The Drava or Drave[2] (German: Drau, pronounced [ˈdʁaʊ] (listen); Slovene: Drava [ˈdɾàːʋa]; Croatian: Drava [drǎːʋa]; Hungarian: Dráva [ˈdraːvɒ]; Italian: Drava [ˈdraːva]) is a river in southern Central Europe. With a length of 710 kilometres (440 mi),[1] 724 kilometres (450 mi) including the Sextner Bach source, it is the fifth or sixth longest tributary of the Danube, after the Tisza, Sava, Prut, Mureș and perhaps Siret. The Drava drains an area of about 40,154 km2 (15,504 sq mi).[1] Its mean annual discharge is seasonally 500 m3/s (18,000 cu ft/s) to 670 m3/s (24,000 cu ft/s). Its source is near the market town of Innichen/San Candido, in the Puster Valley of South Tyrol/Alto Adige, Italy. The river flows eastwards through East Tirol and Carinthia in Austria into the Styria region of Slovenia. It then turns southeast, passing through Croatia and, after merging with its main tributary Mur, forms most of the border between Croatia and Hungary, before it joins the Danube near Osijek.

Drava or Drave
Drau, Dráva
Osijek jutro promenada Srpanj-2010.tif
The Drava in Osijek, Croatia
Map of Drava River [1]
Physical characteristics
SourceNorth of the Neunerkofel/Cima Nove over the Toblacher Feld/Sella di Dobbiaco
 • locationToblach/Dobbiaco, South Tyrol/Alto Adige, Italy
 • coordinates46°43′9″N 12°15′16″E / 46.71917°N 12.25444°E / 46.71917; 12.25444
 • elevation1,450 m (4,760 ft)
MouthDanube near Osijek
 • location
 • coordinates
45°32′38″N 18°55′31″E / 45.54389°N 18.92528°E / 45.54389; 18.92528
Length709.8 km (441.0 mi)[1]
Basin size40,154 km2 (15,504 sq mi)[1]
 • locationOsijek, Croatia (19.8 km upstream of mouth)
 • average552 m3/s (19,500 cu ft/s)
 • minimum125 m3/s (4,400 cu ft/s)
 • maximum3,000 m3/s (110,000 cu ft/s)
 • locationBelišće, Croatia (53.8 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 38,500 km2 (14,900 sq mi)[1]
 • average544 m3/s (19,200 cu ft/s)[1]
 • minimum160 m3/s (5,700 cu ft/s)[1]
 • maximum2,232 m3/s (78,800 cu ft/s)[1]
 • locationBarcs, Hungary (154.1 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 33,977 km2 (13,119 sq mi)[1]
 • average486 m3/s (17,200 cu ft/s)[1] (Period of data: 1896-2014)595 m3/s (21,000 cu ft/s)
 • minimum114 m3/s (4,000 cu ft/s)[1] (Period of data: 1896-2014)170 m3/s (6,000 cu ft/s)
 • maximum3,040 m3/s (107,000 cu ft/s)[1] (Period of data: 1896-2014)3,070 m3/s (108,000 cu ft/s)
 • locationOrmož, Slovenia (312.8 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 15,379 km2 (5,938 sq mi)[1]
 • average292 m3/s (10,300 cu ft/s)[1]
 • minimum28 m3/s (990 cu ft/s)[1]
 • maximum1,994 m3/s (70,400 cu ft/s)[1]
 • locationLavamünd, Austria (413.3 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 11,052 km2 (4,267 sq mi)[1]
 • average280 m3/s (9,900 cu ft/s)[1]
 • minimum95 m3/s (3,400 cu ft/s)[1]
 • maximum2,400 m3/s (85,000 cu ft/s)[1]
Basin features
ProgressionDanubeBlack Sea


In ancient times the river was known as Dravus or Draus in Latin, and in Greek as Δράος[3][4] and Δράβος. Medieval attestations of the name include Dravis (c. AD 670), Drauva (in 799), Drauus (in 811), Trauum (in 1091), and Trah (in 1136). The name is pre-Roman and pre-Celtic, but probably of Indo-European origin, from the root *dreu̯- 'flow'.[5] The river gives its name to the dravite species of tourmaline.[6]


The Drava (along with one of its tributaries, the Slizza) and the Spöl are the only two rivers originating in Italy that belong to the Danube drainage basin. Its main left tributaries (from the north) are the Isel (contributes 39 m³/s), the Möll (25 m³/s), the Lieser [de] (22 m³/s), the Gurk (30 m³/s) and the Lavant (12 m³/s) in Austria, and the Mur (166 m³/s) near Legrad at the Croatian–Hungarian border. Its main right tributaries (from the south) are the Gail (45 m³/s) in Austria, the Meža (12 m³/s) and Dravinja (11 m³/s) in Slovenia, and the Bednja (? m³/s) in Croatia.

