6 Best VPNs for Europe for Privacy, Speed and Unblocking in 2022

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Summary: 6 Best VPNs for Europe for Privacy, Speed and Unblocking in 2022

Europe is widely regarded as privacy-friendly. Most nations respect their citizens’ digital rights and freedoms. However, several nations are also members of surveillance alliances that focus on gathering citizen data. Moreover, content on popular streaming platforms can sometimes be unavailable in the European region.

A virtual private network (VPN) helps resolve both these problems. It encrypts and secures your online data from third-party snoops and also redirects your internet activity from servers located in a country of your choosing. This makes it possible to unblock content that has been geo-restricted by streaming platforms.

We tried out several leading VPNs to determine the 6 best VPNs for Europe. The list is as follows:

  1. ExpressVPN – Best overall VPN for Europe for 2022
  2. Surfshark – Fastest VPN for European servers
  3. NordVPN – Most secure VPN for Europe
  4. CyberGhost – Most cost-effective VPN for Europe
  5. Private Internet Access – Most private VPN for Europe
  6. IPVanish – Best VPN for Europe for torrenting and downloading

Want more information on using VPNs in Europe? Want to know how we put this list together? Check out the rest of the article below.

Europe is generally considered to be a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. Most nations have GDPR compliant laws that protect citizens’ privacy — both online and offline.  However, this doesn’t mean there’s no use for a virtual private network (VPN) in Europe.

Indeed, some European nations are part of surveillance coalitions like the 5/9/14 Eyes. Despite the GDPR, governments may continue to snoop on their citizens. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, protecting your data and online activity from would-be prying eyes.

A VPN also allows users to spoof their location and access unavailable or prohibitively expensive content in Europe. You’ll also need a VPN to access any public WiFi network securely, no matter where you are in the world.

While there are plenty of reasons to use a VPN in Europe, there are only a select few that provide the speed, privacy and security you’ll need in 2022. Ready to check out the best? We’ve compiled the top six VPNs for Europe and broken down the reasons you’ll need them in the article below.

The 6 Best VPNs for Europe for 2022

To determine the six best VPNs for Europe, we put several leading VPN providers through rigorous testing. Specifically, we looked at:

  • Speed and network of servers in Europe
  • Each VPN’s privacy and security features
  • Pricing
  • User-friendliness and additional features

1. ExpressVPN: The best overall VPN for Europe for 2022

Screenshot of ExpressVPN provider website homepage

Features at a glance

  • Server network in Europe: Extensive network in over 40 countries
  • Operating systems supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, consoles and Smart TVs
  • Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec and IKEv2
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is our highest-rated VPN service provider and has proven itself again as the best VPN for Europe. It excels in speed, security and usability, which are essential factors in selecting the best VPN.

Speed and Server Network in Europe

ExpressVPN consistently provides high speeds in European locations. We tested its speed on our 500 Mbps connection in the Netherlands, and it returned the following results:

  • Download speed: 322.38 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 171.11 Mbps

These speeds, paired with unlimited bandwidth, cover your daily browsing, streaming, gaming and downloading needs. Moreover, the speeds don’t dip much, even on servers further away. This means that you can stream American Netflix from Europe without lag or delays using ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN has more than 3400 server locations in over 90 countries. As a result, you’ll be able to bypass European geo-restrictions and access content available in a wide range of countries.

Privacy and security

There are hardly any VPN providers that can boast higher security and privacy standards than ExpressVPN. As we noted above, it uses industry-leading encryption protocols, such as OpenVPN and IKEv2. The other important privacy and security features that we looked at are:

  • Location: British Virgin Islands (privacy friendly)
  • No logs policy: Yes, stores only anonymized connection logs on RAM-based servers
  • Kill switch (helps prevent data leakage if VPN connection is disrupted): Yes, on Windows and Mac

Overall, ExpressVPN possesses all the key elements that help secure your internet activity and keep your privacy intact.

Usability and additional features

We looked at the VPN provider’s website, installation process, software UI, and customer support to determine usability.

