This post may contain affiliate links. Find more info in my disclaimer.
Find out what makes rafting in Montenegro so popular and how you can experience your own rafting adventure through some of Montenegro’s most stunning scenery.
White water rafting is one of the most popular things to do in Montenegro. It combines a fun and exciting activity with some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll see in this region. It’s also ideal for families and you can take day tours, stay overnight and do multi-day tours.
One of the reasons rafting is so popular is because the tours take place on the Tara River, which flows through the Tara River Canyon, a stunningly beautiful part of Montenegro.
The Tara Canyon is the second-deepest canyon in the world, a protected area in Durmitor National Park and a UNESCO Heritage site. Not only that, the river is known as the ‘Tear of Europe’ because it’s so clean you can drink from it.
This is a stunning wilderness that all visitors to Montenegro should see!
Rafting tours start at a rafting camp along the banks of the river. Rafting camps are usually made up of a series of wooden bungalows with a shared dining area and toilet and shower blocks. They’re relaxed and inviting places to experience Montenegro’s beautiful mountain scenery and warm hospitality.
If you’ve stayed overnight or booked a day tour, you’ll get breakfast at the camp, which is usually a traditional-style breakfast of bread, french toast, yogurt, eggs, cured meats, local cheeses like kajmak (clotted cream) and jam.
Then you’ll be given wetsuits, life jackets, booties and helmets before you travel in a van to Brštanovica, where the boats are launched. It takes around 25 minutes to get to the launch point where you'll get in the raft. Each raft takes up to 8 people and a skipper.
Along the way you’ll experience a mix of calm stretches and exciting rapids. The rapids in summer are enough to give you thrill without being scary, which makes them ideal for most people, including kids.
The scenery along the way is breathtaking. The Tara River’s water is crystal clear and the canyon is full of lush green forest. You’ll see waterfalls trickling into the river and birds flitting about hunting insects.
When it’s calm you can jump out and swim alongside the raft. But be warned, the water is very cold! The water temperature of the Tara River ranges from 7˚C to 12˚C (44˚F to 54˚F) and it’s a bracing but unforgettable swim!
One of the highlights of the tour is stopping at a waterfall. Your skipper will stop the raft on a riverbank and you can take a short walk to a pool with a waterfall. You can get into the pool and under the waterfall and grab a drink at the shack selling cans of juice and beer.
During a rafting tour you’ll spend around 3 hours on the river. The tours always cover the same distance, but the speed of the river varies depending on the time of year. The tour finishes when you get back to the rafting camp.
You can take shower and get changed before refueling with lunch. Lunch is also usually traditional cuisine from Montenegro’s mountain regions. It can be beans and sausage, goulash, sač (traditional-style roasted meat and vegetables), freshwater fish, salads and home-made bread.
After lunch, you’ll head back to your accommodation if you’re on a day trip, or you can stay at the camp or move on to your next destination.
The most popular place to go rafting in Montenegro is from Sćepan Polje, in the north-west tip of the country. This part of the river has the most exciting rapids, waterfalls and places to stop along the way. Sćepan Polje is around 2 ½ hours’ drive from the coast of Montenegro.
The rapids on the Tara River vary between class 5 and class 3 rapids. Class 5 are the biggest and are only for experienced rafters and thrill-seekers, while classes 3 and 4 are suitable for almost everyone, including children.
The rapids are biggest in spring, when snow melt swells the river. They get smaller throughout summer as the water level drops. Summer is the ideal time to go rafting in Montenegro; the weather is warm, the canyon is a lush green and the rafting is exciting without being dangerous.
The river level and size of the rapids varies from year to year, depending on how much snow fell during the winter. Here’s a general guide to the best times to go:
Almost anyone can go rafting. You also need to have good mobility because you'll be getting in and out of the raft and will need to stay in the boat while going over rapids.
Each tour operator has its own minimum age limits; you can check them when you read the full information about each tour linked below.
Booking a day tour is the most popular way to go rafting in Montenegro. Everything is organized for you and the tours include transport, meals, rafting and have pick-ups from around Montenegro, and even Dubrovnik.
Here’s my list of the top rafting tours in Montenegro:
If you have a rental car you can drive yourself from your accommodation to Šćepan Polje and back again and just book the rafting tour.
This tour includes 3 hours of rapids and relaxing paddling, breakfast and lunch and you can book it by filling in the form below. This will put you in touch with Hayley Wright who has been organizing adventure holidays in Montenegro for 15 years.
Hayley can also help you book an overnight at the camp. The camp has hiking, a climbing wall and bike rental - all of which you can take advantage of if you stay there.
Private Cabins: For €85 - €95 per person you can book a private cabin with bathroom, rafting trip, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Shared Cabins: You can book a bed in a shared cabin with rafting and three meals for just €75 per person.
Start: Šćepan Polje
Finish: Šćepan Polje
Duration: 9am - 1.30pm
What's Included: directions, rafting, equipment, breakfast on arrival and lunch - vegetarian meals are also available.
Price: €55 per adult and €45 per child under 16
Transfers from the coast are available on request.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
One of my favourite places to go rafting is in Foča in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Around 25 minutes’ drive from Šćepan Polje you come to Foča, which is also a popular rafting destination. We love it here because it’s less busy than in Montenegro and the rafting tour is longer. Rafting tours from Foča start at the same departure point as the ones from Šćepan Polje, but you pass Šćepan Polje and continue along the Drina River back to Foča for another hour.
And Bosnians are special people. Like all of the Balkans they’re warm, welcoming, funny and are amazing cooks, but Bosnians are known for being especially relaxed and you’re guaranteed to have a good time with them.
If you want to go rafting from Foča you’ll need a rental car to drive yourself to the rafting camp. The drive takes around 4 hours, so you need to leave early in the morning if you’re staying on the coast or you can stay somewhere nearby. There are some accommodation recommendations at the bottom of this page.
There are two rafting tours from Foča:
Rafting is also a great activity for multi-day tours. There are lots of multi-day tours you can join which include several days of rafting or a day of rafting among other adventure and outdoor activities:
The drive from the coast up to the Tara River takes three to four hours. When you add in breakfast, preparation, rafting, lunch and the return drive the whole tour takes a good 12 hours.
So you might like to spend a night or two in accommodation closer by, especially if you’re travelling with kids. The best places to stay are the rafting camps Šćepan Polje, or in nearby Plužine or Žabljak. Šćepan Polje isn’t a town, so there aren’t any restaurants or shops. But each camp has its own restaurant where you can get drinks and meals and it’s a natural retreat by the river. If you’d prefer to stay in a small town, Plužine or Žabljak would suit you better.
If you look at a map of Montenegro you might think Nikšić would be a good option too. Although it’s Montenegro’s second-largest city (after Podgorica), it’s not a tourist destination and I don’t recommend staying here. Plužine and Žabljak are smaller, but prettier, and have more attractions.
Plužine is small lakeside town on the shore of Lake Piva.
Žabljak is a small town and the gateway to Durmitor National Park It's a great place to spend a night if you want to visit the north of Montenegro and it's a 2 hour drive from the rafting camp at Scepan Polje (the start point for the self-drive rafting tour). Zabljak is a 3 hour drive from the coast and you'll find good quality hotels and guest houses there. I recommend:
Book your accommodation anywhere in the world through any of the search boxes on our site and we'll make a donation towards sterilising stray animals in Montenegro.
It costs you nothing, and you get the biggest selection and lowest prices guaranteed. It's a win-win!