Rafting in Croatia

Cetina river rafting tour from Split, Croatia. What to expect?

Raise your hand if you’ve never tried rafting before and feel a bit scared, yet you’re itching to break free from your comfort zone and dive into this thrilling adventure. Me too! 

So let’s embrace our inner daredevil together and go rafting on the Cetina River in Croatia. Will this be the scariest day of our lives or the most fun part of our time spent in Split? Let’s find out. And since we’re in such an adventurous spirit, let’s throw in some cave swimming and cliff jumping for the perfect thrilling vacation cocktail.

Ready? Let’s paddle!

Location: Guided tour offers a pick up from a set of locations in Split

How long does it take: ~3h + travel time to the place (~1h each direction), so ~5h in total

How to get there: Guided tour offers a pick up from a set of locations

For the First Time Rafting in Croatia Guided tour is a must

If you’ve never been rafting before, you can’t just grab a boat and go. You need a guide who knows how to read the river. It’s a special skill. So we need to join a guided tour. But don’t worry, that’s actually a good thing, because you don’t have to worry about logistics. They pick you up from Split, provide the equipment, and take you to the location. As you can see on Viator – there are multiple rafting tours from Split and its surroundings. After careful consideration, we chose Rafting Experience in the Canyon of the River Cetina , and it was the best choice. Here’s why.

Let’s Try Rafting for the First Time!

We start with a quick instruction session. Basically, all you have to do is follow your tour guide’s instructions. If they say row, you row. If they say lay down, you lay down. If you’re lucky enough to get Christian as your guide and he randomly starts singing folk songs from your country, you sing along. Well, that’s not mandatory, but how can you resist?

Then it is time to get into the water and start paddling.

Are you a good paddler? Surprisingly, I’m terrible. Rhythm is not my thing, so I keep hitting the row of either the person in front or behind me. Sorry! But thankfully, being a bad rower doesn’t ruin anything.

So far, so good. Here comes the first smaller rapid. You get some tickling in your tummy going through it. Wiiii! But you also realise there is nothing to be scared about and by the next rapid, you’re prepared and even craving something a bit spicier. Don’t worry, though; while most of the rapids in this part of Catina river are pretty chill, there will be more thrilling ones ahead.

So far, so good. Here comes the first smaller rapid. You get some tickling in your tummy going through it. Wiiii! But you also realise there is nothing to be scared about and by the next rapid, you’re prepared and even craving something a bit spicier. Don’t worry, though; while most of the rapids in this part of Catina river are pretty chill, there will be more thrilling ones ahead.

You know it’s coming when the guide says: “On my command, lay down in the boat and pull the rows in.”

Then the command comes. You’re on the bottom of the boat. The boat speeds up, and you can feel it being tossed by the water. Someone screams. Suddenly, there’s water over your head. You’re in the water. And then it’s over. You can breathe again. That was fun!

Rafting in Croatia

If You Can, Get in the Boat with Christian – It’s Worth Fighting for a Spot

Some people just are exactly where they are supposed to be, and Christian is one of them. He is one of the magic ingredients that turn this Croatia rafting experience into an adventure. How?

By telling stories about Croatia—from culture to food (he’s proud of his newly acquired burek baking skills), to war, and the different people he has met during these rafting trips. He’ll sprinkle in some life wisdom too.

At one point, Christian stops at the side of the river and pulls some berries from a tree. They look like a mix between raspberries and strawberries but pale yellow and grow on a tree.

Do you dare to try? We dared to go on a rafting experience, of course, we will try the unknown berries from the random tree. They’re quite tasty. Would another guide do this? Don’t think so.

And most importantly, when the next current comes and you have to go through a rapid between huge rocks where you think you could easily be smashed, you feel safe knowing you’re with Christian, and he knows what he’s doing. He can read the river. 

So paddle ahead with no worries!

But rafting isn’t the only thing you can experience on this guided tour.

Rafting in Croatia

Other Thrilling Adventures Await on the Cetina River Rafting Tour

Just when your pulse has calmed, soothed by the beautiful surroundings of the Cetina River and fun stories told by your guide, it’s time to spice up this adventure.

Do You Dare to Swim Through a Cave? There’s No Turning Back

“So now we will stop, and you will have to go into the cave. I will turn on the light at the other end, and you will have to swim through to where the light shines,” Christian explains. OMG.

“If you don’t want to do it or have some heart issues, I can take you the other route. But you have to decide now. When you go in, there’s no turning back. Do you want to go?”