ExpressVPN’s website is visually pleasing, with many images and helpful information. Purchasing a subscription and downloading the correct app for your device takes a couple of minutes, at the max.

The app itself is straightforward to use. It features a big on/off button that should automatically connect you to the best available server or your selected location. Managing other features, such as the kill switch and encryption protocols, is quickly done using the menu/navigation bar.

ExpressVPN App Screenshots New

Customer service for ExpressVPN is great. It has a live chat functionality that can be used to resolve your queries 24/7.

Pricing

Pricing is the only factor for which ExpressVPN doesn’t rank close to the top. It’s one of the most expensive VPN providers out there and offers the following plans:

  • 12 months – $6.67/month (w/ 3 months free)
  • 6 months – $9.99
  • 1 month – $12.95

Even though it’s pretty expensive, ExpressVPN more than justifies its price in terms of the security and speed it offers. You can always try it free for a month using ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try ExpressVPN

2. Surfshark: Best VPN for Europe for fast speeds

Screenshot of Surfshark VPN provider website homepage

Features at a glance

  • Server network in Europe: Ultra-fast servers in more than 40 European countries
  • Operating systems supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox and Fire TV
  • Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money-back guarantee

Surfshark has quickly established itself as one of the leading VPN providers in the world, and Europe, since its launch in 2018. It’s fast and user-friendly, which lands it a spot on our list for the best VPNs for Europe.

Speed and server network in Europe

We were pleasantly surprised to see that Surfshark is one of the only VPNs that offer fantastic speeds on servers that are close to your physical location as well as ones that are further away. Using a 500 Mbps connection in Europe, you can expect to get the following speeds:

  • Download speed: 381.40 Mbps 
  • Upload speed: 265.15 Mbps 

The dip in speed when using Surfshark is hardly noticeable. It’s a particularly great VPN to unblock Netflix, HuluDisney Plus and other similar content streaming services as the speeds hardly drop even when using a server-based in a faraway country. Surfshark is also great for torrenting and P2P downloads.

Privacy and security

Surfshark uses AES-256 bit military-grade encryption to keep your data safe and secure. It also supports WireGuard, which is a new protocol that promises fast speeds without compromising on security. Other important privacy and security related information is listed below:

  • Location: British Virgin Islands 
  • No logs policy: Yes, strict no-logs policy. Uses RAM-based servers 
  • Kill switch: Yes, on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android 

Surfshark is also one of the few VPNs to offer two-factor authentication. It also allows users to route their internet activity through two VPN servers for extra protection and security.

Usability and additional features

We found Surfshark to be a very user-friendly virtual private network provider. Its website is very intuitive and managing your account using it is a breeze. The ease of use extends to the apps as well, which have a very straightforward installation procedure. The app has also been designed keeping the comfort of users in mind. All the settings and menus are well explained and easily accessible.

Surfshark Software

 

The additional features Surfshark provides, like the AdBlocker, help boost the overall browsing experience. Customer support is quick to respond and is manned by actual people and not bots.

Pricing

You’d think that Surfshark would cost quite a bit given its stellar speed, security and usability. But, it’s actually one of the most affordable premium VPNs out there. You can pick up a subscription at the following price points:

  • 24 months – $2.21/month (with three months extra)  
  • 6 months – $6.49/month 
  • 1 month – $12.95/month 

As always, do try out Surfshark using its 30-day money-back guarantee before committing to a long-term subscription.

Try Surfshark

3. NordVPN: The best VPN for Europe for security

Screenshot of NordVPN provider website homepage

Features at a glance

  • Server network in Europe: 2500+ servers in Europe 
  • Operating systems supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, consoles, Smart TVs and even RaspberryPi
  • Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2 and NordLynx (WireGuard) 
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money-back guarantee 

NordVPN is regarded as one of the best overall VPNs out there. It is especially well-known for its exceptional security and privacy features.

