Project - SEE River
Sustainable Integrated Management of
International River Corridors in SEE Countries
European Union SEE Programme
About the River

About the River

The Neretva River is the largest river of the eastern part of the Adriatic basin which stretches for 220 km in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the last 20 km in Croatia. Neretva River flows through valley, surrounded by mountains: to the north Bitovnja (1700 m above sea level) and Vranica (2112 m asl), south side of the limit of the mountain (2103 m asl) and Čvrsnica (2226 m asl), while in the west is Bjelasnica (2062 m asl).


It is extremely rich in water and in natural resources with many endemic and fragile life forms which are threatened and often exploited in an unsustainable manner, thus endangering landscapes, habitats and biodiversity. It is still recognized for its natural beauty and diversity of its landscapes and contains the significant portion of fresh drinking water. The main present and potential pressures are: existing and planned hydropower utilization, gravel and sand extraction, river regulation resulting from the use of floodplains for agriculture and settlements, navigation, water use for irrigation, inappropriate management of fisheries etc.

Geographically and hierologically the Neretva is divided into three sections. The first section of the Neretva courses from its source all the way to the town of Konjic; the Upper Neretva (Bosnian: Gornja Neretva), The second section begins from the confluence of the Neretva and the Rama River between Konjic and Jablanica where the Neretva suddenly takes a southern course. From Jablanica, the Neretva enters the largest canyons of its course, running through steep slopes of magnificent mountains of Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja reaching 800–1200 m in depth. When the Neretva expands for the second and final time, it reaches the third section of its course. Often called the Bosnian and Herzegovinian California, the valley of the downstream Neretva indeed is a true “Golden State” of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The last 30 km of the Neretva's stream form an alluvial delta, before the river empties into the Adriatic Sea.


Interesting facts:

  • There are two recognized Ramsar sites on Neretva river; one is Hutovo blato wetland in B&H, and the other is Neretva Delta in Croatia,
  • It is believed that the name Neretva has its origins in the Illyrian language and is a result of Illyrian NERA-ETWA meaning heavenly water (Heavenly river),
  • The Neretva River was a battlefield during the Battle of Neretva, one of the most famous battles during World War Two in the European southeast. The battle has also been known by its names the Fourth Enemy Offensive and the Battle for the Wounded. In order to save over 4,000 wounded, the partisans destroyed 4 bridges on the Neretva River. The destroyed bridge, as a symbol of the battle, still exists and there is also a museum located nearby,
  • In the Neretva River, one of the most endemic fish in the world was caught just by accident, northern lampreys (Petromyzontidae), which is on the red list of the most endemic world fish species.
  Neretva - Počitelj