This paper provides empirical evidence that helps to answer several key questions relating to the extent of urban sprawl in Europe. Building on the monocentric city model, this study uses existing data sources to derive a set of panel data for 282 European cities at three time points (1990, 2000 and 2006). Two indices of urban sprawl are calculated that, respectively, reflect changes in artificial area and the levels of urban fragmentation for each city. These are supplemented by a set of data on various economic and geographical variables that might explain the variation of the two indices. Using a Hausman-Taylor estimator and random regressors to control for the possible correlation between explanatory variables and unobservable city-level effects, we find that the fundamental conclusions of the standard monocentric model are valid in the European context for both indices. Although the variables generated by the monocentric model explain a large part of the variation of artificial area, their explanatory power for modelling the fragmentation index is relatively low.