Speed and server network in Europe

NordVPN used to have a reputation for slow speeds. But it has worked on this aspect and now offers speeds that are competitive with other VPNs on this list. It performed fairly well on our speed test and secured the following results:

  • Download speed: 257.20 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 388.64 Mbps

Interestingly, NordVPN is one of the few VPN services that provide higher upload speeds. It’s a good option for content creators who want fast uploads. It also provides great speeds on servers that are far away, making it a viable option for unblocking content available in other countries.

More than half of Nord’s server network is based in Europe. As a result, there’s more than enough choice to select servers that are located close to your country.

Privacy and security

While NordVPN isn’t known for its speed, it’s certainly one of the most reputable VPNs when it comes to privacy and security. It uses the most advanced protocols, such as NordLynx, to safeguard your data. The use of these advanced protocols is complemented by the following factors:

  • Location: Panama (privacy-friendly jurisdiction)
  • No logs policy: Zero logs along with the use of RAM-based servers 
  • Kill switch: Yes 

NordVPN also offers obfuscated servers, which makes it much more difficult for websites that ban or block VPNs to recognize them as such.

Usability and additional features

NordVPN’s website is both aesthetically pleasing and informative and the same can be said about its app. The map-based layout gives a great overview of servers available in a particular region. As you can see, there are quite a few servers in Europe. The app also features specialty servers for P2P downloads or additional security using Onion Over VPN. NordVPN Software Screenshot

Customer service is another area in which NordVPN really excels. We were able to find answers to most of our queries on the website itself. Where the website didn’t have an answer, we were able to get in touch with their customer support team using the live chat functionality. They helped resolve our problem in under a minute.

Pricing

NordVPN’s price is in the sweet spot between ExpressVPN’s and Surfshark’s prices. For the great security and European server network, it’s well worth it. You can pick up a subscription at the following rates:

  • 24 months –  $3.71/month  
  • 12 months – $4.92/month 
  • 1 month – $11.95/month 

NordVPN also has a free 30-day trial, so make sure to try it out before committing to a plan.

Try NordVPN

4. CyberGhost: The most cost-effective VPN for Europe

Screenshot of CyberGhost VPN provider website homepage

Features at a glance

  • Server network in Europe: Vast server network with more than 2000 servers in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands alone 
  • Operating systems supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, consoles, and smart TVs
  • Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2 and WireGuard 
  • Money-back guarantee: 45-day money-back guarantee 

If you’re looking for a VPN that has all the essential features but at a budget-friendly price, then CyberGhost should be your pick. Let’s have a look at how it does in terms of security, privacy and usability.

Speed and server network in Europe

While CyberGhost hasn’t topped our lists of the fastest VPNs overall, our speed tests turned out some seriously fast European speeds. Especially when you connect to servers located close to you. You should get the following speeds on a 500 Mbps connection:

  • Download speed: 441.67 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 214.62 Mbps

With such fast speeds, you should have no issues when it comes to streaming, torrenting and gaming. You can also connect to any of CyberGhost’s 7000+ servers to unblock a range of content.

 Privacy and security

CyberGhost uses 256-bit end-to-end encryption, which is the highest level of encryption for daily use. It’s also GDPR compliant, which means it complies with some of the highest privacy standards in the world. While it does track some user data, we feel comfortable recommending CyberGhost because of the following features:

  • Location: Romania (privacy-friendly jurisdiction) 
  • No logs policy: Yes, but no RAM-based servers 
  • Kill switch: Yes 

CyberGhost also comes with IP and DNS leak protection which prevents the accidental leakage of your personal information.

Usability and additional features

CyberGhost is one of the most user-friendly VPNs that we’ve reviewed at VPNOverview. The website does a great job of explaining what CyberGhost is and how it works. It also covers important aspects like pricing and features in great detail.

The app is great for beginners and connects to the best server location automatically. As you can see below, the home screen has no clutter or extra features, which can sometimes be intimidating for new users.

cyberghost vpn macos screenshot

Any problems you face when using CyberGhost can be easily resolved by going through the knowledge and FAQ sections on the website. If that doesn’t work, CyberGhost’s support staff is available 24/7 through live chat to resolve your problems.

