The 5 best rivers for rafting in Croatia

Rafting in Croatia is an activity suitable for everyone, both children and adults, for outdoor sports enthusiasts and also for those who are less active.

Croatia is a very fascinating country not only for its enchanting coastline, the 1185 islands and the breathtaking ziplines. It also has a very lush and unspoiled hinterland. Rafting in this Balkan country is an exciting and regenerating experience that will give you emotions in contact with the green and lush nature. 

In this article I will explain the most popular rivers on which to go rafting in Croatia: Cetina River, Zrmanja River, Mrežnica River, Korana River and Una River. Each river has its own characteristics and is therefore suitable for different groups. For example, the Cetina River, which, depending on the stretch chosen, is suitable for everyone from beginners to experts, whereas the  Mrežnica river is recommended for beginners and families. If it is adrenaline you are looking for, try the Korana River, which will not disappoint you.

1) Rafting on the Cetina: an adventure for everyone

A group iis trying rafting in Croatia on the Cetina river.
©Rafting Pirate Omiš

Famous for its spring that is reminiscent of a blue eye, the Cetina River has its source in the Dinara mountain range, on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, flowing into the Adriatic Sea 101 km away.

Without a doubt, the best rafting in Croatia takes place on the river Cetina. The river, which flows in Dalmatia, can be easily reached from Zadar and Zagreb. The bases of rafting operators on the Cetina are usually located in Split or Omiš.

Depending on the section of the river, you can find different stretches that correspond to different levels of difficulty for rafting:

– The highest part is the most rough and powerful, suitable for experienced rafters. 

– In the middle part of the river Cetina, the water starts to calm down and becomes perfect for intermediate difficulty tours. 

– The final part of the river is suitable for families, because it is calmer and safer, perfect for beginners.

Rafting in this river is an unmatched experience  because of the captivating crystal clear colour of the river Cetina and wild landscape. 

It’s fair to say that the Cetina River is a real hotspot for outdoor activities. If you like thrills, you can try ziplining on the Cetina River or go canyoning.

The beginner canyoning tour on the Cetina can usually be tried from the age of 8 and has thrilling jumps of up to 7 m, but these are optional. The zipline on the Cetina, on the other hand, can be done from the age of 7 and consists of 8 interconnected zips for a total of 2100 m.

2) Rafting on the Zrmanja River, trying packrafting

A group is rafting in Croatia on the Zrmanja river.
©Raftrek Adventure Travel Croatia

The Zrmanja River begins its course in the Zadar region, then continues its trail towards the Šibenik-Knin region and flows southwards into the Karinsko sea (also Karinsko more) in the Zadar region. The Zrmanja River can be reached in just 1 hour from Zadar and under 2 hours from Split.

Usually, the bases of rafting operators offering tours on the Zrmanja River are located near the town of Nadvoda. Which can be reached in 1 hour and 10 minutes by car from Zadar.

On the Zrmanja River you can choose between rafting or packrafting if you want a little more excitement. The difficulty class of the river section used for rafting is I-II, which means that the descent is very calm and therefore perfect for beginners and families. The river is characterised by spectacular waterfalls and medium-high cliffs. During some rafting tours on the Zrmanja River, it is often possible to make a few stops to jump off the cliffs. 

3) Rafting on the Mrežnica River for families

The Mrežnica River originates in Kordun and flows northwards and ends its course a little south of Karlovac where it flows into the Korana River. The river is particularly famous for its 93 waterfalls in only 63 km of length.
The starting point for rafting on the Mrežnica is usually the town of Zvecaj, which can be reached in 1 hour and 30 minutes from Rijeka. The descent takes place in the quietest part of the river: the final part. Here, families with children and beginners can enjoy a new and relaxing experience and admire the nature and the fantastic views of the waterfalls

4) Rafting on the Korana River for adrenaline-pumping experiences

The source of the Korana River is located in the Sastavci waterfalls in the Plitvice Lakes National Park, and it continues north for 134 km before flowing into the Kupa River. The river has a difficulty rating of III to V, which means medium to high. The river is perfect for all rafting enthusiasts. In fact, one of the stages of the European Rafting Cup, called RastRaft, is held on this river. The river is very raging, especially in spring, enlarged by melting snow. 

The meeting point for many rafting tours on the Korana River is Donji Nikšić, which can be reached from Zadar and Rijeka in 2 hours. 

5) Rafting on the Una: balancing between two states

The Una River has a very interesting feature, since the majority of its course defines a natural border between Croatia and Bosnia. For rafting on the Una, you can therefore rely on a Croatian provider or a Bosnian rafting provider, depending on where you are on holiday. 

The river originates in the Croatian region of Donja Suvaja. After the stream, the watercourse flows 5 km into the country and then becomes the natural border between the two states. After about 10 km, the river enters entirely in Bosnia, where it flows for a few kilometers before returning to divide the two countries. Much of the initial part of the river is located within the Una National Park, which is largely situated within the Bosnian borders. Rafting on the Una is extremely fun thanks to its numerous waterfalls, up to 20 m high, almost all of which can be tackled by raft. 

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