The Tara Gorge: Europe's Grand Canyon

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Rocks up to 1300 meters high line the Tara River in northern Montenegro – an impressive sight. But the best way to explore the deepest gorge in Europe is from the water. Part 3 of our Extreme Places series.

The Tara Gorge is surrounded by the dense forests and rugged mountains of Durmitor National Park

Even the view from the Đurđevića Tara Bridge is unique. Even up here, 150 meters above sea level, you can hear the murmur of the Tara. Clear, blue and wild, it flows under the bridge. The river has been making its way through nature for thousands of years. The water has persistently carved its way into the massive rocks. A mighty gorge was created in the middle of a largely untouched natural landscape.

If you want to discover the Tara Gorge, you have to travel to Montenegro. Around the mountain massif in the north of the country lies the Durmitor National Park. The longest river in the country crosses the park over a length of 59 kilometers: the Tara. Steep rock faces rise up to the left and right of the shore, up to 1300 meters almost vertically. This makes the Tara Gorge the second deepest gorge in the world after the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Downriver in a dinghy

The region is a paradise for nature lovers and extreme sports enthusiasts. The best way to explore the Tara Gorge is on a rafting trip. DW reporter Hendrik Welling also wanted to experience this. He visited the Durmitor National Park for the “Europe maxximal” series in the lifestyle and culture magazine “Euromaxx”. 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 discover the Tara Gorge from the water.

Depending on the water level, you can go leisurely or quickly along the river in a rubber dinghy. There are up to 40 rapids to master. This is easiest in the summer when the Tara doesn't carry that much water. Then is the best time to embark on the adventure without much previous knowledge and to enjoy the natural beauty along the Tara in peace. It's definitely worth it, because the river leads past waterfalls up to 60 meters high and banks of greenery, impressive rock formations and many smaller and larger caves.

The water of the Tara rises at an altitude of around 2000 meters and therefore remains very cold even in summer

Those who dare can also dare to jump into the usually crystal-clear water of the Tara and go swimming. A test of courage that should not be underestimated, because even in midsummer the water rarely warms up to more than twelve degrees Celsius. But even without this cold shock, a trip through the Tara Gorge is a unique experience.

Service Tips:

Address: Durmitor National Park, Montenegro< /p>

Getting there: From the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica, it is around 150 kilometers by car to the national park. Most rafting tours start from the small town of Žabljak.

Special tip: right next to the Đurđevića Tara Bridge you can also cross the Tara Gorge on a zipline. The zip line is 350 meters long (open from the beginning of May to the beginning of October).

The book to the series

Europe from its extreme side: The “Europe maxximal” series in the lifestyle and culture magazine “Euromaxx” makes European superlatives come alive – from extraordinary architecture and spectacular landscapes to unique cultural phenomena . Accompanying the series is the book “111 extreme places that you have to see”, created in cooperation with Emons Verlag. An alternative travel guide, informative and entertaining at the same time. For those who love to travel, Europe fans and anyone who likes to brag about unusual party knowledge. Record-breakingly good!