Arriving in Europe

You will most likely arrive into one of Europe major airports from America. Upon landing you will have to go through boarder control or customs. You will need to completely filled out a landing card, flight attendants will hand these out on the flight before you land, as well as your passport. Some airports are adding automated security gates so you may not need to fill out a landing card, listen carefully to flight crew instructions prior to landing. After deplaning, follow signage to baggage claim and border control. 

At boarder control follow signs for non-EU or non-citizen travelers. There you will hand your passport and landing card to a border control agent, they may ask you questions about your travel, such as how long you plan to stay, is this business or pleasure, etc. They’ll stamp your passport and you may proceed to claim your baggage. If you need to change planes for another destination you may go to directly to that  boarding area, providing the flight is is on the same ticket as your arrival flight and you have checked your baggage through to your final destination. 

If you arrive at a Schengen member country and are going to another Schengen member country you will not need to go through boarder control again at the departing or upon arriving at your final destination airport. It is just like flying from California to Illinois. For Schengen countries check our page on ➾ Schengen Agreement.

Obtaining Local Currency…

Shortly after your arrival at your final destination, you will need local currency. You have several options to either get local currency from your bank before you depart or upon arrival. Check with your local bank about their currency rates and foreign transaction fees. If you wait until you arrive at the airport you may use an ATM or or Currency Exchange booth. Please go to our ➾ Banks & Money page for more detailed information on exchanging for local currency. For information on ATM’s go to our ➾ Credit and Debit Cards page. You can locate ATM’s at airports by going to our ➾ Airports in Europe page and click on the country and city airport to open their web page. Open terminal maps where you’ll find the locations for all these services.

Public Transportation from the Airport…

You may have multiple choices for transportation from your arrival airport to your hotel or other destination. That choice could depend on the location you are traveling to. In major cities public transit like the metro, tram or bus will get you very close to minimize your waking with baggage. If no transit stops are close there are always taxis and ride share services. 

 Types of Public Transportation…

While all cities below have major train stations with services to other European cities, the rail category designates suburban and light rail lines with service within the metro area only. Subway lines in some cities become elevated rail lines in certain areas.

Train / Metro

Depending on which airport you’re arriving at this could be your best option as many cities have extensive services. Usually the travel time is the fastest and it cost the least.


This is usually the lowest in cost but, you may need to transfer to another bus depending on your final destination. Many buses serving airports have racks for luggage, others do not.

Express Services

Express services are typically trains or buses with no stops from the airport to the city center. This is the quickest way into the city but, more costly than other forms of public transit Its waypoint may not be near to your final destination.


Always a good choice for door to door deliver but, is more costly then other transportation. There are usually flat fees from most airports to the city center so ask your driver before you enter the taxi. There are scammers that will over charge you. Heavy traffic will mean a longer travel time.


Services like Uber, Lyft, are available in most areas but, check prior to your arrival as some airports have a ban on them picking up and dropping off on airport property so alternate locations may be difficult to find.

Car Rentals

Major Car Rental companies and agencies are available throughout Europe. All major airports and train stations have multiple providers as well as locations throughout the cities and major tourist areas.


This a good door to door option but, you will have to share a mini van with others passengers. While stops are coordinate to the same area of the city, you may be the first or last stop. Congested traffic will mean a longer travel time.


This is the most comfortable and plushest but, also the most epensive. Again, heavy traffic will make for longer trip but, who cares your traveling first class door to door. Airport web sites can provide contacts for reserving a service.

After claiming your baggage signs should be visible for transportation services. Follow those signs for trains, buses, metro, shuttles,  taxis, etc.Transportation information for some Europe’s largest arrival airports are listed below. Levels of transportation services and their cost,  travel times into the city are provided. We have omitted private shuttles and limos from the listings as you will need to contact those services directly to establish accurate travel times and cost. For information please go to our ➾Airports in Europe page, scroll down to find the country and city airport and click to open their web page were you will find all transportation information. Only those airports with non-stop service to US airports are listed below.

