23 Cheapest European Cities & Airports to Fly into in 2020

So many of us starting in the US or Canada will be visiting multiple cities when we tour Europe that we have the luxury of flying into several different destinations. But with the airline business changing so rapidly, how do we know which are the cheapest cities to fly into?

Not too many years ago the cheapest flights into Europe were almost always into the largest and busiest airports, which are in London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam, but times have changed. Now those are sometimes the most expensive airports to fly into within Europe, so savvy travelers on multi-stop trips are better off starting elsewhere. The cheapest international flight destinations from the USA are largely in Latin America, but many of them are also the top cities in Europe.

How Was The Test Done?

For each city tested we found the cheapest fare starting from the 5 largest cities in the US (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta) along with Canada’s largest city (Toronto) in early August, and the cheapest fare in mid October. Then we averaged the two fares and then averaged the fares into all 6 cities into on Index number. The cheap flights to Europe from the USA are mainly from the east coast, as you’d imagine, but there are many great deals from other regions as well.

Needless to say, the rankings starting in individual cities can vary from the combined list, but generally they aren’t far apart. A bit surprisingly, only a handful of the cheapest flights were non-stops, so almost everyone will be changing planes exactly once in each direction over the Atlantic. The cheapest flights from New York to Europe are often non-stops, but from most other cities you have to change planes to get a decent fare.

How To Use The List Below

Especially since many of the cheapest cities below are remote, the obvious strategy is to keep going down the list until you come across one of the cities you intend on visiting. Hopefully you can then find a cheap flight and use that as a hub to explore other cities by rail or low-cost airlines.

Overall, the differences in fares from the top to the bottom of this list are not great enough to justify flying into one and then booking another separate round-trip to your final destination on a low-cost airline, though in some cases it might work out cheaper. The cheapest international flights from Atlanta are often strangely expensive because Delta dominates that airport to such a large degree.

Related information

23 Cheapest European Cities & Airports to Fly to in 2020

(prices shown are cheapest summer/autumn – average)

Paris, France

City code: PAR
Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Orly Airport (ORY)

Charles de Gaulle Airport is another of Europe’s largest and best connected, plus the main hub of Air France. In our 2017 tests we found some very competitive flights starting from some cities (New York, Chicago, and Toronto), but more expensive from others. You might find that flying into another city and then moving on to Paris is cheaper unless you are starting from NYC or Toronto.

  • New York City: $264/$200 – $232
  • Chicago: $388/$366 – $377
  • Los Angeles: $707/$685 – $696
  • Houston: $660/$685 – $673
  • Atlanta: $646/$607 – $627
  • Toronto: $683/$489 – $586
  • Index average: $532

London, England

City code: LON
London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Gatwick Airport (LGW)
London Stansted Airport (STN)
Luton Airport (LTN)

London has 4 major airports (plus London City Airport for short-haul flights) and the cheapest trans-Atlantic fares could be into any one of them. Heathrow is the busiest, but Gatwick is often the cheapest by a little. Starting with our 2016 tests, London actually had some very competitive airfares for the first time in quite a few years. If you want to start your vacation in London, then this year you should be able to get a fairly cheap flight.

  • New York City: $339/$293 – $316
  • Chicago: $477/$471 – $474
  • Los Angeles: $524/$390 – $457
  • Houston: $968/$726 – $847
  • Atlanta: $837/$682 – $760
  • Toronto: $459/$416 – $438
  • Index average: $549

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)

Europe’s 4th busiest airport has nonstop connections to destinations around the world as the main hub of KLM. Amsterdam is a good airport for bargains once again.

  • New York City: $276/$237 – $257
  • Chicago: $389/$475 – $432
  • Los Angeles: $642/$616 – $629
  • Houston: $701/$653 – $677
  • Atlanta: $689/$702 – $696
  • Toronto: $648/$621 – $635
  • Index average: $554

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels Airport (BRU)

The home of Brussels Airlines, which flies nonstop to New York-JFK, this airport is also served by most of Europe’s majors so fares are competitive.

  • New York City: $433/$272 – $353
  • Chicago: $482/$567 – $525
  • Los Angeles: $567/$543 – $555
  • Houston: $671/$680 – $676
  • Atlanta: $702/$710 – $706
  • Toronto: $498/$520 – $509
  • Index average: $554

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich Airport (ZRH)

Zurich Airport is the primary hub of Swiss International Air Lines (aka SWISS), and it’s quite surprising that they offer fairly competitive fares on incoming flights, including to many destinations in Germany as well. Beware that everything else in Zurich is incredibly expensive once you are through security.

