The Little Danube

The Little Danube is a lowland river or rather a branch of the Danube with length of 128 km. Its current is mild and constant. The river separates itself from the Danube past the water gates near Slovnaft in Bratislava (126 m). It meanders through a lowland country, flows into the Váh near Kolárovo and then along with the Váh to the Danube near Komárno (106,5 m).

There are no more towns situated on the river except for Vrakuňa (borough of Bratislava), Most pri Bratislave, Malinovo, Zálesie, Tomášov, Jelka, Jahodná and Trstice. The Little Danube creates the largest river island in Europe – Rye Island (Žitný ostrov), which is one of the biggest reservoirs of drinking water. The riverside comprises mostly meadows and fields which are separated from the river by a few tens of metres wide zone of flooded forest. Bigger tributaries of the Little Danube are Blatina, Čierna voda and Klátovské rameno (a branch of the Klátov). The basin area of the Little Danube is 3173 km².

The Little Danube is navigable from its beginning but up to the Blatina mouth (Most pri Bratislave) it is the navigation through an urban sprawl and it resembles a tour across a dump. The situation miraculously changes at the Blatina mouth (also known as Šúrsky channel). Further on it meanders across beautiful flooded forest with its typical fauna and flora.

The Little Danube is suitable for novices and families with children. The river is navigable all year long across its whole current. There are two dams on the river. Their backwater is about 3 km long. The first one is near Nová Dedinka and portage is possible on the right side. The second one is near Tomášikovo and portage is available on the left. The islands and dead branches are created along the river but its headstream is clearly visible so have no fear about getting lost.

Watermills at the Little Danube
There are four historic watermills preserved at the Little Danube. Watermills on stilts are in Jelka, Tomášikovo and Jahodná and ship mill is in Kolárovo. There is also one mill at the Klátov branch near Danubian Klátov (Dunajský Klátov). Nowadays mills are turned into open-air museums.

Camping, accommodation, boarding
There is a lot of places suitable for wild camping.

Camping and accommodations

  • Pension Zlatá Rybka
  • Camp in Eliášovce
  • Area by water mill in Jelka
  • Ranch u Paľa
  • Cottage complex in Madarász
  • Camp at Potônské Lúky
  • Jahodná – cottage complex Alba Régia
  • ATC Topoľníky

All mentioned have eating facilities. I add also restaurant Ister in Jelka and refreshment stations in Potônské Lúky.

Common starts/ends of rafting

  • Vrakuňa
  • Most pri Bratislave
  • Malinovo
  • Tomášov
  • Jelka
  • Orechová Potôň – Lúky
  • Jahodná
  • ATC Topoľníky
  • Kolárovo

Recommended maps

VKÚ Harmanec Detailed maps for bikers – 1:100000

  • # 7 – Bratislava, Podunajsko (Danube valley)

Boat4u team