Flights to Europe and best times to go


Flights from Australia to Europe, choosing when to go, and how to get from the airport to your accommodation.


Flights to Europe

Flight time from Australia: 17+ hours

  • There is only one direct flight from Australia to Europe – the 17-hour Perth to London route.
  • All other routes are broken into at least two legs. Australian travellers usually fly via Asia or the Middle East.
  • Choosing the right flight can depend on price, travel time, the airline's service reputation, and the location of your stopover point, if you want to take a side trip.

Warning: If you are flying via the UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei or any other country with strict drug laws, be sure to check that any medication you're carrying (such as strong painkillers, sleeping pills, cold and flu tablets and ADHD medication) isn't illegal. In rare cases, airline passengers have been jailed when caught with medications that were classed as narcotics. If you're concerned, check with your airline or with the embassy of the country you'll be transiting through.

Not sure when to go? Read our advice on the best time to visit Europe, below.

Have you bought insurance yet? Check out our free, comprehensive and independent travel insurance reviews to find out which policy is best for you.

At the airport

Passing through immigration and customs is usually quite straightforward in Europe, depending on which airport you arrive at, and at what time. In most of Europe's larger airports, Australians will need to join the 'non-EU passport holder' queue – which sometimes moves a lot slower than the queue for EU citizens.

You may be quizzed about the purpose of your visit and the contents of your luggage, or you may simply be approved and waved though.

Do you need a visa? Check our country-by-country guide.

Important: Make sure you get your passport stamped if you're entering a Schengen country. You'll need it as a record of the date that you entered the Schengen area, and you could even be fined or encounter problems with authorities if you don't have an entry stamp.

Airport guides 

Getting from the airport to your accommodation

  • 32km west of CBD.
  • The Heathrow Express is the fastest way into central London. Departing from Terminals 2, 3 and 5 (free shuttle available from terminal 4), trains run every 15 minutes and take 15 minutes to reach Paddington station.
  • The slower TFL Rail service runs between Heathrow and Paddington station (replacing the old Heathrow Connext service). Trains depart every 30 minutes from Terminals 2, 3 and 4, with a free transfer train available from Terminal 5 (four trains per hour, with a six-minute journey time). The trip takes between 31 and 49 minutes.
  • The London Underground (or 'tube') is cheaper and slower still. Trains leave every ten minutes and take up to an hour to reach central London via the Piccadilly line. There are stations at Terminals 4 and 5, and a combined station for Terminals 1, 2 and 3.
  • Buses and coaches run to central London, other airports, some hotels, and stations on the national rail network.
  • Taxis leave from outside every terminal. Minicabs or private drivers can be pre-booked - particularly handy for families needing child seats.
  • Car hire companies Hertz, Avis, Europcar, National, Alamo, Enterprise, Budget and Sixt all operate out of Heathrow.
  • Airport website: heathrowairport.com
  • 45km south of CBD.
  • Trains leave from the South Terminal and can be reached from the North Terminal by free shuttle.
  • The Gatwick Express train is the fastest way into central London. It leaves up to four times an hour and takes 30+ minutes to reach Victoria station.
  • Thameslink trains run to London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon, St Pancras International and Luton Airport.
  • Southern trains runs to London Victoria and Brighton, among others.
  • Other train services can take you to destinations outside of London, including Brighton, Southampton and Reading.
  • Most buses leave from the South Terminal forecourt. Some also pick up passengers at the North Terminal.
  • Easybus runs to Earls Court/West Brompton and London Victoria coach station.
  • National Express runs to many locations including central London.
  • Taxis are available from both terminals.
  • Car hire companies operating out of Gatwick include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Sixt, National, Alamo, Enterprise and Budget.
  • Airport website: gatwickairport.com
  • 30km north of CBD.
  • Taxis leave from outside all terminals. A flat fee applies depending on which part of Paris you’re travelling to (the flat fee applies for trips to the airport as well). You can pay on the spot or book and pay for your taxi in advance online.
  • The airport has two train stations, one at Terminal 2, and another between Terminals 1 and 3 (with a free shuttle service). The RER B train links to central Paris and its suburbs, and stops at stations on the Metro service.
  • A high-speed TGV train runs directly from the station at Terminal 2 to Disneyland Paris in 12 minutes.
  • A range of bus services run to central Paris and surrounds, including a night bus and an express 'Magical Shuttle' to Disneyland Paris.
  • A free rail shuttle connects all terminals.
  • Car hire is available from Terminals 1 and 2.
  • Airport website: aeroportsdeparis.fr
  • 12km south of CBD.
  • Taxis leave from outside both terminals. Journey time to central Frankfurt is 20-30 minutes.
  • The airport has a regional and a long-distance train station, with services departing to central Frankfurt and its suburbs, as well as to other cities in Germany and Europe. Local buses depart from outside both terminals.
  • Car hire is available from both terminals.
  • Car share is available from Terminal 1.
  • Airport website: frankfurt-airport.com
  • 20km south-west of CBD.
  • Taxis leave from outside the terminal. The journey to central Amsterdam takes around 15 minutes.
  • Trains leave from below the terminal. Services to central Amsterdam leave every 10 to 15 minutes (less frequently at night) and take 15 to 20 minutes.
  • International trains depart from Schipol to various cities in Europe.
  • A range of bus services leave from outside the terminal.
  • Car hire desks are located at Schipol Plaza, directly behind Arrivals 3.
  • Airport website: schiphol.nl

