We, Slavs, might not have the Grand Canyon, but that doesn’t mean smaller canyons should be underestimated. Gorgeous panoramas, fresh air and a handful of attractions await everyone who wants to explore our lands. So without further ado, here are the top river canyons to visit on Slavic grounds if you want to get your breath taken away by our glorious mother nature.
Shulgan-Tash in Russia
Russia is a land of countless natural treasures and the Shulgan-Tash Nature Reserve is among the most beautiful canyon-like places in the country. The area in and around it is quite famous for its ancient origins. According to archeological findings, the Kapova cave (praised for its 16,000 years old rock paintings) takes a leading spot among the oldest caves on the planet. Some of the flora and fauna in the region is endemic and can’t be found anywhere else on Earth. Two rivers run through the reserve – Belaya and Nugush, with the latter one’s water reservoirs forming pictures canyon-like reliefs.
Uvac in Serbia
The Uvac river flows through Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina over the course of nearly 115 kilometers. Throughout its length Uvac runs through several mountain ranges, plateaus, many villages, a nature reserve and an artificial lake. Its canyon, Kanjon Uvca, is undoubtedly a fine example of Serbia’s stunning nature. Uvac is well-known for flowing in a meandering pattern, thus forming swirls deep inside the mountains. The canyon is among the few places on the planet with an extensive population of the nearly endangered griffon vulture.
Matka in Macedonia
Macedonia’s Matka canyon is a popular touristy spot for locals and foreigners. Apart from activities like hunting, rock climbing and kayaking, the canyon also offers several monasteries, tons of endemic plants and numerous caves, which house some of the largest populations of bats in all of Macedonia. Its surroundings are so fascinating that tourists are readily willing to brave the fact that the viper, which happens to be the most poisonous and lethal snake in South Europe, inhabits these grounds.
Piva in Montenegro
Montenegrins have a lovely country filled with paradise-like beaches and virgin forests. Regardless of the fact that this is one of the smallest Slavic countries, Montenegro has a lot to offer. The Piva river canyon is one of the reasons to visit Montenegro in spring. Its clear waters and mountainous landscapes are otherworldly and its dam is one of the highest dams in all of Europe. If you’re a fan of mountaineering and aerial photography, this destination should definitely be included in your to-visit list.
Soča in Slovenia
The Soča river and its banks have a vast selection of touristy activities along with the opportunity to go kayaking through its canyon. Said canyon is extremely steep and narrow and its rocky gorges are best enjoyed either from a boat or while snorkeling. Its emerald green basin is so charming that the river was chosen as one of the filming locations for the magical setting of the world of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Of course, the area isn’t short on hiking trails and the Slovenian part of the Julian Alps where the canyon is located is excellent for mountaineering.
Zrmanja in Croatia
With its desert-like landscapes, you won’t believe you’re on Slavic grounds while you’re hiking near the Zrmanja river’s canyon! Running through the picturesque Velebit mountains and forming a 200-meter deep canyon, the river is a great canoeing spot during the summer and provides a suitable flow for rafting in spring and autumn. Unique and astonishing due to its karst and carbonate surroundings, most of the canyon gives off the impression that you’ve traveled to a desert right in the middle of Croatia.