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Budapest Is Best Value for City Break Celebrations

Press release   •   May 22, 2015 00:01 BST

  • Drinks cost half as much in Budapest as in seven other top cities popular for celebration city breaks
  • Amsterdam and Ibiza are cheapest bets away from Eastern Europe
  • Dublin is most expensive of 10 surveyed by Post Office® Travel Money

Growing numbers of trips to European cities to mark a wedding, birthday or anniversary help explain why city breaks have overtaken beach holidays as the top choice for UK holidaymakers¹ - especially among younger people. However, according to a new survey by Post Office Travel Money, the cost of an evening out on a celebratory short break can vary vastly - depending whether it is in Barcelona’s Ramblas, Dublin’s Temple Bar or the old towns of Eastern Europe.

Post Office Travel Money research found there is no beating Budapest for the price of drinks in its City Costs Drinks Barometer of 10 popular destinations², with Prague and Riga also eclipsing the cities surveyed in Western Europe.

Prices for 10 drinks, ranging from beer, wine and champagne to cocktails, were surveyed in popular tourist haunts. Budapest’s total of £19.76 was less than half the price charged for a basket of drinks in seven of the other 10 cities surveyed.

Prague (£25.91) was runner up to Budapest – although cocktail-lovers can shave 40p off each drink in the Czech capital. While the cost of a Mojito, Cosmopolitan or Margarita averaged £3.78 in Budapest, it fell to £3.38 in Prague. Another Eastern European city, Latvian capital Riga was third cheapest in the survey (£34.03).

Away from Eastern Europe, traditional city break favourite Amsterdam is likely to be the cheapest option for a celebration short break. At £41.27 for the 10 drinks, it was over 13 per cent cheaper than Paris (£47.59), the number one city break destination and a popular choice among young women.

Party capital Ibiza (£43.11) also scored well in the survey. However, the size of the bar bill depends what you drink. A gin and tonic (£6.69) was more expensive in Ibiza Town than in any of the other cities surveyed and a cocktail (£7.43) was among the highest priced.

The two most expensive cities surveyed were Dublin and Barcelona. At £53.42, the in-vogue Spanish city presents a polarised picture. It was the most expensive for four drinks including cocktails (£7.45) and Southern Comfort (£11.17). However, stick to beer or lager (both £2.23), wine (£2.61 a glass) or champagne (£3.91 a glass) and the prices charged were among the cheapest in the survey.

The opposite was true of Dublin (£55.65), priciest in the Post Office survey and the most expensive for five of the drinks: beer, lager, wine, champagne and dry martini. A glass of champagne costs £8.92, around four times as much as in Budapest or Prague.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The city break is now the king of holidays, especially among under-35s. 50 per cent of them took a city break last year and one of the key reasons is the surging value of sterling, which is making European cities very cheap. Over the past three years we have seen a huge increase in the numbers of younger people coming into our branches and changing large amounts of money into foreign currency for city break trips as well as making those purchases online.

“This has led to big increases in sales of currency for the best value cities. For example, we have seen growth of 163 per cent in sales of the Hungarian forint since 2010 on the back of cheap prices in Budapest and the rising value of sterling.”

“However, air fares to Eastern Europe may cost more than to cities closer to home so it will pay to do some homework and calculate the cost of flights, accommodation and drinks before booking!”

Over 10,000 Post Office branches offer euros offer the counter while the Hungarian forint and Czech koruna are among 30 currencies available on demand at 1,600 larger branches. Up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery.

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