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The Best and Worst Airports in Europe for Cheap International Flights in 2019

Katie Stepek
By 
Katie Stepek
Flight Expert Manager, Europe
11 min read
Last updated 
August 6, 2019

Every week, Scott’s Cheap Flights’ team of Europe Flight Experts spends hundreds of hours searching for amazing flight deals from more than 100 departure airports all across Europe, sending only the best deals to our members.

In the last 12 months, we’ve found more than 2,300 deals for our members, each of which passed a strict set of quality criteria. First, it has to be a major drop off normal prices; the average savings on our deals is approximately €/£500 per ticket. Second, our long-haul flights are on full-service carriers rather than budget airlines. Third, we don’t send deals with tons of layovers, ridiculous routing, only last-minute availability, or other significant drawbacks. We call it the Mom Test; we only send a deal to our members if our Moms would like it, too. 

So which airports see the most cheap flights, and which see the fewest?  

Airports that serve larger metro populations have the advantage, of course. But population isn’t everything. Berlin, one of the largest population centers of Europe, is not in the top 10 for cheap flights, while Amsterdam and Frankfurt—both outside the top 20 for population—are cheap flight hubs.  Airline competition, tourism levels, and business travel are other factors that can affect the quantity of cheap flights.

To determine the cheapest airports in Europe, we looked at which major airports offer the most frequent deals on international flights, and which major airports offer the least. Our analysis only looked at commercial international airports in metro areas with a population of at least one million people, then we collected data on how many deals we sent to Scott’s Cheap Flights members for cheap flights departing from each of those airports in the past year (from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019).

Here are the results. 

If you live near one of the best airports, we’ve got good news. Your airport often has great deals on international flights—so many that we send more than 300 deals for your airport per year. 

But, if you live near an airport with fewer cheap flights, it doesn’t mean you need to give up your dreams of affordable international travel. For each of these airports, we’ll show you examples of the types of deals you’ll see from your airport, and we’ll share tips on how you can find more cheap international flights from your city.

The Best Airports in Europe for Cheap International Flights

Some of the cheapest airports in Europe are among the busiest in Europe and serve major metropolitan areas with thousands of flights departing every day. The best airports for deals are concentrated in Western Europe, with three in the UK, two in Italy, two in Spain, and one each in Germany, the Netherlands, and France.

If you live in one of the cities served by these airports, you’re in luck; you have easy access to hundreds of amazingly cheap flights each year. And if you don’t live in one of these cities, the frequency of flights to and from these cities means that it’s likely you can get to one of them relatively easy to snag a deal to a location outside of Europe. 

Just how frequent are the deals from these top airports? Our top airports saw more than a deal per day, on average, over the last few months. 

Here are the top ten cheapest airports to fly out of Europe. 

 #10: Birmingham Airport (BHX) in Birmingham, UK

Birmingham Airport is served by 28 airlines providing direct flights to more than 150 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean, as well as India and Mexico. It’s an operating base for low-cost regional airlines including Flybe, Jet2, and Ryanair, along with Thomas Cook Airlines, and TUI Airways. 

EasyJet and Wizz Air also offer a plethora of flights, which means lots of options for flyers, and healthy competition that helps keep prices low and deals frequent. On average we send around 26 deals per month for flights departing Birmingham. 

Examples of great deals from Birmingham: 

#9: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) in Amsterdam, Netherlands

With 92 airlines offering direct routes to nearly 200 destinations across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, Amsterdam is a major international hub—and a prime airport for scoring great deals on international flights. 

The third-busiest airport in Europe by passenger numbers, it’s a hub for KLM and its regional affiliate KLM Cityhopper, as well as for Corendon Dutch Airlines, Martinair, Transavia, and TUI fly Netherlands. The airport also serves as a base for easyJet, LEVEL, and Vueling, three low-cost carriers that offer cheap and easy connections between Amsterdam and cities throughout Europe.  

Examples of great deals from Amsterdam: 

#8: Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA) in Frankfurt, Germany

The fourth-busiest airport in Europe and fourteenth-busiest in the world, Frankfurt is a major transit center for the continent. It’s a hub for Germany’s flagship carrier Lufthansa and Lufthansa CityLine, and is served by more than 90 airlines. It offers direct routes to a whopping 300 destinations in every part of the world except Oceania, so you can get to just about every major city in the world from Frankfurt, often in a single flight. 

All those routes means lots of options for international travelers, and the abundance of airlines operating from the airport helps keep fares competitive. In the last year, we sent Frankfurt-based members of Scott’s Cheap Flights 28 deals per month, on average. 

Examples of great deals from Frankfurt: 

#7: Barcelona–El Prat Josep Tarradellas Airport (BCN) in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the second-busiest airport in Spain and the seventh-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. That’s good news for locals, who benefit from a plethora of deals departing Barcelona; we send nearly 30 deals per month on average. 