Transportation Options from European Airports into Cities…

(approximate travel time in minutes / cost in local currency) Bus and taxi time are with normal traffic flow. Times will be more during congested traffic periods.

Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
  • Train:  NS Sprinter (to Amsterdam Centraal station)16-18 min. €5,20 ticket/ €4,20 w/OV card/ 
  • Bus: Airport express bus #397, (to Museumplein, Rijksmuseum, and Leidseplein). 15 min. €6,50/ w/OV car €3,55. Night Bus #97, 39 min. 
  • Taxi: (to city center) 25 min.  €40 – 50
  • Shuttle: Connexxion Shuttle hours 6:00-21:00 €15,50/25,00 one-way/return
  • Airport Web Site
Athens Eelftherios Venizelos (ATH)
  • Train: Trainose towards Piraeus, 41 min. €11,00
  • Metro: Metro OASA 3 blue line (to central Syntagma and Monastiráki stations). 42 min. €11,00 one-way
  • Bus: AOSA X 95 (to Syntagma Square) 1 hr. 10 min.  €7,00, X93 (to Kifissos Coach Station, X96 to Piraeus Port).
  • Taxi: 36-40 min., €40-80
  • Airport Web Site
Barcelona El Prat (BCN)
  • Train: Rodalies R-2 North (to Passieg de Gràcia station), 27 min. €4,10. Train station located across from terminal 2.
  • Metro; TMB LS9 (to Zona Universitària) 26 min. €4,00. Stations located at terminal 1 main floor & across from terminal 2, floor 1.
  • Bus; Aerobus shuttle buslines 1 & A2 (express to Plaça Catalunya). Also line #46 (to Plaza España) 35-40 min, €5,90-10,20 single/return
  • Taxi; (to city center) 15 – 20 min. €29,-39,
  • Airport Web Site
Berlin – Brandenburg (BER)
  • Express Train: Airport Express (FEX) departs under terminal 1 four times an hour into Berlin Central Station.
  • Train / Metro: S-bahn trains S9 and S45 travel from terminals 1 & 2 into Berlin city center.
  • Bus: Located 400m or three minutes from terminal 1. Express buses X7 and X71 from T1/T2 to Rudow station (U7).
  • Taxi: found directly in front of terminal 1. (to city center) est. 40 min. €49,00.
  • Airport Web Site
Brussels (BRU)
  • Train: 6 Belgium IC trains departures every hour.(to Nord, City Center & Midi stations) 15-19 min / €8,90. The train station is located directly under the departures and arrivals halls, at level -1. The platform is easily reached by lift or escalator.
  • Bus; De Lijn bus lines 12 & 21 ( to City Center) 30 min. €4. Bus line 272 & 471 (to Brussels Nord Station). The bus station is located one floor down from the Arrivals Hall, at level 0. The escalator or elevator provides easy access to the bus station.
  • Taxi; (to city center) 18-30 min.  €45.
  • Airport Web Site
 Copenhagen – Kastrup (CPH)
  • Train: DSB trains (to Copenhagen Central station) 13 min. Kr 36) Orensundståg trains (to Malmö, Sweden). 24 min. 122 kr. Station located in front of terminal 3
  • Metro: Metro M2 (to Nørreport Station) 15 min.  Kr36) The metro station is located in a covered, direct extension of Terminal 3. The Metro runs at 4–6 minute intervals during the day and evening hours, at 15–20 minute intervals at night. 
  • Bus: DOTLine 5A (to Copenhagen Central & Nørreport stations) 30-25 min / 36. Bus terminal located outside terminal 2.
  • Taxi: (to city center) 20 min. Kr 250-300
  • Airport Web Site
Dublin (DUB)
  • Bus: Airlink (to City center, Heuston and Connolly stations.) 50 min. – 1 hr. €6,10 – 9,15) Air Coach to Trinity College/Grafton St.) 30 min. €8,00 oneway / €13,50 return. Buses pick up out in front of terminal 1, past parking structure. 
  • Taxi: (to city center) 20 min.€20,00 – 30,00
  • Airport Web Site
Frankfurt am Main (FRA)
