Flying for less to Eastern Europe: Using Ryanair’s obscure destinations to your advantage

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Ryanair
When you want to get to Eastern Europe for a good price, think about flying Ryanair to alternative locations near your final destination. Photo: Andres Perillo

The budget airline Ryanair is known for saving travelers big bucks. But a lot of frequent flyers complain that Ryanair’s network of remote airports can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere if you book without paying attention. However, those with their eyes open and a map close at hand may find that a cheap flight to one of the airline’s obscure bases might actually be an advantage. Even when you combine the cost of your flight to the outlying location with the price of the additional ground travel, Ryanair can still offer an affordable alternative to direct flights on major carriers.

With that in mind, we did a little research for getting to Eastern Europe for as cheap as possible. Many times Ryanair might fly into a different country than your final destination in these alternatives. But don’t let that stop you. It may seem out of the way, but in these cases, the ground transportation makes them all very accessible. Here are a few examples of Ryanair-inspired routings to points further eastward if you’re going to:

St. Petersburg, Russia

Alternative: Lapeenranta, Finland
From Dusseldorf Weeze, Barcelona Girona or Milan Bergamo, you can fly to this smaller airport in Finland.

Ground transport
From Lapeenranta, catch the train or bus to St. Petersburg.

Lvov, Ukraine

Alternative 1: Rzeszow, Poland
From Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Eastern Midlands, Barcelona Girona, Glasgow, Luton, London Stansted, Manchester, Oslo Rygge or Trapani you can fly direct to Rzeszow.

Alternative 2: Lublin, Poland
You can fly to Lublin from Dublin, Liverpool or London Stansted.

Ground transport
From either destination you can catch a train or bus to Lvov.

Moldova or the Black Sea

Alternative: Constanta, Romania
You can fly here from Milan Bergamo or Pisa.

Ground transport
Travelers can take a bus, train or even a ferry northward or southward to their final destination.

Locations in the Balkans

Alternative 1: Osijek, Croatia
From London Stansted you can reach this small Croatian city. Then you can easily connect onwards to points in southern Hungary, Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Alternative 2: Podgorica, Montenegro
You can fly from Brussels Charleroi or London Stansted and then connect via bus to Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia or even southern Croatia.

Budget Airline Tips

Do you have any shortcuts you use when flying budget airlines? Let us know! And for more information on cheap airline travel, we have a plenty of handy articles including an introduction to low-cost carriersa budget airline FAQ and the pros and cons of flying cheap.

About the author

Hilary Bown

An academic by training, a writer by day, and a Cheapo by heritage, Hilary Bown's meagre means and insatiable travel appetite have helped her sharpen her "no-budget travel" skills across the European continent over the past decade. At home in Berlin or on an adventure abroad, you'll find her in sandals, riding the bus, reading novels while walking, drinking the local wine, writing out postcards with a felt-tip pen, and browsing the shelves of the supermarket and hardware store. Find her unique blend of travel adventure and tested advice at Less Than a Shoestring.

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2 thoughts on “Flying for less to Eastern Europe: Using Ryanair’s obscure destinations to your advantage”

  1. .
    These are really excellent ideas in theory and it’s always good to check out those alternative airport options. But we wonder if some of these are just too distant from the suggested end-destination to appeal to any but the most seasoned travellers.

    At the author suggests, one can of course fly to Constanta (in Romania) with a view to continuing to Moldova. But the distances are quite large. There is an overnight bus from Constanta to Chisinau (which runs nightly in summer, though less often in winter), but it’s not a bundle of fun. For greater comfort there’s a good once-a-day train option, but the journey takes just under 19 hours.

    Using Lapeenranta as a gateway for St Petersburg is indeed a good idea, but again it ain’t quick or cheap. There is no direct train from Lapeenranta to StP, but there’s a useful connection via Kouvola, for example leaving Lap at 8.38 am, arriving StP at 2.36 pm. You need to book in advance, and the one-way fare is about €70. Or, for a faster option, taxi from Lappeenranta Airport to Vainikkala station (about €35) from where there are express trains four times each day to StP (again book in advance, one-way fare €47). There are also direct buses from Lappeenranta to StP, one to three times daily, one-way for €31.

    In a similar vein, it can make perfect sense to fly to Lublin or Rzeszow as a gateway to L’viv in western Ukraine. But bear in mind that the once-daily train connection from Lublin to L’viv takes over 11 hours. Rzeszow is hardly better and the timings on the return from L’viv to Rzeszow are gruelling. The once-daily direct train gets into Rzeszow at 3.40 in the morning. Buses are however better. For example, you can leave Lublin by bus at 4.30 pm and be in L`viv before midnight.

    All in all, we’d say it’s worth checking onward ground transportation options thoroughly before committing to a flight to an airport that is far distant from your destination. It could be that any savings in plane fare are gobbled up in train, bus and taxi fares.

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