Canyoning Hrčavka, Europe’s last conquered gorge

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

If you are following Itinari stories regularly, you have learnt that Bosnia & Herzegovina is home to some of the best canyoning spots in Europe, such as Rakitnica Canyon. But I bet you did not know this country also hides Europe’s last explored canyon. Concealed in the vastness of Sutjeska National Park, the Hrčavka River and its beautiful wild canyon is every adventurer’s dream. Discovered only a few years ago, this canyon boosts in cascades, waterfalls, steep cliffs and lush forests. So, if climbing the rocks only to jump off into the dazzling rapids and crystal-clear water, followed by some rope work and sliding through narrow gorges, sounds great to you, then canyoning Hrčavka is for you. So, get ready to test your canyoning skills in Europe’s last conquered gorge.

What is canyoning?

© Rafting Centar Drina-Tara / unknown author

Canyoning is an extreme sport suitable for only well-prepared nature enthusiasts that gained ever-increasing popularity in the last decade. Considered a thrilling adventure, it offers a perfect fusion of adrenaline and natural beauty. As its name suggests, it is performed in remote and rugged regions where the rivers have carved out impressive canyons over millions of years. Instead of using just one technique, in this case, the participants are trekking, climbing, swimming, diving, jumping and rope-hopping. Since those canyons are often hardly accessible and have many obstacles, the appropriate equipment (belts, helmets, diving suits, boots, etc.) is needed. While navigating down fast rivers, the gorge walking will make you feel the adrenaline rush and experience nature in a totally new way.

Hrčavka River & canyon

Hrčavka River is an exclusive watercourse of National Park Sutjeska, as its entire flow of 13 km belongs to this park. It originates on the eastern slopes of an awe-inspiring Mt. Zelengora at 1570 m above sea level. It continues downstream the narrow canyon only to join the Sutjeska River at an altitude of 530 m. Being located in the protected and remote area of Europe’s last jungle – Perućica Rainforest- this wild canyon has remained unexplored for centuries. Only a few years ago, the Hrčavka canyon was explored for the first time, and since 2014, the first canyoning tours have been organized. A genuine treat for canyoning enthusiasts, the last discovered canyon in Europe is, at the same time, a real challenge. 

A perfect blend of sport, fear, joy and beauty

Canyoning down the Hrčavka River lasts between five and six hours, depending on the number of participants and their preparedness. While exploring the canyon, you will overcome many obstacles by jumping into the waterfalls, climbing the steep cliffs, rope-hopping, and walking through the stunning forests of Mt. Zelengora. It will perfectly blend sport, fear, joy and immense splendour. One thing is sure - you will be under the impression of this beauty all day long. Speaking of beauties, one will steal your heart – an impressive Skakavac Waterfall, completely hidden in the wildness of Perućica Rainforest, that plunges off 75 m high cliff.

Where to stay

Being the center of adrenaline activities in this part of Bosnia & Herzegovina Rafting Center Drina-Tara has 20 years of expertise. Situated on an ideally located hill that overlooks the turquoise river, this camp has more than 100 bungalows (some luxurious) and all other facilities. So all you need to do is book your stay in this peaceful wildlife paradise. Alternatively, you can opt for the Outdoor Resort TaraSport or Rajska Rijeka. Both options have great facilities, like facing the beachfront and offering a variety of outdoor activities. In addition, both accommodation providers have restaurants that offer a wide range of local and international dishes, including vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options. 

An adventure in its purest form

© Tri Lux Resort / unknown author

Six hours of extreme adrenaline is a privilege of only experienced nature and sports lovers. Simply put, canyoning Hrčavka, Europe’s last conquered gorge, is the adventure in its purest form. After exploring this canyoning paradise, the best way to finish your journey is to indulge in some traditional specialties made of organically grown meat, vegetables and fruits, complemented by the locally produced brandy called Rakia. If you are staying longer and longing for further adventure, you are at the right place since here you can conquer Mt. Maglić - Bosnia’s highest peak. Alternatively, you can explore Mt. Zelengora with its eight glacial lakes, or check out the view of European Yosemite from an eagle’s perspective. 

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