Europe is one of the most popular destinations for US travelers, and the team of Flight Experts at Scott’s Cheap Flights spends hundreds of hours every week searching for flight deals to the continent (along with other destinations all around the world). While much of Europe was off limits for most of 2020, things are beginning to open back up and we continue to send our members fantastic fares for trips in summer 2021 through spring 2022.
Those deals come with high standards. We don’t send deals on certain budget airlines and we don’t send our members deals for ultra-last-minute dates or for flights with terrible routing. In short, we only send truly great deals to our members—with a savings of $550 per ticket, on average—and we know that when it comes to scoring cheap international flights, the city you fly into matters as much as where you're departing from.
Deals to some cities in Europe are simply more prevalent than deals to others, and there are a number of factors that impact fares and frequency of deals—including the amount of airports in the city, the number of airlines serving those airports, and the amount of competition on various routes to and from that city.
To determine which cities in Europe are among the cheapest for Americans to reach right now, we looked at metro areas with a population of at least one million people, and collected data on how many deals to those cities we sent to Scott’s Cheap Flights Premium members so far in 2021.
We chose to rank based on volume of deals and average price because—while the price of the single best deal we found to one city might be lower than the price of the single best deal we found to another—volume is the better indicator of a traveler’s likelihood of snagging a great price.
Here are the results. Note that the average and lowest Scott's Cheap Flights prices refer to economy class prices found in 2021.
If you're itching to visit one of the cities on our "best" list, the great news is that deals to these cities pop up very frequently. But, if you want to visit one of the cities on our "worst" list, it doesn’t mean you need to give up your dreams of getting to that city without overpaying. Beneath each of the “worst” cities, we detail some of the deals we've sent our members for travel to that city—and we give you tips on how you can still get there cheaply through some creative routing.
10 Cheapest European Cities to Fly Into
The best cities to fly into cheaply from the US are cities you might expect; they’re among the busiest airports in big cities in some of Europe's most popular countries.
The even better news is that these airports are often very well connected to smaller destinations across the continent, so even if one of the top ten cities isn't your final destination, you could still fly into that city and then take a short, inexpensive regional flight to the place you really want to go.
Here are the top ten cheapest cities in Europe to fly into from the US, based on the volume of deals we found departing US airports and flying to each city.
Zürich hosts the largest international airport in Switzerland and serves as the principal hub of Swiss International Air Lines. In 2019, the airport was named "Europe's leading airport" by World Travel Awards for the 17th year in a row. There are direct flights from 13 US cities including and the airport is a major Star Alliance hub served by United and Swiss.
Zürich is the best entry point for most domestic destinations in Switzerland as well as neighboring countries—particularly southern France and Germany, Liechtenstein, and even Austria—which are well-served by train.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 21
Direct flights from: Boston, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles (starts in July), Miami, Newark, New York, Philadelphia (starts in October), San Francisco, Tampa (starts in July) and seasonal flights from Denver, Las Vegas, and Orlando
Airlines: American, Delta, Edelweiss, United and Swiss
Opening status: Switzerland is US citizens with a negative test or proof of vaccination.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Zürich:
Milan is the center of Italy’s business and fashion worlds and a jumping-off point for trips to the Alps; the city is also one of the most popular destinations in the world, ranking #16 for number of annual international visitors in 2019. So it may not come as a surprise that Milan’s Malpensa airport is Italy’s second-busiest airport (and the 20th-busiest in Europe). There are direct flights from New York on six airlines and that healthy competition helps keep prices low.
For trips beyond Milan, there are easy connections throughout Italy and Europe. Many of these budget flights depart from Bergamo Airport, so be sure to schedule enough time (or even a short stopover) in between connections. Additionally, destinations such as Switzerland and southern Italy are well-served by high-speed rail and, increasingly, sleeper trains to Paris or Naples.
