Using Lagrangian simulations, based on circulation models over three different hydroclimatic periods in the last 45 years in the North Atlantic Ocean, the trans-Atlantic migration of the European eel Anguilla anguilla leptocephali was simulated via the passive drift of particles released in the spawning area. Three different behaviours were modelled: drifting at fixed depth, undergoing a vertical migration or choosing the fastest currents. Simulations included mortality hypotheses to estimate a realistic mean migration duration and relative survival of A. anguilla larvae. The mean migration duration was estimated as 21 months and the mortality rate as 3.8 per year, i.e. < 0.2% of A. anguilla larvae may typically survive the trans-Atlantic migration.