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The best place for rafting and canyoning in the Pyrenees

Especially for adrenaline lovers, we’ve got the best way to keep your adrenaline levels up. Come with us to Llavorsí, the best place for rafting and canyoning in the Pyrenees. You’ll be buzzing with energy for hours afterwards!

Llavorsí is a small village in the Pyrenees, with 350 inhabitants. It’s surrounded by mountains, which makes it the perfect spot for those who love a village’s quietness and the mountain’s adventures in one place.

In this blog post, we share everything you need to know to enjoy these two sports and have a fantastic time in Llavorsí. Ready for some days rafting and canyoning in the Pyrenees?

* Post written for the first time in September 2017 and updated in April 2024.

The village of Llavorsí
The beautiful village of Llavorsí

Canyoning in Llavorsí

My family surprised me with a memorable weekend to celebrate my birthday. When we woke up that morning, the last thing we expected was to jump from 7 metres high into a canyon’s blue (but cold) water. It was such an incredible and refreshing way to start the day!

For those who have yet to try it, canyoning involves moving through a canyon using various skills, including walking, jumping, climbing, rappelling, swimming, and scrambling. It’s so much fun just in one sport!

There are different canyons around Llavorsí, some suitable for beginners and others for more advanced adventurers. The Estarón Canyon was our choice. It’s an intermediate-difficulty canyon, even though our family managed to do it well, and it was the first time they put their feet in a canyon. It has funny slides and exciting jumps, like a water park but natural!

However, the best part is the canyon’s end: a giant 45-metre-high waterfall. Sounds challenging, huh? The real challenge was trying to rappel the waterfall while the water blinded our moves. Nevertheless, being surrounded by nature and trying to descend a waterfall was indescribable.

A person rappeling a waterfall in the Estarón Canyon in the Pyrenees
The giant 45-metre-high waterfall at the end of the Estarón Canyon

We did the activity with a guide from the company Rafting Llavorsí who was very professional, and the activity was well organised. The guide stayed with us the whole time, explaining what to do at every moment. And even though jumping or rappeling sometimes can be a bit scary, we felt completely safe.

Important info about canyoning in Llavorsí

💶 The price of the activity varies depending on the canyon you choose to go to. The one we did was 50 €/person with all the equipment and guidance included. The company provides everything you need: a helmet, wetsuit and harness. 

🕐 The activity typically lasts about 3 to 3.5 hours. Time passes in the blink of an eye, and you’ll wish to start it again. 

📅 The best season for canyoning is May and June because more water flows through the canyon. Moreover, it’s when everything’s greener, and the landscape is simply beautiful. We went in June. There was plenty of water, and the temperature was excellent. Well, the water was cold—no need to lie! But, as it was hot outside, we didn’t mind taking a refreshing bath.

Rappelling the Estarón Canyon in Llavorsí
Rappelling in the Estarón Canyon

Rafting in the Pyrenees

If the word rafting sounds Greek to you, it’s time to head to Llavorsí and discover its meaning. This sport consists of descending through whitewater in a pneumatic boat, bypassing the river’s rocks and trying not to fall into the water. But make no mistake about it, you will get wet!

Llavorsí has the most famous rafting offering in Catalonia. This sport gives you the kind of spine-tingling thrills that only close encounters with nature can produce.

Rafting is an intense and fantastic experience for an individual. But it’s also a brilliant activity to do in a group and test your co-operation. The boats are for eight people who sit on the edges of them. So grab some friends or family and work together to navigate the raging rapids. Fun is guaranteed! 

We were placed in a boat with some more guys and a hilarious guide. The guide was great, making jokes and leading the group to have a fabulous time.

That was the first time we tried this sport and, as you can imagine, we were awful at it. There was a noticeable lack of coordination in our group, and the guide couldn’t stop laughing at us. But gradually, we improved our technique and became the first boat to arrive at the finishing point! Anyway, there wasn’t any price, just the joy and pride on our faces.

Important info about rafting in the Pyrenees

💶 We did the activity with Rafting Llavorsí. The total cost is 45 €/person, including the rent of equipment (helmet, oars, life jacket, wetsuit, and neoprene boots) and the transportation back to the start point by bus. Also, as I’ve said, there was a guide in the boat the whole time who instructed us on how to advance the river downstream correctly. 

📅 The rafting season runs from mid-March to mid-October. May and June are undeniably the best times to enjoy it to the fullest, as the river increases its flow. 

People practising rafting in the Pyrenees (Llavorsí)
Rafting in Llavorsí

When is the best time to go rafting and canyoning in the Pyrenees

May, June and July are the best times to go rafting and canyoning in the Pyrenees.

The water is too cold to swim in in wintertime, and the weather is also chilly, sometimes below 0 ºC. After July, practising canyoning is usually impossible as the rivers don’t have enough water, and you could get injured with the exposed rocks. 

It’s best to contact the companies organising the water sports in advance to know about the weather and the best time to do it.

👌🏼 Our tip

When visiting Llavorsí, consider that the village is in the mountains, so the nights can be chilly. Always take a jumper or jacket with you. Also, it can rain any time of the year, so grabbing an umbrella or a rain jacket is never a bad idea!

Complete your visit to Llavorsí

Where to sleep in Llavorsí

If you do both activities on two consecutive days, you must spend one night in Llavorsí. In our case, as it was a celebration, our choice was a great hotel called Hotel Spa Riberies. It’s just 10 minutes walking to the place where the canyoning and rafting start. 

The prices for a double room include a fabulous breakfast: an incredible buffet of selected regional products. The hotel also has a great terrace and a swimming pool, in case you haven’t had enough water in two days!

If you’re looking for a more economical option, Camping Llavorsí is an excellent option. The campsite has a supermarket and a bar, and, besides, customers have free access to the village swimming pool. But be aware that the camping closes in mid-October and opens again around Easter.

Where to eat in Llavorsí

On the first day, we had some sandwiches for lunch we made at home before leaving. After the canyoning, we needed a great meal to recover our energy levels and prepare for the next day’s rafting. So, we had dinner at the Hotel Spa Riberies, and it was delicious! The dishes are fulfilling, and the ingredients are of excellent quality.

The next day, after the rafting, on our way back home, we stopped at Sort, a village 25 km away from Llavorsí. We ate in El Fogony, a one-star Michelin restaurant that only cooks local products. They know how to take food to the next level, and everything tastes exquisite! The price for the menu we went for (Menú Km0) was 50 €/person, with options to choose between five starters, six main dishes and six desserts. All in all, we highly recommend the experience.

How to reach Llavorsí

There are different ways to go to Llavorsí:

  • By car: that’s the fastest and the most comfortable option. From Barcelona, it takes about 3 h. If you go from Lleida, it’s only 1 h and 20 mins.
  • By bus: there’s one direct bus a day from Barcelona to Llavorsí, although it takes quite a lot of time. Basically, it takes 5 hours, and it costs around 40€ one way. The company that operates the buses is Alsa.
Mountain views from Llavorsí
View of the mountains surrounding Llavorsí

And that’s all you need to know to spend an adventurous weekend rafting and canyoning the Pyrenees. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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