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Why Visit Europe?

Europe, the world’s second-smallest continent, is a fascinating and diverse haven of cultural, historical, and geographical significance. With over 3.9 million square miles and 44 countries in its bounds, you don’t have to travel far within the continent to hear different languages, experience distinct cultures and traditions, and witness amazingly varied landscapes.

Some of the world’s most-visited destinations are in Europe, like Paris, Rome, and London. These long-standing cities are filled with breathtaking architecture and historic landmarks that draw travelers in by the millions.

By air
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How to Reach Europe by Air

The best way to travel to Europe is by air, thanks to the extensive network of international airports scattered across the continent. Europe’s airports are concentrated around major cities, but you’ll find plenty of entry points in less-visited regions as well.

London’s Heathrow Airport, Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport are some of the busiest, accounting for hundreds of thousands of flights in and out of Europe on a daily basis. Here’s a look at how to reach Europe by air:

  • From North America: Major North American cities offer frequent direct and connecting flights to popular European destinations, including New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Mexico City, and Vancouver. Consider flights with airlines like British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France to travel to Europe. On average, direct flights from the U.S. East Coast to key European cities take 7-9 hours, while flights from the U.S. West Coast may take 10-12 hours overall. Connecting flights take longer, adding 1-12+ hours to your trip.
  • From Asia: If you’re traveling from Asia, there are a number of direct flight options to major European hubs, including flights from Beijing to London, Tokyo to Paris, and Dubai to Frankfurt. Airlines like Emirates, British Airways, and Air China offer these flights on a daily basis. Direct flight times vary based on your departure location in Asia and your final destination in Europe, but generally range from 10-14 hours. With layovers on a connecting flight, you could spend 15+ hours getting to Europe.
  • From South America: Direct flights from South America to Europe can be booked from cities like Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá to major European airports in places like Madrid, Paris, and Rome. Some of the most popular airlines running these routes are Iberia, TAP Air Portugal, and Alitalia. The average flight times take around 10-14 hours (longer if you’re on a connecting flight with layovers).
  • From Within Europe: When traveling inside the European continent, you can easily reach other countries and regions on short-haul flights. Numerous airlines like Ryanair, EasyJet, and Lufthansa offer connections between European cities. Flying within Europe typically means short flight times between 1-3 hours, depending on your start and end points.

While flying to Europe from other continents can take 10+ hours via direct flights, this is the most efficient and fastest way to travel to the continent from other regions of the world.

How Long Is the Flight to Europe?

The average flight time to Europe can vary depending on the departure city, airline, and route. Here are approximate flight times from some of the most common origins:

  • New York, USA: About 8 hours and 21 minutes​​
  • Los Angeles, USA: Approximately 12 hours and 16 minutes​​
  • Sydney, Australia: Around 21 hours (fastest flights take about 17 hours and 20 minutes)​​
  • Tokyo, Japan: About 12 hours and 7 minutes​​
  • Dubai, UAE: Around 6 to 7 hours

These times are based on average flight speeds and can vary due to factors like wind speeds, specific airline routes, and the exact destination within Europe.

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By road
How to Reach Europe by Road

Traveling to Europe by road is possible if you’re driving from Central Asia through countries like Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, or Kazakhstan before entering Russia. It’s important to research passport and visa requirements as well as paying attention to current travel advisories and traveler safety recommendations when driving through these areas.

Note that road rules and conditions vary widely through this massive region.  Most European countries drive on the right side of the road (except the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, and Malta). Road conditions can range from well-maintained to rough and impassable during winter or rainy seasons.

The Schengen Agreement, which includes most of the European Union (EU), allows travelers to move easily by road between participating countries without border checks. However, some non-EU European countries have different visa and border regulations. Plan your route thoroughly to avoid issues.

By railw
How to Reach Europe by Rail

Europe is known for its efficient and well-connected train network that spans most of the continent. Eastern Europe is less-connected by high-speed rail than Western Europe. Traveling by train is one of the most scenic and enjoyable ways to explore the continent.

  • From Neighboring Countries: If you’re in one of Europe’s neighboring countries, you can take international trains into the continent. For example, the Trans-Asian Railway connects Asian countries to Europe for easy travel via rail.
  • Within Europe: Once you’re in Europe, the extensive train network through the continent allows for convenient travel between European countries. Most major cities have central train stations you can take to visit other cities in Europe near and far. For example, the Eurostar service connects London with cities in France and Belgium through the Channel Tunnel. The Eurail Pass connects you to 33 countries in Europe.
By water
How to Reach Europe by Water

Traveling to Europe by water is an excellent option to travel to Europe with scenic, coastal views. Here are some of the ways you can reach Europe by water:

  • Cruise Ships: Cruises to Europe from countries and continents around the world are a popular choice. Many cruise lines offer itineraries that include stops in major European ports, like those in coastal Spain, Greece, and Italy. You can depart from a number of places around the globe, making it a convenient option for travelers who want an all-in-one experience (meals, drinks, entertainment, and stops at multiple ports).
  • Ferries: Ferries enable you to reach Europe from nearby regions with or without a car. Take a ferry to European countries from neighboring islands like the UK, Ireland, or the Mediterranean islands. Ferries offer a convenient travel option and rides are usually relatively short, from 1-8 hours.
  • Cargo Ships: For those seeking a unique and unconventional travel experience, some cargo ships en route to European ports offer passenger accommodations. These voyages are more affordable than cruises because they offer fewer amenities and comforts. Cargo ship travel takes longer and may require you to find another means of transportation to get back home.

Traveling to Europe by water can be an incredible way to get to the continent, but takes longer than flying and limits your entry points to coastal cities. From there, you can rent a car to visit countries away from the coast or book flights within Europe to get to your destination.

AI Disclaimer Disclaimer: This page was created with help from AI | Reviewed by: Andrew Helling, Editor-in-Chief