Contrary to popular belief, your online activities aren’t private. Depending on your location and the network you’re using, you could be being monitored by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), employer, or even the government. VPNs encrypt your traffic, ensuring that any snoopers only see a meaningless jumble of data instead of the sites you visit. This also prevents hackers accessing your information, which is particularly handy when connecting to public wifi.
VPNs have another major benefit: they allow you to spoof your location. Most major streaming sites check the user’s IP address to see if they’re in a supported country or not. However, when you connect to a VPN, you’re given a temporary IP address from the country your chosen server is in. As most services can’t tell the difference between someone in the required location and a user who’s connected to a VPN, you’ll be free to stream previously inaccessible content, no matter where you are in the world.
If you’re in a rush, you can find all of our recommended VPNs for Europe below. If not, you’ll find a more in-depth review of each further down.
- NordVPN: Our top choice for a Europe VPN. Offers customizable security, a no-logs policy, and access to more than 1,500 European servers. This VPN unblocks all but the most stubborn streaming services abroad. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark Has servers in 35+ European countries. Good speeds, with great unblocking potential and a major focus on security.
- ExpressVPN: With high-speed servers in over 40 European countries, a wide range of security and privacy options, and strong unblocking ability, ExpressVPN is perfect for streaming.
- CyberGhost: Provides fast servers in more than 35 European countries, novice-friendly apps, and pre-configured security features, so it’s ideal for those new to VPNs.
- IPVanish: Boasts lightweight apps, a high-connection limit, and strong security features. This provider keeps no logs and allows you to choose from hundreds of servers across Europe.
- PrivateVPN: This no-logs VPN is faster than most, security-focused, and capable of unblocking some of the most popular streaming services from abroad.
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Best VPNs for Europe
Every VPN is different. Some offer more server locations, for instance, while other prioritize security or ease of use. To make it easier for you to choose, we’re only recommending VPNs with all of the characteristics below. This way, you’re guaranteed to get a reliable, versatile VPN, not just a service that works for one specific task.
- Has servers in numerous European countries
- Provides consistently high speeds
- Includes advanced security features and effectively uncrackable encryption
- Doesn’t log any information which could identify you (ideally keeps no logs at all)
- Offers apps for the most popular operating systems
The best VPNs for Europe – at a glance
We’ve compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice VPN for Europe.
|Website||www.NordVPN.com||www.Surfshark.com||www.ExpressVPN.com||www.Cyberghost.com||www.IPVanish.com||www.PrivateVPN.com||Ranking for Europe||1||2||3||4||5||6||Servers in Europe||2500+||600+||40 European countries||50+ European locations||500+||25+ European countries||Avg Speed (Europe)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||62 Mbps||100+ Mbps||62 Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||85%||70%||85%||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||7||Unlimited||10||Logging Policy||No identifying data||No logs stored||No identifying data||No identifying data||No logs stored||No logs stored|
|Best deal (per month)||$3.29|
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Read on to find our list of the best VPNs for Europe:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top pick for a Europe VPN. It has a huge network, with over 5,000 servers in 60 countries (dozens of which are in Europe). It’s very fast, but one of this VPN’s biggest strengths is its exceptional streaming capabilities: it allows you to securely access notoriously stubborn platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, wherever you are.
This service keeps you safe online using 256-bit encryption, a customizable kill switch, automatic ad and malware-blocking, and IPv6, DNS, WebRTC, and port forwarding leak protection. Further, NordVPN offers obfuscated servers as well as Tor over VPN and dual VPN functionality. It has a strict no-logs policy, meaning your activities can’t be traced back to you. Need help? You can contact customer support via live chat, 24/7.
NordVPN has apps for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android. It can also be manually configured to work on wireless routers.
- Plenty of European servers
- Excellent streamingability
- Customizable kill switch
- Specialty servers
- No-logs policy
- 24/7 support
- Connecting to a server through the desktop app can be slow
BEST EUROPE VPN:NordVPN is our #1 choice. It’s a high-quality service with over 1,000 high-speed servers in Europe. It keeps no logs, offers advanced security options, and unblocks many major platforms abroad. Plus, NordVPN comes with a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a wallet-friendly alternative that has 3,200+ servers in more than 60 countries, many of which are in Europe. This service is fast enough for lag-free live streaming and capable of bypassing all but the strictest geo-blocking, so there are very few limits on what you can do. Surfshark’s standout feature is that, unlike most VPNs, it allows you to connect as many devices as you like. This allows you to browse, stream, or torrent safely, both at home and when on-the-move.
Of course, this service also boasts a selection of powerful security features. There’s 256-bit AES encryption for starters, as well as a kill switch and protection from DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks. If you’d like, you can pay in one of three supported cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ripple, or Ethereum) although as Surfshark doesn’t log any personally identifiable information, this step is entirely optional. Live chat-based support is on-hand 24/7 in case of any problems.
