Rafting down Voidomatis River

I take a look at the raft in front of the one I am sitting in and my hand goes to my helmet’s strap; the raft seems to be hovering twenty centimeters above the water’s surface! “Maybe I should loosen it a bit, it’s probably too tight, making me hallucinate”, is what I am thinking. Then, I take a closer look, as it’s gliding gracefully down the river like a bright yellow plastic swan and I realize that the illusion is clearly caused by the extremely clear and transparent water and the way the sun is hitting on the rocks and the river.

Voidomatis is completely free of pollution, which means that when you see its crystal-clear turquoise waters and you get the urge to drink it, you can just do that. Bend over the side of the raft and have your fill – just be careful with shifting your weight though, as you might fall over. Which is not so dramatic, to be honest, as the neoprene outfit that you are wearing will save you from the bite of the water which is around 9 degrees Celsius even in mid -August! It is, actually, just the right temperature to give you a jolt and this special, ‘super-hero’ feeling when you get back on the boat and under the sun.

Voidomatis, cleanest river in Europe Photo Credit: Martin Ehrensvärd

Rafting in Voidomatis

Rafting in Voidomatis is an ideal breaking ground for beginners. The river is mild and its descent is easy and safe (class 1-2 on the International Scale of River Difficulty). This is why anyone with an average physical condition – even kids from 8 years old and up – can go on this unique rafting experience. The idyllic location, along with the low difficulty of the river route and the majestic nature, makes rafting in Voidomatis the perfect opportunity for those who have thought of giving it a go, but always hesitated.

Fog over Aoos river Photo Credit: Αλέξανδρος

This small tributary of the river Aoos runs for 15 kilometers, right in the heart of one of the most impressive and wonderful gorges in Europe, the Vikos gorge. Its waters take you on an enjoyable ride, through scenery you have never seen before and that no road can reach. Harsh rocky cliffs, dense vegetation, small sandy banks, all pass next to you as you slide through the quiet fairy-tale background. Plane tree branches reach over the water and your head and as the sunrays are playing hide and seek between the leaves they are making the waters sparkle. Now you understand how all these myths about fairies and river nymphs were born.

Swiming at the cold waters of Aoos river Photo Credit: Αλέξανδρος

The surrounding landscape

Since you are flowing through the heart of Zagori, the picturesque mountain-village region, your paddles will eventually take you by some man-made wonders: The 16th century Agion Anargiron Monastery, the convent of Spiliotissa, or the occasional traditionally-built – and, miraculously, still standing – single-arch stone-bridge from the 18th century, like the one at Klidonia.

Oh, just don’t forget to bring a waterproof camera with enough free memory; and bear in mind that, after you get hooked on rafting and  the Zagori area itself, there are also mono-rafts (single-seat raft) and kayaks, which you can also take to two other magical rivers in the area, Aracthos and Aoos.