A dream kayaking destination – Croatia

It’s about time to write something new in this blog. I still have a lot of pictures and stories from our Balkan roadtrip. I’ll just skip a few places and get to the kayaking part.

Kayaking around Rab Island

We took a ferry to the Island of Rab on the coast of Croatia. There we met Yogi, who runs Sea Kayak Croatia. We stayed at his house, where his mother has a few rooms and went to visit the Old Town of Rab in the evening. The Old Town was beautiful and we had a very nice meal in one of the only restaurants open at the time. The tourist season is really over in October!

Kayaking on the Adriatic Sea

The next morning Yogi set us up with all the equipment and kayaks and we packed out things in the spacy Prijon kayaks. First we paddled past the Old Town, but quickly moved forward to the more remote parts of the island.

On a break

The weather was perfect, warm and sunny. Nice to be paddling only in a t-shirt and shorts. We stopped to have something small to eat and then continued further along the coast.

Clear water on the Adriatic Sea

The color of the water was wonderful and very clear. You could see small fish swimming around and sea orchids on the rocks. We took our time exploring the coast and all the small bays. It was a great day on the water.

Setting up camp for the night

Sometime in the afternoon we found this small little beach, where we decided to camp. We weren’t sure, if it was exactly the place Yogi had recommended to us. It was a good place anyways.

Sunset on the Island of Rab

We pitched our tent and cooked some dinner just as the sun was setting. The sky was still clear and the sea very calm. There were still a lot of small fishing boats on the water. Obviously it was good weather for fishing too.

Hilleberg Allak under the stars

There was a small area with a rock wall around it. Our Hilleberg Allak tent was a perfect fit and it would have been a good place even in windy conditions.

Camping under the stars

The evening was nice and warm. It was great to see all the stars and the milky way. The best thing is being outdoors on moments like these. Especially in good company.

Cloudy skyes on a kayak trip

The next morning the weather had changed. As we got out of the tent, it looked it was going to rain soon. It never did, but we still packed our things quickly and got back on the water. It was also a bit cooler, so I am glad we brought our jackets too.

Storm approaching

As we paddled further it still wasn’t raining, but it looked like there was a storm coming. We decided to finish the day early and called Yogi to pick us up. The rain and the storm actually went past the island, but you don’t want to take any risks, if you are kayaking in an area for the first time.

It was a great kayak trip and next time we need to reserve more time to go on a longer tour. If you are into kayaking, I recommend visiting this place and getting in touch with Yogi.

 

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On the road from Zabljak to Kotor

After a few days in Zabljak we continued our trip. Our next destination was Kotor on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. We decided to drive along the Tara River Canyon.

Huge trees along the Tara River Canyon

We drove past the place where we started our rafting trip. The first place where we stopped was this forest just by the road. These were one of the biggest pine trees I have ever seen!

Beautiful forest in Montenegro

The light was beautiful in the forest. I am really glad we stopped and found the place! We could have stayed much longer to take pictures.

Biogradsko Lake in Montenegro

Our next stop was Biogradska Gora National Park. It was just 15 minutes up the road to this beautiful lake. We really liked the autumn colors here.

Biogradska Gora National Park in Montenegro

The lake was calm and with all the leaves it looked magical. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do any of the hikes, because we still had a long drive ahead. Maybe we will be able to come back to this place at some point.

On the coast of the Mediterranean Sea

On the way we stopped at a monastery and drove through Podgorica. We reached the coast of the Mediterranean Sea at Budva. It was a warm and beautiful day. Too bad we had to sit in the car for most of the day!

The coast of Montenegro

The coast was stunning and it really felt like it was summer. We drove to the city of Kotor and stayed there for a couple of days. I’ll write more about that in the next post.

Whitewater rafting on the Tara River

We enjoyed doing small hikes in the Durmitor National Park, but we wanted to get on the water as well. Although we had our own whitewater kayaks in our van, we decided to book a rafting trip. We didn’t know the river and where unsure of the level of difficulty. So Aljoša helped us to book a tour with a local company. We were picked up from the house and drove for about an hour to the Tara River Gorge. We joined a group of Israelis on the river.

