The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, who admitted her post-Delhi break had left her short of fitness, battled her way into the top ten with a lap to go before falling back to 20th.
But the 21-year-old Scot bagged enough points to push GB into second in the team event behind Portugal, who were led by race winner Jessica Augusto.
Steeplechaser Hatti Dean led the side home in seventh and was followed by Louise Damen 17th, Twell 20th, Helen Clitheroe 21st, Gemma Steel 27th and Hayley Yelling-Higham in 28th.
Twell now plans to train at altitude in Kenya ahead of March's world cross in Spain.
She said: "I've never had the chance to go to an altitude camp because of university but now that I'm free, I want to explore how it affects me."
There was joy for Glasgow starlet Elspeth Curran, who struck gold on her international debut in the under-23 race.
The Kilbarchan ace was 24th overall as Emma Pallant, in third, headed GB's charge.
Elsewhere, Curran's clubmate Derek Hawkins suffered disappointment as he trudged home in 48th place as Britain ended up in fourth spot in the under-23 men's event.
Ukrainian veteran Sergiy Lebid took a record European gold in the senior race while GB prospect Charlotte Purdue produced a dominating display to claim the junior crown.
Great Britain's strength in depth saw them top the European Cross Country Championships medal table.
Britain won the junior men's team title. While none of the British under-20 line-up came close to individual success, a solid all-round performance saw Ryan Saunders perform strongest to finish 10th while Jonny Hay and John McDonnell came 14th and 16th respectively.
Andrew Combs and Ben Connor provided support with 22nd and 23rd placings and Robbie Farnham-Rose back in 46th, which proved to be enough for Britain to retain the crown they also won last year.
Abdelaziz Merzougui took individual gold in the race.
Charlotte Purdue gave Britain a superb start by claiming individual gold in the junior women's race as well as helping to win team gold.
Purdue broke free around halfway and was a clear winner in the end while her training partner and team-mate Emelia Gorecka took bronze.
A third team gold arrived in the under-23 women's race, in which Emma Pallant finished third to take bronze.