Number of deals in 2021 so far: 23
Direct flights from: Newark, New York
Airlines: Alitalia, American, Delta, Emirates, Neos, United
Opening status: Italy is open to US citizens with proof of vaccination or negative test.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Milan:
- NYC nonstop to Milan for $450 roundtrip
- Dallas to Milan for $524 roundtrip
- Boston to Milan for $986 roundtrip in business class
Athens was nowhere near the top of this list back in 2019, but deals to the Greek capital have been coming up with a lot more frequency this year—and that’s been great news for travelers eager to get back out there, since Greece was among the first European countries to reopen to vaccinated travelers. That early opening prompted airlines like United to add more service to the country, opening up availability and more deals.
There are now direct flights from six US airports, plus frequent connections from all over Europe.
Number of deals in 2021 so far: 25
Direct flights from: Newark and New York plus seasonally from Atlanta, Chicago, DC, and Philadelphia
Airlines: American, Delta, Emirates, United
Opening status: Greece is open to US citizens with proof of vaccination or negative Covid test.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Athens:
Lisbon is another city that would not have made our top ten in 2019, but thanks to great fares from TAP Portugal, we’re now seeing lots of amazing fares to Lisbon. In fact, many of the lowest prices we’ve seen to Europe so far have been on TAP. This is helping put pressure on other airlines—and when airlines compete, travelers win.
There are direct flights to Lisbon from seven US cities on three airlines and connections through Europe on another dozen airlines, and we occasionally see 2-in-1 deals that allow you to add time in another Portuguese city or visit the stunning Azores islands.
Number of deals in 2021 so far: 26
Direct flights from: Boston, Chicago, DC, Miami, Newark, New York (starts in August), and San Francisco.
Airlines: Delta, TAP Portugal, United
Opening status: Portugal is open to US citizens with a negative Covid test.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Lisbon:
- Miami or Fort Lauderdale to Lisbon for $247 roundtrip
- San Francisco to Lisbon nonstop for $411 roundtrip
Rome’s Fiumicino Airport is one of the main gateways in and out of Italy. A hub for Alitalia, Italy’s largest airline, and Spanish-based budget airline Vueling, it’s the 11th-busiest airport in Europe by passenger numbers. It’s served by direct flights from 14 US cities on five airlines.
Budget airlines such as Ryanair and Wizz also operate major services to Eastern Europe out of Rome Ciampino Airport. In addition to serving as a major gateway to all domestic destinations in Italy (including Sicily and Sardinia), expect cheap flights to Ibiza, Mallorca, and Malta along with Croatia, Israel, and the Greek islands on Ryanair and Vueling.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 27
Direct flights from: Atlanta, Boston (starts in August), Dallas, DC (starts in August), Los Angeles (starts in August), Miami (starts in August), Newark, New York, Philadelphia (starts in August) and seasonally from Chicago
Airlines: American, Alitalia, Delta, United
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Rome:
The 12th-busiest airport in Europe, Dublin airport is the hub and headquarters of Aer Lingus national airline as well as a hub for Ryanair, the largest low-cost carrier in Ireland, which makes it easy and affordable to fly to destinations across the European continent. There are direct flights from 16 US cities both large and small, on four airlines.
As one of Ryanair’s largest focus cities, expect cheap connections throughout Western Europe and some Mediterannean favorites—particularly Cyprus, Croatia, and Montenegro—none of which have year-round service from the United States. Likewise, Dublin is a great access point for Wales and northern England, with flights to Manchester, Cardiff, or the Isle of Man frequently pricing under $40 roundtrip.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 28
Direct flights from: Atlanta (starts in August), Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DC, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and seasonally from Charlotte
Airlines: Aer Lingus, American, Delta, United
Opening status: Ireland is open to vaccinated US citizens without quarantine.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Dublin:
- Chicago to Dublin for $301 roundtrip
- Minneapolis or Denver to Dublin for $483 roundtrip
- San Francisco or Seattle to Dublin for $1,211 roundtrip in business class
Charles de Gaulle is one of the biggest hub airports in Europe—literally. It’s the second-largest airport in Europe by acreage and the second-busiest in Europe (and tenth-busiest in the world) by passenger numbers. It’s a hub for France’s flagship carrier Air France, and a focus city for low-cost carriers including easyJet and Vueling.
