Kayaking on the Zrmanja River

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The Zrmanja is one of the wildest Croatian rivers, a hidden oasis in a spectacular canyon. Numerous waterfalls tumble down and together with rapids, offer a unique adrenaline-landscape experience.

 

The Zrmanja is a river with seven canyons and amazing waterfalls. The section of the river between Kaštel  Žegarski and Muškovci (See the post about Muškovci)  is the most exciting. Natural wonders abound, mostly the stunning cliffs of the canyon, clear water and lush vegetation that grows on the brink of the some of the most inhospitable part of Croatia. The source is hidden beneath giant natural amphitheater, where the water is gushing from the rock.  It flows around mighty Velebit mountain, on the way to the sea. It is relatively short but full of striking scenes. The Zrmanja in the stretch of kayaking has cut a giant canyon and is full of tufa waterfalls and rapids. Here it receives short, but equally, if not even wilder tributary the Krupa River, only 7km full of wonders. Not only two rivers join, but two canyons! An estuary that looks like from the moon (the only problem with a moon comparison is only there is running water. Zrmanja region is mostly uninhabited so very clean and pristine.

Descending the canyon from above can be daunting and dangerous, so the best way to explore these wonders is by the kayak. Warning, The Zrmanja River is part of Velebit Nature Park, and solo paddling is not allowed. The only way is through the agency.

 

See our Guide to whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing.

 

Kayaking

Just as it’s the case with the Kupa River, rafting is possible in the spring and maybe autumn (if enough rainfalls),  with II level rapids ant the summertime offers only canoeing, as the water level is lower with the grading of I and II level rapids. Late spring and summer instead offer great kayaking.

This 14km section from Kaštel Žegarski and Muškovci are the best for white-water rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. The start is in the aforementioned Kaštel Žegarski, a stone village with a beautiful bridge.

After the first hour of paddling down easy rapids, if time and weather permit, guides will show you beautiful Krupa waterfalls and swim close to them. Downstream lays Veliki buk, the biggest waterfall on Zrmanja. You can only admire it; it is too high to go through it.  After Veliki buk, waterfalls and rapids are more common and offer a genuinely adrenaline-pumping experience as you continue down Zrmanja towards Muskovci village where the trip ends.

You don’t need previous rafting experience, even children from 6 years of age, accompanied by parents, can participate in this great rafting or canoeing.

The price is around 40$ (300kn) per person, and the children discount is 50%. The tour usually starts at 10:00 and ends around 16:00, with the lunch break.

 

Agencies:

Raftrek https://raftrek.com/hr/tour/zrmanja-rafting/

Huck Finn Adventures http://www.huckfinncroatia.com/activities/rafting-zrmanja-river.php

F-Zrmanja http://www.f-zrmanja.com/eng/

Riva Rafting Centar http://riva-rafting-centar.hr/en/rafting-zrmanja/

 

Each participant will receive the following equipment: neoprene suits, protective helmets, life jackets, and must bring the following: a bathing suit, an extra T-shirt and shoes for water or old sneakers in which you can go into the river. After getting equipment and instructions by the skipper, you will be able to experience the 14.5-km long kayak trail. Depending on pace and physical fitness, the trip can last from 2,5 to 4 hours.  Our goal is that each and every one of you experiences and enjoys the activity of your choice to the best of your ability!

You can book the kayaking online, or in Zadar or other Dalmatian towns. You can come with your own car, or you can be collected. If you go with your own vehicle, the agencies will take you to the starting point.

 

 

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