  • New York City: $454/$451 – $453
  • Chicago: $438/$638- $538
  • Los Angeles: $633/$547 – $590
  • Houston: $703/$676 – $690
  • Atlanta: $761/$774 – $768
  • Toronto: $524/$540 – $532
  • Index average: $595

Madrid, Spain

Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)

This is Spain’s busiest airport and Europe’s 4th busiest, but being home to Iberia Airline doesn’t mean it’ll always have cheap non-stop trans-Atlantic flights.

  • New York City: $398/$257 – $328
  • Chicago: $477/$458 – $468
  • Los Angeles: $622/$570 – $596
  • Houston: $650/$622 – $636
  • Atlanta: $886/$809 – $848
  • Toronto: $779/$659 – $719
  • Index average: $599

Oslo, Norway

Oslo Airport, Gardermoen (OSL)

The good news for anyone flying from the US or Canada to Norway is that flights into Oslo are strangely cheap from major North American cities. The bad news, of course, is that certain things (food and drinks) once you are there are quite expensive.

  • New York City: $823/$387 – $605
  • Chicago: $592/$566 – $579
  • Los Angeles: $438/$472 – $455
  • Houston: $630/$814 – $722
  • Atlanta: $600/$509- $555
  • Toronto: $775/$597 – $686
  • Index average: $600

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS)

The city of Lisbon is quite a good travel bargain once you get there, but the inbound flights are now fairly expensive, unless you are starting in Toronto.

  • New York City: $413/$439 – $426
  • Chicago: $523/$497 – $510
  • Los Angeles: $550/$541 – $546
  • Houston: $801/$791 – $796
  • Atlanta: $969/$1009 – $989
  • Toronto: $386/$451 – $419
  • Index average: $614

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Václav Havel Airport (PRG)

Prague Airport is the hub of Czech Airlines, but few if any of the cheapest trans-Atlantic flights are on the national carrier. In 2013 when we ran the numbers this airport was in the top half of this list, but as of 2017 it’s one of the most expensive incoming airports in Europe.

  • New York City: $449/$401 – $425
  • Chicago: $462/$556 – $509
  • Los Angeles: $555/$602 – $579
  • Houston: $754/$836 – $795
  • Atlanta: $900/$784 – $842
  • Toronto: $603/$510 – $557
  • Index average: $618

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen Airport (CPH)

Scandinavian Airlines (also known as SAS) operates the largest of its three hubs in Copenhagen, and that leads to surprisingly low airfares, especially on its non-stop flights from New York, Chicago, and Toronto.

  • New York City: $468/$352 – $410
  • Chicago: $453/$470 – $462
  • Los Angeles: $629/$507 – $568
  • Houston: $794/$831 – $813
  • Atlanta: $764/$904 – $834
  • Toronto: $649/$679 – $664
  • Index average: $625

Milan, Italy

City code: MIL
Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Linate Airport (LIN)

The smaller of the two main hubs of Alitalia, Milan’s is now usually cheaper than flying into Rome, but if you aren’t planning on visiting Milan then flying into Rome is probably still better. Strangely, Alitalia itself never seems to have the best fares. In 2015 the city appears to have become more affordable for incoming flights, but mostly because Emirates is crossing the Atlantic with cheap fares from some cities.

  • New York City: $482/$324 – $403
  • Chicago: $556/$571 – $564
  • Los Angeles: $621/$574 – $598
  • Houston: $865/$871 – $868
  • Atlanta: $794/$781 – $788
  • Toronto: $557/$560 – $559
  • Index average: $630

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona–El Prat Airport

A bit smaller and quieter than Madrid, the Barcelona Airport has a few trans-Atlantic flights of its own. It is served by all of Europe’s major airlines, and this year it’s basically the same price as flights into Madrid.

  • New York City: $245/$225 – $235
  • Chicago: $375/$373 – $374
  • Los Angeles: $421/$389 – $405
  • Houston: $788/$803 – $796
  • Atlanta: $1354/$1478 – $1416
  • Toronto: $603/$587 – $595
  • Index average: $637

Dublin/Shannon, Ireland

Dublin Airport (DUB)
Shannon Airport (SNN)

Dublin and Shannon airports are on opposite sides of Ireland, and both are busy hubs of Aer Lingus, which offers cheap flights including those that then go onto other continental destinations. Both are similar in airfare price (with Dublin usually being just a bit cheaper) so they are combined here. Basically, if you want to start your Ireland visit in Dublin, fly into Dublin, and if you want to start your visit elsewhere, fly into Shannon.

