Krakow has pulled ahead of its Eastern European rivals to emerge as the cheapest city for a bargain break this spring, according to the 10th Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer.
The survey of prices by the UK’s largest provider of holiday money reveals that Eastern Europe still dominates the list of best value capitals for UK tourists – taking the top seven places in a barometer comparing 36 cities.
At £165 for 12 typical city break items - including a range of drinks, an evening meal for two with wine, two nights’ three star weekend accommodation, sightseeing and city transport – Krakow has taken the top spot in the City Costs Barometer for the first time. Prices in Poland’s second city were less than a third those in Amsterdam (£535), the most expensive city surveyed. The high cost of accommodation in Amsterdam - £365 for two nights, up over £100 on 2017 – accounts for the 27 per cent increase in its barometer total. However, prices for meals, drinks and other items were lower than in long-time rivals Paris and Venice.
Although prices are almost 19 per cent higher than a year ago, Vilnius (£166) was a close runner-up to Krakow. Another Baltic capital, third-placed Riga (£172), continues to offer by far the cheapest accommodation at £62 for two nights. By comparison, prices in the third Baltic capital, Tallinn (15th, £252), are up by over 20 per cent for the second year running, making the city 53 per cent more expensive than Vilnius.
Elsewhere in Eastern Europe Warsaw (4th, £181), Budapest (5th, £184) and Prague (7th, £200) remain cities where thrifty tourists will get more for their money, even though sterling has slipped in value by between 1.2 and 7.7 per cent against their currencies since last spring2.
Athens (8th, £200) has regained its place as the cheapest city in Western Europe, overtaking Lisbon (9th, £209), where prices have risen 29 per cent. Meals in the Greek capital (£37.11 for a meal for two with wine) were significantly cheaper than in any of the other cities surveyed. By comparison, overall barometer prices were over twice as high in the two most expensive Eurozone cities surveyed – Venice (32nd, £423) and Amsterdam (36th, £535).
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four currency transactions, said: “If you are planning a city break this year, do your homework carefully and check prices for key items like meals, drinks and sightseeing before booking because there are big price variations across Europe. Accommodation will make a big difference too as we found that the cost of staying over in a city can vary by hundreds of pounds.
“The exchange rate is definitely a factor to consider before booking a break. Sterling has strengthened against several European currencies, which means even more expensive cities like Stockholm and Reykjavik are cheaper than a year ago. However, tourists looking for a bargain break should consider cities in Eastern Europe, especially those in Poland or the Baltic States.”