Mussels from Mytilus edulis complex were used as biomonitors of the trace metals Fe, Mn, Pb, Zn, and Cu at 17 sampling sites to assess the relative bioavailability of metals in coastal waters around the European continent. Because accumulated metal concentrations in a given area can differ temporally, data were corrected for the effect of season before large-scale spatial comparisons were made. The highest concentration of Fe was noted in the North Sea and of Mn in the Baltic. Increased tissue concentrations of Pb were recorded in the mussels from the Bay of Biscay and the Baltic Sea. Low concentrations of metals were determined in the mussels from the Mediterranean Sea and the Northern Baltic. Relatively low geographic variations of Cu and Zn indicate that mussels are able to partially regulate accumulated body concentrations, which means Cu and Zn are, to some extent, independent of environmental concentrations.