In all, Paris is served by 18 routes from the United States including major cities as well as smaller ones like Raleigh and Cincinnati.
You can get to just about anywhere in Europe on budget flights from Paris, including farther flung spots like Belgrade, Ljubljana, Bucharest, and Zagreb. It’s also an excellent departure point for destinations in North Africa, such as Tunisia, and boasts nonstop service to far-flung French territories such as Réunion on Air Austral.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 29
Direct flights from: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati (starts in September), Dallas, DC, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Raleigh (starts in September), Salt Lake City (starts in October), San Francisco, Seattle (starts in September) and seasonally from Denver
Airlines: American, Air France, Air Tahiti Nui, Delta, United
Opening status: France is open to US citizens with proof of vaccination or negative Covid test.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Paris:
- DC to Paris for $452 roundtrip
- Newark to Paris nonstop for $258 roundtrip
- Newark to Paris nonstop for $1,640 roundtrip in business class
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas is Spain’s busiest airport—and the fifth-busiest in Europe, with direct connections to more than 220 destinations around the world. It’s a hub for Iberia and Air Europa and a major center for connections arriving and departing from the European continent. From the US, there are direct flights from 10 cities on five airlines.
Madrid is a paradise for budget aviation. Most major cities in Western or Central Europe can be reached for less than $80 roundtrip, and sometimes far less. Iberia also maintains an extensive network of regional flights within Spain, although for many domestic destinations you’ll find high-speed rail to be faster and better priced if you’re traveling with luggage. Madrid is particularly well-placed if you’re planning to visit Morocco or the Canary Islands, as well, with prices under $50 roundtrip on many dates.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 30
Direct flights from: Atlanta (starts in August), Boston (starts in July), Dallas, Los Angeles (starts in July), Miami, Newark (starts in July), New York, Philadelphia (starts in August) San Juan, and seasonally from Charlotte
Airlines: American, Air Europa, Delta, Iberia, United
Opening status: Spain is open to US citizens.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Madrid:
Amsterdam is Europe’s third-busiest airport by passenger numbers and the largest by aircraft movements. It’s the primary hub for KLM as well as their budget subsidiary Transavia. It’s served by direct flights from 20 US cities, with service on four airlines.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is particularly well-served by rail. There’s a station directly adjacent to the airport with strong connections throughout the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg as well as northern France and Germany.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 30
Direct flights from: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DC, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas (starts in July), Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland (starts in September), Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, and seasonally from Austin
Airlines: American, Delta, KLM, United
Opening status: The Netherlands are open to US citizens.
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Amsterdam:
- Seattle to Amsterdam for $329 roundtrip
- Orlando to Amsterdam for $457 roundtrip
- Los Angeles or San Francisco to Amsterdam for $449 roundtrip
The European airport we've found the most deals to so far in 2021, Barcelona is the second-busiest airport in Spain and the sixth-busiest in Europe—and its passenger volume has been increasing in recent years, not only as Barcelona becomes a more popular destination, but also thanks to the addition of services by a growing number of budget airlines due to low landing fees and taxes compared to other major European hubs.
It’s a hub for low-cost airlines LEVEL and Vueling, and a focus city for Air Europa, Iberia, easyJet, Norwegian, and Ryanair. Like Madrid, it’s possible to reach nearly all major European cities from Barcelona for less than $80 roundtrip. Beyond this, there are a significant number of flights to the UK, including smaller airports in Scotland and England for less than $50 roundtrip.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 31
Direct flights from: Atlanta (starts in August), Boston (starts in September), Newark (starts in July), New York, Miami, San Francisco (starts in July), and seasonally from Philadelphia
Airlines: American, Delta, Iberia, LEVEL, United
Examples of previous deals we’ve sent to Barcelona:
- Boise to Barcelona for $511 roundtrip
- NYC to Barcelona nonstop for $287 roundtrip
- Newark to Barcelona nonstop for $1,841 roundtrip in business class
10 Most Expensive European Cities to Fly Into
Of course, the smaller the city, and the fewer flights and airlines operating from its airports, the fewer chances for deals. We rarely see deals to cities like Dortmund (Germany), Kerry (Ireland), and Norwich (UK), but these are very small metro areas, so we didn’t include them on this list.
