Five of the best kayak holiday destinations in Europe

 

Just another advantage of our kayaking base in the west of Austria is the close proximity of some fantastic European kayaking destinations. We have kayaked and worked extensively in the following destinations and here are just a few reasons why we believe these are among the best kayak holiday destinations in Europe...

Kayaking in Bavaria

Bavaria in the southern part of Germany is renowned for its beer and the annual Oktoberfest that draws in millions of tourists to the city of Munich. However, throughout the Spring and early Summer you can find some fantastic whitewater in the regions such as the Allgaeu, Karwendel and Garmisch. The Loisach River in Garmisch is Germany’s most beloved river and rightly so. The Upper Breitach (which is actually in Austria) in Kleinwalsertal is great to work on your creeking technique, with no major consequences (just don’t miss the take-out!). Further to the east is the Karwendel region, with tight, steep gorges you get a feeling of being somewhere completely alone and not in the European Alps. You have to earn your paddle strokes here with most rivers requiring a hike in but it is certainly worth it!

It is just over an hours drive to get to the Loisach from our base at the Arlberg and the Allgaeu is a great 2-3 day destination from our base and one stop on our Road Trips.

 

Kayaking in Lofer and Salzkammergut

Lofer is not far from Salzburg and with the infamous Saalach it is a destination which is popular with the German speaking kayaking community. Salzkammergut spreads over 3 Austrian counties and it is the lakes and mountain area of Austria. In the Spring the creeks are at their optimum and if you are around when the Gimbach is working, it is well worth the effort to get there. The Koppentraun is a fun river, similar to the Sanna in Landeck but with more volume and you can easily do the shuttle with the train! They are used to taking kayakers from the take-out up to the station right at the put-in.

A 3 hour drive from our base at the Arlberg finds us in the Lofer region which is part of our Road Trip adventures that we offer in the Spring.

 

Kayaking in The Enns and Salza Valley

We have spent a lot of time around the Enns and Salza Valley. The Enns is situated in the Gesaeuse National Park, with a couple of great sections of whitewater and with the stunning and imposing cliff faces reaching high above it is one of our favourite places to kayak outside of our Arlberg base! The Salza is Austria’s equivalent of the Soca River with green emerald water and all set in a beautiful valley. It is a mellow river and a great place for Beginners and Improvers wishing to gain some confidence. If you are lucky enough to be there at the right water levels, there is a stream coming into the Salza where you can boof over 15 small drops with nothing over Class 3! A little further to the east in Austria, we like to head to the Enns and Salza Valleys on our Spring Road Trip, this is when the rivers are at the best with more opportunities to kayak some of the side streams and also one of Austria’s most run waterfalls!

 

Kayaking in Soca Valley

Check out the video: whitewater kayaking on the River Soca.

What can be said that has not already be said about the stunning Soca Valley in Slovenia. We have been heading to this area since 1999. This valley has changed immensely since we first visited before Slovenia joined the EU. However the charm of the people, the food and warm weather are still the same. Just add the amazing time you get kayaking the Soča which is rightly known as the jewel in the crown. The turquoise waters where you can see the river bed, of the shadows of your kayaks making it look from the bridges as if you are literally floating on top of the water. With many sections of whitewater it is a perfect place for Beginners, Class 2 kayakers and also Intermediate Class 3 kayakers. Let us not forget that there are also some challenging rapids that will keep even the most hardcore of kayakers entertained! We spend our time in the Spring and Autumn kayaking here in this stunning place.

 

Our own base: kayaking in St. Anton

The last destination is our home base St. Anton in Austria, located on the far west boundary of the state of Tirol. St Anton is renowned for its steep slopes, abundance of snow and skiing. All over the world ski and snowboard magazines have published photos of St Anton draped in a blanket of white. In the summer the village is a lot quieter and has a more laid back feeling and all the snow that fell in Winter, makes the Rosanna River a great place to kayak from continuous Class 3 to steep creeking on some 4 different sections. It is truly a fantastic river to kayak in the Spring.

If you like the mountains and the adventure of being in the outdoors then St Anton also offers, walking trails, trekking routes, climbing, biking, klettersteig and plenty of places for the kids to explore if you want to bring them along to. There are also places to relax, with restaurants and cafe’s all serving traditional meals and drinks.

Within a 15 minute drive you can be putting in on another gem of a river: the Sanna. The sections of the Inn such as the Landeck Gorge, Inn Shoot and Toesens Gorge provide some fantastic BIG water and are the perfect training ground for the Himalayas or Patagonia. And of course the Oetz River has a great pedigree for whitewater, where the Wellerbruecke section is the home of the Adidas Sickline Extreme Kayaking World Championships.  Of course we cannot forget the Lech River with it’s stunning wild gorges and one of the best Class 2 sections in the Northern Alps!

Finally the air is pure, the views are spectacular and the Arlberg welcome is second to none.

 

Be sure to check out our website in the coming months for more information about these unique European kayaking destinations. In the meantime check out our Kayak Lessons, Kayak Trips in the Austrian Alps or join us on one of our Kayak Adventure Tours around the world.

 
Steve Brooks