Ticks harbour and, in many cases transmit to their vertebrate hosts, a wide variety of pathogenic, apathogenic and endosymbiotic microorganisms. Recent molecular analyses have greatly increased the range of bacterial species potentially associated with ticks, but in most cases cannot distinguish between surface contaminants, microorganisms present in the remains of the previous blood meal and truly intracellular or tissue-associated bacteria. Here we demonstrate how tick cell lines, primary cell cultures and organ cultures can be used to isolate and propagate bacteria from within embryonic and adult Ixodes ricinus, Dermacentor marginatus and Dermacentor reticulatus ticks originating from different parts of Europe. We isolated and partially characterised four new strains of Spiroplasma from The Netherlands, Spain and Poland, two new strains of Rickettsia raoultii from Russia and Poland, one strain of Rickettsia slovaca from Spain and a species of Mycobacterium from the UK. Comparison with published sequences showed that the Spiroplasma strains were closely related to Spiroplasma ixodetis and the Mycobacterium isolate belonged to the Mycobacterium chelonae complex, while the R. raoultii and R. slovaca strains were similar to previously-validated species.