Best VPN for Europe

Europe is a patchwork of countries. Each country is known for something, such as a famous landmark, historical event or amazing architecture. Not to mention the diverse cultures and varieties of food. Whether you’re traveling or settled in a particular country, it’s a wise choice to protect yourself online with one of our best VPNs for Europe.

It’s a good idea to use a virtual private network wherever you are. They’re loaded with features, such as security, which can protect you from online dangers. Plus, you can change your IP address to get past restrictions, such as geoblocks. Some countries censor their internet more than others. The Great Firewall of China is a good example of how bad it can get.

Everybody’s needs differ, as you can see in our other VPN articles, and there are reasons you’d benefit from using a VPN besides security. Perhaps you’ve relocated and you’re missing your TV shows. A VPN will allow you to spoof your location and access the shows you’re used to, plus any other country’s restricted content.

Maybe you want to watch a particular show on Netflix, but it’s not available in your country. Netflix’s library varies widely from country to country. The U.S. version has the largest number of shows, so many people want access to it. Our piece on the Netflix VPN ban goes into more detail.

If you’re traveling, you may find that you can’t access your online banking account or other important services. Many banks only allow customers to log in from the same country. Use a VPN to change your IP address to that country and you’ll be able to log in as usual.

Europe is a big target for financially-motivated cybercrime, according to the 2017 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment. A VPN with good security will help keep you safe, and it wouldn’t hurt to install a decent antivirus, too.

Each country’s online laws and regulations differ, too. It’s a good idea to keep up to date with them so you don’t get yourself into trouble. If you like to torrent, some countries have harsher penalties for those who commit copyright infringement.

Plus, many governments engage in online surveillance. A VPN would keep you hidden from such invasive programs.

That said, there are European countries that are less intrusive and have strong legislation in place to protect your privacy, such as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. Read our piece on which countries have the best privacy laws to learn more.

Now, let’s take a look at countries with invasive surveillance systems and other causes for concern.

Countries in the EU

Of the 44 countries in Europe, only 28 of them are in the EU, at least as far as the UK is concerned. Since May 2018, those countries have had to adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation. The GDPR boosts existing protections of EU citizens’ data. Companies that fail to comply with the regulations are issued hefty fines.

Germany

In Germany, certain categories of online speech are illegal. Anything that praises Nazism is banned and Holocaust denial is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. Defamation of religions and forming terrorist groups is illegal under the German Criminal Code.

If you like to torrent, you should know that torrenting copyrighted material in Germany is illegal and punishable with a fine or jail time. Copyright trolls are known to monitor popular torrents for German IP addresses to catch people in the act.

It’s reported that users’ metadata is collected and the Federal Intelligence Service has cooperated with the U.S. National Security Agency. Read more in our best VPN for Germany piece.

United Kingdom

The UK has invasive privacy rules. The Investigatory Powers Act, also known as the Snoopers’ Charter, gives law enforcement and other UK agencies surveillance powers, such as viewing your internet history without a warrant. Other legislation authorizes surveillance, but journalist Ewan MacAskill says it introduced the most sweeping surveillance powers in the western world.

Take a look at our best VPN for the UK if you plan on visiting there.

France

France has taken measures to address terror threats since the Paris attacks in 2015. Internet freedom has been impacted by increased online censorship and surveillance powers. Users are monitored by internet service providers and suspicious behavior is forwarded to intelligence services.

An illegal biometric database was created in secret, too, which included the data of 60 million citizens. Authorities said it was necessary for national security.

Plus, under France’s anti-piracy law, you can be given a hefty fine or even be banned from the internet if you torrent copyrighted content. There’s more about the country in our best VPN for France guide.

Greece

Defamation and insulting the president can result in criminal penalties, such as a fine or prison. If the case involves a public official, the punishment can be more severe.

Online communications aren’t protected by privacy laws in Greece, which means authorities can legally carry out surveillance as they wish, as we point out in our best VPN for Greece guide.

Sweden

Sweden is known for being the largest consumer of pirated content, but authorities have been pushed to take action. The Swedish government ordered Bahnhof, one of Sweden’s top ISPs, to provide it with details on those who infringe copyright laws.

Plus, the Spridningskollen initiative uses special software to weed out those who are downloading copyrighted content. If caught, you can face a fine of up to $250 per violation. Take a look at our best VPN for Sweden for more details.

Ireland

Ireland isn’t big on censorship and other invasive laws, but authorities can intercept your online communications. That’s done to combat serious crimes and protect the security of the state. Read our best VPN for Ireland article if you want to know more.

Outside the EU: Russia

Russia’s internet freedom leaves a lot to be desired. Content related to the political opposition, conflict in Ukraine and the LGBT community is blocked. In 2017, ISPs were ordered to block 8,000 pirate websites to combat copyright infringement. The authorities upped the stakes in 2019 by ordering VPNs to block sites, too.

Russia began blocking VPN services in 2017. VPN providers that agreed to keep users from visiting blocked websites were allowed to continue operating. Fines were imposed after many refused to comply, but the requirement hasn’t been implemented well. There’s more about that in our dedicated piece to the Russian VPN ban.

