Croatia white water rafting: 5 best rivers to raft in Croatia

Jul 11, 2018 BY Mark Barber

Croatia white water rafting is some of the best in Europe. With clear or emerald green waters, spectacular scenery, and varied options for all abilities, rafting is a popular adventure sport in this Balkan nation. But what are the best rivers to raft in Croatia?

croatia white water rafting - Zrmanja - Flickr CC image by Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia

Best rivers to raft in Croatia

In order of easiest to most difficult here are the top 5 rafting rivers in Croatia.

Mreznica – Class I to II

Less than 80km from Zagreb, this is one of the most popular rivers for Croatia white water rafting. Ideal for beginners as they can enjoy excursions that require no previous experience.

With small to medium sized waterfalls that fall into pools of warm water, it offers an adventurous ride that anyone can enjoy. A great introduction to the sport.

The clear waters and unspoilt forests that line the river banks are a spectacular harmony of nature at it’s finest. Most popular during the summer months, you may want to consider visiting in spring or autumn. This is when the water level is highest.

Cetina – Class II to III

The beautifully clear waters of the Cetina river, meets the Adriatic sea at the small town of Omis. The Instagram friendly scenery that does not require a filter, is a tranquillity of deception of what lies within.

The river starts of easy enough as you paddle gently downstream admiring the view. But, then the real adventure starts.

With plenty of class 2 and 3 rapids to navigate, including the difficult Tisne Stine, which is only 10 metres wide at best and flows between two high cliffs either side of the river. There is also a splendid waterfall at Studenci.

The Cetina is a fantastic introduction to Croatia white water rafting. One of the best rivers to raft in Croatia for a creat combination of scenery and excitement.

If you would like to raft the Cetina river then check out Active365 who offer first class rafting adventures in a beautiful 9.5 km long section of the river. Making great use of the class 2 to 3 rapids – including an exhilarating four metre drop – that flows through a 40-150 metre deep canyon it’s an unforgettable adventure.

They offer two options. The first is straight rafting for beginners and is typical of Croatia white water rafting. The second is a multi-activity adventure that also includes snorkelling, hiking and jumping from cliffs into the crystal clear water. Find out more at: www.active365.hr

Zrmanja – Class I to III

The Zrmanja river is a great example of the versatility of Croatia white water rafting. Depending on the seasons, the rapid ratings range from a calm I to II in the summer, to a more lively II or III in the spring or autumn.

The Zrmanja river cuts through a 200m canyon, which is both awe-inspiring and daunting at the same time. Even when the rapids are calm, it feels adventurous. As if starring in your very own Indiana Jones movie!

Croatia white water rafting Zrmanja River one of the best rivers to raft in Croatia Flickr CC image by Raftrek Adventure Travel

This spectacular river encounters wonderful travertine waterfalls, rapids and cascades. There is also the Visoki Buk which is the biggest waterfall en-route. You will have to cross this by foot but the scenery makes the 5 minute walk worthwhile!

The Zrmanja has wonderfully clear and warm water. Rafting during the summer is suitable for beginners with no previous experience. Check out the trips by Raftrek Adventures for more info.

Dobra – Class II to IV

Being just 70km from Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb, it is not surprising that the first organised rafting trips in Croatia were located on the Dobra over 20 years ago.

A lot has changed in that time, and although it is still an extremely popular river for Croatia white water rafting, the presence of a dam and hydro-power plant has eradicated some of the old rafting options.

On the other hand, it can be argued that thanks to the Dam and the accumulation lakes, there is excellent sustained conditions for rafting.

There really is something for everyone for rafting on the Dobra river. From grade IV ferocious white waters, to the more gentle routes where rafters can enjoy paddling through the emerald green waters, enjoying the majestic scenery of forests and green banks.

Complete beginners with no experience can enjoy the more gentle rapids by booking on an organised rafting trip. There are plenty to choose from.

Korana – Class III to V

For the experienced rafters and adrenaline junkies out there! The Korana river is easily one of the best rivers to raft in Croatia if you want maximum adventure. The most extreme route is about 15km long, but there is a 10km options for those who prefer it more gentle but still fun.

Sourced from the Plitvice Lakes National Park, there are are some devilishly choppy and fast sections that flows through the limestone canyons. These sections host the Euro Cup race ‘Rast Raft’.

But excursions are available for the less experienced who can enjoy the dramatic landscape while passing old and abandoned mills en-route. There’s an incredible 30 waterfalls along the river.

Croatia white water rafting

So here it is! Our list of the 5 best rivers to raft in Croatia. What do you think? Is there any other rivers that you feel should be on this list?

What about the Una river?

A consideration for this list of the 5 best rivers to raft in Croatia, is the Una river. It is a river that forms a natural border, between Croatia and Bosnia.

Huck finn discount 10% off rafting in croatia Courtesy of Huck Finn Adventure Travel

The Una really does have something to offer for everyone. The Strbacki Buk-Lahovo stretch is graded IV and V, and has insane whitewater for experts and adrenaline junkies. But, it also has more mellow sections that are ideal for both intermediate and beginners.

One of the reasons why the Una hasn’t quite made the grade for this list, is that best excursions are actually booked from Bosnia. Having said that Huck Finn offer adventures from Croatia on the Una river.

Should the Kupa river be on the list?

Another one we could have included is the Kupa river. Again forming a natural border, the Kupa flows between north west Croatia and south east Slovenia. Graded I to II, the Kupa is absolutely ideal for beginners, especially newbies, with fun easy rapids to cut your teeth on.

Croatian rafting summary

Croatia is a country that is rich in history, ideally placed in Europe, and is blessed with the most incredible landscape. All the rivers on this list of the 5 best rivers to raft in Croatia have beautiful clean water. Some crystal clear and others a stunning emerald green.

Croatia white water rafting Zrmanja River one of the best rivers to raft in Croatia. Flickr CC image by Raftrek Adventure Travel

Most of the rivers in Croatia are absolutely perfect for beginners wishing for some fun on gentle rapids and there is plenty to offer experts. But even the most difficult rivers in Croatia can be rafted by the inexperienced as part of an organised excursion.

Make sure you check out our Croatia rafting discounts as you could save a fortune on your next adventure.

 
Balkans, Cetina River, Croatia, Dobra River, Europe, Korana River, Kupa River, Mreznica River, Una River, Zrmanja River
Rafting
Advanced, Beginner, class 1, class 2, class 3, class 4, class 5, Intermediate, Whitewater (Rapids)
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