The Cheapest Airport To Fly Into In Europe

European flight routes from spaceEurope has been a long time number one choice for many travellers the world over, even more so since most of Europe’s countries went borderless in 1995. This means that those of us requiring a visa now only need one Schengen visa for all 26 member states. With the Rand/Euro exchange rates becoming more unstable and unfavourable by the day for South Africans, answering the question of which airport in Europe is the cheapest to fly to is more important than ever.

The rule of thumb

As you may have guessed, questions like this don’t have an easy or consistent answer. Prices for flights can fluctuate on a minute-by-minute basis as the airlines introduce more and more complex systems to make the most out of every ticket sold. They drop the price when demand is low and raise it as demand increases and their technology is so sophisticated that they can predict trends down to the minute and react accordingly.

This is not helping you. I’m sorry.

My rule of thumb is that the further South your destination, the cheaper the flight price. Mostly.

What influences the price?

A number of things come into play like demand, distance, competition on the route etc. But, what probably influences price the most will be the charges the airports and governments levy on the airlines and travellers flying there. For example the UK charges passengers an extra R1500 per person just to enter the country. Can I hear a “bugger off Britain,” please? Countries in the South and East of Europe typically make a lot more of their income from tourists and/or have economies which are in the dumps a bit, so they’d rather incentivise travellers to visit with lower fees. Take for example Italy which charges visitors just R185 each. Can I hear a “ciao bella Italia,” please?

Southern Europe

The South of the continent is often the cheapest in terms of entry points and with great beaches, islands, food and scenery, it’s not hard to see why it’s popular. As at the time of writing this post (February 2014), rough return ticket prices inclusive of taxes for low season from Johannesburg to the following destinations were:

  • Athens: R7100
  • Rome: R6700
  • Milan: R6600
  • Madrid: R6600
  • Barcelona: R6600
  • Lisbon: R7400

Western Europe

Regularly the black sheep of Europe in terms of pricing, Western Europe has only one or two cheap entry points. Rough prices at the time of writing this post:

  • Paris: R7500
  • Amsterdam: R7300
  • London: R8500
  • Dublin: R7000
  • Brussels: R6700

Northern Europe

This region can have a vast array of differing prices, just remember though that when you get there, it’s often pricier than elsewhere in Europe. Rough prices at the time of writing this post:

  • Copenhagen: R6500
  • Oslo: R7000
  • Stockholm: R6600
  • Helsinki: R8800

Central Europe

If you’re visiting here you’re likely either a keen businessman or are super keen on beer, castles, skiing, sauerkraut and schnapps. There’s a lot to love in German-speaking countries and the prices can sometimes impress. Rough prices at the time of writing this post:

  • Frankfurt: R7200
  • Munich: R7000
  • Berlin: R6900
  • Vienna: R7100
  • Zurich: R6700
  • Geneva: R6500

Eastern Europe

What Eastern Europe loses in cost of getting there it often makes up for it in the cost of living. Drinks are often cheap, so is food and hotels regularly match this trend. Rough prices at the time of writing this post:

  • Prague: R7400
  • Budapest: R7200
  • Warsaw: R7000

So as of this check Copenhagen and Geneva scraped in at the cheapest entry points into Europe. But, like I said, prices change on a daily basis (and sometimes more often than that) so to check the pulse quickly, I would suggest checking prices to cities like these plus:

  • Frankfurt
  • Munich
  • Rome
  • Milan
  • Athens
  • Barcelona

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