Provoking separatism or extremism can be punished with a prison sentence under the Russian criminal code, and incitement to hatred can result in six years imprisonment. LGBT activists have been punished for expressing themselves online, too.

Russia uses the surveillance tool SORM, which allows security services to monitor internet traffic through ISPs. The Yarovaya law grants authorities access to user data. Read our best VPN for Russia piece if you plan on visiting the country.

Best VPN for Europe 2019

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What Makes a VPN the Best for Europe

You could pick any of the providers in our VPN reviews, but you need to make sure the one you choose is good for Europe. VPNs have a lot of features, but some are better than others.

Because of the many regulations around Europe, you want to choose a VPN that has great security and a kill switch. The security will protect you from dangers such as cybercrime. The kill switch will sever your internet connection if the VPN fails, keeping your sensitive information safe from prying eyes.

Privacy, which is separate from security, is also important. Choose a VPN with a privacy policy that shows it won’t keep a record of your online activities.

You should also select one that has a large network of servers, especially in Europe. The more servers available in as many places as possible, the better the chances of getting around restrictions. If you want to access content restricted to a particular country, make sure the provider has servers there.

If you want to watch your favorite shows on Netflix, you’ll need one that can get past its VPN detection system, and there are only a few that can. Our best VPN for Netflix piece has dedicated recommendations.

Speed is another important factor, especially if you plan to stream or torrent. Nobody likes slow loading times, so pick a fast one. It should also have unlimited bandwidth so you don’t hit a limit.

Other factors you might want to consider are which devices it supports, how easy its clients are to use, how many devices can be connected at the same time, how good the customer service is and how much it costs.

Best VPN for Europe: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Europe because it ticks all the boxes and is the best VPN overall. It has excellent security, with AES 256-bit encryption, which is essential if you visit strict countries, such as Russia. There’s a strong no-logs policy, too, so your online activities won’t be recorded. Its built-in kill switch is enabled by default, so you won’t need to worry about it, either.

Its server spread is massive, with more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries. That includes over 45 European countries, which is more than any other provider offers. Check out our ExpressVPN review for more information.

You’ll have no trouble with speed because it’s the fastest VPN on the market. It includes unlimited bandwidth, too. Combine those with the fact that it can get into most international versions of Netflix, as well as other streaming services, and it’s no wonder it came in first in our best VPN for streaming and best VPN for Netflix articles. It allows torrenting, too.

Other Reasons We Like ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has clients for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari. The interface is easy to use and a good choice for beginners. Up to five devices can be connected at a time, which should be enough.

Its customer support is good. There’s a large knowledgebase for small issues, as well as 24/7 live chat and email support. You may be better off using email if you have a more technical issue.

ExpressVPN is one of the more expensive VPNs. That said, it offers an excellent service, so it’s well worth the money. Plus, if you choose a longer subscription, you’ll save money in the long run. In case you’re worried about signing up, though, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Large server network
  • Fast
  • Accesses all streaming services

Cons:

  • Expensive
Starts from $ 666 per month
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NordVPN

NordVPN is another good choice for Europe. It’s a great provider that’s similar to ExpressVPN in many ways, as you can see in our head-to-head. Its security is among the best, with the addition of double-hop encryption, which bolsters the security of the VPN tunnel. A kill switch is included with the service and a strict no-logs policy is in place, too.

NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers across the globe, with 2,369 spread over 36 European countries. Its speeds are good, but they can become slow if you connect to a server that’s far away. Switching servers is fast, though, and it comes with unlimited bandwidth.

You’ll be able to get into streaming services, such as Netflix, without issue. If you want to torrent, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s our best VPN for torrenting, too. Read our NordVPN review for a better look at the service.

Other Reasons We Like NordVPN

NordVPN can be installed on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The clients are easy to use, and you can connect up to six devices simultaneously.

If you run into problems, you can use its handy knowledgebase to fix minor issues. You can contact a member of staff through live chat and email at any time. Live chat will get you the fastest response, but the staff is helpful either way.

NordVPN’s monthly rate is affordable, and the service is a great value for the money. Still, you can save money by signing up for a longer plan. There’s a 30-day refund window, giving you enough time to test it.

Pros:

  • Large server network
  • Fast on certain servers
  • Works on Netflix

Cons:

  • Broken server recommendation system
  • Inconsistent speeds across the network
Starts from $ 349 per month
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CyberGhost

You can also use CyberGhost for Europe. It provides good security and has a strict no-logs policy. There’s a kill switch, which is permanently enabled, so you won’t have to worry about it. Read more about that in our CyberGhost review.

CyberGhost’s server network is large, with more than 4,000 servers worldwide, including in over 30 countries in Europe. Its speeds are fast but, like NordVPN, they can slow down over long distances. There are no bandwidth caps. CyberGhost allows torrenting, and it can get into most streaming services.

Other Reasons We Like CyberGhost

Clients are available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The interface was updated not too long ago. It’s easy to use, but it can take time to get used to it.

CyberGhost is a good choice if you have many devices that you want to connect at the same time because it allows up to seven. That earned it the second spot on our best VPN for multiple devices list. That said, seven is the limit on installations, too.

