Rhine River, Europe's Second-Largest River (with Map & Photos)

The Rhine River is one of the largest in Europe, and on the map it flows through the territory of 6 countries. The source is located on the mountain range of the Alps, at an altitude of 2.5 thousand km.

The Rhine River
The Rhine River

General Information

The reservoir has several variants of the name, depending on the state through which the channel passes. In Switzerland, France and Germany, it is called the same, and in the Netherlands the river is called Waal. Variants from other countries are similar, but differ in vowels and pronunciation.

The total length of the reservoir is over 1230 km, which makes it one of the longest European rivers. Basin with a volume of 185 thousand km². The valley on the map captures the territory of the following states:

  • Switzerland.
  • France.
  • The Netherlands.
  • Germany.
  • Austria.
  • Liechtenstein.

The Rhine River
The Rhine River


The Rhine has several sleeves. Also, small reservoirs flow into it, which determine the hydrological characteristics of the delta. It is connected by canals to major rivers in Germany and other countries. The length of the waterways of the basin is 3 thousand km.

In the upper reaches of the Rhine, the flow is strong and abundant only during the flood period. And in the middle and lower sections it is always powerful.

Dams have been built on most of the channels, and they themselves serve as drainage channels. Many parts of the delta today look different than a few decades ago, when the river began to be built up with hydrotechnical facilities. It is subject to high and low tides, which is why there is a high probability of flooding.

The Rhine River
The Rhine River

Food comes from snowmelt and precipitation. In the winter months, the reservoir freezes, but not always. If this happens, the ice cover does not last longer than a couple of months. And there is no classic flood here.

The nature of the river flow depends on the area. In Germany and Switzerland it will be different. The upper reaches are characterized by a turbulent flow of an alpine reservoir. In the middle reaches, it slows down, although the Rhine still remains full-flowing.

This is one of the main waterways of Europe on the map, including Germany. Since it practically does not freeze, ships can sail all year round.


On the map, the river is marked on the territory of 6 countries. The stream rushes from the Alps, passes Lake Constance, capturing the lands of Germany, Switzerland, Austria. In this place, the reservoir rises 400 m above the sea, the depth in the lake in some places reaches 250 m, and the depth of the river is up to 16 meters.

In the area of ​​Swiss Schaffhausen, the Rhine Falls, the largest in European countries, are swollen on the map. The height is 23 m.

The Rhine River
The Rhine River

The river also flows through the Upper Rhine lowland, where the valley spills over 10 km. The direct channel protects the area from floods.

Further, the Rhine crosses the Slate Mountains in Germany, and its valley narrows, in places becoming like a gorge. In the lower reaches, the average width of the channel is 500 m.

The river is conditionally divided into several sections. The first is the Front Rhine, which, when connected to the Back Rhine, is often considered the true source of the reservoir. The stream is formed from springs. Tributaries flow into it, most of which are involved in hydropower.

The Posterior Rhine on the map begins in the Rheinwald valley, and the springs that feed it start in the mountain range in the Alps. It also has its own tributaries.

Then these two sections of the Rhine on the map merge into one, turning into the Alpine Rhine. Over 85 km, the height decreases by 200 m above sea level. Glacial deposits are preserved in this part, and steepness is characteristic of the valley.

The waters of the alpine section of the river are of a light shade, since they have a high content of suspended matter. At the beginning of the 20th century began to build canals, which were supposed to partially straighten the channel to prevent flooding in the Lake Constance area.

The Rhine River
The Rhine River

The suspended matter content reaches 3 million m 3 annually. They all end up in the lake. In the past, it was because of this that small islands arose on the site where the river once divided into 2 branches.

The next is the Lake Rhine, which is 4 km long. It combines the upper and lower sections into a single whole - Lake Constance. Their water is different. From above it is warmer, milky in color. Several states adjoin the Upper part, including Germany.

On the map, this zone of the river was formed in recent centuries due to erosion caused by a decrease in the water level. He fell 10 m. Before that, both sections of the lake were one.

In the lower section, the course of the river is traced, since it almost does not mix with lake waters. A river border is formed here, separating Germany and Switzerland.

The High Rhine, also denoting the zone at the junction of Germany, starts from Stein am Rhein on the map. The channel drops to 252 meters above sea level.

On the border of Germany and Switzerland, there is also the famous Rhine Falls - the second in Europe in terms of the energy of falling water.

On the map, the High Rhine ends at Basel, where the Upper Rhine begins. The height is already reduced to 76 m above sea level. There are several large tributaries in this part of the river.

In Germany, above Mainz, the width of the valley is about 1 km. This area is called the Island Rhine due to the many islands formed here.

The Middle Rhine on the map begins in Germany, in the region of Bingen. The valley here is narrow, which is due to deep erosion that has occurred over many centuries. Wine production and tourism are developed in this part of the river.

The Middle Rhine flows into the Lower Rhine at Bonn in Germany. During the flood period, it spills wider than the Upper one, since the dams are wider.

Rhine River Map