Sunshine in the Tara River Gorge

The weather forecast was a bit unstable for the day, but as we got to the starting place it was sunny!

Autumn on the Tara River

The river level was pretty low, but the autumn colors on the river were beautiful.

Whitewater rafting on the Tara River

The rapids were class II-III. I had a chance to take some pictures with my waterproof camera.

Rafting on the Tara River

It was very nice and relaxing floating on the mellow parts of the river. We were glad that we decided to book the trip.

The Tara River Canyon

After the trip we had a nice lunch at the rafting center and on the way back we stopped at the bridge crossing the canyon.

The Tara River

I heard there is a 70 kilometer section of the river you can kayak. There are places for camping on the way. I think that would be a great whitewater trip at some point. So I think we need to get back to this place at some point!

Exploring Montenegro and Durmitor National Park

After our stay in Bosnia & Herzegovina we headed to Montenegro and to the city of Zabljak. It is located right by the Durmitor National Park. We stayed at Šepić Accommodation, which was a great place! Aljoša and his mother run the place and we got a lot of ideas and instructions from them. And I also recommend having the breakfast, which was really good.

Crno Jezero Lake

We came to Zabljak in the afternoon and didn’t have too much time, so we headed to Crno Jezero Lake. It was just a few kilometres from where we stayed. There was a nice path going around the lake and we managed to walk around just before it got dark.

Hiking towards the lookout place over Tara Canyon

Aljoša gave us instructions on getting to the lookout spot above the Tara River Canyon. It wasn’t a long way, but it took us a long time. I had to stop to take pictures all the time.

Tara Canyon in Montenegro

The Tara River Gorge is a really spectacular place. It is one of the deepest canyons in the world, 1300 metres deep at the deepest part.

Looking at the Tara River Canyon in Montenegro

In October the tourist season is already over, but we were still amazed that there were no other people here.

Enjoying the views at Tara River Gorge

It was very silent and peaceful. I really recommend visiting this place. Too bad we didn’t have more time to explore the Durmitor National Park.

Sunset in Durmitor National Park

On the way back we stopped at another lookout spot. There were skiing slopes here and a lift. Maybe we need to come back here some day and do some downhill skiing. Aljoša told us that it is mostly local people during the winter, but the slopes looked good. So maybe there is potential here. And the prices are cheap!

In Zabljak we also went whitewater rafting on the Tara River. I’ll write more about that in my next post!

Hiking in Sutjeska National Park, Bosnia & Herzegovina

From Slovenia we continued our roadtrip south to Bosnia & Herzegovina. Our plan was to stay at Hotel Mladost close to Sutjeska National Park in the south part of the country. We only stayed for two nights, so we had just one full day to explore the place.

Hiking in Sutjeska National Park

The nature was really beautiful, but getting to the starting place of our hike was a bit of a challenge. Wereceived good instructions and a map from the Hotel reception. It was only a 20 kilometer drive to the starting place. The guy at the reception said that once we turn from the main road, the road turns into a dirt road. I asked, if it was still ok to drive with a normal car. He said it was. Well it took us about 2 hours to drive the 20 kilometers. Unfortunately we didn’t get any really good pictures of the road, because we had to concentrate on not breaking our car. But we managed still!

Enjoying the beautiful nature in Sutjeska National Park

We stopped at a few lookout places on the way and the scenery was amazing. And it was very quiet, no other people around.

On the way to Trnovačko Lake

There were several options from out starting place. We decided to walk to Trnovačko Lake, which was about a two hour hike from where we left our car. It was a well-marked route and the weather was great again.

Trnovačko Lake in Montenegro

The Trnovačko Lake is actually in Montenegro. The path continues from here to the top of Maglić, the highest mountain in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It would have taken us atleast 5 hours to the top and back, so we didn’t even consider going up. It was still worth just visiting the lake.

