“What are the cheapest places to fly to in Europe?” This is a question I get a lot, and one that I’ve done a fair amount of research on over the years. I’ve visited 25 countries in Europe, always striving to find the best flight deals on sites like Skyscanner, Hopper, and Google Flights. It all comes down to the airport, the airline, and the time of year. Let me explain:
The price of roundtrip flights to Europe will vary depending on when you’d like to visit (high vs. low season), the airline you take, and where you fly (to/from). For this article, I’ve analyzed the mean price of roundtrip tickets throughout the year for destinations with regular flight routes to and from the US. By taking an average throughout the year, I’ve filtered out the variability in seasonal flight prices.
Other considerations when finding cheap places to fly into Europe
To find the cheapest places to fly to in Europe, I also limited my search to major airports in the US. Sure, small airports may have cheap fares to Europe from time to time, but more likely than not, you’ll be connecting at a larger US airport (i.e., Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, LA, NYC, or Philadelphia) before making your way across the pond.
As such, it’s more practical to use data from larger US airports, which handle the vast majority of European flights. Smaller airports have fewer daily flights, a higher variability in prices, and less complete data. So, it doesn’t make sense to include them when analyzing the cheapest places to fly into Europe from the US.
Note that prices can vary immensely between different U.S. cities. For example, a flight to Iceland will cost more if you’re traveling from the west coast vs. east coast. If you’re looking to visit Europe from a secondary airport like in Louisville, KY, you may have to connect somewhere and pay a little more. The price of a roundtrip fare may be different, but generally, the cheapest destinations to fly to in Europe should remain the same, regardless of where you’re flying from.
From the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea, here are the 14 cheapest places to fly to in Europe in 2021!
Cheapest Places to Fly to in Europe in 2021: European Cities with Cheap Flight Deals
For most people in the US, this is the cheapest European city to fly to. Depending on the time of year and where you’re flying from, you can expect to pay anywhere between $330-$650 roundtrip on Icelandair. The deals I’m seeing to Reykjavik are generally the same as in prior years. However, due to lower demand stemming from COVID-19, I expect that prices will drop in the coming months.
Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, is the gateway to all the epic outdoor adventures that Iceland is known for. Relax at the Blue Lagoon, chase waterfalls and geysers on the Golden Circle, and take a road trip around the island to see nature at its finest. From seeing the northern lights in the winter to backpacking in the summer, you won’t run out of fun things to do in Iceland anytime of year.
Even if you don’t plan to stay in Iceland, it’s still a cheap airport to fly into. From there, you’re guaranteed to find cheap airfare to mainland Europe.
Read next: Most Beautiful Sights across Iceland
In 2021, you can expect to pay $380-$730 for a roundtrip fare to London from many US cities. The cheaper flights are connections through airports like Reykjavik (Icelandair) and Lisbon (TAP Air Portugal). From a select number of major US airports, you can pay a little more for a direct flight to London Heathrow Airport with British Airways or Norwegian Air.
As the capital of the UK, London is one of the most popular European destinations. Explore iconic sights like Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and eat your way through London’s international food scene. It certainly isn’t a cheap city once you’re there, but it won’t cost a lot to get to.
Read next: Most Beautiful Places to Visit in the UK
For further reading: Things to Do in Windsor, England
You may also like: Brighton, UK Travel Guide
Dublin is a cheap place to fly to from several states across the US. Most of the cheapest fares are between $400-$750, depending on the airline and number of layovers. Expect to pay a little more for a direct flight with Aer Lingus or Delta.
With great beer, medieval castles, and abounding scenery, there’s so much to see in and around Dublin. In addition to being the capital of Ireland, it’s also the cultural hub of the country with a charm that’s unlike other European capitals.
Over the past couple of years, many budget airlines have been sprouting up between the US and Europe. One of the best is LEVEL, which offers super cheap fares to Barcelona from NYC, Boston, and San Francisco. You can also bank on Iberia and Vueling — two international airlines based in Spain — to get you to Madrid and Barcelona. In 2021, the cheapest roundtrip fares to Barcelona from many US airports are between $260-$700.
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful European cities for art and architecture lovers. Marvel at Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and Park Güell, which are among the most unique sights in all of Spain. Or, hit the beach, eat tapas and paella, and watch a soccer game at Barcelona’s famous stadium, Camp Nou. There’s so much to see and do in Barcelona, and the cheap flight prices certainly make it enticing.
