canoagem rio minho


Are you thinking about having an adrenaline rush, with family or friends, but don't know what to do? Canoeing is an option that promises a time well spent!

Find out more about this radical activity in this article! 

What is canoeing?

A canoeing is defined as a water sport practiced using a canoe or kayak, in river or sea waters.

Canoeing is a water sport practiced using a canoe or kayak, in which participants use single-bladed oars to move through the water.

Although it is traditionally carried out in calm waters, such as lakes and rivers, there are canoes specifically designed for practicing in white waters, thus allowing this modality to be practiced in more demanding contexts.

How did canoeing come about?

The origins of canoeing They date back to Egyptian and indigenous cultures, around 2000 BC. At the time, boats made of wood and bones were built, being used for transport, and for fishing and hunting. 

What is the difference between a canoe and a kayak?

The canoe and kayak are part of canoeing. However, both have differences between them, mainly in the structure of the boats, the position of the oarsmen and the type of oar used. 

In the case of the canoe, it is used for calmer waters, due to its weight and little stability. In turn, the kayak is recommended for rougher waters, such as the sea or rivers with more current, due to the fact that it is a more stable boat. 

What is the difference between canoeing and rafting?

Despite being very similar, canoeing and rafting present differences. In rafting, the activity is practiced using an inflatable boat, while in canoeing the means used is a canoe or kayak. 

Types of canoeing

Within canoeing there are several types of practice of this sport:

  • Slalom canoeing:

Descent from rivers with strong currents and obstacles. Its practice requires greater skill.

  • Speed canoeing:

A great way to socialize with friends, and is practiced in calm waters and large canals.

  • Va'a canoeing:

In this type of canoeing, teamwork is the main focus, as up to six people can follow each other in a canoe. 

  • Freestyle canoeing:

It consists of practicing free maneuvers while descending a river. It is a recent form of canoeing. 

  • Marathon canoeing: 

With lighter canoes, this type of canoeing takes place on longer routes and requires greater physical preparation, greater effort and resistance.

What equipment is needed to go canoeing?

To fully enjoy a canoeing activity, it is necessary to take into account the safety of your practice. To achieve this, there is equipment to take into account when doing this sport:

  • Helmet;
  • Life jacket;
  • Whistle;
  • Rope on the oar;
  • Sunscreen. 


canoagem portugal

What are the benefits of canoeing?

Canoeing has several advantages, particularly for the health of its practitioners: 

  • Strengthens the trunk at a muscular level;
  • Improves posture;
  • Develops cardiorespiratory capacity;
  • Works the cardiovascular system.

What are the main competitions

Among the various competitions in which canoeing is included, the Olympic Games is the most prominent.

This sporting event has existed since the Paris Olympic Games in 1924. Sprint canoeing is the sport used in the Olympic games, where athletes cover 200 to 1000 meters in calm waters. 

Most of the time the competitions are individual, but there are groups of two or four canoeists. 

Can I practice without experience?

Yes. Canoeing is open to anyone, regardless of their experience in this sport. 

Being accompanied by an instructor and following the safety rules are the most important thing, so that you can fully enjoy the activity. 

Tips for beginners

For those who are starting out in canoeing, it is important to take some points into consideration. First, the essential thing is to know if you have the physical conditions to practice it. Afterwards, knowing how to swim is very important, as this sport takes place in the water and it is necessary to learn this.

Being accompanied by an instructor to help you use the paddle and canoe is also very important. At Melgaço Radical You will always be accompanied by certified instructors.

Is it safe to go canoeing?

Canoeing is safe, essentially if its practitioners are aware of the concepts of canoeing. skimotage and supports. These two concepts enable canonists to recover from a fall into the water.

Where to go free canoeing in Portugal?

All over the country there are options for group canoeing, where you just need to book your activity. Below is a list of places:

  • Golden River: Known for its natural beauty, the Douro River offers peaceful canoeing routes, passing through vineyards and stunning landscapes. It is ideal for groups looking for a relaxing canoeing experience.
  • Mondego River: This river offers a canoeing experience accessible to all experience levels, with routes that vary in difficulty. The stretch between Penacova and Coimbra is particularly popular for group canoeing.
  • Peneda-Gerês National Park: Offering incredible natural landscapes, this national park has several rivers and lakes ideal for canoeing, including the Rio Lima and Albufeira de Caniçada, where groups can enjoy calm waters and spectacular scenery.
  • Algarve: In addition to its famous beaches, the Algarve has several options for group canoeing, including Costa Vicentina and Ria Formosa, where it is possible to explore sea caves and lagoons.
  • Zêzere River: This river is an excellent option for canoeing, with calm waters that meander through picturesque landscapes. The stretch between Dornes and Constância is especially recommended for groups.
  • Serras de Aire and Candeeiros: This area offers unique canoeing experiences in caves and underground waters, ideal for groups looking for different adventures.
  • Tejo River: In the Constância region, the Tagus River offers excellent conditions for group canoeing, with calmer waters and stunning views of the riverside landscape.
  • Castelo do Bode Reservoir: Located in central Portugal, this reservoir offers ideal conditions for canoeing in calm waters, surrounded by lush nature.
  • Paiva River: For the more adventurous, the Paiva River, in the Arouca region, offers more challenging routes, known for its rapids and the wild beauty of its surroundings.
  • Minho River: The Minho River, which defines the northern border between Portugal and Spain, is also an excellent place for group canoeing. Offers a unique combination of natural beauty.

Can I canoe on the Minho River?

The answer is yes. The Minho River offers great conditions for those who want to practice canoeing.

A Melgaço Radical offers the opportunity to do canoeing on the Minho River and go down the river in routes of 8,10 or 17 km, which is a medium/low difficulty river, suitable for anyone. 

How long is a canoeing activity?

The canoeing journey lasts three to four hours. During this time you can enjoy moments of adrenaline and lots of fun, while immersing yourself in nature.

When is the best time to go canoeing?

Spring and summer are the best times of year for canoeing. This is due to the milder weather, making the river currents more navigable and the outside temperature itself invites a longer experience in the water. 


Different from rafting, which is practiced in an inflatable boat, canoeing is done in a canoe or kayak. This sport involves descending a river, which can be done with one or more people.

This sport is open to everyone, even those with no experience. Furthermore, it has several benefits for those who practice the activity, such as the development of chest muscles, or cardiorespiratory benefits. 


At Melgaço Radical we have these and other adventures, like our iconic rafting on the river minho, O canyoning, The canoeing, among other activities that you will love to try.

Discover Unlimited Emotion – Your Adventure Starts Here!

With more than two decades of experience, Melgaço Radical stands out as an undisputed reference in adventure sports and activities in the water, on land and outdoors on the Minho River and in Portugal. Our icon, the rafting on the river minho, is not just an activity; It is a transformative experience that attracts thousands of adventurers, national and international, to the picturesque region of Melgaço.

But our passion for adventure is not limited to rafting. Melgaço Radical is synonymous with diversity and innovation, offering a wide range of activities such as canyoning, canoeing, hydrospeed, abseiling, slide, pendulum jumping and hiking.

Come experience the excitement and beauty of Melgaço – where the adventure never ends!

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