  • Train: RMV S-Bahnlines S8 & S9 (to Frankfurt Hbf) 15 min. €14,50.  S9 (also westbound to Mainz & Wiesbaden) Regional Express lines #RE59, RE2 & RE3 (to Frankfurt Hbf) 10 min. €14,50.
  • Bus: FlixBus (to Frankfurt Central Station).  20 min. €6,00. Bus station opposite terminal 1 arrivals level and terminal 2 on level 2.
  • Taxi: (to city center) 20-30 min. €30,00
  • Airport Web Site
Helsinki – Vantaa (HEL)
  • Train: HSL Line I (to Helsinki ) 56 min. min. €2,80-€5,00. Departs from platforms 1 & 3. Line P (to Helsinki) 63 min. €2,80-€5.00. Departs from platforms 16 & 18. Train station entrance is between terminals 1 & 2.
  • Bus Finnair City Bus (Eliel Square – Central Rail Station) 35 min. €6,80/€12,60 oneway/return.Departs from bus platform 51 at T2.  HSL Line #415 (to Elielinaukio) 61 min. €4,60. #615 (to Rautatientori) 35 min. #617 (to Hakaniemi) 38 min. Departs from bus platform 52 & 53 at T2.
  • Taxi: (to center center) 30 min. €30,00 – 40,00
  • Airport Web Site
Istanbul (IST)
  • Metro: Metro Istanbul future Line M11.
  • Bus: Havaist İST 1(to Aksaray-Istanbul) 110 min. ₺ 18.00. All buses depart from -2 level which is one floor below the arrivals level.
  • Taxi: (to City Center) 35 – 53 min. ₺ 25.00- 45.00
  • Airport Web Site
Lisbon (LIS)
  • Metro: Lisbon Metro Red line (to Alameda station for green metro transfer/ to Saldanha station for yellow metro transfer / to São Sebastião station for blue metro transfer) 16 – 20 min. €1.90. 
  • Bus: Aerobus 1(to Lisbon Martim Moniz) 20 min. €3,50
  • Taxi: (to city center) 20 min. €10,00 – 15,00
  • Airport Web Site
London – Heathrow (LHR)
  • Express Train: Heathrow Express (to Paddington station) 20 – 15 min. £20. Transfer to Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City underground or bus lines from Paddington. Departs every 15 min. from terminals 5 and 3 only.
  • Metro: Picadilly Line ( to Picadilly Curcus) 67 min.  £3. – 6. Transfer to multiple underground and bus lines from stations.
  • Bus: National Express (direct to Victoria Station) 1 hr. 20 min. £5.00 
  • Taxi: (to central London ) 60 min.  £45.-70.
  • Airport Web Site
London – Gatwick (GTW)
  • Express Train: Gatwick Express (to Victoria station) 30 min. £18.-35. Transfer to Victoria, Circle, District underground or bus lines from Victoria Station.
  • Bus: National Express (to Victoria Station) 60 min. £ 8 Transfer to multiple underground and bus lines from stations.
  • Taxi: (to central London ) 60-70 min. £70. – 90.
  • Airport Web Site
Madrid – Barajas International (MAD)
Milan – Malpensa (MXP)
  • Express Train: Malpensa Express (one to Milano Centrale & one to Milano Cadorna every 15 min.) 45 – 50 min. €13,00. Train stations are located in both Terminal 1 & 2. 
  • Bus: Malpensa ShuttleTerravision, STIE buses (to city center) 50 min. €10,00 – 12,00. Buses pick up outside arrivals at both terminal 1 & 2.
  • Taxi: (to city center) 45-50 min. €90,00.
  • Airport Web Site
Munich – Franz Josef Strauss (MUC)
  • Train: MVV DB regional (to Munich Hbf station) S1 west side of the city with stops at Neufahrn & Laim.  S8 to the east side of the city with stops at Ostbahnhof & Marienplatz. 45 min. €11,60. Trains depart alternatively every 10 minutes from terminals 1 and 2. Station located in T1 level 3.
  • Bus: Lufthansa Airport Bus (to Munich Hbf station) 35 min. €10,50 – 17,00. Buses located at level 3 in buildings T1 & T2.
  • Taxi: (to city center) 40 min. €50,00. Taxis at T2 level 3.
  • Airport Web Site
Oslo – Gardermoen (OSL)
Paris – Charles de Gaulle (CDG)