  • New York City: $456/$290 – $373
  • Chicago: $561/$438 – $500
  • Los Angeles: $715/$500 – $608
  • Houston: $928/$880 – $904
  • Atlanta: $1068/$1186 – $1127
  • Toronto: $469/$418 – $444
  • Index average: $659

Stockholm, Sweden

City code: STO
Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN)
Stockholm Bromma Airport (BMA)

Scandinavian Airlines operates its second busiest hub out of Arlanda Airport so fares there are usually cheapest, but Bromma Airport is closer to the city center and its fares are usually only a bit higher.

  • New York City: $561/$364 – $463
  • Chicago: $418/$422 – $420
  • Los Angeles: $648/$553 – $601
  • Houston: $1247/$1038 – $1143
  • Atlanta: $761/$829 – $795
  • Toronto: $826/$622 – $724
  • Index average: $691

Munich, Germany

Munich Airport (MUC)

Munich’s airport is busier than the one in Berlin, so it’s actually Germany’s #2 for flights. Fares tend to be a bit more expensive than the other German airports as well, but it can still make the most sense if Munich is part of your itinerary.

  • New York City: $592/$444 – $518
  • Chicago: $433/$521 – $477
  • Los Angeles: $631/$583 – $607
  • Houston: $586/$703 – $645
  • Atlanta: $1056/$1198 – $1127
  • Toronto: $899/$914 – $907
  • Index average: $714

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD)

The cheapest fares into Budapest are often those that change planes in Moscow or Helsinki, but SWISS isn’t much more expensive for a change in Zurich and much less elapsed time.

  • New York City: $408/$551 – $480
  • Chicago: $601/$584- $593
  • Los Angeles: $635/$626 – $631
  • Houston: $827/$843 – $835
  • Atlanta: $912/$878 – $895
  • Toronto: $860/$857 – $859
  • Index average: $716

Rome, Italy

City code: ROM
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO)

Italy’s largest airport and the home of Alitalia isn’t known for cheap trans-Atlantic flights, though it’s still a good choice for anyone starting in Rome and heading north on a larger tour of Europe.

  • New York City: $270/$219- $245
  • Chicago: $573/$543 – $558
  • Los Angeles: $952/$1395 – $1174
  • Houston: $824/$703 – $764
  • Atlanta: $1181/$1184 – $1183
  • Toronto: $607/$582 – $595
  • Index average: $753

Athens, Greece

Athens International Airport (ATH)

This airport is naturally the hub of both Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air, and prices for hotels have come down a bit, but incoming flights are rarely bargains. If you will be touring Greece along with some other European countries, it’s probably better to first land somewhere else and hop over to Greece later in the trip.

  • New York City: $526/$456 – $491
  • Chicago: $736/$757 – $747
  • Los Angeles: $717/$770- $744
  • Houston: $1081/$1000 – $1041
  • Atlanta: $809/$849- $829
  • Toronto: $677/$760 – $719
  • Index average: $762

Moscow, Russia

City code: MOW
Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO)
Domodedovo International Airport (DME)

Russia’s national airline – Aeroflot – was recently one of the cheapest in Europe, but once again it’s quite expensive to fly to Moscow, although changing planes in Moscow for another destination can still be a bargain at times.

  • New York City: $937/$495 – $716
  • Chicago: $804/$598 – $701
  • Los Angeles: $679/$577 – $628
  • Houston: $1198/$867- $1033
  • Atlanta: $1121/$850 – $986
  • Toronto: $851/$530 – $691
  • Index average: $793

Warsaw, Poland

Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW)

Warsaw is home to LOT Polish Airlines, but that one is rarely cheapest for trans-Atlantic flights. This used to be one of the cheaper cities to fly into Europe through, but as of 2016 it has moved to near the bottom of our cheap list.

  • New York City: $581/$537- $559
  • Chicago: $986/$893 – $940
  • Los Angeles: $956/$605 – $781
  • Houston: $726/$728 – $727
  • Atlanta: $717/$1504 – $1111
  • Toronto: $789/$530 – $660
  • Index average: $796

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

Frankfurt Airport is the 3rd busiest in all of Europe, making it easily the busiest in Germany, and it’s also home to Lufthansa which covers the world. And these days its trans-Atlantic flights are trending a bit pricier than those to Berlin, though the city itself isn’t much of a tourist hub so think twice before flying here.

