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Dive Into a Spectacular Antalya Rafting Adventure

white water rafting in Antalya 2
Source: Vigo Tours

A Wet ‘n’ Wild introduction to Antalya rafting

We have barely had time to wet our feet when we are being urged to paddle fast into a churning cauldron of foaming white water. Waves crash over the bow of the boat, screams of joy (and possibly a little terror) ring around us as our plastic raft gets thrown around like a coin in a washing machine, teetering from side to side, a momentary hover in mid-air threatening to send us tumbling into the torrents before slapping us down wet but ecstatic. Miraculously we survive our first rapid with no casualties.

white water rafting in Antalya 2
Source: Vigo Tours
white water rafting in Antalya 1
Source: Vigo Tours

Rafting the Koprulu Canyon

Today my husband Jason, step-kids (Abbey, Sam and Holly) are rafting the Koprulu Canyon with CityDiscovery. The canyon is a verdant gorge, tucked in the shadows of the Taurus mountains, just a few hours from Antalya.

Leaving the suburbs of the city behind, we head into rural, farming landscape dotted with greenhouses, olive groves and orange orchards. As we climb into the hills, the mountains come into focus in the distance and the baked landscape opens before us eventually revealing the azure green waters of the canyon below.

City Discovery Partner Site

Getting our rafting legs

Having made it safely through our first rapid, we experiment with the paddles, our lack of expertise evident as paddles clash haphazardly, elbows bang and we awkwardly knock into one another in our desperate frenzy to stay safely within the raft. Eventually we find a rhythm and start to relax watching the rippling waters beneath the raft as we drift lazily in the current. There’s little alongside the river – just a few random restaurants, some locals bathing and the occasional glimpse of a shimmering minaret in the distance.

Nothing to do but enjoy the scenery and take it all in. Oh, well that and occasionally paddle like a mad banshee in our quest to overcome the raging waters intent on swallowing us whole.

white water rafting in Antalya 3
Source: Vigo Tours

Water fights

We have six rapids to navigate over the course of three hours, none greater than a grade II, and in the lulls between, hoards of rafts packed with squealing tourists engage in vigorous water fights, paddles thrashing the water in a frenzy, whipping up whirlwinds of water around and above us.

Despite being thoroughly sodden by now, each fresh glacial blast of water has us shrieking, trying desperately to slam our paddles into the water to fight off the onslaught. I find myself momentarily blinded on more than one occasion as the force of the water dislodges my contact lens.

A bridge too high

Less a bridge rather than a high jump is our first stop. Enterprising locals greet us with the tantalising aroma of thick nan breads encasing potatoes and cheese, sweetcorns grilling on charcoal and ice cold drinks including beer. Frankly I think I would be rapid bait if I were to indulge in a beer at this stage of the trip.

Antalya rafting
Picture courtesy of Dallas Rafting

A makeshift high jump perches above the water and whooping and hollering tourists take a quick run and leap into the cool waters, simultaneously trying to pose for the camera man. Take note the crocodile is not real!

A luncheon feast

A little further down river, lunch is served at our morning rendez-vous. After our earlier briefing we had re-boarded the buses to our raft disembarkation point by a narrow gorge underneath the Roman Oluklu Bridge.

There, we wandered through the woods to wade into the water and jump on-board our raft. After descending around 7km we return to a lunch of chicken kebabs, rice, potatoe salad and pasta. It’s delicious and the organisation is impressive considering there must be at least a hundred people rafting today.

I have to confess I was slightly worried by the numbers at the outset imagining it might be bedlam but it is anything but. The rafting company have planned the day to perfection, with orderly queues of happy rafters snaking their way from each table in turn, by invitation from the staff.

Each guide fetches drinks for the table and then takes a quick break to eat. There’s plenty of time for a quick refresher, sunbathing and toilet breaks.

A lost passenger

Back on the water, we descend another rapid, and Hussein takes us all by surprise launching himself down the raft and diving into the swirling waters ahead. So entranced are we that we fail to notice that Abbey has fallen over the side of the raft. Coughing and spluttering she descends into the clear waters, eventually bobbing to the surface life jacket around her neck and helmet all a kilter.

Still oblivious to her plight, we eventually spot her drifting alongside laughing and leave Hussein to tug her unceremoniously to the boat where she is hoisted up by the lads and, ‘slops into the raft like a big whale’ (Abbey’s description, not mine!). We all have our undignified moments, Holly sliding across the raft floor as a wave knocks her off-balance, me landing hard in the middle following misunderstood orders and Sam getting repeatedly tapped on the head for being asleep.

white water rafting in Antalya 4
Source: Vigo Tours

A ‘sometimes’ lazy river

The day passes in a mixture of heightened focus as we hurtle through each set of rapids, and more leisurely moments where we jump into the water with a splash to escape the sweltering heat.

Floating down the river on our backs we almost miss the gurgle of one approaching rapid and have to quickly haul one another on-board, plopping ungainly into the bottom of the boat with legs and feet splaying in all directions, hands grabbing unceremoniously for paddles to secure our descent over the rocky bottom.

Hussein entertains us throughout with acrobatics, innocent flirting, joking and foolery. He has our group in peals of laughter at his antics, no more so than when he coquettishly suggests to my husband that I am behaving towards him inappropriately!!

