Not something we normally associate with the Alps, but the variety of rivers and lakes in the mountains ensure there’s always fun to be had splashing about in water.
Something to try when the rivers in the Alps are full of life between May and October is ‘Rafting’ and ‘Hydrospeed’. To do both you generally need to be confident swimmers and not afraid of the rapids! Most companies insist on being over 14 years old.
Rafting is done on very durable rubber dinghies normally with around eight people to a boat. Everyone has a paddle and they have to use it! It’s all pull together, particularly when negotiating the swift moving water of the rapids.
The ‘Hydrospeed’ adds what I think is the extra element of danger. Armed with just a bodyboard and flippers, you are heading down the river ‘tout seul’ – just you with your face inches above the water line, swimming swiftly past the rocks and gasping for air as the water dramatically carries you downstream.
You generally don’t need any pre-training or experience before trying out these activities. The instructors will spend time at the beginning explaining the equipment, demonstrating how to paddle, lean, turn and flip! The instructors can certainly add to the experience, guiding the way but also adding an element of fun to the experience – they can make it a real event to remember!
Over the summer the boys in our party (Dad, aged 40 something and Son aged 15) experienced both with An Rafting (www.an-rafting.com) on the Isere River, between Aime and Centron, in the Alps Savoie. Highly recommended!
For somewhere to stay, head over to our list of fabulous gites in the Alps.