Pricing

We’ve already mentioned that CyberGhost is one of the most budget-friendly VPNs for Europe. It starts at $2.17/month if you opt for the three-year plan (with three months free). The other pricing plans are:

  • 24 months – $2.17/month
  • 6 months – $6.39/month
  • 1 month –  $12.99/month

So if you want all the premium features that ExpressVPN and NordVPN offer, but at a lower price, then go for CyberGhost. Be sure to make use of its extended 45-day money-back guarantee to try it out first.

Try CyberGhost

5. Private Internet Access: The best VPN for Europe for privacy

Screenshot of Private Internet Access VPN provider website homepage

Features at a glance

  • Server network in Europe: Servers in more than 40 locations across Europe 
  • Operating systems supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux and browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Opera
  • Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and WireGuard 
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money-back guarantee 

Speed and server network in Europe

Private Internet Access (PIA) is not a VPN that’s known for its speed. This is evident from its performance on our speed test. On a 500 Mbps connection in the Netherlands, we got the following speeds:

  • Download speed: 131.72 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 202.63 Mbps

These speeds are quite slow, especially in comparison with the other VPNs on our list. That said, the speeds are still good enough to get you through most daily activities, like browsing and streaming content. Torrenting or downloading large files may prove to be a problem though.

PIA’s server network in Europe is spread across 42 locations, giving users good a lot of choices. Overall, it has 33,000 servers in more than 70 countries, which is more than enough to unblock most content you can find online.

Privacy and security

With a name like Private Internet Access, you’d expect this VPN to deliver top-of-the-line privacy and security. It doesn’t let you down there. PIA uses the best available VPN encryption protocols and even offers an optional SOCKS5 proxy. Some of the other notable privacy and security aspects to consider:

  • Location: United States (member and key country of the 5/9/14 eyes alliances) 
  • No logs policy: Yes, with all data stored on a null device (which retains no user data) 
  • Kill switch: Yes 

PIA’s location in the USA does raise concerns for some users. But our research suggests these concerns are largely unwarranted. The VPN provider has repeatedly shown that it does not possess any user data which can be handed over to law enforcement agencies.

Usability and additional features

PIA’s website is very clean, and information is presented in an easy-to-read manner. Getting a subscription and installation and downloading the app is a smooth process and takes less than 5 minutes. The app itself is a pleasure to use. While it has all the essential features, they’re all tucked away into the sidebar. A beginner can simply click on the big button in the center to connect to a nearby server.

Private Internet Access' Software

Customer support on PIA is quite helpful as well. The site has a lot of information which you can consult to resolve your problems. Their staff is also available through live chat, though it can sometimes take a while to get connected to someone.

Pricing

PIA’s stellar security and privacy features are available for a pretty low price. If you opt for the three-year plan, your monthly cost will be just $2.03. Here are the available plans:

  • 3 years – $2.03/month (with three extra months)   
  • 12 months – $3.33/month 
  • 1 month – $11.95/month

Make sure to try out their 30-day free trial and see if the service is for you.

Try Private Internet Access

6. IPVanish: Best VPN for Europe for torrenting and downloading

Screenshot of IP VANISH website homepage

Features at a glance

  • Server network in Europe: 537 servers in more than 20 countries 
  • Operating systems supported: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome and routers 
  • Encryption protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP and WireGuard 
  • Money-back guarantee: 30-day money-back guarantee 

Speed and server Network in Europe

IPVanish is a great VPN for torrents and downloads because of the great speeds it offers. Upload speeds, though, leave a little to be desired. There’s no limit on bandwidth, which is great if you’re downloading large volumes of data. Its performance on a 500 Mbps connection in the Netherlands is below:

  • Download speed: 288.12 Mbps
  • Upload speed: 95.46 Mbps

IPVanish also has a flexible torrenting policy, which makes it a great option if you download lots of music, content, and movies.