For this list, we only looked at cities with a population of more than 1 million people. Countries in Eastern and Southern Europe dominate the list, along with a few smaller cities in Western Europe. While passengers can travel internationally to each of these airports with a connection or two, not all of them can be reached on a direct flight from the US (and others might only have one or two options for direct flights). The lack of direct flights typically translates to a lack of competition, and thus a lack of deals.
Dreaming of traveling to one of the “worst” cities? There's hope! Most of these cities are located within an hour or two of a bigger airport that receives a lot more deals. One of the top flight searching tips we reiterate often at Scott’s Cheap Flights is that if the city you want to reach is expensive, look at simply getting across the ocean as cheaply as possible; once there, you can hop a cheap regional flight (or take a train, car, bus, or ferry) to your final destination. We call this two-step booking process the Greek Islands trick, and it can save you hundreds of dollars.
Here are the European cities we send the least amount of deals for—and how you can still get there without overpaying for flights.
With London as the UK hub of many airlines’ transatlantic networks, nearby cities like Birmingham, just over 100 miles from London, don’t get their share of the love. While it's the sixth-busiest airport in the UK, Birmingham has no direct flights from the US.
The airport is an operating base for easyJet, Jet2.com, Ryanair, and TUI Airways, though, which offer low cost flights from major cities around Europe. Another option to get there on the cheap: fly into London and take the train, a journey that costs about $30 each way on average and takes about two hours.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 3
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Birmingham
Belgrade’s airport may be the largest and busiest in Serbia, but its only direct link to the US is Air Serbia’s New York route, which is ending in March. That lack of competition for direct flights, plus limited connection options from the US on other carriers, keep fares to Belgrade high. Belgrade is, however, a focus city for low-cost carrier Wizz Air, which has regular routes to London. Warsaw, Vienna, Paris, and Zurich also have regular reasonably priced flights to the Serbian capital.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 2
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Belgrade:
Istanbul is well-linked to the rest of the world: In fact, Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines is the largest airline in the world by destinations served, with flights to 315 destinations. To accommodate a rise in passengers, Istanbul’s brand new Istanbul Airport opened in 2019 and is now the seventh-busiest airport in Europe. While this is good news for those who want to get to destinations served by Turkish Airlines outside of Turkey, it doesn’t really help US travelers coming to Istanbul.
While there are direct flights to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines from Chicago, Atlanta, LA, NYC, Houston, Newark, Miami, DC, San Francisco, and Boston, no other airline operates direct flights to Istanbul from the US, keeping prices high.
Thankfully, Istanbul is connected to more budget-friendly arrival cities throughout Europe, such as London and Athens, by low-cost carrier Pegasus Airways. Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, and Vienna all have direct flights to Istanbul as well.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 3
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Istanbul:
Stuttgart is the 6th largest city in Germany by population, and the capital of the Baden-Württemberg region. But with only one seasonal direct flight from the US (from Atlanta, which starts in September) to Stuttgart, and only two dozen airlines serving the airport, it just doesn’t see a lot of deals.
But, das sind gute nachrichten (that’s German for “there’s some good news”). Stuttgart is less than three hours from Frankfurt or Munich on Germany’s efficient and reliable train system. Or you can fly from one of those cities in less than an hour, and usually for around $100 if you book in advance.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 2
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Stuttgart:
Thessaloniki is Greece’s second-largest city and home to its third-busiest airport, after Athens International Airport and Heraklion International Airport on Crete. Although it’s served by 35 airlines offering more than 100 direct routes, these are all in Europe and the Middle East, which makes deals from farther flung locations, like the US, somewhat scarce.
