In this paper, variational iteration method (VIM) is applied to the problem of determination of critical buckling loads for Euler columns with constant and variable cross-sections. VIM is a powerful method for the solution of nonlinear ordinary and partial differential equations and integral equations. Hence it is a suitable approach for the analysis of engineering problems where an exact solution is difficult to obtain. This study presents the application of VIM to various buckling cases and results are produced for columns with different support conditions and with different variation of cross-sections. The results obtained are accurate which show that variational iteration method is a very efficient technique in the analysis of elastic stability problems. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.