Privacy and security

IPVanish does claim to be a secure VPN provider that keeps no logs. But we have some concerns about the level of security it provides. But let’s first look at a couple of key factors that affect IPVanish’s security:

  • Location: USA 
  • No logs policy: Questionable
  • Kill switch: Yes 

As we mentioned with PIA, a VPN’s location in the US does raise concerns about surveillance and handing over of data to government agencies. Indeed, IPVanish handed over user data to law enforcement agencies in 2016, raising questions over its no-logs policy. This is why IPVanish doesn’t score very high on privacy and security.

Usability and additional features

We really like IPVanish’s website, which is easy to read while being very informative. Everything is neatly sorted into distinct categories, which makes navigating around the site quite easy. The app is well designed too. The speed tracker is a particularly useful addition. As you can see, it provides all the relevant information that a regular user needs.

IPVanish Windows Program

IPVanish’s website has an in-depth help section, which has answers to several FAQs. For personal assistance, you can choose to write to IPVanish’s team or contact them via live chat.

Pricing

IPVanish has reduced its rates and is now competitively priced. Its Black Friday deal, which was $2.92/month for 2 years, was a steal but is no longer avaialble. Instead, you can choose between the following options:

  • 12 months – $3.20/month
  • 1 month – $10.99/month

All in all, IPVanish is a good pick for someone who’s not too concerned about their privacy and loves downloading content. You can take the service for a spin using their 30-day free trial.

Try IPVanish

Why Do I Need a VPN in Europe?

Even though most European countries respect the online privacy of their citizens, a VPN has many useful applications. Some of these are:

  1. A VPN encrypts your activity and changes your IP address, which helps avoid unwanted surveillance of any kind. This is especially true if you live in a country that’s a member of surveillance alliances, like the 5/9/14 eyes.
  2. Your internet activity is routed through a random server when using a VPN. You can select a server that’s located in a country of your choice to overcome geo-restrictions, which are used by streaming companies to limit the viewability of content.
  3. Using a VPN helps you use public WiFi in a safe and anonymous manner. Public WiFi can often be infested with all kinds of malicious elements and connecting to one without a VPN can.
  4. A VPN also helps overcome any restrictions that your internet service provider or Government may have placed on downloading torrents. Some even offer specialty servers that allow you to download torrents at blazing fast speeds.

Conclusion

By now, you should have a clear idea of why it’s important to use a VPN, not just in Europe, but generally as well. ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN for Europe due to its great speed, safety and usability. Surfshark has great speeds, while NordVPN offers unparalleled security. For those on a tight budget, CyberGhost provides great value at a low price.

We highly recommend that you use the money-back guarantees offered by these VPN providers before deciding which one works best for you.

FAQs: 6 Best VPNs for Europe for Privacy Speed and Unblocking in 2021

Read our FAQ section for short and simple answers to some of the most pertinent questions about the best VPNs in Europe.

Yes, VPNs are legal in most European countries. Some countries may place restrictions on the purposes for which a VPN can be used. For more information on the legality of VPN use, check out our previous article.

Even though European nations are largely privacy-friendly, using a VPN has the following benefits:

  1. A VPN encrypts your data, protecting it from government surveillance or other prying eyes on the internet.
  2. You can use a VPN to change your location to a different country and access content that is geo-blocked.
  3. A VPN helps ensure you remain safe and anonymous when using public WiFi.
  4. Government and ISP censorship can be overcome using a VPN.

Follow the steps listed below to change your VPN location to Europe.

  1. Purchase a subscription to a reliable VPN provider. We recommend ExpressVPN due to its fast speeds, extensive server network in Europe and top-notch security features.
  2. Download and install the VPN app that’s designed for your operating system.
  3. Open the app and choose a server located in a European nation, such as Germany or France.
  4. You’ve successfully changed your VPN location to Europe.

Check out this article for more information on the best VPN providers for Europe.

ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN for Europe as per our rankings. It offers incredible speeds, a vast server network and user-friendly applications. Surfshark is a compelling alternative to ExpressVPN, thanks to its blazing fast speeds and comparatively low price.

Our article on the best VPN providers for Europe provides other options for you to choose from.

Tech journalist
Mohit is a legal and public policy researcher whose work focuses largely on technology regulation. At VPNOverview, he writes about cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies and sports events.