Possibly the most popular rafting rivers in the world are the North Johnstone in Australia, the Sun Kosi in Nepal, the Futaleufú in Chile, the Río Upano in Ecuador, the Alsek and Tatshenshini in Alaska and Canada and the Zambezi in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Rivers Suitable for Rafting in Europe
The first river that comes to mind when we think of rafting in Europe is the Sjoa in Norway, which is definitely not for beginners. Equally challenging and alluring is the East Glacial River in Iceland. There is also a lot of white water in the Alps. The Isere in France is one of the most visited. Less dangerous than all the aforementioned rivers is the Simme River in Switzerland, it is best suited for family rafting or school trips. If you are looking for extreme adventure in the Alps then you can find it in the narrow mountain canyon of the river Isel in Austria where there are Grade 3 and 4 rapids and where sometimes there are only a few centimeters between your helmet and the rocks.
The Choruh River runs through the remote Kackar Mountains of Turkey before emptying into the Black Sea. Surrounded by pristine untouched wilderness and ancient ruins (some of which go back to the Byzantine civilization), the Choruh is arguably one of the most interesting and complicated rafting rivers in the world. On the Olt River in Romania, you can find sections for beginners and others that have Grade 4 rapids for those who are more experienced. In Bulgaria the best known rafting river is the Struma, but it too is not for beginners.
Rivers Suitable for Rafting in Ukraine
The most popular rafting river in Ukraine is the Chornyi Cheremosh. It is maybe the only mountain river where every spring the water level is guaranteed to rise enough to make for interesting rafting; it is also convenient to access because of a road that runs alongside it. The Cheremosh borders the high Chornohirs’kyy Ridge; melting snow and rain run off to increase the water level. A roughly 10 km. stretch, from the village Zelene to the village of Krasnyk, contains all the significant rapids of the Chornyi Cheremosh: the Verkhnya and Nyzhnya Dzembronya, Bila Kobyla and the Verkhnyy and Nyzhnyy Huk. In this section rafters encounter all possible types of obstacles.
The Bilyi Cheremosh has more rapids than the Chornyi Cheremosh; in general it is more interesting for recreational rafting. However the main problem with this river is that it is difficult to access the launch area; it requires an off road vehicle or truck. The Prut River is a good option because there is an asphalt covered road that runs alongside the river, but it’s hard to predict when the water level will be high enough for rafting. An interesting fact is that the Prut has one of the most difficult rapids in Ukraine.
Recently, rafting in the Lviv region has gained popularity, specifically on the rivers Stryi and Opir. Their geographical location and the ease of getting to their launch sites give recreational rafters a quick and comfortable trip to the river. We often organize one day rafting trips from the Lviv area on the Stryi River. Rafting on the Stryi is ideal for beginners because it is a real mountain river without the dangerous obstacles. This day trip also includes a hike to the scenic observation area on the cliffs over the river where visitors get a breathtaking view of the Stryi River Valley. The advantage of a day trip along the Stryi is that it is only an hour and a half from Lviv. Usually at the end of a rafting trip we host a bar-b-q. After a delicious lunch if the group is interested we can visit the cave monastery in the village of Rozhirche.
There is one other unique spot in Ukraine that we offer. It is not suitable for rafting because the river is flat, but it is an ideal location for kayaking or for catamarans. It is the Dniester Canyon. It is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The 100-250 meters deep and 250 kilometers long, Dniester Canyon may very well be the biggest canyon in Europe. The curves of the river inside the canyon make for an incredibly scenic route. The sloped river banks are wooded and occasionally interspersed with rocky, steep cliffs adorned with many waterfalls, caves, monasteries and the ruins of once majestic castles.
There are countless other rivers in Ukraine suitable for rafting or boating: the Prut, the Southern Buh, the Zbruch, the Svicha, the Limnytsia, the Stokhid, the Mizunka, the Tisza, the Strypa and others.