Rafting as a mode of transport up and down
waterways also has a long tradition in Croatia.
However, white-water rafting as a modern form of
adventure began only in the late 1980s, and
served to attract notice to the amazing beauty
of Croatian rivers, which up until that time was
known only to relatively few kayaking
adventurers and fishermen. The founders of the
River free Club, pioneers of commercial trips
through the rivers and experts on the waterways
of Croatia, did not anticipate the subsequent
level of interest and the resulting popularity
of rafting on rivers which do not abound with
savage rapids and high waves. Nevertheless,
thousands of people have since enjoyed their
close encounters with the unforgettable magic of
rivers, of green river banks, sheer canyons and
Rivers in the continental parts of the country
are flanked by dense forests and by mountains,
while those closer to the sea boast broad green
banks and deep and shady mysterious canyons.
What they all have in common is greenish clear
waters that one can see through right down to
the river bed. The classification of difficulty
of Croatia’s white waters is, on average,
category III; only on the Rivers Dobra and Una
can you count on category IV waters.
River Kupa flows from the Risnjak
National Park, flowing between forest-covered
mountain slopes and rich valleys, but offering
sufficient water for rafting only in spring and
after heavy rainfalls.
River Dobra has a surface course and an
underground course and offers first class
rafting conditions at all times because dams and
accumulation lakes permit a sufficient flow
through of water.
River Mreznica abounds with waterfalls,
but between them the water flows calm. Rafting
through the upper, canyon course involves
elements of canoeing.
River Korana issues from the Plitvice
lakes. After heavy rains and when snow melts the
section below the picturesque site of Rastoke,
and downstream through the canyon, is
River Una, which forms the border between
Croatia and Bosnia, provides excellent rafting
conditions downstream of the 20 meter-high
Strbacki buk waterfall, when the waters are
running high, although the experience is
somewhat less exciting when water levels fall.
River Zrmanja abounds with water in
springtime, while in summer smaller craft -
canoes and kayaks - must be used to travel this,
the most beautiful of Croatian canyons.
River Krka can be negotiated through the
upper part of the national park due to the
inflow from its tributary, the River Butisnica,
which is controlled by a dam. Rafting is the
only way to really get to know this undisturbed
area of the park, and the only place where a
detour by land is necessary is the 12 meter-high
Bilusica buk waterfall.
River Cetina waters are directed via a
tunnel towards a power plant on the coast, which
means that there is not much water for rafting
in its natural canyon bed. The experience is
still worth undertaking if only because of thick
and lush vegetation along its banks, the clear
waters, high cliffs, waterfalls and caves.
INFO Equipment: Rafts utilised on
Croatian rivers are built of sturdy, resistant
materials with good mobility properties.
Organized rafting arrangements include a skipper
and personal gear for every crew member: life
jacket, neoprene suit and footwear, helmet and
an oar. Rafting is not recommended on rivers, or
sections of rivers, which abound with narrow
passages and other risk-laden features, or
across fragile limestone waterfall barriers.