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Family holidays? Outdoor sports through rafting in the river or paddle surfing at the beach

Families are one of the regular customers of outdoor sports activities in their respective seasons. With the arrival of summer, families capitalise on a large part of the demand, especially between July and August.

Outdoor sporting events are aimed at a wide audience, but one of the most common is families who take advantage of the summer months to do outdoor sports tourism both in the sea and in the mountains. This is a fundamental profile that allows for an increase in demand during the summer months.

Easter vacation, summer holidays or public holidays are usually the ideal time for families to embark on the adventure of outdoor sports. Not surprisingly, between July and August is when a large part of the demand from these groups is capitalised, who tend to opt for water activities such as rafting or hiking routes in the mountains, as Carlos Rabaneda, co-founder of RocRoi, one of the leading companies in southern Europe in the organisation of outdoor sports experiences, explains.

“The client profile at Easter vacation is that of family groups or couples looking for a place to stay outside the city. In July and August it is almost all families”, the manager points out. However, preferences change completely depending on the age of the children, since while families with young children opt for more risky activities such as rafting or hydrospeed, older families prefer trekking in the mountains.

Walking in the mountains has become an increasingly popular activity among parents. This trend is supported by data from Strava’s report on sporting activity in Spain in 2021. This study reveals that hiking and walking have been the star sports this year. In fact, Spain was the country where most time was devoted to these disciplines, with a weekly average of 3.7 hours, which is growing especially among people aged 50 and over.

The best examples of this type of outings are the trekking expeditions to the Aigüestortes National Park, aimed at a public from 6 years of age; the excursions to the Alt Pirineu National Park in the Mollera de Escalarre area or the horse-riding outings along forest trails or paths.

In the case of river activities for children, the RocRoi base in Llavorsí stands out for rafting, hydrospeed and canyoning in the Barranc del Berrós. As for the activities on the lake, the kayaks and canoes or individual canoes are aimed at all ages, as are the inflatables. Rafting is the star activity for families and also allows a personalised experience by offering the possibility of renting the boat only for your family.

In addition to the Llavorsí offer, there is the UR Pirineus offer in Murillo de Gállego. “We have a pack of activities that are normally attended by families and we personalise it according to each case. To measure the level, we do an aquatic treasure hunt in the river swimming 2 kilometres in white water and from there we adapt the activities”, explains Eneko Iriondo, a guide at the UR Pirineus centre located in the Aragonese pre-Pyrenees.

In both cases the rafting is classified into different routes according to the difficulty and age of the children. Thus, for the youngest children, the most recommendable section in the first of the centres is the one that goes from Arboló to Collegats.

This is a quieter section than the rest, aimed at families who can enjoy the natural environment, passing the Romanesque bridge of Arboló and the Monastery of Gerri de Sal in Collegats. For more adventurous families, the section from Llavorsí to Rialp is notable for its great white-water descents.

Beyond the activities in the Pyrenees, outdoor sports for the whole family also reach, especially, the Mediterranean. At the nautical base of the Costa del Garraf, in Vilanova i la Geltrú, the most popular activities are big sup, kayaking and pedalos. Although the content is adapted to the interests of the family in question, there is usually one hour of each of these activities. Paddle surfing is also a highly recommended option for families who want to combine sporting activities on the beach with sightseeing and visiting the most outstanding places on the Catalan coast.