Tara River Canyon: The Best Tara River Rafting Adventure

Tara River Canyon Tara River Rafting Pin

Want to plan the perfect Tara River rafting adventure?

I’ve got you covered.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to conquer the rapids and swim in the turquoise, clear waters of the Tara River Canyon.

Europe’s deepest canyon is a stunning place between the countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. It’s famous for its exhilarating white-water rafting tours and jaw-dropping nature.

Ready to jump in?

Let’s go!

Short on time? Book my recommended tour here:

🏞️ Montenegro: Tara River Whitewater Rafting 🏞️

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Everything You Need to Know for a Perfect Tara River Rafting Adventure

Find the most important information about the Tara River and the rafting adventure in the section below.

Where Is the Tara River Canyon?

Tara River Canyon
The jaw-dropping Tara River Canyon invites for a white-water rafting adventure

The breathtaking Tara River Canyon is located in the Balkans, between the countries of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The largest portion of the river gorge is on Montenegrin soil.

The Tara River canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s 1,300 m (4,265 ft.) deep, making it the deepest canyon in Europe and one of the deepest in the world. For comparison, the Grand Canyon is 1,737 m (5,697 ft.) at its deepest point. No surprise that locals like to call the river Tara The Colorado of the Balkans.

To help you get an idea of how you can get there, here are the distances between my recommended Tara River rafting center, Rafting Center Tara-Raft, and the major cities in the area:

TownCountryDistanceTime by car
FočaBosna and Herzegovina20 km / 12 mi30 min
VišegradBosna and Herzegovina92 km / 57 mi1:45 hours
SarajevoBosna and Herzegovina90 km / 56 mi2 hours
MostarMontenegro160 km / 100 mi3 hours
KotorMontenegro205 km / 127 mi3:30 hours
BudvaMontenegro225 km / 140 mi4 hours

The road is extremely scenic with views of the turquoise waters of the Tara and Drina Rivers. You’ll pass by picturesque villages, medieval castles, and monasteries on mountaintops, then drive through tunnels cut directly into the limestone rocks.

When Is the Best Time for a Tara River Rafting Adventure?

Tara River Canyon Tara River Rafting Adventure Header
Tara River rafting in Europe’s deepest canyon is an unforgettable adventure

May and June are the best months for a perfect Tara River rafting trip. That’s when the water levels are ideal and the speed of the rapids is most pleasant. If you want to do the adventure with children, you might want to go in July or August when the waters are calmer.

But if you want to conquer the rapids when the water levels are at their highest, go in March or April. The melting snow from the mountains makes it a true adventure only the toughest can enjoy. The cold temperatures and the heavy rains add an extra layer of discomfort to the experience.

I went at the beginning of April and the temperatures at night were almost freezing. It didn’t help that the bungalows we stayed at had no heating. Layering my clothes, warming near the open fire, and consuming sufficient alcoholic beverages helped me to stay healthy.

What Do the Tara River Rafting Camps Offer?

Bungalows Tara Drina Rafting Centar
Rafting Center Tara-Raft features 75 basic bungalows of various sizes

If you want to do a Tara River rafting, you can join an organized, all-inclusive tour or stay at one of the camps along the Drina River.

If you’re short on time, I recommend booking this amazing Tara River Whitewater Rafting Tour. However, if your travel plans allow it, stay at one of the rafting camps in the area to fully immerse yourself in the incredible nature.

During my Tara River rafting adventure, I stayed at Rafting Center Tara-Raft. The camp is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the little town of Foča. It’s only 90 km / 56 mi away from the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to visit the gorgeous capital city and enjoy any of these awesome things to do in Sarajevo.

Drina Tara Rafting Centre Bungalow Interior
The interior of the bungalows has just enough space to fit the beds, there’s no isolation or heating

The bungalows at the rafting center were very clean but basic and tiny. They were unheated and there was no isolation on the walls. For this reason, I recommend staying there during the warmer months of the year and packing warm clothes. Bringing a sleeping bag is not a bad idea either.

The toilets, showers, and restaurant are in the open. Only a few of the bungalows offer ensuite bathrooms. The rest share the outdoor common bathrooms that are located 50 m / 165 ft. away from some of the accommodations.

Drina Tara Rafting Centre Bathrooms
The bathrooms and showers are shared and out in the open

✔️ Tip: Try to use the showers as soon as you get back from your Tara River rafting adventure to make sure you have enough hot water.

The highlight of the amenities at the rafting center is the open-air restaurant. It serves organic, locally-produced delicacies.

The local cuisine is famous for its delectable cheeses and home-cured meats, which melt in the mouth. The restaurant also serves perfectly grilled fresh trout, steaming hot stews, freshly baked bread, and homemade pastries.

Drina River
You can enjoy the sound of the river while devouring delectable locally-produced food and drinks

We washed them down with fiery rakia, the high-percentage alcoholic drink of the Balkans, and heavy wines.

The food and drinks paired with the excellent service made all other discomforts disappear. The magnificent views of the mountains around the camp, the calming sound of the turquoise waters beneath the restaurant, and the scrumptious food melted our stress away.

There’s an open fire in the middle of the covered restaurant. It was great for keeping ourselves warm and drying our shoes and clothes.

