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The 12 longest rivers in Europe

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Europe is the second smallest continent in the world. However, there are more developed countries here than on any other continent. There are 51 different countries in Europe. Europe has a variety of landscapes such as high mountains and deep valleys, long coastlines and vast rivers. Because many of these rivers are so large, they often cross national borders and flow into and out of many different countries.

What are these rivers like? How do people here use them? What types of wildlife live in and around these rivers? Let's take a look at the 12 largest rivers in Europe. As we explore these rivers, we measure their size by length rather than depth or flow.

12. Rhine – 1,230 kilometers (765 miles)

The 12 longest rivers in Europe 1
The Rhine flows through six different countries


The Rhine is 765 miles long and flows through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Since the days of the Roman Empire, the Rhine has been used as an important transport route in Europe, bringing trade and goods inland. The Rhine is also a cultural icon for many Europeans. It is the backdrop of the Rhine, the first opera of Richard Wagner's infamous Ring of the Nibelung (you may be familiar with a song from this epic opera "Ride of the Valkyries") . In Wagner's opera, the Rhine is where the Rhine maidens guard their coffers.

11. Vyatka River – 816 miles (1,314 kilometers)

The Vyatka River is the right tributary of the Kama River

© iStock.com/Alx_Yago

The Vyatka is the eleventh longest river in Europe. It is 815 miles long and flows through Russia's Kirov Oblast and the Republic of Tatarstan. Vyatka River has many species of fish such as tench, zander, European perch, sea bream, pike and roach.

10. Belaya River – 889 miles (1,430 kilometers)

Belaya River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Russia

© iStock.com/Alexander Novikov

The Belaya is the 10th largest river in Europe. It is 889 miles long and flows through the Republic of Bashkortostan in western and central Russia. Belaya River is one of the most important and beautiful rivers in Bashkortostan. Belaya is a well known fishing destination for catfish, zander, pike, skitter, asp, taimen and brown trout.

9. Transnistria – 840 miles (1,352 kilometers)

Transnistria is the main water artery of Moldova

©iStock.com/Sergii Zysk®

Transnistria is the second longest river in Ukraine and the tenth longest in Europe. Originating on the northern side of the Carpathian Mountains, the river travels 840 miles to reach the Black Sea near Odessa. Transnistria's name comes from an old Iranian phrase dānu nazdya, meaning "near river". Transnistria regularly floods, often causing damage to nearby areas.

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8. Oka River – 932 miles (1,500 kilometers)

european bison
The Oka River flows through the Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve, home to the European bison breeding grounds

©Szczepan Klejbuk/Shutterstock.com

The Oka is the eighth longest river in Europe. It is also the most navigable river in Europe. The Oka River is 932 miles long and originates in the Central Highlands of Russia. It winds its way through the valley to Kaluga, then flows east through the lowlands to Nizhny Novgorod, where it joins the Volga.

The Oka River passes Kasimov's mosque, Murom's medieval monastery, Kolomna and Serpukhov's Kremlins, the former residence of Russian painter Vasily Polenov and Russian poet Sergey Yesenin , Old Ryazan ruins and many other cultural and historical relics.

The Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve is located on the left bank of the Oka River, opposite the town of Pushino. This Russian nature reserve is home to 900 species of plants, 130 species of birds and 54 species of mammals. Prioksko-Terrasny is famous for its wise or bison breeding nursery. It is also home to a small herd of American bison.

7. Kama River – 1,122 miles (1,805 kilometers)

The Kama River is one of the most important rivers in Russia

© iStock.com/AlexandrDv

In terms of flow, the Kama is the third largest river in Europe. It is 1,122 miles long and runs through western and central Russia. It rises in the highlands of Udmutia and flows into the Volga reservoir below Kazan. The Kama River is one of the most important rivers in Russia. Historically, it was the route to the Urals and Siberia. It is also an important part of the waterway of the Volga system.

6. Pechora River – 1,124 miles (1,809 kilometers)

The Pechora River flows through the mountains through fir and spruce forests

©iStock.com/Andrey Brattsev

The Pechora River (or Pechora) flows through northwestern Russia and empties into the Arctic Ocean. It begins in the northern Ural Mountains near Mount Kuip. The upper Pechora is surrounded by fir and spruce forests. Here the water flows through narrow valleys, interspersed with rifts and rapids. The middle section of the Pechora is much smoother. The vast floodplains contain forests and grasslands. The lower reaches of the Pechora divide into many separate channels, forming many islands. There are also swampy grasslands on the vast floodplain. In some places there are sand dunes with pine forests.

