In recent years, Rafting, i.e. the descent of a river with an inflatable boat and oars is an activity that is becoming more and more popular. Whether you are a nature lover and want to enjoy your walk on the river among the trees, or you are a sportsman and you are looking for the adrenaline rush and the increased speed of the river, Rafting is definitely the sport you will want to try again and again.
What makes Rafting unique, in our opinion, is the fact that it brings us closer to nature. The places we managed to see and the images we saw could not be approached in any other way. We have tried the experience of Rafting so far in Lucius, Voidomatis and Acheron, usually choosing a spring season. In our article below we will try to cover all the basic information you need to know before trying it for the first time.
For the story, the word rafting comes from the English word “raft”, which means raft, and literally means the transport of people and things by raft through rivers. For the sake of the sport, today it means the descent of a river with an inflatable boat and oars.
The first landing in history was made in 1842 by Lieutenant John Fremont on the Platte River in Nebraska. Over the years, rafting became established as a sport, and in the 60’s, it began to be recognized by sports clubs. The first sports clubs took over the “sea” trails of the Grand Canyon.
The official recognition application of the sport, was in the 1972 Olympic Colours Munich Games. The fans of this sport never stop trying out different ways and locations, both for the feeling of this extreme sport, as well as with the contact with nature.
What is Rafting
As mentioned above, Rafting is a team sport of river descent with an inflatable boat. This group, or crew, consists of the professional driver and 6 or 12 people, depending on the size of the boat and the degree of difficulty of the river. The experienced driver guides the crew with the appropriate commands to paddle properly so as to avoid the natural obstacles of the river during its descent.
As in any team sport, so in this one, especially because of the adventure it offers, there are some safety rules. The driver is careful to follow these rules.
Initially, Rafting equipment consisted of inflatable boats. Sizes vary depending on their use. Larger ones, although they provide more space, are more difficult to handle and heavier. Usually the boats used in the organized activities, can accommodate 6-8 people with the driver. Each boat has a safety valve which is used to inflate or deflate the boat whenever needed.
When the weather is hot, in terms of clothing, they need a swimsuit or shorts or Bermuda shorts and a sports t-shirt. We suggest that you bring a second change of clothes and definitely a second pair of socks, because you will come into contact with water. However, when the weather is colder, we suggest that you equip yourself with a full body thermal underwear, which will keep your body warm and dry from the cold waters and low temperatures. Also, in terms of safety, companies usually provide a special protective helmet and life jacket.
Degrees of Difficulty
The degrees of difficulty of the river are 5 (I w.w. up to IV w.w.). This scale is shaped depending on the slope of the land, the volume of water and the peculiarity of the river, depending on natural obstacles such as rocks. For those who are trying Rafting for the first time, the lowest degrees of difficulty are suggested, while experienced rowers can try the most difficult rivers.
Before we proceed to the analysis of the degrees of difficulty, we would like to refer to the word “difficulty” that we use here. It is not a word that should scare you, but it defines the degree of adventure and the intensity of your descent.
Grade 1: This is a relaxed route with little movement in the water and small turbulence and waves. Obstacles are obvious and are avoided at the instructor’s suggestion. Recommended for beginners and those who want to enjoy a quiet boating in nature. Here the risk is minimal for swimmers and non-swimmers.
Grade 2: At this level, the water intensity is low, and the speed is slow with small vortices. Rocks and waves are obvious and easily avoided with a few maneuvers. In fact, there are several “eddies”, quiet places for stopping and resting. Recommended for beginners and sportsmen.
See our article on ski & snowboard here
Grade 3: Here we have a moderate difficulty, as there are vortices with moderate and variable waves that can swing a canoe. There is a sharp drop in water and may require skilled maneuvering to avoid obstacles and waves. The passages are narrower in many places and there are “stoppers”, ie hidden places where the boat gets stuck. This requires fast and strong paddles and is recommended for more active people in good physical condition, even beginners.
Grade 4: This is the degree to which the adrenaline starts to rise! The routes here are quite difficult and need to be inspected before descending. There are hidden obstacles, the route is more tedious and there are few to no stopping points. Large and powerful vortices that require precise handling. Recommended for people who have done rafting several times, who have stamina and we recommend not trying to swim while descending to this degree.
Grade 5: In the descents of this degree, it is recommended only for people who are experienced and have done rafting many times and have attended serious courses. Difficult routes, high water speed and several waterfalls. Very strong vortices with obstacles that can put the rower in danger. Continuous observation of the route and continuous maneuvers and manipulations of the boat are required.
Grade 6: Unpredictable routes with extreme danger limits, with maximum difficulty and many obstacles. There is no leeway for wrong choices here as it can be fatal, with an increased degree of rescue.
Where to do Rafting
The following suggestions are one of the most common rivers for Rafting in Greece. The options, however, are many and you will surely enjoy this activity and fill it with pictures.
The river Voidomatis is considered one of the cleanest rivers in Europe. Combined with the stunning nature, it is the ideal choice to try rafting for the first time. The starting point is located at the Aristis Bridge and the beautiful descent reaches the Klidonia Bridge.
Degree of difficulty: 1-2
Duration: 1.30 hours
The river Lucios offers impressive landscapes, making it ideal for those who want to gain their first experiences in rafting. The length of the water route is 8 km and passes through a narrow gorge, where the dense vegetation and the morphology of the rocks will leave you with your mouth open. During the descent you will pass under natural tunnels from the trees, arched bridges and springs giving you wonderful images and experiences.
Degree of difficulty: 3
Duration: 2 hours
Evinos (Mountainous Nafpaktia)
Another very good choice for beginners is the river Evinos, starting at the bridge of Poros and a route of 10 km.
Degree of difficulty: 2
Duration: 2 hours
With two unique routes, the river Arachthos is one of the most beautiful rivers for rafting. For beginners, but also for the experienced, the river will impress you! The entrance is in the narrow gorge of Arachthos with imposing vertical slopes. In the middle of the route, you can stop and walk up to the waterfall of Glyfki, with the beautiful pond in the middle where the adventurous can dive.
Degree of difficulty: 2-3 (beginners) / 4 (experienced)
Duration: 2 hours / 4 hours
The other rivers suitable for rafting in Greece are:
- Kastoria Nestorio (degree of difficulty 2)
- Kissavos Pinios (various degrees of difficulty from 1-3)
- Aggitis (difficulty level 2)
- Peloponnese – Alfeios (difficulty level 3)
- Meteora – Aspropotamos (degree of difficulty 3),
- Aliakmonas (various degrees of difficulty from 1-5)
- Evritania Acheloos (degree of difficulty 1),
- Taurus (degree of difficulty 2),
- Trikeriotis (degree of difficulty 3)
- Tzoumerka Kalaritikos, (degree of difficulty 4)
- Grevena – Venice (various degrees of difficulty from 1-5)
- Mylopotamos (degree of difficulty 4)