Home Beaches

Rivers in Croatia

Croatia’s rivers belong to the Adriatic and the Black Sea basin. Croatia’s rivers are amongst the cleanest in the world and as a consequence are well stocked with fish and other organisms.

Rivers are also very beautiful, so you can have a very pleasant day out walking or cycling along banks of any Croatian River.The rivers in the interior of Croatia are larger and calmer, while coastal rivers are shorter and have a higher gradient.

Lenght of rivers in Croatia: Sava – 562 km, Drava 305 km, Dunav 188 km. The longest coastal rivers are: Mirna and Raša in Istria and Zrmanja, Krka and Cetina in Dalmatia.

Croatian Rivers include:

River Sava


The river Sava also known in German as Save or in Hungarian as Száva, is a river that has its source in Slovenia. It flows through Croatia along the Bosnia and Herzegovina borders and on to Serbia where it joints, as side tributary river Danube at Serbian capital Belgrade.

Sava is about 940 km long and covers area of about 95 thousands km2. Sava is often considered a northern edge of Balkan Peninsula.

The River Sava has two sources, both in the Alps of Slovenia. The spring of Sava Dolinka sources near Kranjska Gora while other spring Savica, which flows into Lake Bohinj and emerges on the other end as new river – Sava Bohinjka.

At town of Radovljica, in Slovenia, both of these springs/rivers merge into the one – the Sava River.

Following is a list of Sava’s tributaries, starting from the source: Ljubljanica River, that flows through Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, Savinja River, Mirna, Krka, Sotla/Sutla, Kupa/Kolpa, Lonja, Orljava, Bosut, Una, Vrbas, Ukrina, Bosna, Tinja, Lukovac, Drina and Kolubara rivers.

Following is a list of towns that are located on Sava’s embankements: Kranj, Ljubljana, Zagorje ob Savi, Trbovlje, Hrastnik, Rade?e, Sevnica, Krško and Brežice are towns in Slovenia. In Croatia, Sava flows through Zagreb, Sisak, Slavonski Brod and Županja. In Bosnia , it flows through Bosanski Šamac, while in Serbia through Sremska Mitrovica, Šabac and Belgrade, where it reaches Dunav ( Danube).

The Sava is navigable for almost 600 kilometers, from its confluence with the Danube until the mouth of the Kupa at Sisak. Smaller crafts can navigate further upstream all the way until Zagreb, depending of the meteorological circumstances.

Sava Valley is area where Sava river is flowing. It is also a natural way for land traffic, which includes railway and highway that connects Belgrade and Zagreb. As a result of traffic and densely populated and industrialized areas it flows through, Sava river is very polluted.

River Drava


The Drava River, also know in German as Drau or in Hungarian as Dráva, is a river that flows through the southern parts of Central Europe. The Drava River links five countries on its 725 km course from the Italian Alps to its confluence with the Danube. The first short stretch lies in Italy, then the Drava flows across Austria and Slovenia into Croatia .

Further downstream it forms the basis of the border between Croatia and Hungary before meeting the Danube near Osijek. Sections of the Drava in Hungary and Croatia are some of the most natural and unspoiled waters in Europe , hosting many rare species. The Drava flows through Austrian towns of Lienz, Spittal an der Drau, Villach, and Ferlach.

In Slovenia, it flows through towns of Dravograd, Vuzenica, Muta, Ruše, Maribor, Ptuj, and Ormož. In Croatia Varaždin and Osijek. Barcs is the town that lies on Drava in Hungary. The Drava is navigable for about 100 kilometres from ?a?avica in Croatia to Osijek, where is joins Dunav.. Drava’s tributaries are: River Gail in Austria, River Mislinja and River Dravinja in Slovenia. In Croatia River Bednja and River Mur are it’s tributaries too.

Valley of Drava River

The 720-kilometres-long River Drava connects the countries and cultures from the Italian Alps in South Tyrol, Austrian Pustertal valley and the Slovenian Alps all the way to the middle European Pannonian valley. After it passes through Croatia and the southern Hungarian border, and is strengthened by the waters of River Mura, it joins the great Danube near the town of Osijek. Along this route, the River Drava also passes through the area from Donji Miholjac to Belišce, which has encouraged the Donji Miholjac Tourist Board to put together a project called “Drava Valley Pearls”.

The project’s aim is to learn about the cultural and tourist heritage of the Drava valley, the protection of the coastline, the improvement of the conditions regarding the quality of tourist accommodation and the social community, the presentation of eno-gastronomy to tourists, as well as the promotion and presentation of local, indigenous products that can be found along the Drava valley. It is foreseen that the entire project will be carried out on the right bank of the River Drava, along the border with Hungary, Donji Miholjac and the towns of Sveti Ðurad, Podgajci Podravski, Rakitovica and Miholjacki Porec.