Autumn colors in Sutjeska National Park

We took the same route back to our car after a short break at the lake. The autumn colors were beautiful on the way. And the sun was shining!

Evening light in Sutjeska National Park

This were we started and ended our hike. We were happy to be back while there was still daylight left as we wanted to drive down before dark. It was a bit faster driving down, but it still took us a lot of time.

There is a lot of potential in Bosnia & Herzegovina for all kinds of outdoor activities. The nature is really beautiful, but the roads are not so good and the whole infrastructure needs some development. But if you are ready for some adventure, I can recommend it already now.

A short hike close to Bovec, Slovenia

We only stayed in Bovec for two days, so our time was limited. As we wanted to go whitewater kayaking on both days, there wasn’t much time for anything else. Our original plan was to also do a Via Ferrata route on Mangart, a mountain right at the border of Slovenia and Italy. There was too much snow at the higher altitudes so we changed the plan.

On the second day we did a shorter section of kayaking and had just enough time for a short hike.

Hiking in Lepena, Slovenia

The owner of the apartment we stayed at recommended to go to Lepena. It was a short drive along the Soča valley. The first part of the hike was a wide path through the forest. The trail was going up all the time and we needed to stop several times to catch our breath. It was mostly inside the forest, so you couldn’t see much. But when you could, the scenery was really nice.

Krn Lake in Slovenia

It took us about two hours to get to the Krn Lake. Very peaceful and quiet. There is also a mountain hut on the way here, but in October it was already closed. Because we started late in the afternoon, we didn’t have much time to enjoy the scenery. We had to head back, so we wouldn’t need to hike back down in the dark.

Hiking in Triglav National Park

The weather was great and up at the lake there were numerous paths going in different directions. Too bad we didn’t have more time. We managed to get to the car right as it started to be too dark to see without a torch. That’s why I don’t have too many pictures from the hike.
Here is a video a made two years ago doing a Via Ferrata route in the same area. I think we need to go back some day and have more time in the area.

The next post will be about our time in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Whitewater kayaking on the Soča river

After our trip to Lapland I was home just for a few days. I had just enough time to pack everything in the van and head towards the south. I took the ferry to Stockholm and my first stop was in Nürnberg, Germany. There I attended the Paddle Expo, a paddlesport trade show. All the major paddlesport brands where present there, but there wasn’t really many new or innovative products.

After the expo I picked up Henna from the Munich airport. Our first stop was Slovenia and the town of Bovec. We had plans of doing some whitewater kayaking on the Soča river and doing a Via Ferrata close to a mountain called Mangart.

When we got closer to Bovec, we noticed that there was already a lot of snow on the mountains. Talking to the locals it turned out that there was snow and ice everywhere above 1800 metres. So our plans changed and we went kayaking on the river for two days instead.

On a break on the Soča river

The water level was very low and we only paddled on the easy sections. But the the river is really beautiful and it was just great to be there.

On the beautiful Soča river

It is so nice to kayak on the Soča again after a few years. The water is so clear and it is great to see the trout swimming in the river. The water was a bit cool, but we were very lucky with the weather.

Scenery on the Soča river

It was peaceful on the river. Not a lot of kayakers, rafts or fishermen on the river. I have never been there in the summer, but I can imagine it is very busy. Now in October we just saw a few fishermen fly-fishing.

Emptying the kayak on the Soča river

Our second day of kayaking started with a swim for Henna. It was mostly my fault since I made her take a more difficult line with the water pushing against a big boulder. Luckily it was only a short swim and the sun was shining! 🙂

We brought our own kayaks from Finland and I did the shuttles with my bike. It is okay since the road is close to the river, but does take a lot of time. And you need to bike uphill! If you want to go kayaking on the river, but don’t want to bring you own gear, you can rent everything from the Prijon Sport Center. If you don’t have a lot of experience or you don’t know the river, I would also recommend taking a course with them or hiring a private guide.

The beautiful Soča valley

It was nice to be back in the Soča valley. There is a lot of other activities available and a lot of good options for accomodation. I would be happy to give my recommendations, if you plan to go there!