The airport offers direct flights to 222 destinations across Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia on more than 120 airlines. It’s a hub for low-cost airlines LEVEL and Vueling, and a focus city for Air Europa, Iberia, easyJet, Norwegian, and Ryanair.

Examples of great deals from Barcelona: 

#6: Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) in Madrid, Spain

Spain’s busiest airport—and the sixth-busiest in Europe—Madrid-Barajas provides direct connections to more than 220 destinations around the world, including many destinations in the Americas, Africa, and Asia, on more than 70 airlines. 

It’s a hub for Iberia and Air Europa and a major center for connections arriving and departing from the European continent; that abundance of options translates to an abundance of deals for members departing from Madrid. 

Examples of great deals from Madrid: 

#5: Rome–Fiumicino International Airport Leonardo da Vinci (FCO) in Rome, Italy

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. 

Rome sees so many amazing flight deals—we send more than one per day, or about 34 per month, on average—in part due to the large number of airlines and routes operated from the airport. More than 113 airlines offer direct flights to more than 200 destinations within Italy, across Europe, and around the world, including in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. 

Examples of great deals from Rome: 

#4: Manchester Airport (MAN) in Manchester, UK

The third-busiest airport in the UK (and twentieth-busiest in Europe), Manchester is the second UK airport to make our list based on the many deals we’ve found departing from the airport; in the last year we sent members more than 400 deals, about 36 per month on average. 

The airport is only served by 50 airlines (it’s a hub for Flybe), which is a smaller number compared to other airports on this list, but those 50 airlines serve more than 240 destinations with direct flights, which puts it in the top three airports on this list in terms of number of destinations served. The sheer volume of destinations served means a wide variety of amazing flight deals from the city. 

Examples of great deals from Manchester: 

#3: Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) in Milan, Italy

A hub for Air Italy and focus city for Alitalia, Milan’s Malpensa airport is Italy’s second-busiest airport (and the twenty-fifth-busiest in Europe). 

It’s served by more than 100 airlines offering direct flights to 180 destinations, and it’s not surprising that the city is so well connected internationally. 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 #15 for number of annual international visitors in 2018

Examples of great deals from Milan: 

#2: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris, France

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. 

CDG is a hub for France’s flagship carrier Air France, and a focus city for low-cost carriers easyJet, Vueling, and Norwegian Air. With nearly 150 airlines offering direct flights to a whopping 300+ destinations, the airport benefits from a bevy of flights and routes, which helps keep competition high and prices low. 

Examples of great deals from Paris:

#1: Heathrow Airport (LHR) in London, UK

The best airport in Europe for international deals is London’s Heathrow Airport, which is the hub for British Airways and the primary operating base for Virgin Atlantic. The airport is the busiest airport in Europe and the seventh-busiest airport in the world. 

More than 190 airlines offer direct flights to 180 destinations around the world; name the major international city and it’s likely there’s a direct flight to that city from Heathrow. Heathrow also offers the only direct flight from Europe to Australia, making it the only European airport connected to all inhabited continents. The volume of airlines serving the airport—including several low-cost carriers—helps keep prices competitive. Additionally, flights from Heathrow compete with London’s Gatwick airport, which also helps drive prices down. 

Examples of great deals from London: 


If your airport isn’t on the top ten list, don’t worry. There are a whole lot of airports—nearly 100—between the ten best and ten worst. Large airports like Brussels (BRU), Nice (NCE), Edinburgh (EDI), Munich (MUC), Venice (VCE), Zurich (ZRH), and Copenhagen (CPH) all received 250-300 deals in the last twelve months, or an average of 18-25 deals per month—and they’re all on track to receive even more in the coming 12 months. 

Even airports closer to the bottom of the list, like Florence (FLR), Belgrade (BEG), Zagreb (ZAG), and Kraków (KRK), received around 100 deals in the last year, about 8 deals per month on average.  

The Worst Airports in Europe for Cheap International Flights

As mentioned above, lots of factors—and the unique combination of those factors—help determine the frequency of deals found from a particular airport. 

While population size can often correlate to the number of deals, a higher population doesn’t guarantee more deals, and vice versa. Things like the number of flights per day, the number of airlines flying from that airport, which airlines fly from the airport, the number of destinations served, and the makeup of business vs. leisure travelers can all impact the cost of international fights. 

Live near one of these airports where deals aren’t as frequent? All is not lost. Even the worst airports on this list receive at least 1-2 deals per month, and some even receive 3-5 per month. But there’s even better news. 

Most of these airports are located within an hour or two (by plane, train, or short flight) of a bigger airport that receives a lot more deals. When you sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, we’ll tell you if you can expect a high volume of deals for your airport or not, and which nearby airports we recommend you follow for more frequent deals.