Key destinations and their airports

UK and Ireland
Airport Airport code
London Heathrow LHR
London Gatwick LGW
London Luton LTN
Edinburgh Airport EDI
Dublin Airport DUB
France
Airport Airport code
Charles de Gaulle Airport - Paris CDG
Paris Orly Airport ORY
Germany
Airport Airport code
Frankfurt Airport FRA
Berlin Tegel Airport TXL
Berlin Schönefeld Airport SXF
Munich Airport MUC
Italy
Airport Airport code
Fiumicino Airport - Rome FCO
Milano Malpensa Airport - Milan MXP
Venice Marco Polo Airport VCE
Spain
Airport Airport code
Madrid Barajas Airport MAD
Barcelona El Prat Airport BCN
Greece
Airport Airport code
Athens International Airport ATH
Turkey
Airport Airport code
Istanbul Atatürk Airport IST
Netherlands
Airport Airport code
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol AMS
Switzerland
Airport Airport code
Zurich Airport ZRH
Austria
Airport Airport code
Vienna International Airport VIE
Denmark
Airport Airport code
Copenhagen Airport CPH
Norway
Airport Airport code
Oslo Airport OSL
Sweden
Airport Airport code
Stockholm Arlanda Airport ARN
Finland
Airport Airport code
Helsinki Airport HEL
Chzech Republic
Airport Airport code
Václav Havel Airport - Prague PRG
Russia
Airport Airport code
Domodedovo International Airport – Moscow DME
Sheremetyevo International Airport – Moscow SVO
Pulkovo Airport – Saint Petersburg LED

The best time to visit Europe

Most parts of Europe are open for tourism all year round so there really is no right or wrong time to go. The climate varies greatly from the north of the continent to the south. Depending on when you're planning your holiday, check the average temperature and rainfall in the region you're travelling to.

  • Summer (June/July) is the peak season when most Europeans take long holidays. Prices are likely to be higher and bookings harder to come by, particularly during school holidays.
  • Christmas and New Year is a peak season across all of Europe.
  • If you don't like crowds, consider the shoulder seasons when you'll find cheaper flights and accommodation, and fewer people. If you're lucky, you'll catch some nice weather in spring or autumn.
  • Weather can affect roads and public transport, particularly in northern Europe where the winters can be severe, and in the UK, where the infrastructure can't always cope with extreme weather.
  • Remember that the further north you travel in Europe, the fewer daylight hours you'll have for sightseeing in winter (and the more hours you'll have in summer).
  • Winters are mild in southern Europe, so the off-season can be a great time to find a bargain, however many hotels and resorts may be closed.
  • The ski season varies throughout Europe.

More about Europe


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