  • Light Rail: RER “B” (to Châtelet – Les Halles) 35-39 min. €11,70. This suburban train has a stop in Charles de Gaulle Airport which connects the airport with Gare du Nord and Paris-Châtelet located in downtown every 10 up to 20 minutes. You can board the RER at Charles de Gaulle Airport Terminal 2 TGV Station and at both Terminal 1 level 5, Terminal 3 and Roissypôle.
  • Bus: Le Bus Line 2 Tour Eiffel (to Porte Maillot//Place de l’Etoile/Torcedoro) 45-60 min. €18,00. At terminal 2A, 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E and 2F and also Terminal 3   SNCF Line N143 (to Gare De L’Est & Gare Du Nord) 32 min.
  • Taxi: 35-50 min. €60,00-70,00.
  • Airport Web Site
Paris – Orly (ORY)
  • Train: Orlyval (go to Antony station) transfer to RER “B” at Antony station. Orlyval station located at terminal 4.
  • Metro: RER “B” (to St-Michel-Notre Dame from Antony Station) 38 min / €11.65) 
  • Bus:  Le Bus Line 1 Place de l’Etoile (to Gare Montparnasse/ Trocedero) 45-60 min. €18,00
  • Taxi: (to city center) 35-50 min. €50.00-70.00
  • Airport Web Site
Prague – Václav Havel (PRA)
  • Express; Airport Express AE (32/Kč 60.)
  • Train / Metro; Metro A to Dejvická to Bus 119
  • Metro B to Zličin to Bus 100 (14-20 min / Kč 32)
  • Bus; Night Bus 510 (42 min / Kč 32)
  • Taxi; ( / Kč 650-850)
  • Airport Web Site
ReykjavikKeflavik (KEF)
Rome – Leonardo Da Vinci Fiumicino (FCO)
  • Express Train: Leonardo Express ( to Rome Termini) 30 min. €16.00. Train station is 400 meters straight in front of terminal 3.
  • Train: Trenitalia  Freece  FL1 Regional trains stop at Rome Ostiense, Trastevere and Tiburtina stations only. Transfer to metro or bus lines from these stations.
  • Bus: Cotral,  Terravision & Sit Bus Shuttel(all service to Rome Termini Via Marsala) T.A.M. bus & Rome Airportbus ( both to Rome Termini Via Giovanni Giolitt) 1 hr. €5,00 – 6,90 The buses stop at the BUS hub adjacent to the Terminal 3 exits.
  • Taxi: (to city center within Aurelian Walls) 40-60 min. €48,00.
  • Airport Web Site
Stockholm – Arlanda (ARN)
  • Express; Arlanda Express (15/ SEK 260-490)
  • Train / Metro; SL 38 (30 min /Kr125)
  • Bus; Bus 583 to train SL 36 (65 min /Kr 60)
  • Taxi; (40 min / Kr 450-520)
  • Airport Web Site
Venice – Marco Polo (VCE)
  • Water Taxi: Alilaguna Blue, Orange and Red Lines ( stops at various docks in Venice) €8,00-15.00 oneway / return. 58 min.t0 1 hr 12 min. depending on final destination. Departs from airport Dock (on exiting from the Arrivals hall, look for the covered walkway on the left and follow the walkway for 7 minutes until you reach the dock)
  • Bus; ACTV Line 5 (to Piazzale Roma) 23 min. €8,00. Departs in front of the terminal
  • Taxi: (to Venice) 20 min. €40.- 55. Departs in front of the terminal
  • Airport Web Site
 Vienna (VIE)
  • Express: City Airport Train (to Landstraße / Wien Mitte Station) 16 min. €19,00. Tran station is located in front of terminal 1 level 0.
  • Train: ÖBB regional train (to Wien Mitte ) 55 min. €6,00.
  • Bus: Vienna Airport Lines (to Wien Mitte or Wein hbf stations) 40 min. €8,00. Bus stop located on level 0 in front of terminal 3.
  • Taxi: (to city center) 20 min. €40,00 – 55,00.
  • Airport Web Site
Zürich (ZRH)
  • Express: Swiss Federal (to Zürich Hbf station.) 10 min.  CHF 6,60 Follow signs to train station and down escalators from shopping mall.
  • Train: SBB S-Bahn S2, S16, S24 (makes stops before Zürich Hbf station) 12 min. CHF 3,30
  • Tram; VBZ Tram #10 (to Zürich Hbf station) 37 min. CHF 6,60. Tram  #11( to Stettbach station)
  • Bus: Bus line #10 (to Zürich Hbf station) Night Bus 29 min. Covered bus station is located outside terminal check-in-areas.
  • Taxi: (to city center) 20 min. CHF 75,00.
  • Airport Web Site

