Back Europeans travel mostly by car


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A majority (58%) of the tourism trips that EU residents made in 2015 consisted of short breaks of maximum three nights away. The number of long trips exceeded the number of short trips in only four Member States: Greece (with 69 % of trips of at least 4 nights), Belgium (57%), Luxembourg (56%) and Malta (54%).

Three-quarters of all trips were spent in the country of residence. This was mainly the case for residents of Romania, Spain, Portugal, France and Greece, where more than 85% of all trips were domestic. Meanwhile, the majority of residents in Luxembourg, Belgium, Malta and Slovenia opted for going abroad.


Air transport accounted for half of outbound trips

Partly because Europeans tend to favour domestic tourism, private or rented vehicles were by far the main means of transport, used for nearly two-thirds (65%) of all trips. Cars were particularly predominant in Slovenia (84%), Portugal (80%), the Czech Republic (79%), Spain (77%), Bulgaria (75%), Hungary and France (both 74%).

Well behind motor vehicles, air transport accounted for 16% of all trips, railway for 11%, bus for 6% and waterways for 2%. The pattern can however be very different at Member State level. For instance, waterways were used by 39% of residents in Malta and 17% in Greece, while in Romania and Croatia residents took buses for at least 20% of their trips.

When looking at outbound trips only, the ranking is quite different, with air transport on top (used for 53% of outbound trips), ahead of motor vehicles (31%), bus (6%), waterways (5%) and railway (4%).

Main means of transport for trips made by EU residents, 2015

The source datasets can be found here (number of trips by mode of transport) and here (number of trips by length of stay)


For more information

Eurostat website section dedicated to tourism

Eurostat database on tourism

Eurostat set of Statistics Explained articles on tourism trips of European