Help is available if you need it, with the first stop being an extensive knowledgebase that covers most problems. Live chat is available 24/7, but it’s best used for simple queries. If you have a more technical problem, it’s better to use email.

CyberGhost is inexpensive if you opt for a long-term plan. The monthly price isn’t good. You can make use of its seven-day trial available for Android and iOS, to see if you like it. There’s a money-back guarantee, too, which applies to all platforms. It’s a 14-day window for the monthly plan, but for longer plans you get 45 days.

Pros:

  • Updated interface
  • 7 simultaneous connections
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • No kill switch controls
Starts from $ 275 per month
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TorGuard

TorGuard is a good provider, especially if you’re experienced with VPNs. It has strong security with customizable settings and a host of protocols. There’s a built-in kill switch that’s automatically enabled once you connect to a server. Plus, there’s a solid no-logs policy.

It has over 3,000 servers, some of which are in 30 European countries. Its speeds are fast, but they can vary depending on the location and level of security you set. Server switching is annoying, though, because you have to disconnect from the VPN to do so. That said, you’ll benefit from unlimited bandwidth. TorGuard allows torrenting, too.

Streaming is hit and miss, though. During our testing, TorGuard wasn’t able to access the U.S. or UK versions of Netflix or BBC iPlayer. That said, it offers dedicated streaming IP addresses by country that’ll get you in and it had no problem with other streaming services. Its dedicated IP addresses earned it the top spot in our best VPN for travelers piece.

Other Reasons We Like TorGuard

TorGuard can be used on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The clients are easy to use, but setting up on mobile devices can be a pain. You can connect up to five devices by default, but if you need more you can purchase up to 20 for $1 each. Read more on that in our TorGuard review.

If you need help the options are varied. There are handy self-help guides and a forum online, but if you want to chat with a staff member, it’s less accessible than its rivals. There’s an option for live chat, but TorGuard outsourced it. That means it’s not a good choice for technical queries. The email option is, though.

The price isn’t bad, and you can save money by subscribing for a longer period. TorGuard advertises a free seven-day trial, but it’s really a seven-day money-back guarantee because you still have to pay up front to use it.

Pros:

  • Multiple protocol options
  • Large server network
  • Fast

Cons:

  • Difficult to switch servers
  • Blocked by Netflix & BBC iPlayer
Starts from $ 500 per month

AirVPN

Our last pick for Europe is AirVPN. It’s a good provider that offers excellent, customizable security but lacks in other areas, which is why it comes last. Our AirVPN review goes into more detail.

It doesn’t provide a kill switch. Instead, it has a network lock, which blocks all communication unless it goes through the VPN. That’s not bad, but it means it’s always on, even when you’re disconnected from AirVPN’s servers. AirVPN offers an excellent privacy policy, though, which says it doesn’t keep logs.

Its server spread is lacking compared to our other choices. Still, it offers 136 servers in 15 European countries. Its speeds are inconsistent, but they aren’t bad most of the time. As for streaming, Netflix is blocked, but it’s able to get into other streaming services, such as Hulu. Plus, it allows torrenting.

Other Reasons We Like AirVPN

AirVPN can be used on Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. The interface is good, if dated in appearance. That said, newbies may find it difficult to use. You can connect up to five devices at the same time.

If you have a problem, you can use the online FAQs or the forum for help. There’s no live chat, though, so if you want to speak to a member of the staff, you’ll have to fill out the online form for email support.

The price is shown in euros, but it’s not a bad rate. There’s no refund offered, though. A free trial is available, but you have to request it. You could also choose the three-day option for 1 euro to try it.

Pros:

  • Excellent privacy policy
  • Decent server array
  • Prompt customer support

Cons:

  • Blocked by Netflix
  • Difficult to use
Starts from $ 116

Final Thoughts

We hope we’ve helped you choose a suitable VPN for Europe. Make sure you to pick one with good security and privacy, as well as a good European server spread. If you want to stream, you’ll need one that’s capable of getting into the services you want. It’s best to pick a fast one that has unlimited bandwidth, too.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Europe as it offers excellent security and privacy, as well as many servers on the continent. It’s also fast, has no bandwidth limits and is great for streaming. Plus, with its 30-day money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose. We know it’s impossible to cater to every European country, but ExpressVPN does the best job.

If you have experience in using a VPN for Europe or we’ve missed something, please let us know in the comments section. Thank you for reading.

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5 thoughts on “Best VPN for Europe in 2019: Old World, New Tech”

  1. I wonder you didn’t mention PureVPN? I have been using their service for last 2 years and I am quite happy.

    1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

      Because PureVPN isn’t secure. If you’ve been using it for two years, you’ve been broadcasting your DNS address for that same amount of time, I’m sorry to say.

  2. Feels like paid article. As many others. Everywhere the same – only those are best who pay for it.

    1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

      Well, Oscar, I can assure you it is not. ExpressVPN and NordVPN are very, very good and that’s why you’ll often find them high on many sites’ lists. If a serious competitor ever arose we’d be happy to put them first, but right now that’s simply not the case.

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