Read next: Barcelona Travel Guide
For further reading: Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Spain
Is Lisbon one of the cheapest places to fly to in Europe? Absolutely!
Lisbon is cheap and accessible to get to from the US, thanks to airlines like TAP Air Portugal and Azores Airlines (formerly SATA). Roundtrip fares range from $350-$600 from much of the US, including both east coast and west coast cities.
Once you get to Lisbon, the colorful capital city of Portugal, you’ll quickly see what makes it so special. Lisbon boasts 7 imposing hills, each overlooking the vibrant cityscape and coastline below. It’s a grittier version of San Francisco, and even has a Golden Gate Bridge doppelgänger to prove it. As the second oldest European capital (after Athens), Lisbon is home to countless historic and cultural treasures, including Belém Tower and São Jorge Castle.
During a trip to Lisbon, don’t forget to try the Pastéis de nata, a delicious custard tart that the city is known for!
Read next: Most Budget-Friendly Cities in Europe
Madrid, Spain is one of the cheapest places to fly to in Europe from several US cities
Madrid’s international airport is the second largest in Europe by size and the fifth largest in terms of passenger traffic. It’s no wonder, then, that Madrid is among the cheapest places to fly into Europe in 2021.
During the off season, you can find cheap fares ranging from $400 to $745 roundtrip from most US cities. Expect to pay less on connecting flights through Lisbon (TAP Air), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), or Paris (Air France). Air Europa, Spain’s third largest airline after Iberia and Vueling, is currently offering some amazing nonstop fares from Miami and NYC. Direct flights operated by Iberia will cost a little more.
Once you arrive in Madrid, you’ll have a lot to take in. The Spanish capital is home to world-class attractions, including the Prado Museum, Royal Palace of Madrid, and Plaza Mayor. Madrid is also famous for its food and football (soccer) clubs. You won’t run out of things to do, and fortunately for budget travelers like ourselves, the prices in Madrid are very reasonable! Next to Lisbon, it’s one of the cheapest major cities to visit in Western Europe.
Read next: Top Places to Visit in Spain
For further reading: Coolest Squares (Plazas) in Europe
This European city flies under the radar but is nevertheless one of the cheapest places to get to in Europe from the USA.
Take a direct flight to Oslo with Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), the main airline carrier in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Or pay a little less for a connecting flight through a major European airport. The cheapest flights to Oslo in 2021 tend to hover between $350-$800 from cities like Boston, Chicago, LA, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
Oslo is best known for its maritime heritage, most notably its Viking past and delicious seafood. It’s definitely worth visiting, but be warned: it’s going to cost you a pretty penny once you get there!
Read next: Best European Hidden Gems
Helsinki, Finland is among the cheapest European cities to fly to in 2021
Helsinki is one of the cheapest places to fly to in Europe from NYC, Boston, and LAX (among other major cities). Expect to pay between $450 and $820 roundtrip, with the upper part of that range accounting for Finnair, which offers non-stop services from several U.S. cities.
Helsinki is best known for its seaside charm, sustainability, and contemporary architecture. It’s easy to fall in love with a city so beautiful, and the locals agree, who consistently rank it among the happiest cities in the world.
Zurich is a European city that’s cheap to get to, but expensive once you get there. Its international airport is regularly listed among the top ten airports in the world according to Skytrax World Airport Awards (2016-2019). Many travelers from the US fly to Zurich before continuing by train or car to the Swiss Alps.
Swiss Air Lines is the flag carrier of Switzerland, servicing many routes between Europe and the US. You’re looking to pay between $420 and $715 roundtrip on the cheapest dates throughout the year.
If you’d like to visit the most beautiful part of the Alps, flying into Zurich is your best bet. As the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich is seamlessly connected to the rest of the country via public transportation. There are lots of awesome day trips nearby, too!
For further reading: Unique Places to Stay in Switzerland
Some of the cheapest flights to Europe from the US go through Frankfurt. Expect to pay between $480 and $690 for a roundtrip fare from large US airports; the cheaper flights tend to have layovers while the pricier ones are direct flights with Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
Having traveled extensively throughout Germany, I can’t say that Frankfurt is one of my favorite places to visit. However, it will get you close to popular destinations like Heidelberg, Würzburg, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The northernmost point of the Romantic Road, a top tourist route in Germany, isn’t far away. And you’ll also be within reach of Rhine River sightseeing cruises, which depart from the Rhine Gorge and Mannheim.
