White-water rafting is one of the most exciting and exhilarating sports that people can enjoy out on the water, and while it is a great amount of fun it is also one of the safest sports, when you have all the equipment and an experienced guide on board the raft with you. When it comes to enjoying white-water rafting, it is important to know how difficult each run will be, with rapids graded in Roman numerals from I at the lowest up to V as the toughest. When picking out a run bear in mind that families might want slightly calmer waters than the adrenaline junkie, but be ready to challenge yourself as well. Here are a few of the best places to pick up the paddle in Europe.
Noce River, Italy
This stunning valley in the north of Italy is one that often is named among the best rafting rivers in the world, and with the Dolomites providing a stunning mountain background to the rafting areas here, there is no doubt that it is a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors. The rafting stretches of the river are quite long, meaning that trips of several exciting hours are possible, with the wonderful Mostizzolo Gorge home to some sensational Class V rapids. There are also calmer sections that will provide a great trip for families and novices, while those who love the outdoors will also enjoy the great range of other sports possible in the area.
Sjoa River, Norway
Norway is famous for its fjords, but here in Sjoa it is the steep cliffs of the gorges that help to make this a magical experience, with trips of a couple of hours and a full day's rafting along the river possible. Those looking for the really challenging rapids will want to head to the top of the valley where the Aaseng Canyon provides Class V rapids in the right water conditions. One of the great things about rafting in Norway is that the hearty food and the sauna afterward provides an ideal way to warm up after a day out on the water.
Tryweryn River, Snowdonia, UK
Widely considered to be the best rafting river in the United Kingdom, the Tryweryn lies near the town of Bala in the scenic green mountains of Snowdonia. The river runs through some challenging rapids up to Class IV when the conditions are right, and as the water is released from a dam at the top of the river, this is much more consistent in terms of the water flow providing even better rafting conditions. The section of the river that is usually rafted is quite short, but it does pack in maximum excitement, so most trips will have several runs down this lovely stretch of river through the Welsh countryside.
Rhein River, Switzerland
The spectacular mountains of the Swiss Alps are among the most beautiful mountain regions in the world, and while many people visit the area for skiing in the winter, it is also a popular destination in the summer for climbing, hiking, mountain biking and of course white-water rafting. The Vorderrhein Gorge is one of the most popular rafting sections of the river, just over ten miles of wonderful white water flowing through some spectacular Alpine scenery. This river is probably one that won't challenge experienced rafters, but the Class II and III rapids are enough to ensure that visitors will enjoy some fun thrills in between the chance to enjoy the beautiful Swiss Alps.
Katun River, Siberia, Russia
Siberia is one of the most remote parts of Europe for those in the west of the region, but if you really want the best multi-day rafting trip in the region, then the Katun River is where you should go.This fast flowing river is one that runs for nearly seven hundred miles, and over the course of seven days you can enjoy a significant proportion of this beautiful area. Among the highlights of rafting along the Katun River is the stretch which is known as the Kadrinskaya Truba, a gorge with some impressive rapids, while the Shabash Rapids is another great section of white water with some superb thrills to enjoy along the way. As this is a remote area of Russia, many of the supplies for the trip are packed in or left at certain places along the route, as many areas will see half a day or more between significant settlements along the river.