Surfshark has apps for iOS, Android, Linux, MacOS, and Windows. It also works with supported network routers but you’ll have to configure it manually.
- Fast enough for flawless live streaming
- Security and privacy-conscious provider
- No connection limit
- Keeps no logs and accepts three kinds of cryptocurrency
- 24/7 live chat support
- Smaller network than some of its rivals
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is a highly versatile VPN capable of unblocking all kinds of content abroad. Better still, it takes your security very seriously and offers unlimited connections, which means you can stream safely no matter where you are. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included.
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN currently has servers in more than 40 European countries including France, Spain, Germany, and Italy. This service is fast enough to watch live HD content without any noticeable buffering, and better still, itworks well with major streaming platforms like Netflix, ARD, and ORF from abroad.
This VPN takes your security seriously. It includes 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, perfect forward secrecy, and a kill switch that stops all traffic should you lose connection unexpectedly. ExpressVPN doesn’t log any personally identifiable information, but you can choose to pay with Bitcoin if you’d like. Customer support is available 24/7 over live chat.
ExpressVPN apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. This service also offers custom firmware to simplify the process of installing it on a router.
- Fantastic speeds for downloading and streaming
- Top-class security and privacy protection features
- Great for streaming
- Complete privacy – no logs of personal data kept
- A little more expensive than some rivals
SAFE STREAMING:ExpressVPN is another solid pick. It has servers all over Europe, can securely access major geo-restricted sites, and includes several advanced security features. Further, this service includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost has more than 7,000 servers in 90+ countries, including many in Europe. It offers fast speeds, consistent connections, and strong unblocking ability. Additionally, each server shows its current load and the service it’s best able to unblock, which takes the guesswork out of streaming foreign content abroad.
There’s no need to configure anything as CyberGhost’s 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, kill switch, ad-blocker, and malware-scanner are all enabled by default. CyberGhost logs no personally identifiable information, so your privacy is in good hands. While this service is very user-friendly, you can reach support 24/7 over live chat if needed.
CyberGhost provides Windows, Android, MacOS, Linux and iOS apps. It must be manually installed on supported network routers.
- Fast, reliable service
- Happily unblocks a host of geo-restricted content
- Solid privacy and security features enabled by default
- Doesn’t work in China or the UAE
GREAT FOR BEGINNERS:CyberGhost is a user-friendly VPN with hundreds of streaming-optimized European servers. It’s fast, easy-to-use, and committed to protecting your security and privacy. CyberGhost includes a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish currently has servers in 30+ European countries. This VPN provides lightweight, user-friendly apps, reasonable unblocking ability, and speeds that are fast enough to stream live HD video without any issues. IPVanish permits any number of simultaneous connections whereas most of its rivals allow between three and six.
It also includes a wide array of security features. Your activities are kept private with a combination of 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, OpenVPN obfuscation, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. Better still, IPVanish keeps no logs at all. If you run into any problems, you can contact customer support 24/7 via live chat.
IPVanish comes with apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire devices. It also works on Linux-based platforms and select home routers but must be configured manually.
- Use all of your devices simultaneously
- Fast, lightweight VPN with excellent multi-platform support
- Strong on privacy and security
- Struggles to unblock larger streaming platforms
STREAM ON ANY DEVICE:IPVanish permits any number of connections and offers high speeds, strong multi-platform support, and decent unblocking ability. It’s strong on security and keeps no logs, so your privacy is maintained. IPVanish also provides a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN may have fewer servers than some of its rivals (around 200 in 63 countries), but it does offer higher speeds. Additionally, PrivateVPN excels at securely accessing streaming platforms; it currently allows you to access services like ORF, TF1, Telecinco, and more than 10 European Netflix libraries. With up to 10 simultaneous connections allowed, you can stream freely across all of your devices.
This VPN keeps your traffic safe at all times with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch (Windows only), and protection against WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks. PrivateVPN doesn’t keep any logs whatsoever, but you can sign up almost totally anonymously by using a throwaway email address and paying with Bitcoin if you’d like. Live, chat-based support is available 22 hours per day, and with your permission, the staff can even configure the service remotely.
PrivateVPN has Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS apps. Manual installation is required for use with Linux systems and supported internet routers.
- Speeds are good enough for high-quality streaming
- No issues with popular streaming sites
- Privacy and security are top notch
- Small number of servers, newish provider still expanding their network
- Doesn’t have 24/7 live chat
FLAWLESS STREAMING:PrivateVPN is a security-conscious service that keeps no logs whatsoever. With very fast speeds and exceptional streaming potential, it’s ideal for streaming European content abroad. Better still, all of its plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN
How to access region-locked sites abroad with a VPN
With the right VPN, it’s actually quite easy to unblock geo-restricted sites and services abroad. Follow the steps below to access European services from anywhere:
- Start by signing up for one of the VPNs mentioned above (we recommend NordVPN).
