Major Rivers of Europe

The Europe continent is watered by a number of rivers. Most of the major rivers originates from Eastern Europe and flows either to Caspian or Black sea in south or to North Sea before traversing out the central and eastern European region. Some of the major rivers of Europe are discussed as follows –

major rivers of Europe map

Map of Major Rivers of Europe

Major Rivers of Europe : Volga

  • Source – Valdai Hills, south of St Petersburg, Russia
  • Mouth – Caspian Sea
  • Length – 3692 Km

Volga river is the largest river of Europe in terms of not only the length but also the flow rate (discharge). The drainage basin of Volga is also largest as compared to other European rivers. Main tributaries of Volga include Kama, Oka, Vetluga and Sura rivers. Volga rises, falls and traverses throughout western Russia. Volga river greatly adds to the economy of Russia as it waters most of the lands of west Russia making it fertile. A number of irrigation and hydro-electric power projects are based on Volga river. Popular cities on banks of Volga river are Astrakhan, Volgograd, Saratov, Samara, Kazan etc.

Major Rivers of Europe : Danube

  • Source – confluence of Breg and Brigach rivers, Black Forest, Germany 
  • Mouth – Danube Delta, Black Sea
  • Length – 2860 Km

Danube is the second largest river of Europe. It originates from Germany which is the central part of Europe and traverses along eastern Europe before falling in Black sea. Danube river passes through 10 European countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine. The route of Danube also witnesses 4 capital cities of Europe including – Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Belgrade (Serbia) and Bratislava (Slovakia). The drainage basin is considerably much bigger than traversing path and consists of 9 more countries thus making total watershed area 817,000 Sq Km. There are toal 31 tributaries of Danube river few of which are – Iller, Lech, Naab, Isar, Inn, Morava, Timis, Osam,  Olt, Prut etc. Danube forms a number of river island before falling in Black Sea. Some of the important river islands are – Adakale, Balta, Great war island, Margaret island, Ostrovul, Kozloduy etc.

Major rivers of Europe : Ural River

  • Source – southern Ural Mountains, Russia
  • Mouth – Caspian sea
  • Length – 2428 Km

Ural river (along with Ural mountains) marks the boundary between Europe and Asia. Although this river originates in Russian part of Europe but it traverses to Asia along Kazakhstan before falling in Caspian sea. The drainage basin area of Ural river is 231,000 Sq Km. The source of Ural river is mostly mleting snow from Ural mountains. The main tributaries of this river includes – Ilek, Utva, Kindel, Sakmara, Or, Chagan etc.

Major Rivers of Europe : Dnieper 

  • Source – Valdai Hills, Russia
  • Mouth – Dnieper Delta, Black Sea
  • Length – 2145 Km

Dnieper river is the fourth longest river of Europe which also originates from Russia. This traverses along three countries Russia, Belarus and Ukrain before falling to Black sea. Dnieper adds greatly to the economy of Russia, Ukraine as the river consists of large number of irrigation and Hydroelectric power plants. A number of navigable waterways are also built on this river which provides connectivity to other European waterways. The main tributaries of Dnieper are Sozh, Sula, Psel, Vorskla, Samara, Drut, Prypiat, Irpin, Ros rivers.

Don River

  • Source – Novomoskovsk town, Russia
  • Mouth – Sea of Azov
  • Length – 1950 Km

Don is yet another important river of Russia. The main tributaries of Don are Khopyor, Seversky and Donet rivers. Main cities which lie on the bank of Don are Voronezh and Rostav-on-Don.

Pechora River

  • Source – Ural Mountains
  • Mouth – Barents Sea (part of Arctic Ocean)
  • Length – 1809 Km

This river also originates and traverses throughout the northern Russia before falling in Arctic ocean. The meaning of Pechora in Russian is Forest dweller. If annual flow is taken to account then this river becomes the third largest river of Europe just after Volga and Danube. The main tributaries of Pechora are Izhma, Neritsa, Pizhma, Tsilma, Sula, Ilych, Laya, Ersa, Kuya rivers. The basin area of Pechora is 322,000 Sq Km which also includes largest virgin forests of Europe.

Rhine River

  • Source – confluence of Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein rivers, near Reichenau, Switzerland 
  • Mouth – Hook of Holland, Rotterdam, North Sea
  • Length – 1230 Km

Rhine is an important river of Central Europe and one of the largest non-Russian origin river (just after Danube). Rhine flows through 9 central European countries including – Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland. From upstream to downstream Rhine is divided into three parts – High Rhine, Upper Rhine, Middle Rhine and Lower Rhine. Important cities on banks of Rhine are -Basel, Chur (Switzerland); Strasbourg (France); Bonn, Cologne, Konstanz, Neuss, Duisburg (Germany); Arnhem, Utrecht, Rotterdam (Netherlands).

Elbe

  • Source – Krkonose Mountains, Czech Republic
  • Mouth – North Sea
  • Length – 1091 Km

Some comparatively smaller but Important Rivers of Europe

Thames

  • Source – Thames Head, Gloucestershire
  • Mouth – Thames estuary, North Sea
  • Length – 346 Km
  • Country – England
  • Main Cities – Oxford, Wallingford, Marlow, Kingston upon Thames, London, Dartford, Gravesend, Southend

Seine

  • Source – Source Seine, Burgundy
  • Mouth – English Channel
  • Length – 776 Km
  • Country – France
  • Main Cities – Paris