5 Best Free VPNs for Europe to Stay Anonymous in 2022
I loved backpacking through Europe, but it was frustrating to realize I couldn’t use the same apps and sites in different countries. I wasn’t willing to spend on a premium VPN subscription while traveling on a budget, so I ran some tests to find the best free VPNs for Europe.
There’s just one problem — most VPNs have slow servers and data limits that make streaming and other online activities impossible. Others use weak security and questionable data logging policies. I could only find a few VPNs that I’d trust with my online safety.
You’re better off with an affordable premium VPN like ExpressVPN to get consistently fast speeds and safe connections. Since it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can also subscribe to ExpressVPN with no risk.
Quick Guide: Best Free VPNs for Europe in 2022
- ExpressVPN — The best security on high-speed servers across Europe and a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you buy ExpressVPN with confidence.
- CyberGhost — Specialized streaming servers for instant access to European TV and movie channels, but it has fewer advanced security features than ExpressVPN.
- ProtonVPN — The fastest entirely free VPN I tested with no data limits, but the Netherlands is the only European country where it has free servers.
- Hotspot Shield — Has solid security basics for anonymous browsing in Europe, but it makes you watch occasional ads.
- Hide.me — You get 10GB of free data per month, but you have to upgrade for the strongest bonus features.
The Best Free VPNs for Europe — Updated 2022
- Over 3000+ servers in more than 94 countries, including 60+ countries in Europe
- Connect safely and anonymously in Europe with 256-bit military-grade encryption, a no-logs policy, an automatic kill switch, and TrustedServer technology
- 24/7 support via live chat, an online ticket system, and extensive online guides
- Connect up to 5 devices in Europe simultaneously
- 30-day money-back guarantee
While it isn’t truly free, ExpressVPN has more robust security and privacy features than any free VPN I tested and is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. In addition to a military-grade 256-bit cipher, ExpressVPN’s no-logging policy ensures your data is never recorded — so third parties can’t see it. ExpressVPN also includes security bonuses like TrustedServer technology. TrustedServers are RAM-based, which means they are erased as soon as they’re unplugged, making it pointless to try to seize your data.
TrustedServer technology made me feel safe using ExpressVPN with torrenting sites. My downloads were super-fast as well — I tested speeds on servers in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey, and I always got speeds over 200Mbps. It was faster than almost any of the top VPNs on the market no matter which server I used.
ExpressVPN’s excellent unblocking capabilities are due to its proprietary Lightway tunneling protocol, which was designed in-house and optimized for streaming. It works with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and DAZN in different countries throughout Europe. Local and national TV channels like RTL Play, Servus TV, Canal+, Moldova 1, Rai Play, C MORE Sweden, SRF TV, YLE Areena, and others also play content in HD with just 1-2 seconds of buffering.
To maximize streaming performance when there’s no need for added security, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature unblocks TV and movie sites with even faster speeds than its standard servers. MediaStreamer still changes your IP address — but without encryption, your data can move much faster. It also works on devices that ExpressVPN doesn’t have native apps for (like Playstation and Xbox).
The only real con is that it isn’t fully free, but all its plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. The $6.67/month option comes with a 49% discount, but if you don’t want to subscribe for that long, ExpressVPN also has a solid 1-month plan.
It’s a great value for its top-notch bonus security features, consistently fast speeds, and reliability, and it doesn’t limit you with the annoying restrictions of free VPN apps. I still recommend you use ExpressVPN in Europe — if you decide it isn’t the right fit, you can ask for your money back via 24/7 live chat. An agent approved my request immediately, and I had the full refund in my bank account in 2 days.
ExpressVPN is compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, routers, Fire TV Stick, some Smart TVs, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, and more.
ExpressVPN unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, DAZN, RTL Play, Servus TV, Canal+, Moldova 1, Rai Play, C MORE Sweden, SRF TV, MolotovTV, Zatoo DE, Mediaset, ORF, and more.