- Next, download and install the appropriate version of the software for your device.
- Decide which European service you’d like to use.
- Connect to one of your VPN’s servers in the required country. For example, you’d use a French server to unblock TF1 or a German one to watch ARD abroad.
- Try playing a video on your chosen site. It should load without any issues, but if not, clear your browser’s cookies and cache, then refresh the page.
European internet restrictions and legislation
Although the European Union votes on new legislation, it’s up to each country to decide how they enforce it. This means that the rules vary wildly from one country to another. Below, we’ll list a few things you should know about using the internet in Europe.
First, it’s crucial that you research the laws of the country you’ll be visiting as these can have a major impact on your online privacy. There’s a worrying trend towards increased online surveillance in certain EU member states. Some, like the UK, have chosen to employ wide-reaching web filtering to restrict access to certain types of content. However, these blocks are generally considered ineffective as they’re easily bypassed with a VPN.
Additionally, Russia demands that VPN companies provide the government with access to their servers, ostensibly to make sure that users couldn’t access banned content. However, given the country’s track record of silencing activists and journalists, many are worried about the impact of this legislation. Several VPN providers including NordVPN have shut down their Russian servers entirely rather than comply.
Methodology: How we chose the best VPNs for Europe
Given Europe’s size, choosing the best VPNs to use is no easy task. After all, a user’s needs could differ wildly based on which country they’re in and what they’d like to do online. Still, we were able to identify the best all-round VPNs for Europe by looking for providers that excelled in all of the areas below:
- Server choice: You’ll usually find that the closer a server is, the better your connection. That’s why we looked for VPNs with servers in dozens of countries; this approach ensures that whether you’re in Portugal or Russia, there’ll always be a server nearby.
- Performance: We regularly run tests to see which VPNs are the fastest. To ensure stable performance and high enough speeds for any day-to-day tasks, we only recommended VPNs that delivered impressive results in our latest testing.
- Security tools: 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, a no-logs policy, and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks are must-haves. We also prioritized services that included stealth modes and custom protocols because these can help protect your privacy in countries with strict online censorship and widespread surveillance.
- Versatility: Since there isn’t one specific task in mind, our team focused on VPNs that can do everything well. This includes torrenting safely, playing online games, and accessing platforms like Netflix or HBO Max abroad.
- User-friendliness: Any features that make the service easier to use are extremely valuable. This might be a lack of a connection limit, servers designed for specific tasks, or something as simple as around-the-clock support over live chat.
Interested in learning more about our testing? Here’s a guide to how our team tests VPNs.
Using a VPN in Europe: FAQs
Can’t I just use a free VPN?
Although free VPNs can be tempting, there are several reasons we advise against using them. To begin with, these services often have fewer servers than paid VPNs, despite having more users. This means you’re likely to experience very slow speeds, which lead to choppy playback and long buffering times when streaming. Additionally, free VPNs are usually the first to be blocked by popular streaming services so you may not be able to watch anything at all.
Finally, it’s difficult to know if your free VPN is safe or not. We've seen major providers lie about the type of logs they keep. Additionally, Hola, a major free VPN provider, once sold user bandwidth to help facilitate a botnet.
Why should I use a VPN in Europe?
If you’re travelling around Europe, a high-quality VPN is invaluable. As each country in Europe has its own laws on data retention, online censorship, and surveillance, some sites (such as The Pirate Bay) are readily accessible in parts of Europe and blocked in others. VPNs allow you to bypass this blocking and access your usual gambling, gaming, and online banking services safely, wherever you are.
Whilst abroad, you’ll likely be more reliant at times on public wifi networks. These are convenient but rarely as secure as they should be, which makes them a popular target for hackers. With a VPN, you not only ensure that you can bypass any arbitrary blocking the hotspot owner has imposed, but also that your traffic can’t be read by anyone looking in from the outside.
What are the 14 Eyes and how do they affect me?
The 14 Eyes is a collective term for a group of countries (10 of which are in Europe) who share surveillance information with each other. This allows countries to claim that they don’t spy on their citizens, while still being able to see what’s going on. For instance, if the US wanted information on what a particular user was up to, it could potentially ask any of the other 13 countries to provide it.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if your VPN is based in any of these countries, it can be asked to provide details of your activities. Of course, if you’re using a zero-logs VPN, there’s no risk, but it’s worth bearing in mind that even minor details like the time you connected can be cross-referenced with traffic logs from various websites to paint a picture of your activities.