The good side to this, however, is that there are plenty of flights from major European hub airports. Keep an eye out in particular for deals to Thessaloniki with Scandinavian Airlines. Flights from Athens (which is in our top ten for deals this year) are plentiful and generally under $100 roundtrip for the 55-minute flight. There are also direct flights to major airports such as Frankfurt, Paris, or London Gatwick. And for those who prefer to take the scenic route, the train from Athens to Thessaloniki starts at just 15 euros each way.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 2
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Thessaloniki:
With no direct flights to the US, St. Petersburg doesn’t see as many deals as some other cities in northern Europe. Thankfully, the city’s Pulkovo Airport, Russia’s fourth-busiest airport, is a hub for several Russian airlines including flag carrier Aeroflot, as well as a focus city for budget airline Smartavia, so there are lots of direct flights from the usual hub cities across Europe.
Flights from Moscow to St. Petersburg are as low as $36 roundtrip; there’s also a high-speed train linking the two cities, which costs around $55 each way. St. Petersburg can also easily be reached by way of Helsinki (where we found 38 deals last year), which has flights, trains, and ferry service connecting the two cities.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 2
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to St. Petersburg:
Though Minsk National Airport is the hub of the Belarusian flag carrier Belavia, it’s only served by 16 other airlines, with direct flights to just 61 destinations in Europe and the Middle East, and no direct flights from the US. That lack of options and competition can result in fewer deals.
Consider a quick connection through Warsaw (WAW), which is a 75-minute flight from Minsk. Starting in spring 2020, budget carrier Wizz Air will offer daily direct flights to Budapest from Minsk, which should open up additional lower-cost options. Otherwise look for options from Stockholm and Helsinki, which generally cost around $160 roundtrip to Minsk.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 1
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Minsk:
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city and home to its sixth-busiest airport. A substantial amount of this traffic is domestic, though. German flag carrier Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partners focus their operations on hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, meaning Cologne has no direct service to the US.
The good news is that Cologne is a hub for low-cost airline Eurowings and a focus city for Ryanair, meaning flights from cities such as Dublin and London can be just $45 roundtrip. Cologne is also easily accessible by train from nearby cities such as Brussels, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt (where we sent 59 deals in 2019), and can cost as little as $20 each way.
Deals sent in 2019 so far: 1
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Cologne:
A Coruña on northwest Spain’s Galician coast is one of Spain’s smaller airports with fewer connecting options than some of its bigger neighbors—and no direct flights from the US.
Nearby Santiago de Compostela Airport, about twice the size of A Coruña, is about an hour away by car and has better options from the US. Spain is also well-covered by domestic carriers Iberia, Air Europa, and Vueling: flights from Madrid are generally under $90 roundtrip while flights from Barcelona can be as low as $45 roundtrip.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 1
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to A Coruña:
The capital of Andalusia, Seville misses out on the rock-bottom fares that we’ve been finding to the bigger cities of Madrid and Barcelona—two cities where we see the most deals. It has no direct flights from the US, but it is well-connected within Spain by Iberia, Air Europa, Vueling, and Volotea, plus connections via Ryanair and easyJet to destinations across Europe.
Roundtrip flights from London, Barcelona, and Madrid can all be had for under $50. There’s also a high-speed train linking Madrid to Seville in just about three hours.
Deals sent in 2021 so far: 1
Example of a previous deal we’ve sent to Seville:
The Flight Experts at Scott’s Cheap Flights look at thousands of possible airfare deals every week. When a deal meets our standards we send it out to our 2+ million members, saving them an average of $550 on each international flight.
To reach our conclusions on the best and worst airports to fly into in Europe, we looked at airports in Europe serving metro areas of at least 1 million people. We then tallied up the total number of deal emails we sent to members arriving into those airports between January 1 and May 31, 2021.