You have the option to get a rental car at all airports.  Please go to our  ➾ Autos & Taxis

Getting Around in Europe…

Here’s where things get fun because once arrive in Europe there will be many good choices when it comes to transportation.  Depending on your itinerary and where you plan to visit, you will find some forms of transportation to be more effective and efficient than others.

So what mode of transportation makes the most sense?

It all depends on the variables like:

  • Where is your departure location?
    • Staying in certain countries and cities can provide you with higher access to transportation than others. Large cities airports, that serve as a hub for an airline, means more flight choices to more destinations. Some countries have a vast rail networks with punctual service. Many major cities have efficient public transportation systems, others have an excellent grid of highway that make driving a car in rural areas a good option.
  • How what is the distance between destinations?
    • The shorter the distance the better your train or driving options become. Remember to add 2 hours to flight times for security and travel time to and from an airport. If you have a 2 1/2 hour flight time, that’s 4 1/2 hours minimum needed. If there is customs at boarder, up to 5 1/2 hours total.
Transportation Used Most by Americans in Europe

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.



-This usually the fastest travel option if the travel time exceeds more than 4 hours with using other travel options, providing it is a non-stop flight. Flights with stops and planes changes will only add to your travel time making other travel options better.
– Low-cost airlines are now prevalent for travel to most major European countries.
– You can rest while traveling.
– You may be able to use frequent traveler points for a free ticket.

– Service and schedules can be limited to selected airports and they may be only serviced by local carriers and a higher rates.
Some airports are located far from city centers adding time to travel into and out of the city.
– Low-cost carriers can charge extra fees for services, baggage, ticketing, etc. .
– You must allow extra time checking in and security screening, typically 1 1/2 hours before departure.
Weather and mechanical problems can delay or cancel flights.



– Services are excellent and frequent, especially in western Europe.
– Rail cards can give you flexibility and are inexpensive if traveling by train frequently.
– Almost all stations are located in the city centers saving travel time.
– Stations have public transit options for travel, metro, trams, buses, etc.
– You’ll be able to rest comfortably while viewing the countryside and scenery.
– No time wasted on security screening.
– Night trains available on many routes eliminating a night’s hotel room charge.

-More time consumed on longer distance routes.
– You will need to store your own luggage on and off the train.
– Some trains may not have refreshments or services available.
– Remote locations away from major metro areas may only have scheduled service several times a day complicating travel with several connections.
– Some areas may not have train service at all, bus service may be a viable alternative.



– With a car you can travel directly to places where planes, trains or buses cannot.
– If you want to go off the beaten path you always have that option as a car gives you mobility the others do not.
– You see more of the country as you pass through cities and the countryside.
– A car can take you directly to your destination, whether that be a hotel, attraction, parking area, etc.
– You will have the freedom to set your own time schedule. If you want to leave earlier or later from a location you have that flexibility.

