It’s the added extra flight comparison sites never warn you about: How long is the airport transfer and how much will it cost me?
It’s not unusual for European budget airlines to offer flights that are cheaper than the price of the train fare into the city. Or for the airport to be in a completely different town than the city it claims to serve. And if Ryanair’s week is anything to go by, that’s if the flight even takes off at all.
So time- and price-conscious travelers will welcome a new study by booking platform GoEuro analyzing more than 70 European airports to rank the fastest and cheapest transfers to city centers.
The data reveals transfer fares ranging from 86 cents to $34 while journey fares vary from five to 85 minutes.
A Riviera winner
If you’re wanting to hit the beach in record time, with spare change for cocktails, the airport to head to is France’s Nice Côte d’Azur, which is five minutes away from the city via a transfer that costs around $2.15.
And the sightseeing can start a little sooner than that, because Nice Côte d’Azur has repeatedly been voted one of the world’s most scenic airport approaches.
The second-best airport is Lanzarote, with a transfer time of 10 minutes and a cost of around $1.67. You can even do the journey by bike.
Málaga-Costa del Sol, Prague and Amsterdam Schiphol all made it into the top 10, while Germany was represented by Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Cologne Bonn.
Long way from London
London was named the worst offender when it comes to expensive, time-sucking airport transfers, with Luton, Stansted and Heathrow all in the top 10 and Gatwick taking the top slot.
However, the weighting of the ranking system is debatable and entirely dependent on how much you value your wallet or your time.
Gatwick offers a 30-minute transfer for around $26.85 – not a bargain by any stretch of the imagination.
Germany’s Frankfurt-Hahn was listed third worst with a $16.68 transfer taking 85 minutes.
Airport transfers are also penalized for taking a long time to cover a relatively short distance.
So Edinburgh might offer a relatively unpainful 30-minute transfer at a cost of just $6, but with the airport just eight miles from the city center, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
Its UK counterpart at Birmingham covers the same distance in nine minutes, at close to half the price.
Both top 10 are below, and you can see the full data on the GoEuro site.
10 most convenient European airport transfers
1. Nice Côte d’Azur, France: Five-minute transfer from $2.15 (four miles)
2. Lanzarote, Spain: 10-minute transfer from $1.67 (four miles)
3. Birmingham, UK: Nine-minute transfer from $3.91 (six miles)
4. Málaga-Costa del Sol, Spain: 12-minute transfer from $2.14 (four miles)
5. Frankfurt, Germany: 10-minute transfer from $5.72 (seven miles)
6. Nuremberg, Germany: 12-minute transfer from $3.57 (six miles)
7. Cologne Bonn, Germany: 13-minute transfer from $2.86 (nine miles)
8. Prague, Czech Republic: 15-minute transfer from $1.07 (nine miles)
9. Leipzig-Halle, Germany: 13-minute transfer from $5.36 (12 miles)
10. Amsterdam Schiphol, Netherlands: 14-minute transfer from $5.01 (12 miles)
10 least convenient European airport transfers
1. London-Gatwick, UK: 30-minute transfer from $26.85 (28 miles)
2. London-Luton, UK: 60-minute transfer from $24.29 (35 miles)
3. Frankfurt-Hahn, Germany: 85-minute transfer from $16.68 (78 miles)
4. London-Stansted, UK: 60-minute transfer from $22.38 (40 miles)
5. Beauvais, France: 75-minute transfer from $18.92 (47 miles)
6. Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France: 28-minute transfer from $11.61 (22 miles)
7. London-Heathrow, UK: 15-minute transfer from $33.70 (14 miles)
8. Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden: 20-minute transfer from $34.51 (25 miles)
9. Paris Orly, France: 30-minute transfer from $9.52 (12 miles)
10. Edinburgh, UK: 30-minute transfer from $6.07 (six miles)