River Rafting in Greece: Three Special Waterways

Magnificent rivers in the Greek mountains offer exciting freshwater adventures, perfect for fall excursions.


Voidomatis: Drink up and enjoy!

They say that the Voidomatis River in Zagori in northwest Greece is one of the cleanest rivers in Europe. In fact, locals will urge you to quench your thirst with its waters. This is because it’s a very short river, so you’re never too far from its headwaters, and therefore elements hazardous to humans don’t have a chance to proliferate. Even if the waters of the Voidomatis aren’t your tipple of choice, you’ll certainly enjoy walking along its banks, swimming or rafting in its icy waters, or relaxing under the cool of its plane-tree covered banks.

The most popular swimming spot is at the Papingo-Aristis Bridge, right next to the road that connects these two villages. Visitors should remember that the area is a national park; as such, the use of sunscreen and the collecting flowers or herbs are not permitted. The easiest hike begins a bit further up, and ends about two hours later, at the Klidonia Bridge. This walk follows the river’s course, and you’ll come across other swimming areas along the way. The rafting trips cover this stretch of the river, too; at times, the waters are remarkably calm, making a ride down the river ideal for families with young children!

Rafting: Trekking Hellas Ioannina, Tel. (+30) 694.475.0009

AcheronChilling at the Gate to Hades

The legend that states the Acheron River is a passage to the Underworld seems implausible in the summer. An entire community establishes itself along the banks of the river, and people here enjoy a far different type of vacation than they would on the cosmopolitan beaches of Preveza or Parga. The river’s final four kilometers are navigable, and boatmen based in the village of Ammoudia near the river’s mouth offer their passengers amazing experiences. Further east, you’ll find the village of Glyki, vibrant and lively in the summer, a gateway in its own right to a world of endless adventure. From here, the path that traverses Acheron Gorge begins; it’s a five to six-hour hike between narrow canyon walls and areas of rich vegetation, and some wading in the freezing waters is required.

There are also many other beautiful hikes that do not take as long. You’ll find some organized activities on offer, too, next to one of the river’s springheads – whether you’re canoeing, kayaking or rafting, the calm waters here make it ideal for children, and the difficulty levels are very low. In the gorge, the difficulty level goes up, much like your heart rate. Here, two-seater rafts, known as hot dogs, or one seater-rafts are used, in part because of the waterway is so narrow. Alternatively, you could go horseback-riding along the river banks, have a picnic at one of the rest areas, or play around in a forest filled with ancient plane trees.

Activities: Riverdream, Tel. (+30) 694.575.7363,  Trekking Hellas Tzoumerka, Tel. (+30) 697.203.1553.

AoösAdventure on the border

The source of the Aoös River lies near Metsovo, and its waters flow through parts of the prefecture of Ioannina and the Vikos-Aoös National Park. Passing just outside the village of Konitsa, it welcomes the waters of the Voidomatis River and, just before the border, connects with the Sarantaporo to continue its course into Albania, where it goes by the name Vjose.

Its impressive gorge can be admired from afar, from famed Konitsa Bridge, but you can explore on foot, too, enjoying great views of the Monastery of Stomio and taking on the via ferrata that rises from the riverbank, the largest and most impressive hiking and rock-climbing trail of its kind in Greece.

The via ferrata includes ropes and metal grips and steps, and culminates in a 15-meter bridge that stands 35 meters above the river! For a closer encounter with the water, look for Nikos Kyritisis and his adventure company, No Limits, at Bourazani at the border. He’ll tell you that, because the river is a fast-moving body of water with rapids, less experienced rafting enthusiasts should only visit Aoös during the summer months, when amazing hiking and one-seater rafting experiences await. Spending a night in one of the tree houses here is just the cherry on this amazing cake.

Activities: No Limits, Tel. (+30) 694.475.1418


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