August 2022 Update! ExpressVPN has dropped prices for a limited time to a crazy $6.67 per month for the 1-year plan (you can save up to 49%) + 3 months free! This is a limited offer so be sure to grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- More than 8200 servers in over 91 countries, with over 50 European locations
- Includes 256-bit military-grade encryption, no-logs servers, and an internet kill switch
- 24/7 live chat, an online ticket system, and knowledge base support
- Connect to servers in Europe on up to 7 devices at once
- 45-day money-back guarantee
CyberGhost’s menu of specialized streaming servers is designed for instant access to top local channels in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and other countries in Europe. And while it isn’t free, you can use CyberGhost for free by using its 45-day money-back guarantee policy.
The CyberGhost team constantly upgrades its optimized servers to be able to unblock regional Netflix content. It also has options for channels like ORF, Servus TV, TF1, MolotovTV, Canal+, 7TV, Zatoo DE, Rai Play, Mediaset, C MORE Sweden, SRF TV, and others.
Since CyberGhost allows up to 7 simultaneous connections, I decided to test its streaming capabilities by watching HD YouTube videos on all 7 at once. I was pleased to find that there was no lag even when watching on CyberGhost’s maximum device limit. Even my torrent downloads and uploads remained fast when I had all 7 connected simultaneously.
To keep your torrents and other online activities anonymous in Europe, CyberGhost uses 256-bit military-grade encryption. It also has a no-logging policy to ensure there’s no record of your real identity, location, and online activities. If you are using an unsteady network, CyberGhost’s kill switch will shut off your internet and prevent any of your private data from leaking. There’s even a Romanian NoSpy server network that erases all traces of your connection — not even CyberGhost will know you used its service.
The one slight negative to CyberGhost is that it doesn’t have any other security bonuses as ExpressVPN does. However, it has the essentials and is headquartered in privacy-friendly Romania, where the government doesn’t conduct web surveillance.
To make sure you can use CyberGhost in Europe for free, I redeemed its 45-day money-back guarantee. After testing its servers in Europe, I contacted a support agent via 24/7 live chat to ask for my refund. I was approved almost immediately. I received the full amount of money in just 3 days.
CyberGhost is compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, Fire TV Stick, some Smart TVs, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation, Xbox, and more.
CyberGhost unblocks: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Go, RTL Play, Servus TV, Canal+, Moldova 1, Rai Play, C MORE Sweden, SRF TV, MolotovTV, Zatoo DE, Mediaset, ORF, and more.
August 2022 Update! You can subscribe to CyberGhost for as low as $2.29 per month + get extra 3 months free with the 3-year plan (save up to 82%)! This is a limited offer so grab it now before it's gone. See more information on this offer here.
- 1700+ servers in over 63 countries, with free servers in the Netherlands
- Has 256-bit military-grade data encryption, a kill switch, and a strict no-logging policy
- Get support via fast-replying email agents
- Use on 1 device, or 10 devices if you upgrade
- 30-day refund policy that only makes you pay for the days you’ve used
ProtonVPN has much faster speeds than the other free VPNs I tested. On its server in the Netherlands, I got results between 151-174Mbps — fast enough that I didn’t notice a difference compared to when I wasn’t connected to a VPN at all.
Servers in all 3 free locations could unblock local Netflix in the US, Netherlands, and Japan. The server in the Netherlands also allowed instant access to lag-free live TV broadcasts on RTV Rijnmond, AT5, RTV UTrecht, and NH Nieuws. These sites worked in spite of ProtonVPN’s website saying the free version doesn’t support streaming.
This free VPN has a solid reputation for strong security and its open-source apps which have been audited by cybersecurity experts. It also gives you the same 256-bit military-grade encryption on the free version that you get when you pay to use ProtonVPN premium. Other essentials like an automatic kill switch and no-logs servers are also included to protect your data privacy.
I found that ProtonVPN has some nice security extras as well. One is Perfect Forward Secrecy, which gives you a new encryption key every time you connect. Perfect Forward Secrecy hides your data even if a previous session is somehow compromised.
The main con to ProtonVPN is that the Netherlands is the only country in Europe where its free version has servers. But with blazing-fast speeds and zero ads or data limits, it’s one of the top free VPNs available.