– Driving in major metro areas can be hectic, especially in the old city centers.
– Fatigue from driving.
Will usually take more time than other transportation.
– Gas prices are very high in Europe and tolls will add to the overall cost.
– Bad weather conditions can lead to slower traffic and hazardous driving conditions.
Traffic congestion in larger cities.

Some modes of transportation may be better than others depending on were you are traveling to and from.

Traveling within the Cities…

Metro – Bus – Taxi – Light Rail – Car (Rideshare)- Boat

Unless you absolutely have to, we suggest not driving a car. Public transportation will be more efficient and less costly. Cities are centuries old with narrow and hard to navigate streets. Street numbering systems for address’s are different and anyone can get easily confused. Traffic can also be very congested and parking is hard to find and costly. The hotel you’re staying at will also most likely charge you for parking, per night. If they do not provide parking, you are on your own to find parking in the streets or a parking garage, which may be blocks away from your hotel.

City or regional transportation passes can be purchased for the duration of your stay whether it be 2 , 3 or 5 days. Passes will be valid for use on different forms of transportation whether it be bus, subway or tram. Some cities have speciality services that are not covered, like a funicular, etc. Depending on how much you plan to move around, a pass can save you money and time.

Day Trips from the Cities…

Train – Bus – Care – Light Rail – Ferry

To make day trips out and back from a city it makes good sense using trains, shuttles, buses, etc. Many tourist areas within a short distance from major cities have designated daily transportation to the tourism sites and back to the city. Some of the city passes include free transportation to these areas outside the city limits. Read the passes carefully before purchasing as you may have to pay a little extra for the areas or zones serviced outside the city limits. Getting to areas that are not high tourist destinations or that are more secluded may not have a good frequency level of service by train or bus. That means availability of arrival and departures of maybe limited to one to three times per day, restricting the time you may want to spend visiting a location. Take the bus or train to a town outside of a major city and rent a car at that location. With a rental car you can arrive and depart without worry about adjusting your schedule to meet a service.

Regional Trains and buses are usually your best options for day trips. You can also book day trip tours that not only give you the transportation to and back for a destination but, may also include a tour guide. However, you will have limited time to spend seeing attraction.

Traveling within a Country…

Train – Bus – Car – Ferry

The train is most likely your best option followed by the bus. Regional or national train and bus lines have excellent routes that can take you to most of the important tourism destinations within a country or a bordering country. Make sure you confirm which passes cover these areas. If you buy a pass for travel in just one country it will not be valid for use in any other country. Once you enter into another country it is invalid, even though you are returning back. When purchasing rail passes make sure you purchase a pass that covers the countries you are traveling in. If you want to spend some days out in the country away from a city renting a car could be more advantageous. If you want the experience of going where you want without worry about scheduled services, then rent a car. Again, try to rent outside of a major city and avoid traffic and congestion.

Traveling Country to Country…

Train – Plane – Bus – Car – Boat

If you are traveling to a bordering country, a high speed train will most likely be your best option. If no efficient train and bus service is available or if your travel time is over 4 hours, we suggest looking at your options to fly using one of on many of European airlines. As in the states, Europe has low cost no frills airlines to chose from when going longer distances. Look at how much time you can save on one service as opposed to the others. Remember, with flying you need time to travel from your hotel to the airport, which is usually located a distance from the city center. Then you need to be there a minimum of 1 hour before departure and more if you need to check bags and go through customs or border control. Flights can also be delayed more easily than trains or buses because of weather.  The guideline is the longer the distance the better it will be to use an airline.

Transportation Rankings by Country

Some countries have far superior transportation systems from others. These are the ones where a mode of transportation will serve you best.

Best Rail Systems










United Kingdom

Best for Air Travel






United Kingdom





Best Quality Roads











This web site will offer suggestions on your best transportation options from one destination to another.➾ Rome to Rio

Travel Times & Mileage…

To figure your traveling time time from one destination to another go to our ➾ Create an Agenda page for times and mileage between major European cities. You also use mapping programs on the internet or smart devices for specific directions form one address to another.