  • New York City: $718/$422 – $570
  • Chicago: $435/$556 – $496
  • Los Angeles: $660/$616 – $638
  • Houston: $1400/$1610 – $1505
  • Atlanta: $1696/$1811 – $1754
  • Toronto: $380/$410 – $395
  • Index average: $893

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST)

In spite of the greater distance, Istanbul once offered surprisingly cheap fares, but those bargains seem to be gone in 2017 for the most part. There is another airport in the Asian suburbs (SAW) but its cheap flights tend to be from nearby.

  • New York City: $900/$606 – $753
  • Chicago: $940/$737 – $839
  • Los Angeles: $1031/$623 – $827
  • Houston: $1750/$745 – $1248
  • Atlanta: $1275/$747 – $1011
  • Toronto: $1103/$697 – $900
  • Index average: $930

Berlin, Germany

City code: BER
Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL)
Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF)
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER)

With the rise of Air Berlin and greater popularity of the city itself, it’s now a bit cheaper in fares than flying into Frankfurt, which is particularly helpful due to Frankfurt not really being a tourist city. Tegel Airport is usually cheapest for trans-Atlantic flights, and in 2017 or 2018 or 2019, Brandenburg Airport will open to replace both of the current two.

  • New York City: $479/$405 – $442
  • Chicago: $457/$487 – $472
  • Los Angeles: $802/$628 – $715
  • Houston: $2998/$3847 – $3423
  • Atlanta: $595/$666 – $631
  • Toronto: $789/$592- $691
  • Index average: $1062

NOTE: This post was originally published in May, 2013 with 2013 data. It’s been totally updated in in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and most recently in April 2020 with current fare data.

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All Comments

  1. brent says:

    Hi, I have a question if I buy a round trip ticket to … from USA and the connecting flight airport is like Paris. Could I just stay in Paris the duration of my vacation and just not take the connecting flight to the final destination? And could I take the return connecting flight home from Paris back to USA? Since it is much cheaper, would I still need a visa for the destination country? Even though I am not going their just to the connecting city in a different country in Europe?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      What you are referring to is known as “hidden city ticketing,” and there are some big problems with it. The main problem is that if you don’t show up to your connecting flight (out of Paris the first time) then the airline voids the rest of the ticket, partly to prevent this exact thing.

      It’s sometimes possible to get a cheap round-trip fare leaving on one airline and returning on another, and in that case it’s less risky as long as the airlines aren’t official partners and the tickets are separate. In other words, if you go into a fare search engine and it says that you can fly from the US to Krakow on Delta and return on American Airlines, then as long as you can buy those ticket separately you might be able to pull it off. So you’d search for the fare going one way on Delta, and the fare coming back one way on American. If those fares are the same when bought separately, you might be in business because the return flight is unrelated to the outgoing flight.

      As for the visas, yes, the outbound airline will ask to see your passport as you check in, and if your final destination is to a country that requires a visa, such as Russia, then they’ll ask to see your Russian visa before letting you on the plane. They do this because if they put a passenger on a plane and that passenger isn’t allowed into that country, the airline has to fly you out on their expense and often pay a fine. I’ve been in that situation many times and they have always been strict about it.

      Of course, another thing to consider is that you have to travel with carry-on baggage only, which isn’t always easy when going to Paris for more than a few days. Best of luck though. -Roger

      1. brent says:

        Thank You!

  2. Mark Heidecker says:

    Are the days of flying open jaw as a cost effective way of visiting Europe over?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      For most destinations in Europe, it’s tough to get a good deal on an open jaw ticket these days, but not all of them. We’ve done many tests and have discovered that two one-way tickets across the Atlantic usually cost a lot more than one round trip. However, there are exceptions. Not long ago I flew from New York City to Oslo on Norwegian Air and discovered the one-way fare was not only half the round-trip, but it was the same price on departure day (about US$350). So it looks like at least with Norwegian Air and possibly with some others, you can build your own ticket or even fly over and book your return once you decide where and when you’ll fly from. Good luck with that. -Roger

  3. Ciara says:

    You know there is actually more than one city in Canada. Vancouver is a very important city and is bound to have different airfare than Toronto (or, for that matter, LA), it’s kind of ignorant of you not to include it.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’m not sure if you are deliberately trolling me or not, but just in case you are serious with this, I was proud of myself for including Toronto (North America’s 13th busiest airport) on this list of 6 cities. And if I add more in the future, it won’t be Vancouver (North America’s 29th busiest airport), even though I’m quite fond of the city itself.

