How to buy European shares in the UK
Investors are spoilt for choice when it comes to opportunities in the European stock market. Follow our five-step plan to get started and discover some of the most popular European shares available, including their costs.
Choose how you want to buy European stocks – investing or trading
Most of the time, you can buy European shares directly, unlike many other foreign stocks which need to be dual-listed in the UK or US.
There are two ways you can get exposure to European stocks – you can either invest in them directly or you can trade them using derivatives. Here’s a quick overview of each option:
Investing in European shares
Investing in European shares involves buying the shares outright by putting up the full value of the position.
Why would I invest?
- You want to enjoy dividends
- You plan to invest over the long term
- You want to own shares outright
- You want voting rights in the companies you invest in
Trading European shares
Why would I trade?
- You can open a position with just a small initial deposit called margin
- You can make a profit whether the stock’s value goes up or down
- You don’t pay tax on spread bets1
- CFDs can be used to offset profits against losses as a tax deduction1
Understand the charges to buy European shares
If you’re looking to invest in European stocks, then you’ll pay a minimum commission of €10 to open a position. We’ll automatically convert your pounds into euros for just a 0.5% fee. There may be other charges, like custody fees, to consider.
How much does it cost to buy European shares from the UK?
|Commission per trade||Minimum charge online||Minimum charge phone|
You’ll incur our standard costs when you trade derivatives on European shares. There are no commission charges on spread bets but you’ll pay commission on CFDs.
Buying Austrian shares: what you need to know
- You can buy Austrian shares listed on the Wiener Börse AG (WBAG), also known as the Vienna Stock Exchange
- Examples of major Austrian shares include Verbund, Erste Group Bank and OMV
- You can trade Austrian shares with spread bets and CFDs, or you can buy them directly with a share dealing account
Buying Danish shares: what you need to know
- We offer Danish shares listed on the Nasdaq Copenhagen stock exchange
- Some of Denmark’s blue-chip stocks include the brewer Carlsberg, transportation company Maersk and jeweller Pandora
- You can’t invest directly in any Danish companies but you can trade them with spread bets and CFDs
Buying Dutch shares: what you need to know
- You can buy Dutch shares on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange
- Popular Dutch companies include the likes of Unilever, Heineken, Just Eat Takeaway.com and the IMCD Group
- You can buy Dutch shares with derivatives like spread bets and CFDs, and you can invest directly in them via a share dealing account
Buying Finnish shares: what you need to know
- We provide access to Finnish shares listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange
- Finnish stocks you might consider include telecommunications giant Nokia, renewable energy supplier Neste and elevator company Kone
- Take a position on Finnish stocks with a spread betting or CFD account
Buying French shares: what you need to know
- If you’re interested in French companies, we offer trading on stocks listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange
- There are a number of popular French shares to choose from, including automobile manufacturer Renault, oil and gas giant Total, food company Danone, cosmetics company L'Oréal and public relations agency Publicis Groupe
- French shares are only available to buy with spread bets and CFDs
Buying German shares: what you need to know
- You can buy German shares listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Xetra)
- There are a number of notable German stocks you can buy, including Adidas, Allianz, Deutsche Bank, SAP and Volkswagen
- You can add German shares to your portfolio with a share dealing account, or you can trade them with spread bets and CFDs
Buying Greek shares: what you need to know
- If you’re interested in exploring the Greek stock market, we offer trading on shares listed on the Athens Stock Exchange
- Well-known Greek shares you can buy include the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, the retailer Jumbo, Aegean Airlines and Alpha Bank
- Share dealing is not available on Greek shares but you can still trade them using spread bets and CFDs
Buying Irish shares: what you need to know
- We offer Irish shares listed on the Euronext Dublin stock exchange
- There are some great Irish stocks you can look at, including Ryanair, Kerry Group and the Bank of Ireland
- You can invest directly in Irish stocks with an IG share dealing account, or you can speculate on their prices with spread bets and CFDs
Buying Italian shares: what you need to know
- You can trade Italian shares listed on the Milan Stock Exchange
- If you’re interested in the Italian stock market, companies like Ferrari, Prysmian and Parmalat could be considered
- We don’t offer share dealing on Italian shares but you can still trade them with spread bets and CFDs
Buying Norwegian shares: what you need to know
- Trade Norwegian shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange
- Norway is home to many large public companies. You could look at energy giant Equinor, telecommunications company Telenor and financial services firm DNB
- You can trade Norwegian shares with a spread betting or CFD account
Buying Portuguese shares: what you need to know
- You can trade shares listed on the Euronext Lisbon stock exchange
- We offer shares on a number of major Portuguese companies, including renewable energy provider EDP Renovaveis, natural gas distributor Galp Energia, catering company Ibersol and multi-industry holding company Sonae Capital
- You can buy Portuguese shares with spread bets and CFDs. However, you won’t be able to invest in them directly
Buying Spanish shares: what you need to know
- If you’re interested in the Spanish stock market, we offer shares listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange
- Some of Spain’s biggest companies are power provider Iberdrola, fashion retailer Inditex, financial services company Santander and telecommunications operator Telefonica
- Share dealing on Spanish stocks is not available on our platform, but you can still make a profit by correctly predicting their price movements with spread bets and CFDs
Buying Swedish shares: what you need to know
- We offer trading on Swedish shares listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange
- Swedbank, AstraZeneca, Ericsson and Volvo are just some of the blue-chip shares you could consider trading
- You can take long and short positions on Swedish companies using derivatives like spread bets and CFDs
Buying Swiss shares: what you need to know
- If any Swiss companies have caught your attention, you can trade shares in those that are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange
- Well-known Swiss companies include food conglomerate Nestlé, drug makers Novartis and Roche, insurer Zurich and luxury goods company Richemont
- You can speculate on the share price of Swiss stocks with spread bets and CFDs, but you won’t be able to invest in them directly
Buying European shares summed up
- You can invest in or trade European shares if you’re interested in the Euro market
- Open a shares account with IG which allows you to trade derivatives, invest in shares or do both
- Charges on buying European shares start from a minimum of €10
- There are many popular and well-performing stocks in European markets to choose from
- You can buy or trade shares in a number of European markets, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland
1Tax laws are subject to change and depend on individual circumstances. Tax law may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.
Publication date :
This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.
Explore the markets with our free course
Learn how shares work – and discover the wide range of markets you can spread bet on – with IG Academy's free ’introducing the financial markets’ course.
Put learning into action
Try out what you’ve learned in this shares strategy article risk-free in your demo account.
Ready to trade shares?
Put the lessons in this article to use in a live account – upgrading is quick and easy.
- Trade on over 16,000 popular global stocks
- Protect your capital with risk management tools
- React to breaking news with out-of-hours trading on 70 key US stocks
Inspired to trade?
Put your new knowledge into practice. Log in to your account now.
You might be interested in…
Find out what charges your trades could incur with our transparent fee structure.
Discover why so many clients choose us, and what makes us a world-leading provider of spread betting and CFDs.
Stay on top of upcoming market-moving events with our customisable economic calendar.