Here’s What to Expect on a White-Water Tara River Rafting Adventure

Getting Ready For Rafting
The clouds over the mountains are lifting and we’re getting ready to conquer the Tara River Canyon

On the day of our Tara River rafting adventure, the camp woke up slowly to mountains covered in fog and low-hanging clouds. The view was stunning and the air was fresh. Luckily, the fog and the clouds lifted just in time for our ride through Europe’s deepest canyon.

All geared up, we boarded the vehicles and drove to the border. The rafting camp provides everything needed for the adventure.

We crossed into Montenegro on a winding mountain road, made a U-turn, and crossed the border again to head to the rafting starting point. We needed our passports which the rafting guides kept safe for us during the Tara rafting adventure.

The Tara River forms the natural border between Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. We boarded the rubber rafts and started after a brief safety instructions demonstration.

Tara River Rafting Our Boat
Our crew for the Tara River rafting adventure – even children can participate

The first rapids were amusing, the clear water of the river Tara splashed our faces but the neoprene suits kept us warm despite the low temperatures.

The views on both sides of the river were incredible. The left shore is Montenegrin and the right one is Bosnian. We rafted between the two Balkan countries in no man’s land. Towering limestone walls rose hundreds of meters high above the valley.

Tara’s waters are so pure you can drink them safely. The river stones serve as natural filters. Only after a heavy rainfall, the waters become muddy but the stones clean them in no time.

We paddled for 3 hours through 26 rapids, the longest of which is 500 m / 1640 ft. You don’t need previous white-water rafting experience. Even children can join the Tara River rafting adventure.

Drina River Calm Waters
The end of the rafting adventure is in the calmer waters of the Drina River

Still, if you don’t pay attention there’s always the risk of taking an unexpected bath in the refreshingly cool waters or losing your paddle. I might have dropped mine once. Luckily, it didn’t sink and I was able to retrieve it quickly.

The distance we covered during the Tara River rafting trip was about 25 km / 15.5 mi. On the way downstream, we passed stunning waterfalls, stopped to relax, jumped, and swam in the slower waters.

The waters have the most amazing turquoise color and are so crystal clear that the river seems shallow. It feels like you can just lean and grab a stone. We simply had to jump in and try it. Well, we couldn’t reach the riverbed as it actually lies 2 to 4 m / 6.5 to 13 ft. deep but the chilly water felt great on our adrenaline-infused muscles.

About 5 km / 3 mi before we reached the camp, we passed the Piva River. It merges into Tara and the two rivers start the mighty Drina River. The waters of Drina were calmer and there were fewer rapids so we enjoyed the jaw-dropping views and anticipated the awaiting delicious lunch.

FAQs About White-Water Rafting in the Tara River Canyon

Tara River Rafting Equipment
The camps provide all necessary rafting equipment

What is the deepest canyon in Europe?

Tara River Canyon is the deepest in Europe and one of the deepest in the world. It’s 1,300 m / 4,265 ft. deep and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For comparison, the Grand Canyon is 1,737 m / 5,697 ft. at its deepest point. Locals refer to the Tara River as “The Colorado of the Balkans”.

Can you swim in the Tara River?

Yes, you can! In fact, I strongly recommend you do. Just wait until you reach the slower-flowing waters and follow your guide’s instructions. The waters are refreshing but the neoprene suit will keep you warm.

How do I get to Tara Canyon?

You can reach Tara River Canyon from Bosna’s capital, Sarajevo, in about 2 hours. From Montenegro, you can travel from Mostar (3 hours), Kotor (3:30 hours), or Budva (4 hours). I recommend joining this Tara River Whitewater Rafting Tour that includes transportation so you don’t need to worry about driving and border crossings.

What level is Tara River Rafting?

According to the skippers, the level of difficulty of the Tara River rafting is from 2 to 4 out of 5. It depends on the water levels. The highest water levels are in March and April when the snow melts in the mountains. In May and June is the actual wild water rafting. In July and August, the waters calm down and are perfect for a family rafting adventure.

How deep is the Tara River?

The waters of the Tara River are between 2 and 4 meters / 6.5 to 13 feet deep. Because they are crystal clear, the bottom appears to be closer. If you decide to jump for a swim, make sure you’re comfortable with not being able to reach the floor.


  1. Rafting in Tara looks cool! Sorry to hear about your accommodation misfortunes! But still this will make it an unique experience :-)
    Looking forward to exploring Bosna and Herzegovina’s canyons!

    1. Hey Bistra, the rafting part of the trip was indeed incredible! Too bad the rest of the tour wasn’t so good but it still was a great experience overall. When you travel, it’s all about attitude although in this case there were so many things we just couldn’t close our eyes to. Hopefully, this information will help people experience their own rafting on the Tara river canyon adventure better!

  2. I have done river rafting twice in this year. It was really amaziang experience. Everyone should try at least once in lifetime.

    1. Couldn’t agree more with you, Rishi! White-water rafting is a great adrenaline sport which everyone can do. We even had an 8-year-old in our raft, that’s how safe it is!

  3. Pingback: The best of Bosnia and Herzegovina: What to see and do - AdiTravel

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