Country Length (km) Catchment area (km2) Mean flow (m³/s)
Italy 10.6 354 (0.9%) 4
Austria 254.7 22,162 (55.2%) 280
Austria–Slovenia 4.2 border
Slovenia 117.7 4,662 (11.6%) 292
Slovenia–Croatia 23.3 border
Croatia 166.4 6,822 (17.0%) 544
Croatia–Hungary 133.0 border
Hungary 0 6,154 (15.3%) 544
Total 709.8 40,154 (100%) 544

Mean discharge is for the last station in the country mentioned in the source.[1]


Drava sources, Innichen

The Drava sources are located at the drainage divide between the market town of Innichen/San Candido and neighbouring Toblach/Dobbiaco in the west, where the Rienz River rises, a tributary of the Adige/Etsch. At Innichen itself the 16+ km Sextner Bach [de],[7] originating near the Sextener Rotwand, joins the ~2 km long source creek. The river than flows eastwards and after 8 kilometres crosses into East Tyrol in Austria. At Lienz it flows into the Isel, sourced from the glaciers of the Venediger and Glockner Groups. The Isel (average discharge 39 m³/s) is almost three times larger than the Drava (14 m³/s) where they meet and, starting from the source of its tributary Schwarzach [de] under the Rötspitze, the Isel (ca. 64 km) is also longer than the combined Drava and Sextner Bach (ca. 60 km) to that point.[8][1]

The river then flows east into Carinthia at Oberdrauburg. The river separates the Kreuzeck range of the High Tauern in the north and the Gailtal Alps in the south, passes the Sachsenburg narrows and the site of the ancient city of Teurnia, before it reaches the town of Spittal an der Drau. Downstream of Villach, it runs along the northern slopes of the Karawanks to Ferlach and Lavamünd.

The Drava passes into Slovenia at Gorče near Dravograd, from where it runs for 142 kilometres (88 mi)[9] via Vuzenica, Muta, Ruše, and Maribor to Ptuj and the border with Croatia at Ormož. The river then passes Varaždin, Belišće and Osijek in Croatia, and Barcs in Hungary. It is navigable for about 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Čađavica in Croatia to its mouth.

The hydrological parameters of Drava are regularly monitored in Croatia at Botovo, Terezino Polje, Donji Miholjac and Osijek.[10]

Hydroelectric power plantsEdit

Currently, there are 22 hydroelectric power plants on the Drava. The power plants are listed beginning at the headwaters:

Dam Nameplate capacity (MW) Annual generation (Mio. kwh)
Amlach power station[11] 60 219
Paternion[12] 24 95
Kellerberg[12] 25 96
Villach[12] 25 100
Rosegg-St. Jakob[12] 80 338
Feistritz-Ludmannsdorf[12] 88 354
Ferlach-Maria Rain[12] 75 318
Annabrücke[12] 90 390
Edling[12] 87 407
Schwabeck[12] 79 378
Lavamünd[12] 28 156
Dravograd[13] 26.2 142
Vuzenica[13] 55.6 247
Vuhred[13] 72.3 297
Ožbalt[13] 73.2 305
Fala[13] 58 260
Mariborski Otok[13] 60 270
Zlatoličje[13] 126 577
Formin[13] 116 548
Varaždin 86 476
Čakovec 75.9 400
Dubrava 84

The Drava River is one of the most exploited rivers in the world in terms of hydropower, with almost 100% of its water potential energy being exploited.[14][15] As the region of the river is a place of exceptional biodiversity, this raises several ecological concerns, together with other forms of exploitation such as use of river deposits.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Joint Drava River Corridor Analysis Report, 27 November 2014
  2. ^ Utrata Fachwörterbuch: Geographie - Englisch-Deutsch/Deutsch-Englisch by Jürgen Utrata (2014). Retrieved 10 Apr 2014.
  3. ^ Roesler, R. (1873). "Einiges über das Thrakische". Zeitschrift für die österreichischen Gymnasien. Vienna: Carl Gerold's Sohn. 24: 111.
  4. ^ Melich, J. (1932). "Über slavische Flußnamen fremden Ursprungs. Milan von Rešetar zum 70. Geburtstag gewidmet". Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie. 9 (1/2): 97. JSTOR 24000481. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Snoj, Marko (2009). Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan. p. 124.
  6. ^ Deer, William Alexander; Howie, Robert Andrew; Zussman, Jack (1997). Rock-Forming Minerals: Volume 1B, Disilicates and Ring Silicates. London: The Geological Society. p. 559.
  7. ^ Sextner Bach at the South Tyrol/Alto Adige agency for the environment website
  8. ^ Hydrographisches Jahrbuch Österreichs 2008, S. OG322
  9. ^ Rivers, longer than 25 km, and their catchment areas, Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
  10. ^ "Daily hydrological report". State Hydrometeorological Bureau of the Republic of Croatia. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  11. ^ "Kraftwerk Amlach" (in German). Tiroler Wasserkraft. Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Die Drau" (in German). Verbund. Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "Power plants". Dravske elektrarne Maribor. Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  14. ^ "HSE - Did you know?". HSE. Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  15. ^ "International Symposium "Drava River Vision"". LIFE Projekt Lebensader Obere Drau. 2 September 2007. Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  16. ^ "The Drava River – a flowing controversy". International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  17. ^ "Is the Drava River Basin management sustainable and well on the way?" (PDF). International Symposium "Drava River Vision". Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management; Government of Carinthia, Department of Water Management. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.


External linksEdit