What is canyoning?
Canyoning is an adrenaline pumping sport which combines the best parts of both rock climbing and often swimming as well. A lot of canyons have water in them, so knowing how to swim is important here.
It’s a lot of fun, but you should know that you need to be in decent shape to do it. You should be honest with yourself about your level of fitness and make sure that you’re prepared for what the sport entails before embarking on a journey.
If you’re a beginner to canyoning then it’s recommended that you go with a group. There’s plenty of adventure companies out there that can get you started on the right foot and help you learn how to participate in canyoning safely.
A day of canyoning in Bulgaria
One of the best places in the world to go canyoning is in Bulgaria. This beautiful little eastern European country offers stunning views. They have beautiful rivers, majestic waterfalls and best of all they have fabulous canyons.
Our day started out with a short hike across the countryside. It wasn’t too strenuous, as it was fairly close to the adventure company’s base. Some trips are actually much longer and you could spend a few days hiking before you even get to the canyon.
We walked along the river and I took in the sounds of nature, the sun shining down warmly on my face. I almost wished that the walk was a little longer as I was truly enjoying the beautiful scenery that Bulgaria had to offer, but at the same time, I was anxious to get started on our adventure.
After about an hour or so we made it to the canyon and we began learning about the equipment that we’d be using for the trip. Everything is fairly standard for this activity but you will need an odd collection of things intended for both water and rock climbing safety.
Our guide dumped out his arsenal of gear and we began fitting ourselves with helmets, neoprene suits, and shoes and our life jackets. We then had a quick tutorial on how to fasten our safety harnesses.
After getting all of our gear on our guide sort of daisy chained us together on a lead, the rock climbing portion of the trip and we started making our way up the canyon wall. Being tied together like that was a bit awkward at first, but it’s an important safety step.
Once we reached the top, I could look down and see the river in all its glory. This was a beginners trip so we weren’t too far up, but it was still enough to be exciting. There’s just something thrilling about feeling on top of the world, even if the top isn’t very far up.
While the climbing and the rappelling portions of canyoning are fun, the most fun is likely coming down. That’s because for most of these trips you’ll find that there are some really cool waterfalls that turn into a natural water slide.
The water wears down parts of the stone and makes it smooth, giving you the perfect opportunity to take a plunge into the water below. It’s one of the best parts of the experience, and our whole group took turns doing it.
There are of course other parts of canyoning that are great too like being able to climb up rock faces and diving into pools below. While our adventure was rather tame there are more advanced canyoning adventures you can take.
Best locations in Bulgaria for canyoning
There’s plenty of great places to go canyoning, but Bulgaria provides some particularly wonderful spots. Some great places to look for tours are Varna and Sofia. In these locations you’ll be able to jump and play in the river, dive into pools and view some beautiful rock formations.
What to know before you go canyoning
Always wear protective equipment
While canyoning is a fun activity, it’s also dangerous. There’s a reason you’re wearing a life jacket and a helmet. You’re jumping off rocks and into the water. If you hit your head it’s very possible that you could drown without these safety devices.
Don’t go canyoning alone
If you take a tumble and you’re by yourself things could get bad for you very quickly. Always go canyoning with a buddy so you have assistance nearby in an emergency. Going solo for an activity like this is just asking for trouble. Plus, it’s more fun with a friend anyway!