#10: Southampton Airport (SOU) in Southampton, UK

The 18th-busiest airport in the UK, Southampton lags behind other airports in the British Isles when it comes to cheap international flights. The airport only serves 33 destinations via direct flights, and they’re all in Europe, which means if you want to go farther afield you’ll have at least one connection. Additionally, fewer than a dozen airlines fly from Southampton, with British regional carrier Flybe dominating service, and that lack of competition translates to fewer deals. 

The good news: It’s only about an hour by car from Southampton to London’s Heathrow (LHR) airport, which gets about eight times more deals. Gatwick airport (LGW), which narrowly missed being in our top ten with 311 deals in the last year, is only about 90 minutes away.  Alternatively, you could look for a deal on a long-haul flight departing from Amsterdam (AMS) or Paris (CDG), and then buy a cheap one-hour flight to one of those cities from Southampton. 

Examples of deals from Southampton: 

#9: Hanover Airport (HAJ) in Hanover, Germany

The ninth-busiest airport in Germany, Hanover is a focus city for Condor, Eurowings, SunExpress Deutschland, and TUI fly Deutschland. However, flights from the airport primarily serve Europe and leisure destinations in North Africa. This means if you’re wanting to head further afield you invariably need to connect at another airport. 

It’s not all bad though. Hanover is well connected by rail to cities in Germany such as Berlin (just under two hours) and Hamburg (just over an hour). These two airports have received 248 and 199 deals, respectively, over the last year, so you’ll find lots of options for longer international journeys. It’s also possible to fly to other major European hubs such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris and snag a cheap international flight onward from there. 

Examples of deals from Hanover:  

#8: Wrocław Nicolaus Copernicus Airport (WRO) in Wrocław, Poland

Wrocław’s small size, along with a limited number of airlines and direct flights, impacts the number of deals from the airport. While the airport offers direct flights to more than 50 destinations within Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, traveling further afield will require one or more connections.

For more deals, look at options out of Warsaw (WAW) as flights from Wrocław to Warsaw are fairly inexpensive. Luckily, there are many options for well-priced flights on budget airlines (within Europe) from Wrocław. Consider flying with Ryanair to Manchester, which makes our list of best airports for cheap flights. Or, if budget airlines aren’t for you, look at flying Air France or KLM to either Paris or Amsterdam and then booking a separate cheap flight from there to your final destination. 

Examples of deals from Wrocław: 

#7: Minsk National Airport (MSQ) in Minsk, Belarus

Though Minsk National Airport is the hub of the Belarusian flag carrier Belavia, it’s only served by 16 other airlines and only connects to 61 other destinations in Europe and the Middle East on direct flights. That lack of options and competition can result in fewer deals. 

There are options, though. If you’re looking for cheap flights to Asia, consider searching from Moscow (DME), which gets about 125 deals per year—about four times as many deals as Minsk. A direct return flight typically costs between €70 and €90 on Belavia and takes less than 90 minutes. Plus, prices from Moscow to destinations in Asia are often a good bit cheaper than those from the rest of Europe. If you’re headed elsewhere, consider a quick connection through Warsaw (WAW), which gets more than five times as many deals as Minsk and can be reached via a 75-minute, €95 direct return flight. Starting in spring 2020, budget carrier Wizz Air will offer daily direct flights to Budapest from Minsk so that should also open up additional options. 

Examples of deals from Minsk: 

#6: Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia (SKG) in Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki is Greece’s third-busiest airport after Athens International Airport and Heraklion International Airport. 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 to farther flung locations somewhat scarce. 

The good side to this, however, is that there are plenty of flights to major European hub airports, from which you can find lots of cheap flights. Athens (ATH) and Istanbul (IST) are a short flight away, and receive around four times the number of deals as Thessaloniki. Alternatively, if you’re willing to travel farther, direct flights can be found to major airports such as Frankfurt, Paris, or London Gatwick—which see more than 1,000 deals per year combined. 

Examples of deals from Thessaloniki: 

#5: Bremen Airport (BRE) in Bremen, Germany

Bremen’s airport only serves 30 direct destinations, almost all of which are in Europe (there are a few seasonal routes to North Africa). As a result, Bremen is our worst ranked airport for deals in Germany. 

Fortunately, if you’re based in Bremen you have options. Hamburg (HAM) is just over an hour away by train, and only slightly more by car, giving a nearby alternative which has received 199 deals over the past year. Plus, major hubs such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris can all be reached in under 90 minutes by plane, meaning that there are plenty of cheap deals to take advantage of if you’re willing to travel a bit to catch your long-haul flight.   

Examples of deals from Bremen: 

#4: Katowice (KTW) in Katowice, Poland

Katowice is the fourth-busiest airport in Poland, and offers 60+ direct routes to destinations in Europe and the Middle East on 28 airlines.  