Nearing the end of the afternoon, he appears to take a young girl hostage from another raft. She doesn’t look too concerned and neither are we!

white water rafting in Antalya 5
Source: Vigo Tours

Save the best for last

All too soon, we find ourselves approaching our last rapid with a particularly steep descent. We nervously watch the rafts in front advance through the narrow section of river, bows raised almost vertically, passengers tumbling into the waters, and loud screams accompanying the roaring of the foaming waters.

We paddle furiously into the torrents of water, with waves smashing over us the raft rears its head high, my husband tumbles unceremoniously into my lap and yet more squeals and laughter emanate from the boat.

Photo image courtesy of Dallas Rafting

Our raft rights and we smugly pat ourselves on the back. Little do we realise there is still one more adrenaline moment in store as we approach the bank, navigating a path around a digger clearing rubble from the waterway. It swivels at the last moment, its huge metal cradle swinging perilously in our direction, narrowly missing our raft but sending a wall of water careering into us. More screams followed by joy at having survived.

The words of my step-son Sam chatting to Hussein come to mind. Hussein is cheekily suggesting he has forgotten his girl-friend’s name. Sam is a man of few words and his dry reply ‘it’s happened to us all’ resonates with my thought for the day.

Verdict

White water rafting in Koprulu Canyon is one tour that we should all experience.

It’s a fantastic value day out with lunch and transfers included. You can book directly with CityDiscovery from £17.56. It is worth every penny for ‘the best day out I’ve ever had’ according to Abbey and I’m inclined to agree with her.

Have your say

Have you been white water rafting in Antalya? What did you think? Maybe you have rafted elsewhere and would like to share your recommendations below. Don’t be shy….

What you need to know

  1. Take sunscreen, water, towels, sensible shoes and leave valuables behind
  2. Join CityDiscovery to see member only deals to save you money. CityDiscovery also offer a best price guarantee on their tours and you can book the white water rafting tour here. The company offers many other travel activities in a wide variety of destinations, such as adventure tours, photo tours, culinary classes and shore excursions – the site is a great all-in-one resource for planning what to do on your next travel adventure.
  3. You can purchase photos and video after the event although the company has no issue with you bringing along waterproof filming equipment (at your own risk)
  4. You can book flights to Antalya through Skypicker, a flight search engine which searches all airlines including budget airlines.
  5. Book hotels through hotels.com to earn one free night in ten, or local accommodation through Airbnb. If you use this Airbnb link you can save £££ off your first booking (the saving varies so be sure to check it out before booking)

Sharing is caring

Finally if you liked this post feel free to share or pin it to your boards for future reference. You can also check out the video on Youtube. Be kind – I am a novice videographer!

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white water rafting Pinterest
Source: Vigo tours photos. Thanks for the amazing pics!

Disclaimer: we rafted courtesy of CityDiscovery but my views are honest and unedited. This truly was a  magnificent day with perfect organisation, especially considering the numbers on the river. Thanks to Hussein especially for keeping us entertained! We had an absolute ball!

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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19 comments

  1. Isn’t rafting so much fun? I had a chance to do it down the Ottawa River in Canada. It was CRAZY! We were flying out of the raft left and right. What an adventure!

  2. What a fabulous white water rafting experience it must have been. It sure looks lot of fun. Didn’t know Antalya has rafting as well.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Your rafting in Antalya looks like fun. I almost made it to this part of Turkey several years ago but plans changed and I missed it. When I do get back to Turkey, Antalya and Cappadocia are on my list and I will definitely look into rafting in Antalya.

  4. What a fabulous white water rafting experience in Köprülü Canyon. I’ve been once and had a blast. This sounds like a much more exciting experience. Will look into it for the future. Love your pictures by the way.

  5. Rafting is something I have always wanted to do, even though I have a little reservation about it. I am not sure I can do as much as you guys did in one day. Probably do the easier one first. Koprulu Canyon looks like a good place for first timers like me.

  6. I LOVE Antalya and have been there for one week, but I had no idea there are river rafting tours there. After I’ve started reading and saw your picture with crocodile I’ve thought that it’s something new and scary for the fauna of that area)) But thanks for mentioning it’s not real (haha)
    Thank you for sharing, Anne!

  7. So glad you enjoyed your time rafting – Ive done it in Iceland and Costa Rica and had a fabulous time each trip – albeit being extremely cold afterwards :D!! Awkward that you lost Abbey along the way lol glad you found her again!!!

    • Yes thankfully she didn’t seem too bothered! Would love to raft in Costa Rica. IN fact, I would just love to go to Costa Rica.

  8. The scenery looks amazing. I’ve only visited Antalya briefly while on a cruise and didn’t realise there was so much nature nearby, The whitewater rafting adventure looks like fun!

  9. We LOVE rafting!!! But I have to say, even though I’m a fantastic swimmer, I’m always scared of falling over, like Abbey! Not because of what could happen in the water but bc it’s usually so freaking cold!! Yeah,… I’m a big baby!

  10. What a wonderful experience. I have never white water rafted before, but this would be the way to go. Well organised, gorgeous surroundings and food!!!

  11. Thanks for the article. Just a heads up that you misspelled the name of the canyon. Its Köprülü Canyon (not Kropulu), which means Canyon with Bridges in Turkish. The breads you are describing are not nan. They are called “Pide” generally, and if filled with cheese and potatoes, were probably gözleme. Cheers.

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