Background The noble crayfish (Astacus astacus) is a native European species in decline, with a contracting range and diminishing populations and abundance. Previous studies revealed this species significant genetic diversity in the south-eastern Europe, with populations from the western and the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula being the most divergent. However, sampling of populations from the western part of the Balkans was limited and insufficient for investigating genetic diversity and population divergence for the purpose of conservation planning and management. Thus, the major aim of this study was to fill in this knowledge gap by studying mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA diversity, using 413 noble crayfish from 18 populations from waterbodies in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. Methods Phylogenetic analysis of studied populations and their mitochondrial diversity were studied using COI and 16S sequences and population genetic structure was described using 15 microsatellite loci. Results Phylogeographic analysis revealed new divergent mitochondrial haplotypes for the populations in the westernmost part of the Balkan Peninsula in the tributaries of the Sava and Drava rivers. Microsatellite data indicated that these populations harbour an important component of genetic diversity within A. astacus. The results suggest that the western part of the Balkans played an important role as microrefugia during the Pleistocene climate fluctuations, allowing the long term persistence of A. astacus populations in this region. These results will also be important to supporting conservation decision making and planning.