However, you still have to subscribe to ProtonVPN to get full speeds and access its entire network of servers in over 63 countries in Europe and abroad. While it doesn’t have a full refund policy, you can get your money back for the days you didn’t use it within a 30-day period starting when you bought your plan.
ProtonVPN is compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and routers.
ProtonVPN unblocks: Netflix US, Netflix Japan, Netflix Netherlands, RTV Rijnmond, AT5, RTV UTrecht, NH Nieuws, and more.
- 1800+ servers in over 115+ different countries, with 1 free server
- 256-bit Military-grade encryption on servers that keep zero data logs
- Technical support is available via an online ticket system and FAQs
- Connect 1 device at once or up to 5 if you get the Plus plan
- 45-day full refund policy for paid subscriptions
Hotspot Shield’s top-shelf security and privacy features make it a solid choice for secure browsing and email in Europe. Your data is hidden by 256-bit military-grade encryption, while a no-logs policy and an automatic kill switch give you all the essentials for privacy protection.
To make sure it wasn’t revealing my private information with DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 leaks, I ran some tests. All my data leak tests detected Hotspot Shield’s free encrypted server, proving that the VPN kept my real IP address and other data anonymous.
There’s also an auto-protect option that keeps you safe on public WiFi in Europe by activating the VPN by default for certain networks. This prevents your devices from connecting to unsecured WiFi or decoy hotspots set up by hackers to steal your data. This feature made it feel safer to use Hotspot Shield while I was traveling through Europe.
The VPN’s proprietary Hydra protocol gives Hotspot Shield solid speeds around 46Mbps on its free server. While it was fast enough for smooth 4K streaming, the 500MB free data limit is a little too low for streaming. However, it’s still plenty of data for light browsing, email, and general app use.
The biggest con to Hotspot Shield is that it doesn’t work with most streaming sites and includes ads so that the VPN can make money without charging for the service. Even with the occasional ad interruptions, its military-grade encryption makes it a solid choice to stay secure in Europe.
If you want to use the full-featured version without any restrictions, there’s a 7-day trial of Hotspot Shield premium that’s valid for all new users. However, all of its unlimited paid plans come with a 45-day money-back guarantee. You can try Hotspot Shield for Europe risk-free and decide for yourself.
Hotspot Shield is compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Hotspot Shield unblocks: YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, and more.
- Over 2000 servers in more than 75 countries including Germany and the Netherlands
- Protects your data with military-grade 256-bit encryption and a no-logging network
- 24/7 live chat support plus online guides and a ticket system
- Connect on 10 simultaneous devices
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Hide.me gives you a large 10GB monthly data limit — enough for high-bandwidth online activities like watching videos and uploading to social media. It also includes servers in Germany and the Netherlands that can seamlessly unblock the local web in either country.
Unlike a lot of free VPNs, Hide.me doesn’t compromise on security for its free service. All servers use 256-bit military-grade encryption and never log any of your data. There’s also an automatic kill switch and split tunnel, which lets you maintain VPN protection for some apps while exempting others. Split tunneling is handy if you want to check the balance of your local bank while accessing a site from another country.
My speeds on Hide.me’s free servers consistently impressed, averaging over 115Mbps. It was fast enough for quick file sharing, seamless social media, and even reliable 4K streaming of European TV shows and movies.
During streaming tests, servers in Germany and the Netherlands unblocked RTL+, Das Erste, ProSieben, AT5, Omroep Flevoland, L1, and other regional and local channels. However, the free app can’t unblock European Netflix content or ZDF.
The main issue with Hide.me is that a lot of useful features are reserved only for premium (like Hide.me Bolt, a handy speed accelerator). Other than that it’s a solid choice for Europe — and if you decide to upgrade to get all features, a 30-day money-back guarantee makes it risk-free to try Hide.me out with no risk.
Hide.me is compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.
Hide.me unblocks: Netflix US, RTL+, Das Erste, ProSieben, AT5, Omroep Flevoland, L1, and more.
