Put on your rafting waistcoat and helmet, embark on your boat and off we go to explore the splendid water paths of Greek nature! A perfect activity for action and nature lovers alike, rafting is the ideal way to discover secluded spots of unparalleled beauty while sailing past deep gorges and evergreen mountain slopes.
Fill your heart with awe and enjoy moments of intense adrenalin rush! Don’t give it a second thought, explore Greek rivers all year round and relish the beauty of Greek nature. To help you plan your next Greek rafting experience, the VisitGreece team has prepared for you this mini guide illustrating the most famous rivers as well as the most important hints for each one of them.
1. Voidomatis (Zagori)
One of the clearest rivers in Europe, Voidomatis lies amidst a scenery of breathtaking beauty and is ideal for beginners, as the 5 km route presents no particular difficulties and requires no special technical skills. Departure point is the wonderful stone bridge of Aristi (one of Zagorochoria, a group of traditional villages, right in the heart of the Vikos-Aoos National Park) while the route ends at Kleidonia Bridge, a single arch bridge as well as a proper gem along the river way. A refreshing dive in the freezing waters is an option for the brave.
Grade of difficulty: 1-2
Where to stay: In Zagori of course. This impressive complex of picturesque stone villages built in a magical setting amidst pine and fir trees has an excellent tourist infrastructure featuring traditional stone-built guesthouses and offering a warm environment to rest in after your day has come to an end.
What to do: The possibilities are endless. Visit Zagori’s most picturesque villages, such as Monodéndri, a restored stone village, and stroll down narrow streets past the village’s stone courtyards; take the rocky trail starting from the central square that leads to Vickos Gorge, which is awe-inspiringly deep! From there, admire the Monastery of St. Paraskevi nestling on a rock overlooking the Vickos Gorge. Mikro and Megalo Papigko, Aristi, Kipi and Dilofo are just some of the precious gems of Zagori. Gaze at the beautiful stone bridges which connect the villages or explore the magical Drakolimni, one of the three alpine lakes in the Pindus mountain range, which according to local legends used to be inhabited by dragons!
2. Tavropos or Megdovas (Εvritania)
Rafting along Tavropos River is one of the best choices for beginners or those having some prior experience in rafting. Departure point is Palia Viniani; after crossing a 10km breathtaking route amidst lush scenery, the adventure comes to an end at the bridge of Megdova. A surprise waits for you at the end of the route: the impressive waterfall of Viniani!
Grade of difficulty: 1-2
Duration: 2 hours
Where to stay: in Κarpenisi or in the nearby villages Koryshades, Lagkades, Agios Andreas and Goriniades, in Mikro Chorio, Voutyro and in Agios Nikolaos.
What to do: Take leisurely strolls around the picturesque villages or engage in exhilarating nature activities, such as skiing, trekking and bicycling. Don’t miss the opportunity to go from Karpenisi to Proussos, where also the renowned monastery Panagia Proussiotissa lies. The route passing through the lush fir tree-covered mountains of Chelidona and Kaliakouda will be something to remember forever!
3. Evinos (Mountainous Nafpaktia)
River Evinos, rising from Vardoussia and flowing into the Patraic Gulf, is an ideal choice for beginners. The point where the adventure starts is Poros Bridge and after crossing a 10km route you will admire the impressive bridge of Chani Brania. The route’s highlight? The Olympic kayak slalom course!
Grade of difficulty: 2
Duration: 2 hours
Where to stay: The closest village to Evinos is Chani Brania; you can also opt for Nafpaktos, a picture-perfect town boasting a picturesque Venetian harbour and an ancient-old castle overlooking the city.
What to see: Having as your starting point Ano Chora, you can discover famous or less known spots of Mountainous Nafpaktia: Perdikovrysi, the artificial lake of Evinos, the village Platanos with its interesting Folk art Museum as well as the single-arch Bridge of Artotiva, an architectural gem of the15th century.
4. Loussios (Arcadia)
One of the most impressive rivers in Greece, Loussios is perfect for the more experienced rafters! The 8km water route passes through a narrow gorge with lush vegetation and through impressive tunnels. Arched bridges and crystal clear fountains flowing from steep rocks complete the picture of unforgettable scenery.
Grade of difficulty: 3
Duration: 2 hours
Where to stay: The traditional stone-built village of Karytaina with its cobblestone narrow alleys, the castle and the monasteries in the surrounding area is a good starting point to explore Loussios. Stemnitsa, a typical traditional Arcadian settlement set amidst ancient plane and fir trees and Dimitsana, boasting the six remaining legendary Gunpowder Mills that used to produce gunpowder for the Revolutionary War, the Philosophou and Timiou Prodromou Monasteries, the archaeological site of Gortyna and the houses of heroes of the Revolution are also excellent choices for getting acquainted with the area.
What to see: Visit the Open Air Water-Power Museum in Dimitsána, the only museum of its kind, which demonstrates basic pre-industrial techniques using water as the main source of energy to produce a variety of goods.
Stroll around the picturesque district of Kastro in Stemnitsa and take in an amazing view of the Margaritsa Gorge sprawling below.Visit the Folklore Museum, the “Greek School” and the Library of Vytína, where you can admire rare books and manuscripts.
5. Arachthos (Tzoumerka)
Offering two routes of unparalleled beauty, Arachthos is one of the most popular spots for river rafting, whether you are a beginner or a more advanced rafter. Entering into the narrow gorge of Arachthos, you will come across breathtaking scenery with vertical steep slopes reaching 700m. In the middle of the route, you have the opportunity to make a stop and walk to the Glyfki waterfall. Where the waters fall, a small pond has been formed; the most adventurous of you can try to enjoy a refreshing dive!
Departure point for beginners is the Politsa Bridge (Lazaina) whereas Tsimpovou Bridge (Harokopi) is more suitable to the advanced. Both rafting routes end at the historical Bridge of Plaka, the highest single-arch bridge in Greece crowning both sides of Arachthos.
Grade of difficulty: 2-3 (beginners) 4 (advanced)
Duration: 2 hours (or 4 for advanced rafters)
Where to stay: Find long desired peace and serenity in Tzoumerka and let yourself be captivated by unique natural beauty and the elaborate Epirus architectural tradition.
Ready for rafting?
A plethora of outdoor activities companies organize rafting excursions in the majority of the Greek rivers. Choose your river after having taken into consideration the place you would like to visit thus combining perfectly action, relaxation and sightseeing!