An adventurous trip for visitors along the River Drava is planned in the program, as well as scout excursions and camping. Local family households will offer the possibility to taste blackberry wine, to go on a tour of the hazelnut plantation, to taste goat cheese etc. In terms of cultural, sacral and natural heritage, the castles Prandau-Mailath will be made available to tourists, as well as the monument of Franz Joseph I, six churches, and a sheltered park etc. (Donji Miholjac Tourist Board www.tz-donjimiholjac.hr )

River Neretva


The Neretva river flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. It is about 220 kilometres long. Most of it’s length is in Herzegovina ( about 200 kilometres) , only the final 20 odd kilometres are in Croatia. Neretva has its source in the Dinara mountains, beneath Zelengora Mountain in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In the beginning, Neretva is narrow and fast, with a lot of canyons, cliffs and hollows, which eventually becomes slower as relief lowers, so it expands into a wide and vast wetland valley, rich in fertile land, called Lower Neretva. (see photo)

Rivers Rakitnica, Rama and Trebižat flow into Neretva at its right bank. Rivers Buna and Bregava flow into it at it’s left bank. The last bit of Neretva, a stretch of about 30 kilometres forms large and beautiful delta that flows into the Adriatic Sea near towns Metkovic and Opuzen.

The largest places located on the Neretva banks is Mostar. Neretva also flows through Konjic, Metkovic, Jablanica, Capljina as well as the Pocitelj, the famous medieval place in Bosnia.

Neretva is this largest river of the eastern part of the Adriatic Basin. It has been harnessed and controlled to a large extent by several hydroelectric power-plants and their storage lakes, but it still remains unique in its beauty and the diversity of its landscape.


River Cetina


Cetina is a river that is located in Croatian region of Dalmatia. The length of Cetina is about 100 kilometers. It descends from an altitude of 385 meters at its source in the slopes of Dinara Mountain to the sea level when it flows into the Adriatic Sea, near town of Omis. Waters of Cetina creates the Peru?a lake, a large artificial lake near town of Vrlika. Water is flowing towards Sinj town and around Mosor mountain where it reaches Omis where river’s mouth is. This area is surrounded by the mountains Svilaja, Kamesnica and Dinara. In Cetina’s Valley there are numerous small towns and villages for which it supplys drinking water as well as for most of Dalmatia region. If you happened to be in the area, the river Cetina is nice enviroment to try whitewater rafting.

River Gacka


Gacka is one among the three best known trout sites in the world. The beauty of this surrounding nature, the ambiance, and the fishing opportunities are able to capture the hearts of all those lucky enough to ever come and visit the worldwide known beauty.

Gacka has a powerful source – the Tonkovic vrilo. Knjapovac, Begovac and Malinisce constitute the tributaries upstream. Downstream is the “strongest” brooks: Sinacka pucina and Kostelka. It springs surprisingly quietly below the canyons of the hills spreading behind Mount Velebit.

Its soft current meanders through the Gacka Valley, from its spring in the southeast, to its gulf in the northwest. Only some eleven kilometers from Sinac to Vivoz have remained out of its original 32-km long flow. Further down, it has been tamed by canals and directed by a tunnel to the Gospic polje artifical lake. Through yet another tunnel, Gacka reaches the turbines at St. George’s and finally meets with its sea. Until recently, Gacka was flowing freely by its south arm towards Svica, first to the Upper Svica Lake, and then, passing through the mill-wheels, cascaded down to the Lower Svica Lake.

There was one of the three pondering spots. The other two was in Gusic polje. It used its final strenght to flow down Kompolje and leave the above-ground world in Hrvatsko polje. Gacka is extremely rich in both flora and fauna. The vegetation is abundant owing to the favorable water temperature, conveniant chemical structure, silty bed, and moderate flow. Submarine vegetation grows throughout the year, but is growth is nevertheless more pronounced in the warm seasons. As many as 25 plant species have been identified: Algae, Bryophytes and woody plants.

As regards the fish species, Gacka is famous worldwide for its brown trout. Apart from Salmonidae (brown and Californian trout), the following other species can also be found there: Thymallidae (grayling), Cyprinidae (roach and tench), Esocidae (pike), and Cobitidae (weather-fish). The following species have also been spotted in Gacka: carp, European eel, chub. Brown trout in Gacka grows five times faster then in other carstic rivers, owing particulary to the optimal water temperature with only minor ascilations, plenty of oxygen and the water’s mildly alkaline chemical structure. Gacka’s “secret” lies in the rest of the fauna is abounds in. There are 17 water animal communities i.e. organisms spread throughout the river’s entire course, constituting the basic nourishment for the brown trout to which it owes its unusually rapid growth.

Sports fishing in the River Gacka has some limitations conditioned by the river’s capacities. Before the Patriotic war, about 4000 permits were issued anually to foreigners and another about 6000 to local fisherman, depending on the management of the various river parts. The fishing season lasts from the beginning of April until the end of September. Total annual sports catch amounts 1000 – 1200 kg from the spring to Oriskovic most in Prozor i.e. 450 kg from Oriskovi most to Vivoz. Throughout its entire course, Gacka constitutes a natural nurcery ground. In addition to that, the river is being stocked with trout fry every year.

The beauty of Gacka is eternal, and that is why it is well loved even by those who only saw it once. The “European beauty’s” pristine nature offers particular pleasure, along with the possibilities of active, quiet and healthy rest in nature and the fresm mountain air, walks, hunting, and fishing of the autochthonous brown trout. ( source Licko-Senjska Tourist Board :http://www.lickosenjska.com/ )

Excellent photos of Gacka River and surroundings : http://tz-otocac.hr/foto/index.php

Gacka – the official site – http://www.gacka.hr/

River Zrmanja