Read next: Hamburg, Germany Travel Guide
For further reading: Cool Things to Do in Heidelberg
Paris is among the cheapest European cities to fly to from the US, including Chicago, Philadelphia, LAX, Seattle, Dallas, NYC, and more. France’s capital is home to three airports, with most non-stop flights going to Charles de Gaulle Airport. Some reasonably priced airlines include United, American Airlines, and Air France, each offering direct flights to Paris from major US cities. Expect to pay as low as $300-$500 on connecting flights with other major airlines.
Paris is a top bucket list-worthy destination in Europe, home to iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Louvre Museum. You can spend a week here and barely scratch the surface, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore one of Europe’s prettiest cities!
Read next: Coolest Bucket List Ideas for Travelers
Milan, Italy is among the cheapest places to fly to in all of Europe
From time to time, American travelers can find amazing flight deals to Milan. Big cities like NYC have daily non-stop flights to Milan via American Airlines, Delta, and Alitalia. Even in smaller cities, like Burlington VT and Louisville KY, it’s not uncommon to find cheap flights throughout the year. The best deals that are currently available in 2021 range from $400-$800 roundtrip. As is the case with most European destinations, the cheapest time to fly to Milan is in the winter (January and February).
Milan is considered the fashion capital of the world, as it’s home to countless high-end designer and luxury stores. But a trip to Milan isn’t complete without a visit to its grandiose gothic cathedral, the Duomo di Milano, and its sprawling restaurant scene. The surrounding Lombardy region also merits a visit.
While many destinations in Italy are filled with historic charm, Milan offers a more contemporary, cosmopolitan vibe. This definitely makes it among the most unique places to visit in Europe!
Read next: Top Bologna Day Trips in Emilia-Romagna
You may also like: Dozza, Italy Travel Guide
Wedged between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is one of the cheapest European cities to fly to any time of year. This is made possible by Turkish Airlines, the largest airline carrier in the world, which services 315+ destinations.
Expect to pay somewhere between $470 and $840 on roundtrip fares from the US. Sometimes, you can get an even better deal by doing a layover in Istanbul en route to another destination. Turkish Airlines offers a stopover program where you can receive free hotels and a city tour during a long layover.
Istanbul is one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever visited, and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves history, shopping, and food. Explore the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar, and you’ll see why it’s one of the most unique destinations to visit in Europe!
Read next: Why You Should Visit Istanbul on a Layover
This is a funny one. Cork isn’t your typical world-class city, but surprisingly, you’ll find some amazing flight deals here from select US destinations. Every once in a while, as I’m perusing cheap flights to Europe, I’m inclined to take one…though I haven’t been yet!
Fun fact: Cork is the second largest city in Ireland and is considered the foodie capital of the country!
Discovering the cheapest places to fly to in Europe
Though the cities above are almost always the cheapest destinations to get to in Europe, you will discover other great deals from time to time. I’ve found incredibly cheap fares to secondary and tertiary destinations in Europe, and I attribute this to the following tips:
Tips for finding the cheapest place to fly into Europe
– Book your flights at least 3 months in advance. The best flight deals are posted way ahead of time. Sure, you can occasionally find last-minute deals, but I wouldn’t bank on that. As the date of the flight draws near and seats fill up, airlines tend to hike up the prices. Be sure to browse 3+ months in advance, and you’re all but guaranteed the lowest rate on airfare.
– Compare multiple search engines. I always start my flight search with Skyscanner, but then check a couple of other sites including Hopper and Google Flights before pulling the trigger. Most of the time, Skyscanner comes in at the cheapest, but sometimes one of the latter options offers a flight deal to Europe that I can’t refuse.
– Sign up for airline newsletters. There are lots of sites out there that show discounted flight fares, including Scott’s Cheap Flights. Sign up for this newsletter, and others, which you can find in my other article: top travel hacks for flying.
– Be flexible with your dates. Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room on the dates, and you’ll be able to unlock the cheapest fares. Try to avoid major holidays like Christmas, and choose midweek over weekends. I’ve found that the spring and fall are amazing for flying to Europe, where you can luck out on the weather and save a bundle in the process.
– Fly during off times. Late-night and early-morning flights are king if you want to cheap it out when you’re flying to Europe. I prefer taking late flights, anyway, because it gets me into Europe by mid-to late-morning. That way, I can hit the ground running and not lose a travel day.