5. Don River – 1,162 miles (1,870 km)

The Don River has always been of great value to traders, especially during the Byzantine Empire

© iStock.com/sabyna75

The Don is the fifth longest river in Europe with a length of 1,162 miles. It flows from central Russia to the Sea of Azov in the Caucasus. The Don River is one of Russia's main commercial rivers. Peter I the Great, a prominent Russian ruler in the late 17th and early 18th centuries , commissioned hydrographic surveys of the Don River to better understand its course. The Don River provided the backdrop for Mikhail Sholokov's colorful 20th- century novels.

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Fun fact: The Greek philosopher Plutarch said that the legendary Amazon tribe in Greek mythology lived along the banks of the Don River (Wonder Woman in DC Comics is an Amazonian warrior).

4. Dnieper River – 1,367 miles (2,200 kilometers)

Dnieper river flowing through forest landscape, marshland and forest steppe area


The Dnieper is 1,367 miles long. It begins on the southern slopes of Mount Valdai in Russia. It then flows through western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, and empties into the Black Sea. The Dnieper is the longest river in Ukraine and Belarus. The Dnieper River is also one of the national symbols of Ukraine and is mentioned in the Ukrainian national anthem. There are six sets of dams and hydropower plants on the Dnieper River, which provides 10% of Ukraine's electricity.

The Dnieper takes its name from Danu apara, an old Iranian phrase meaning "river far away" or "river far away".

It is also close to the radioactive waste dump of the Prydniprovsky chemical plant and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and exclusion zone. Because of this, the Dnieper River is polluted and anthropogenic.

3. Ural River – 1,509 miles (2,428 kilometers)


The Ural River is 1,509 miles long and flows through Russia and Kazakhstan. It begins in the southern Ural Mountains of Russia and empties into the Caspian Sea. The Ural River is often considered the dividing line between Eurasia and Eurasia.

The Ural River and its surrounding areas are an important habitat for countless wildlife. There are 47 species of fish in the Ural River, some of which are very rare, such as kutum, shrimp, Caspian salmon and whitefish. It is also home to many reptiles such as sand lizards, rat snakes, common water snakes and marsh turtles.

The Ural River is home to about 48 species of mammals, such as raccoon dogs, domestic horses, European hares, wild boars, gerbils, dwarf rats, northern mole rats, foxes, elk, muskrats, wolves, brown rats, and sage rats. Antelope. The Ural River also provides habitat for two endemic animals that live only in this region: Bobulinskii Roche (a dusk bat) and the marbled polecat.

The Ural delta provides extremely important wetlands for migratory birds. Many endangered birds often stop here on the way of migration, such as ibis, pygmy cormorants, iron ducks, bald ducks, bustards, spotted pelicans, great white pelicans, little egrets, cattle egrets, spotted herons, greater flamingos, black storks and ospreys,

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2. Danube – 1,777 miles (2,850 kilometers)

The Danube is the longest river in Central and Western Europe

© iStock.com/Sergey_Fedoskin

At 1,777 miles long, the Danube is the longest river in Central and Western Europe. It is the longest river flowing through Germany and the second longest in all of Europe (after Russia's Volga). The Volga River originates in the German town of Donaueschingen and flows along or along the borders of 10 different countries!

This figure is higher than any other river in the world, including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine.

Fish found in the Danube include tench, European bass, burbot, pike perch, pike, catfish, carp, carp, sturgeon, salmon, trout, mullet and eels. The Danube is crucial to the development of Central and Southeastern Europe. It was an important commercial highway and remains a popular river cruise destination to this day.

1. Volga River – 2,194 miles (3,531 kilometers)

The Volga is a cherished symbol of Russia


The Volga is the longest river in Europe. The Volga is also the largest river in Europe. It originates in Russia and is 2,194 miles long, passing through Russia into the Caspian Sea. The Volga is important to Russia both in terms of water supply and transportation.

While parts of the Volga have become industrialized, much of the river is still surrounded by natural and wild beauty. The Volga's swampy climate provides refuge for birds such as herons and eagles, as well as mammals such as beavers and otters.

The Volga is an important part of Russia's cultural heritage. In Russian folklore, the Volga is considered the lifeblood of the country and is known as the "Mother of the Volga". Throughout the ages, artists have praised the Volga in poetry, music and paintings.


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about the author

For 10 years I have been a professional writer with a special focus on nature, wildlife, ethnozoology and the human-animal relationship. My areas of interest include human-animal studies, ecocriticism, wildlife conservation, pets, and animal behavior. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a master's degree in comparative studies, focusing on the relationship between humans and the natural world. In my spare time, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, watching movies, reading, creating art, and taking care of my pets. Nothing makes me happier than spending a day in the company of animals.

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