The Adriatic Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, bordered in the southwest by the Apennine or Italian Peninsula, in the northwest by the Italian regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and in the northeast by Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania—the Balkan peninsula. In the southeast, the Adriatic Sea connects to the Ionian Sea at the 72-kilometre (45 mi) wide Strait of Otranto. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) defines the boundary between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas as a line running from the Butrinto River's mouth (latitude 39°44'N) in Albania to the Karagol Cape in Corfu, through this island to the Kephali Cape (these two capes are in latitude 39°45'N), and on to the Santa Maria di Leuca Cape (latitude 39°48'N).
 It extends 800 kilometres (500 mi) from the northwest to the southeast and is 200 kilometres (120 mi) wide. It covers 138,600 square kilometres (53,500 sq mi) and has a volume of 35,000 cubic kilometres (8,400 cu mi). The Adriatic extends northwest from 40° to 45°47' north, representing the Mediterranean's northernmost portion. The sea is geographically divided into the Northern Adriatic, Central (or Middle) Adriatic, and Southern Adriatic. The Adriatic Sea drainage basin encompasses 235,000 square kilometres (91,000 sq mi), yielding a land–sea ratio of 1.8. The drainage basin's mean elevation is 782 metres (2,566 ft) above sea level, with a mean slope of 12.1°. Major rivers discharging into the Adriatic include the Po, Soča, Krka, Neretva, Drin, Bojana, and Vjosë. In the late 19th century, Austria-Hungary established a geodetic network with an elevation benchmark using the average Adriatic Sea level at the Sartorio pier in Trieste, Italy. The benchmark was subsequently retained by Austria, adopted by Yugoslavia, and retained by the states that emerged after its dissolution. In 2016, Slovenia adopted a new elevation benchmark referring to the upgraded tide gauge station in the coastal town of Koper.