along the way.
Rafting is always fun and adventurous and again no previous experience is necessary. The Simme is a fun class 3 river located in this beautiful and scenic Swiss valley. This white water trip is ideal for a group of family and friends looking for some action and fun. Also discover the Lütschine River, by far the most exciting river in the Bernese Oberland. The icy winter snow has melted under the spring sun and fills this river with exciting rapids. After a thorough briefing by the experienced guides, you will board the rafts in the beautiful valley below the infamous 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 impressive Gallego River which crosses the province of Aragon and is 193.2 km long. Due to its imposing size, the river has different straits that are very popular for rafting and other white water activities (kayaking, cayonning...). Murillo de Gallego has especially the best whitewater rapids such as Central de Carvavilla, Presa del Pantano de la Peña and the stretch from Sta to Puente. Whatever the itinerary and the choice of class according to difficulty, your crossing will last about 3 hours, all guided by certified rafting instructors.
The Isar in Munich (Germany)
Facing the magnificent panorama of the Bavarian Alps, you have the opportunity to share an adventure on the wild and romantic Isar river. A healthy outdoor activity surrounded by the beauty of nature and the thrill of rafting. Germany is a country internationally known for its art scene and beautiful engineering, but it is not a country that one immediately thinks of when looking for an adventure sport. Yet the southern region near Munich offers an incredible opportunity to raft in crystal clear waters with the picturesque small towns along the river course as a backdrop. And for the more intrepid, it's even possible to have a surf session on this river! Located on the Eisbach (a tributary of the Isar), a small artificial wave has been delighting surfers right in the centre of Munich since 1972 (but only authorised since 2012). In short, there's plenty to do on this German river.
Thonon les Bains (France)
Located in Haute Savoie, close to Lake Geneva, the Dranse offers more than 15 kilometres of courses. It is one of the most beautiful white water sports sites in France with a course that crosses a delta classified as a nature reserve. A perfect mix between a sporty descent and the exploration of an enchanting natural environment. Note that the water of the Dranse is warm even though it is an alpine river. Thanks to the dam, the flow of the river is regulated, which allows rafting on a homogeneous current throughout the season. An inflatable and unsinkable boat, the raft is the most suitable craft to discover this river and its environment.
East & West Glacial River (Iceland)
We now head to the frozen waters of Iceland for an unforgettable rafting session. With riverside hot springs and beautiful canyon scenery, this tour offers the whole family the opportunity to have fun with a paddle and explore Iceland's beautiful wilderness.
As you navigate the gentle rapids through the twists and turns of this imposing gorge, take the opportunity to sample hot cocoa from the natural kettle. Enjoy a trip through this magnificent canyon to relax and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Whether you are east or west on this icy river, you will be exposed to simple rapids with fairly wide and clear channels. A thick wetsuit will be provided but take a fleece as temperatures are never very high in the area, which is also what makes this place so charming. For the more courageous, a jump from the cliff is always possible as the water is quite deep.
The Ötztaler Ache (Austria)
The Ötztaler Ache is a river in the Tyrol region of western Austria. This right-hand 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 raises the level of the Ötztaler Ache, turning it into a perfect place for whitewater sports.
Splashing around on cool, clear water, your raft will glide across the water while avoiding rocks and getting your adrenaline flowing. The water is a little cold, which will help you stay focused... So hang on to your boat and take a look at the incredible mountain range that surrounds the river.
In Austria, the level of difficulty of the white waters is classified in 4 classes, from easy to difficult. An environmentally friendly site that prioritises the preservation and protection of nature so that future generations can also enjoy this activity.