Danube River Basin Overview Map

Maps & Data

With a total area of over 800,000 km², the Danube River Basin covers 10% of Continental Europe. While the main river flows through ten countries, the full basin including its tributaries covers nine more. It is a unique artery through the heart of Europe, connecting East to West, and Black Forest to Black Sea.

This overview map shows a basin that is home to over 80 million people.

  • Four capital cities are directly located on the Danube River (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade)
  • Five capitals are connected via tributaries (Ljubljana, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Sofia and Bucharest).  
  • The territories of Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Austria are entirely or almost entirely within the basin
  • Romania has the largest share of human population in the Basin (more than 26 %)

River basins – defined by their natural geographical and hydrological borders – are the logical units for water management. This innovative approach to water management is promoted by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Following the WFD, a border-crossing river basin such as that of the Danube, requires an international river basin district to be created for coordination. This is why we refer in general usage and on this map to the ‘Danube River Basin District’ (DRBD). The Danube and its tributaries, lakes, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater form the DRBD, as illustrated on the map.

For efficiency, proportionality and subsidiarity, the management of the DRBD is based on three levels of coordination: International (“basin-wide” or “roof level”), national/sub-basin, and sub-unit level (within a country). The DRBD’s interconnectedness shown on the map, makes it clear how achieving essential it is to foster and secure ongoing coordination and cooperation between all ICPDR member states.