The Drava River


The Drava is a river in southern Central Europe, a tributary of the Danube. The Drava River links four countries on its 725 km course from the Italian Alps to its confluence with the Danube in Croatia. The first short stretch lies in Italy, then the Drava flows across Austria and Slovenia into Croatia, joining the Danube near the town of Osijek.

Cities along the Drava include Villach in Austria, Maribor in Slovenia and Osijek in Croatia. The Mura River is the chief tributary of the Drava.

The Drava River Basin is over 400,000 ha and is comparable with tropical rainforests in terms of its biodiversity and productivity. The confluence of the Danube and the Drava Rivers is especially valuable. Three countries meet here - Hungary, Croatia and Serbia – and their various protected territories, including Kopacki Rit in Croatia, Gornje Podunavlje in Serbia, and Gemenc-Beda-Karapancse in Hungary, represent just fragments of a single ecological unit of some 60,000 ha that is divided by national and other administrative borders. Rare black storks and white-tailed eagles are known to range between the protected areas of this whole region, and the fish travel between national territories without a passport.

In March 2011, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia signed a historic declaration to establish a trans-boundary UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to protect their shared nature and wildlife along the Mura, Drava and Danube rivers, “Europe’s Amazon”. The declaration paves the way for creating the world’s first five-country protected area and, with an overall size of about 800,000 ha, Europe’s largest riverine protected area.


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The Drava River | UNESCO World Heritage | Slovenia | Croatia | Italy | Austria