      The point of the information here is to help people get an idea of which cities in Europe offer the lowest fares. I can’t do a full chart to include every possible flight. -Roger

  4. nick says:

    great List! i know you did biggest cities in canada and usa. but it would be great to have a PNW city… Vancouver or seattle?
    regardless.. still helpful thanks

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you found this useful. The main idea behind the list is to let people see how the destinations tend to rank by airfare. I lived for several years in Portland so that would be interesting to me as well, but in my own research I’ve noticed that those flights tend to rank in around the same order as those from Los Angeles. Since there are very few nonstop flights from the Pacific Northwest to Europe, nearly all of them would require a change of planes, which is true of most Los Angeles flights as well. I will keep updating these cities, however. -Roger

  5. Kim says:

    You have offered some great information! We are planning a 14 day trip to Europe June 2016- Paris and several cities in Italy. We were planning on flying from Chicago into Paris, staying 3-4 days and then heading to Italy (heading north to south). It is our first trip to Europe. Any suggestions on the cheaper way to fly into France? Would it be cheaper if we went to Italy first and then headed to France and then home to Chicago? Thanks!!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      You’ll have to check yourself, but at this point two one-way flights across the Atlantic are usually quite a bit more than a single round-trip flight. So most likely the cheapest way to do this would be to book a round-trip into Paris or Rome, and then connect them with a separate flight on a low-cost airline such as EasyJet. In other words, book a round-trip to Paris and on the final day of your trip you’d take a one-way flight from Rome back to Paris, with plenty of time to make your main flight home.

      The good news is that one-way flight will be quite cheap if you book it at least a few months in advance. It might be around €50, plus baggage fees, if you book very early. The one thing to be careful of, though, is that the flight goes into the same airport as your flight home. You are probably aware that there are two main airports serving Paris, with most long-haul flights going into CDG and many shorter/cheaper flights using Orly. As long as you are flying into the same one or allowing enough time to get from one to another, then it should work well.

      By the way, you’ll almost certainly want to take trains from Paris into Italy, which will be enjoyable and also reasonably priced if you buy those tickets more than two months in advance. Have a great trip. -Roger

  6. Joyce Deer says:

    This is a wonderful article, and it made me realize I have options with my travel to Barcelona next summer with 3 grandsons (17, 15, 14). We have a cruise from BCN from 6/3-6/11 but we can leave anytime after May 25 and return anytime in June. If I am paying that much money for a flight, I may as well show these boys Europe 🙂 We live closest to New Orleans, and we don’t mind train, bus or whatever it takes to max our experience. We thought about coming into Paris and leaving from Lisbon, or vice versa, but reading this article and your comments to others, we may fly from one to the other to have a round-trip ticket from one city. I would also love to show the boys Normandy Beach, where their great great grandfather was, so London is also a possibility. Any suggestions would be welcome!

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I’m glad this has helped. I think your plan of starting in Paris before your Barcelona cruise could be great. You could even take the Eurostar from Paris to London in a few hours and spend a couple days in London before heading back to Paris. There is a high-speed train from Paris to Barcelona that takes about 7 hours and is a nice ride.

      Once in Spain you’ll have many choices of great destinations, and of course you wouldn’t want to miss Madrid, which is very different from Barcelona. From Madrid there is a night train to Lisbon, which might be tricky with a family, depending on how flexible everyone is. Lisbon is another wonderful city and great value, plus it has some relatively cheap flights to major hubs, so it could be a good choice.

      Normandy, by the way, is only a bit over 2 hours from Paris by train, so you could conceivably do it as a day trip. There are also train and bus tours from Paris that do it all in a day trip.

      If you have any other more specific questions about parts of this or you are looking for other suggestions, please let me know. Have a great trip. -Roger

  7. Steve Logan says:

    This article is useful to a point. Living in England and having travelled extensively you would want to be spending many months down the list of places worth visiting before reaching some of these locations.
    London, Paris and Amsterdam are expensive but they are also interesting, safe and probably the most convenient and cheapest places to get connections to elsewhere in Europe.
    Moscow and Instanbul do have places of interest but if you are not a seasoned traveller they are not particularly safe and connections to elsewhere in Europe will generally be more expensive.
    A weekend in Berlin is enough for anyone. Unless you have a family connection there is no logical reason to visit Germany. It’s a bit of a mystery to most Europeans why so many Americans go there. Similarly Dublin is nice for the weekend but is not a destination of choice for most. The Scandinavian countries are nice but that is all they are, certainly not worth crossing the Atlantic for. Visit England, Italy, Spain, France and Greece then move on if you have time which if you’ve done it properly you won’t.

