Background This work presents relative survival estimates regarding urinary tract tumours among adult patients (age ≥ 15 years) diagnosed in Europe. It reports on survival estimates of cases diagnosed in 2000-2007, and on survival time trends from 1999-2001 to 2005-2007. Methods Data on 677,340 adult urinary tract tumour patients, (429,154 cases of invasive and non-invasive bladder and 248,186 cases of invasive kidney cancers) diagnosed between 2000 and 2007 were provided by 86 population-based cancer registries from 29 European countries. The complete approach was used to estimate survival in 2000-2007; the period approach was used to estimate survival over time. Results The age-standardised 5-year relative survival for patients with kidney tumours diagnosed in Europe during 2000-2007 was 60%. The best prognosis was observed in Southern and Central Europe and prognosis improved in all regions along the time period. For invasive and non-invasive patients with bladder tumours combined the age-standardised 5-year relative survival in Europe was 68%. The best prognosis was observed in Southern and Northern Europe. However, in Scotland and The Netherlands the relative survival was significantly lower, although the survival estimates for these two countries were based on invasive tumours only. Conclusions Differences in registration practices affect comparisons of survival values between European countries, especially in patients with urinary bladder cancers. The between-country variation in survival is influenced by the varying use of diagnostic investigation in urinary tract tumours. Further data on stage at diagnosis can help to elucidate the influence of diagnostic intensity or early diagnosis on the survival patterns.