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Rock formations along the Tara River in Montenegro form Europe's "Grand Canyon." Raft with us down this mighty river in part three of our series "Extreme Places."
The Tara Gorge is surrounded by the dense forests and rugged mountains of the Durmitor National Park
The view from the Durdevica-Tara bridge in northern Montenegro is one of a kind. Even up here, 150 meters (492 feet) in the air, you can still hear the rumble of the Tara River as it flows under the bridge: clear, blue and wild. The river has channeled its way for thousands of years; its waters doggedly cutting a route through the massive rocks, creating an enormous canyon in the middle of a still largely untouched natural landscape.
Those who wish to discover the Tara River Canyon must travel to Durmitor National Park, which is in the Dinaric Alps in Montenegro's north. At 59 kilometers (36 miles) in length, the country's longest river — the Tara — traverses this UNESCO World Heritage park. Steep rock walls rise up almost vertically on both banks, reaching up 1,300 meters and making it Europe's deepest gorge.
The region is a paradise for nature lovers and fans of extreme sports. The best way to explore the Tara River Canyon is on a river rafting excursion.
This is exactly what reporter Hendrik Welling set out to do. For the series "Europe to the Maxx" on DW's lifestyle and culture program "Euromaxx," he visited the Durmitor National Park. The wild beauty of nature in this rather remote region of Europe made a lasting impression on him. And of course, he also joined a rafting tour to experience the Tara Gorge from the water.
Depending on water level, the trip downriver in a raft can be either leisurely, or fast and furious. There are up to 40 rapids along the river. It is easiest in summer, when water levels are lower. This is also the best time to begin the adventure for less-experienced rafters who simply want to enjoy the beauty of nature along the Tara in peace. It's certainly worth it, as the river leads past waterfalls up to 60 meters tall, green riverbanks, impressive rock formations and many caves of different sizes.
Those who dare can also jump into the often crystal-clear waters of the Tara and go for a swim. It's not for everyone though, as even at the peak of summer the water rarely warms up to more than 12 degrees Celsius (53 degrees Fahrenheit). Even without this cold shock, a trip through the Tara River Canyon is a unique experience that's sure to make the heart of most visitors beat a little faster.
Address: Durmitor National Park, Montenegro
Getting there: The national park is around 150 kilometers by car from the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica. Most rafting tours start in Zabljak.
Special tip: There's one unique experience you can't miss. Right next to the Durdevica-Tara bridge you can cross the Tara River Canyon on a 350-meter zip line which can be used May through October.
Experience Europe at its most extreme. The series "Europe to the Maxx" on DW's lifestyle and culture magazine Euromaxx makes it possible to experience Europe's superlatives — from extraordinary architecture to spectacular landscapes and unique cultural phenomena.Accompanying the series, the book "111 Extreme Places in Europe That You Shouldn't Miss" was published in cooperation with Emons Verlag. It is an alternative travel guide that's both informative and entertaining, perfect for avid travelers, fans of Europe and anyone who likes to show off unusual trivia knowledge. It's full of guaranteed record-breakers!
This article was translated from German.