    1. Roger Wade says:


      I agree with most of what you’ve said, but certainly not all of it. First off, I really hope that when people see that the average fares are similar between most of the cities in Europe, that they won’t be motivated to fly into some obscure city just to save US$100. In most cases you’d be better off just paying extra to fly directly into the cities you are most interested in.

      As for comparing our opinions, I’ve lived in Turkey not long ago and this is the first time I’ve heard someone say that Istanbul isn’t a safe place (except for the few days they’ve had demonstrations, and even those are easy to avoid).

      I agree with you that Dublin is kind of a dud, at least compared to the “great cities of Europe”. But I’m also in the great majority that raves about Berlin and highly recommends it to anyone going nearby. And while I wouldn’t recommend that anyone skip Paris or Prague to visit Copenhagen or Stockholm, I do think the latter two are beautiful cities that most people will appreciate (if they can afford them).

      Anyway, thanks for your feedback and I hope that articles like this are useful to people rather than misleading. -Roger

  8. Pat Pursley says:

    This has been so helpful! My son is stationed near Frankfurt Germany and I am hoping to go see them in November/December this year. I live in Atlanta but am open to anything within driving distance and in Europe within a train ride. Any suggestions?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      Atlanta, as you might know, is a tough city for flights because Delta controls most of the traffic and there are no other major airports nearby. If you can drive to Charlotte, you might get a cheaper fare, but it’s up to you to decide whether the savings are worth it.

      I didn’t include it on the list in the article above, but you might check flights into Dusseldorf in addition to checking Frankfurt. Dusseldorf is a fairly short train ride away, and they have some cheaper airlines that use it as a hub. Otherwise your choices are Brussels, Amsterdam, Zurich, and Munich, all of which are maybe 4 hours from Frankfurt by train. Best of luck with this. -Roger

  9. Cali says:

    Hi Roger! My fiance and I are in the process of planning our honeymoon to Greece and Croatia. We were planning on going from either LAX or SFO (which ever is cheapest) the middle of August and flying to Santorini (or Santorini via Athens) and then flying out of Croatia at the end of August. Do you have any insight into which might be the cheapest airport to fly into to also is that timeline a smart one or are we better reversing it and going to Croatia first?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      The timing of your trip is a bit tricky because both Greece and Croatia will be packed during all of (July and) August, mostly with other Europeans. As you might know, many working Europeans get the entire month of July or August off, and coastal Croatia and the islands of Greece are very popular destinations, especially for people from Germany and the north. So resorts will be mostly full the entire time, but there are so many of them that prices are generally still reasonable. However, the flights and ferries will all be jammed at the beginning and end of each of those months, so you’ll need to plan around that.

      It shouldn’t really matter which country you visit first or last, as long as you can sort out the travel parts well in advance.

      Another small challenge is that Croatia’s airports are fairly small and not known for cheap flights or low-cost airlines. Split and Dubrovnik are the most popular coastal destinations, but even Zagreb tends to have expensive flights. Some people find that taking a ferry from Croatia to Italy and flying from there is a cheap way to do it, and fairly interesting as well.

      You might find the best bargain to fly in and out of Athens. From there you can either fly or take a ferry to Santorini, and you can fly from there to Split or Dubrovnik as well. The round-trip flight might be cheaper than an open-jaw ticket, but you really have to try the options to see for yourself. Good luck and let me know if you have other questions. As long as you book these things early, I think you can do an excellent trip for a reasonable amount. -Roger

  10. Lee says:

    My daughter will be going to Geneva for a 6 weeks at the end of July, and will spend the last 2 weeks of that joining friends on their vacation in Costa del Sol, Spain. She is a seasoned traveler after spending last year studying abroad. Since flights from Atlanta to Geneva are pretty expensive during July–she would like to fly into a cheaper location and spend a day or two touring before traveling on to Geneva. She would like to do the same thing when she leaves Costa del Sol. Any suggestions?

    1. Roger Wade says:


      In all of my tests, the two cheapest airports that are reasonably close to Geneva are Zurich and Milan. Zurich Airport to Geneva is only 3 hours by train, while Milan is about 4.5 hours from Geneva. As fond as I am of Switzerland, Zurich isn’t too interesting and it’s very expensive, and Milan has far more interesting things to see nearby. I hope this helps. -Roger