How to Choose the Best Free VPN for Europe
I tested the top VPNs on the market to find the best free options to use in Europe. The following are key features they offer:
- Strong security and privacy features — Make sure your chosen free VPN has 256-bit military-grade encryption. You also need a strict no-logs policy, an automatic kill switch, and leak protection to stop DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC connections from revealing your identity.
- Global server network — You get faster connections on nearby servers, so I looked for free VPNs with as many servers in Europe and abroad as possible. Larger networks also means more IP address options for unblocking local websites.
- Fast speeds — I ran extensive speed tests to find out which VPNs had the fastest performance for data-intensive uses like bufferless HD streaming and video chat. I also checked speeds at different times of day to see if server crowding caused slowdowns.
- Apps for popular devices — The top free VPNs have user-friendly apps that work just as well on mobile, desktop, and other device types. I also tried to find the free VPN providers that have the fewest restrictions on data, speeds, and other features.
- Customer support — The best free VPNs’ customer support teams are available via 24/7 live chat, or an online ticket system with fast response time. Some also have free trials of their premium version and full money-back guarantees, making them some of the best paid monthly VPNs you can buy.
3 Easy Steps to Get a Free VPN in Europe
- Download a VPN. I prefer ExpressVPN since it has the best security and unblocks most sites in Europe. Plus, paid plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Connect to a server. Find a server close to your real location to get the fastest speeds.
- That’s it! Now you can safely use apps and websites in Europe without being tracked.
FAQs on VPNs for Europe
Is it safe to use a free VPN in Europe?
Yes — but only if you use one of the top free VPNs for Europe, since I made sure they invest in the proper security and privacy features. Most other free VPN providers use outdated protocols or lack security basics, and others collect your data to sell it to advertisers. Aside from that, many free VPNs are just too restrictive to be useful or can’t unblock European sites reliably.
The worst free VPN services are scams that put malware onto your devices. It doesn’t make sense to put your online safety at risk when I already found the top safe free VPNs for Europe. You can even use a premium VPN like CyberGhost for free if you take advantage of its 45-day money-back guarantee policy.
That way, you can use CyberGhost while you’re in Europe and then get a full refund when you’re done. An agent processed my request in 2 minutes via 24/7 live chat, and I had my money back a few days later.
Is using a VPN legal in Europe?
Yes, VPNs are legal throughout Europe. This includes all of this list’s top free Europe VPNs. However, VPN use is restricted in Turkey — and certain content is against the law to access. But regardless of whether you’re in Turkey or elsewhere, you’re not allowed to hide criminal activities or access illegal content with a VPN.
Can I use a proxy in Europe instead of a VPN?
You can, but you can’t count on proxies to be safe or to unblock local content. That’s why I recommend you choose a top free VPN instead. Proxy IP servers get banned constantly on streaming sites and apps, and they have networks that clog up with users and slow down easily — even when you use a paying service.
Worse yet, proxies don’t have military-grade encryption, no-logs policies, or other basic essential features to keep your connection safe and your data private. That’s why it’s much better to use a trustworthy free VPN, especially when top VPNs like CyberGhost have money-back guarantees that let you use them without paying.
There’s no reason to gamble your online safety with a proxy. Just try CyberGhost for free for Europe for 45 days, then get a refund on your plan.
How do I check if my VPN works?
You can make sure you’ve found a working VPN by using this free IP address checker. If you see a location on the map that matches the location of the server you’ve connected to, it means the VPN is working. Otherwise, you’ll have to reconnect and try again.
Get a Free VPN (That Works) for Europe Today!
I hate that the sites and apps I can access change as I travel throughout Europe. A VPN solves the problem, but the best premium monthly VPNs are at their most costly if you get a short-term subscription. And free VPN providers aren’t usually safe or reliable, interrupting your experience with ads and restricting you to slow speeds and limited data. I had to test over 12 of them to find the few that keep me safe online, are fast enough for streaming, and can access sites dependably.
Although it doesn’t have a 100% free plan, ExpressVPN is the best for Europe since it has the strongest security, a huge server network, and can access almost any geo-restricted site. All its plans are also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you buy ExpressVPN with confidence and get a refund if you decide you don’t like it.