Cave swimming? Yes, sign me up! Hope you’re in as adventurous a spirit as I am!

Our boat stops near a waterfall. Guess what? The cave is behind the waterfall! We signed up for river rafting, but now this is turning into an adventure movie.

One by one, we go through the waterfall. The water is so cold! Now I understand why they offered wetsuits at the beginning of the tour. But the adrenaline is fueling us even if we are shaking.

Although the guide is shining a flashlight at the other end of the cave, it’s quite dark. Miks goes in first. I lose sight of him and brace myself. Survival mode is on.

Ready? 1. 2. Let’s go into the water! It’s FREEZING! Colder than I could have imagined. My brain feels like it’s freezing. There’s just one thought—get through.

I think I went into autopilot mode. Somehow, in the next moment we’re on the other end, climbing on big, slippery rocks. And there is a photographer waiting to capture a pic of us—the brave cave conquistadors.

Pat yourself on the shoulder—we did it! What an adventure!

People in front of a waterfall

Let’s Raise the Stakes: Time for Cliff Jumping!

When everyone has gone through the cave, we climb back into the boats. This is a rafting experience, after all. So it’s time to paddle further. Another fun rapid awaits us.

But there’s more thrill to come. The bravest among us can try cliff jumping. We stop by a place with some “lower” cliffs. Do you dare?

If you don’t, no worries. I couldn’t make myself do it. I’m a chicken, after all. But Miks wants to jump, so you can go with him.

Your heart is beating. 1… 2… 3… 3 and a half… Go! The fall feels longer than it looks from afar. How can it be so long? You reach the cold water. You’re underwater. You’re out. The adrenaline metre has probably gone off the charts, hasn’t it?

And looks like Miks enjoyed this so much he snuck into the queue to jump a second time.

Person jumping into water

Ending Our Cetina River Rafting Adventure with Breathtaking Views

What a day, right?

But now it’s time to calm down. At this stage of our guided Croatia rafting experience, the rafting turns into more of a boat ride. Disappointed? Don’t be. Look at the views!

The water of the Cetina River has that “Croatian blue” tint. You can see rocks and fish in it. You may also spot a duck or two. On both sides, there are lush green trees and huge grey cliff walls. At one point, there is even something that looks like a cave high in the cliffs. “Sikspārnis” (Latvian word for bat), Christian confirms.

Everything is perfect. Time flies.

I wish I had a camera with me, but you can also check the tour photos on the booking site. They say it all.

After we stop at the shore, the minibus is already waiting with our dry clothes safely stored. It’s time to change and then rush home. The buss will drop us out in the same place in Split where it picked us up.


Was it scary? No, not at all. Was it fun and exciting? Yes, for sure. If you, like me, haven’t done any rafting before, this Cetina River rafting experience from Split is a perfect option for newbies. It offers enough adventure (kudos to cave swimming, cliff jumping, and the bigger rapids), but you don’t need to sit cramped in the boat, scared for your life for 3+ hours. 5 out of 5 stars

What You Need to Know Before Going on the Cetina River Rafting Tour from Split, Croatia

What to Wear for Your Cetina River Rafting Experience

  1. Water Shoes: If you plan to go through the cave, wear water shoes as the rocks are very slippery.
  2. Swimwear: You will get wet, so wear a bathing suit. Since I did the rafting experience at the end of May, I also wore shorts and a sports top over the swimwear as it was a bit chilly. I would recommend avoiding wearing anything that can be lost while in water like jewellery.
  3. Come already dressed for the occasion but bring dry clothes to change into afterward.
  4. Hydro Suit: Consider wearing a hydro suit if offered by the tour company. The cave water is spring-fed and remains cold year-round, so extra protection can make your experience more comfortable. I wish I had said yes when they offered. 
  5. They will provide a safety helmet and life-west for you.

Other Tips for Your Rafting Adventure

  1. Cash for Photos: The photos taken during the rafting tour are not included in the price. If you wish to purchase them, bring cash (was 15 euros at the time I did the rafting experience). You can leave your belongings safely in the car while rafting.
  2. As the start and end points are in the forest near the river there are no options to buy food or drink at the spot, so pack some water and a snack to replenish yourself after your Croatia rafting adventure. 
  3. Not all travel insurances cover rafting in your base package (at least not where I am from), so double check the rules on this when picking a travel insurance.
Kravice waterfall in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Check out the full itinerary of our Croatia – Bosnia and Herzegovina road trip

A lot more fun things to experience organized in a day-to day plan

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