Tara River Canyon is the second longest in the world and rafting on the river is just “Another Day in Paradise”

Tijana Radeska

When it comes to rafting there’s some great places in the United States, Cherry Creek – California, Youghiogheny River – Pennsylvania and the Lochsa River – Idaho to name but a few, and some of the greatest personalities in rafting are home grown and have led amazing lives.  It’s fair to say though that there’s some brilliant rafting experiences to be had further afield as well, if you’ve got the money and the motivation to get there.

The Tara river runs through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The river emerges from the confluence of two small rivers – Opasnica and Veruša under the mountain of Komovi which is part of the Dinaric Alps. 64 miles of the river are in Montenegro, while the last 25 miles are in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Šćepan Polje, Tara converges with the River Piva, and together they form the river Drina which is one of the branches of the Danube watershed.


The Tara River is known as the “Teardrop of Europe, ” and its water is said to be drinkable at any place throughout its length.  It’s fair to say it’s as clean as you’re going to get a river on the planet earth.


Tara River Canyon

The river cuts the Tara River Canyon which is 48 miles long and an average depth of 1173 yards while its deepest point is 1,420 yards. That makes this canyon the longest one in Montenegro and Europe and the second longest in the world after the Grand Canyon in Colorado. The canyon is a biospheric sanctuary for a number of endemic plants and animals for which it got protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1977, as part of the Durmitor National Park.

Durmitor. Photo credit


Durmitor. Photo credit


Durmitor. Photo credit


Durmitor. Photo credit

The Tara river is ideal for rafting and fishing, especially near the town of Kolasin where the river is perfect for fly-fishing. However, the river is mostly famous for the rafting. There is a one-day rafting route which is 18 kilometers long and takes up to three hours. It starts from Brstnovica and ends in Šćepan Polje. But the most exciting part would be an additional seven kilometers through the river Drina in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tara River. Photo credit

The rafting adventure starts at Splavista and it is 100 kilometers long. At the beginning, there are the waterfalls of Ljutica and then you pass under Đurđevića Tara Bridge which is 400 yards long and 180 yard high bridge, built from 1937 until 1940. After the bridge, the towns of Žabljak and Pljevlja and their amazing countryside come up. As you pass by you come to places around the river such as “Funjički bukovi” and “Bijele ploče” that are simply out of this world. Beautiful, calm, disturbingly quiet.

Rafting on Tara River in Montenegro


Đurđevića Tara Bridge on Tara River. Photo credit


Crno Jezero, The Black lake, near Žabljak. Photo credit

You reach the deepest part of the canyon in “Nisovo vrelo” and after that follows the bottom of “Curevac”, a mountain top called “the eternal guardian” of Tara as it rises 1800 yards above the river. Places that follow are no less exciting. First, the waterfalls of Draga and then a pass through the Port of Radovan. Before the rafting ends in Šćepan Polje there are many other beautiful points of the river canyon, even though the whole ride is one hell of an experience.

Tara River Canyon. Photo credit


Diving and rafting on Tara River Canyon, Montenegro-Bosnia border. Photo credit

There are four seasons of the year in Montenegro during which the volume, the level, and the temperature of the water vary. The winter months are out of the question. The spring period is more appropriate, but the summertime is ideal. There are camp sites and a rafting center, so people usually organize a week or two of “Tara experience”. In 2005, the European Championships in Rafting took place on the rivers Vrbas and Tara in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in 2009, the World Rafting Championships was held there.


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tijana-radeska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival