Short Trip to Portugal

Valley of the Upper Laboreiro

This winter Robert and myself decided that it was finally the time to go to Portogal and Galicia to run some of the winter classics europe has to offer. It was a little gamble because this winter was dryer then usual and the rivers there are mostly rainfed. Manuel Köhler decided to join so end of february we boarded our plane to Bilbao, got our rental car and of we were.

there we are...

Galicia was dry by now so we went straight to the valley of the famous Laboreiro. On our drive it was raining hard so we had good feelings to catch a perfect waterlevel. And so it was...

First look at our first goal... what a beauty!!

The lower section of the Rio Laboreiro contains the famous three waterfalls that everyone who is interested in kayaking in Portugal has seen. We had an perfect level, scouted and ran everything together.

Robert at the edge of the world... First drop of the triple combo

me on the same drop... photo: Robert Machacek

Manu testing the big one first

how sweet can it be?   photo: Robert Machacek

Robert flying...

This section is one of the most special places I have been to in an kayak. After the portage Manu went back up on the trail the get our car (the shuttle on the road is almost 40km) and Robert and myself continued with three kayaks to the takeout where Manu was allready waiting.

 looking back at our first day of portugese whitewater   photo: Robert Machacek

Next up was the Rio Vez. We had hoped for a little more water because of the rain two days earlier but the river looked very dry. The falls were still fun but the stuff inbetween got really manky. This river must get really awesome with 10cm more water.

Alto Vez... to the Put In of the Rio Vez

its a dog owned village

fun drops at the start

photo: Robert Machacek

Seems like this area has dog and cat owned villages. Put in was dogs, take out cats ;)

takeout is Cat owned. No dogs here!!

Our next stop was back at the Laboreiro to run the upper section. Very nice whitewater with slides and drops, and although a little low still very worthwile.

Manu, Robert and myself on the first rapid of the upper Laboreiro

photo: Robert Machacek


photo: Robert Machacek

Manu enjoing the sun

Pasta? or rice...

Our plan was to go a little south to run a section on the Paiva described as one of the classic whitewater sections in Portugal, the Garganta gorge. On put in we were lucky to meet Franzi and Kees from Germany and Holland. A scary situation occured when Kes got stuck with his boat in the fourth rapid. Luckily he got out uninjured and only with a scare. A little reminder that class IV can be really dangerous sometimes.

Paiva... Garganta gorge

Manu running "the Drop"... the harderst rapid of the Garganta

The last river we went to was the classic Cavado. It was suposed to be really low but the level was ok. This river, although much shorter than it used to be due to hydropower, is a truely special place. Bedrock wherever you look, slides and drops, a true playpark for creeking.

camping on the Cavado

low but bedrock heaven

photo: Manuel Köhler


We finished our trip with some surfing action between Bilbao and Santander and a little stroll through the roads of Bilbao. 

last campspot before our flight home

Guggenheim, Bilbao

thanks for reading ;)

cheers, re