To travel farther, head to Kraków (KRK), which is just over 80 kilometers (or one hour by bus or car) away, and gets five times as many deals as Katowice. Alternatively, a direct flight on Poland’s national airline, LOT, to Warsaw (which also gets more than five times the number of deals), is consistently priced at around €50 return, including over peak seasons and holidays. If you’re looking for even more deals, consider booking from the #8 best airport for deals on our list, Frankfurt. A direct flight typically costs about €100 return and from Frankfurt you can snag a deal to most corners of the globe.

Examples of deals from Katowice: 

#3: Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL) in Liverpool, UK

Liverpool is the UK’s 12th-busiest airport, but is mainly served by budget carriers. This means it can be a good option for cheap flights to Europe and North Africa, where it serves over 70 destinations, but less so if you’re looking to head further afield. 

Fortunately, Manchester Airport is just an hour away and happens to be in our top ten, with 438 deals over the last year. In addition, budget carriers connect Liverpool to major European hubs such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Paris, and return flights can be found fairly easily for less than £100. This means if you are looking to travel long-haul, there should still be plenty of opportunities to benefit from cheap flights from one of these hubs. 

Examples of deals from Liverpool: 

#2: Palermo Airport (PMO) in Palermo, Italy

Palermo Airport is served by 20 airlines, and though it offers direct flights to 50 destinations in Europe and North Africa, more than a third of those destinations are in Italy and the majority of the rest are in Western Europe. If you want to venture any farther, you may struggle to find a cheap flight. 

Though it’s not ideal for finding international flights, as Italy’s fifth-most-populous city, Palermo is very well connected to the rest of the country via low-cost carriers Ryanair, Vueling, Volotea, and easyJet, as well as Italy’s national airline, Alitalia. From Palermo, look for flights from Italy’s larger airports. Rome and Milan are both on our list of top ten airports in Europe for cheap flights. Typically, a direct return flight to either city from Palermo costs between €35 and €70, and from either you have a much better chance of finding a cheap flight to a destination around the world.

Examples of deals from Palermo: 

#1: Lviv Danylo Halytskyi International Airport (LWO) in Lviv, Ukraine

From Lviv, 18 airlines offer direct flights to more than 40 destinations in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East (with the majority of routes serving destinations in Germany, Poland, Italy, and the former Soviet countries). The airport only handles about 1.5 million passengers per year, though. Compare that to London Heathrow’s 80 million annual passengers, and it’s not hard to see why Lviv only receives a tiny fraction of the deals that the number one airport on our list does. 

To get more deals, hop a short, cheap flight to Kyiv (KBP), which gets about 90 deals per year, or fly Ryanair to London. From there, the world’s your oyster, as both Heathrow (LHR) and Gatwick (LGW) see hundreds of amazing cheap flight deals per year. 

Examples of deals from Lviv: 

Methodology

Using a combination of technology and human-powered flight searching, the Flight Experts at Scott’s Cheap Flights look at thousands of possible airfare deals every week. Not all deals meet our standards (for example, flights on certain airlines, flights with inconvenient layovers, or flights with awful routing). Still, we send more than 2,300 deals out to Europe-based members every year. 

You’ll note that this figure of 2,300 deals per year breaks down to an average of 200 deals per month, yet the number of total deals in this list tallies far more than that. That’s because many deals are valid for multiple airports, so when we send a deal we’ll note the price for each of the airports where the deal is valid. 

To reach our conclusions on the best and worst airports, we first determined our list of airports. We only looked at (1) commercial airports, (2) airports that serve metro areas of more than 1 million people, and (3) the 115 Europe airports we serve at Scott’s Cheap Flights. When a city had multiple international airports, we also eliminated from the list tertiary airports that only serve a small amount of traffic (e.g. we kept London’s Gatwick (LGW) on the list but removed London City Airport (LCY). 

Once we had our list of airports, we tallied up the total number of deal emails we sent to members departing from those airports from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The airports that received the highest number of deals per year were deemed to be the best airports for cheap international flights. And the airports that received the lowest number of deal were deemed to be the worst airports for cheap international flights. 

Join Scott's Cheap Flights to get amazing flight deals delivered right to your inbox. Our members save €/£500 per ticket on average.

Last Updated 
August 6, 2019
The Best and Worst Airports in Europe for Cheap International Flights in 2019
Katie Stepek
Flight Expert Manager, Europe

Katie has travelled to over 40 countries, but she still loves her native Scotland. A history lover, Katie has a MA in Medieval History and has never lived more than 5km from a castle! While traveling, she's often found drinking wine near a historic site and happily chatting away to locals or travelers. At home, you'll likely find her planning her next trip or geeking out over a new Pokémon game.

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