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Thundering rivers, spectacular landscapes, clear water and mighty rapids make Tirol one of the best locations for whitewater sports. The region is home to numerous rafting and kayaking centres organising adrenaline-pumping adventures on the water.
There are few mountain activities as spectacular as rafting and kayaking. The feeling of sitting inside an inflatable boat as you are buffeted from all sides by tall waves and ride the rapids at high speed is one that participants will never forget. And one of the best parts of rafting is that, just like in other situations, it is all about teamwork. In the summer months, Tirol is one of the top hotspots in the Alps for rafting and kayaking thanks to its many rivers with sections of whitewater catering for everyone from beginners to experts.
The Imster Schlucht canyon, for example, is one of the most popular places in Europe for rafting, while the challenging Ötztaler Ache river has hosted world and European championships on numerous occasions. There are also plenty of more accessible options for beginners and families, such as the Drau river and the Tiroler Ache river. In Tirol there are around 30 centres with officially certified guides offering rafting and kayak excursions ranging from taster courses for those new to the sport to extreme adventures with sections of wildwater up to grade IV on the six-level international scale.
Visitors wishing to take part in a rafting or kayaking course must be able to swim, be up for an adventure – and, of course, not mind getting wet! Apart from swimwear, all other equipment (wetsuit and helmet) is provided by the organisers. Adventures often last several hours, with a shuttle transfer back to the starting point provided. Those who wish to try rafting or kayaking without the help of a guide should inform themselves carefully about the local rules and regulations. Some rivers, such as the Ötztaler Ache, are not open to private rafters and kayakers. Many others have specific times when only groups with a guide are allowed onto the water.