- Resort prices fall across Europe – except in inflation-hit Turkey
- The biggest year-on-year fall of 22 per cent is in the Algarve, cheapest in the eurozone
- But Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach emerges cheapest of 14 resorts surveyed
- Powerful pound means prices have plunged by as much as 44 per cent in just two years
Almost three months after hitting a seven-year high, sterling is still holding strong against the euro and other European currencies¹ to make holidays on the continent significantly cheaper in many of the resorts surveyed for the ninth annual Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer². But, despite big price falls of up to 22 per cent in the eurozone compared with last year, it is ‘cheap as chips’ Bulgaria that again rates as best value for bargain-hunters.
Prices have plunged in its top resort Sunny Beach for the second year running and at £37.39 the barometer basket of 10 tourist staples - lunch and evening meals, drinks, suncream, insect repellent and a daily newspaper – now costs 28 per cent less than two years ago in 2013.
While Sunny Beach is the clear winner on value in the survey of 14 European destinations, the biggest price falls over the past year have been in the Algarve. A significant reduction in the cost of eating out has contributed to a 22 per cent drop in the barometer basket to £44.02 – making the Algarve eight per cent cheaper than third-placed Costa del Sol (£47.90). As a result, the Portuguese favourite has overtaken the Costa to reach the runner-up spot.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Meal prices can have a big impact on the holiday budget and make a big dent in their holiday finances for people who plan to eat out every night. In the Algarve a three-course evening meal with wine costs just over £16 for two people while lunch comes in at £12. That’s less than half the price in other eurozone resorts including Ibiza, Sorrento and Nice. With this in mind, the best advice is to do some homework in advance and be aware of what to expect before facing the bill.”
There is good news too for tourists visiting Cyprus. Successive Post Office reports have noted price cuts in its resorts and the latest barometer reveals a fall of 12.1 per cent since last spring in Paphos (£54.81) and over 30 per cent compared with 2013. As a result Cyprus has moved up to fourth place in the Holiday Costs Barometer table and emerges as best value in the Eastern Med. Prices in Paphos are now 17 per cent lower than in inflation-hit Turkey where visitors to Marmaris (£65.70) can expect to pay 21 per cent more than last year.
The Greek Islands are also looking strong contenders this year with Crete (£57.09, fifth in table) and Corfu (£62.14, sixth place) showing barometer price falls of 14.1 per cent and 19.7 per cent respectively. As with the Algarve, meal prices account for most of the saving. In Crete the cost of an evening meal for two with wine is down by 25 per cent to £25.37.
Although the Costa del Sol remains a bargain choice, Post Office Travel Money found big variations between prices charged there and in the Balearic Islands. Ibiza weighs in as the priciest at £95.65, with the 10 items costing twice as much as in the Costa del Sol. Majorca is again the cheapest of the Balearics after a 15.6 per cent fall brought prices down to £65.38. However, tourists visiting neighbouring Menorca will find it almost as cheap (£67.02). Prices there have fallen over 16 per cent in a year but have plunged 44 per cent over two years.
Barometer prices remain high in Italy and Sorrento (£101.60) is again the most expensive resorts of the 14 surveyed by Post Office Travel Money. Rising prices in the Neapolitan resort have offset the benefit of the powerful pound, which means that the barometer basket is only marginally down on last year.
Andrew Brown said: “The Holiday Costs Barometer shows that travel cash will stretch much further in most European resorts this year but it will pay to get the best rate you can when changing pounds into foreign currency. There are improved exchange rates for higher value transactions of £500 or more, the average spent abroad by UK tourists, so it will make sense to get the right amount of cash in advance. This will avoid the need to withdraw extra at an ATM abroad where plastic payments incur additional transaction charges.”
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. 30 currencies are available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches, while over 4,000 branches offer Turkish lira and 10,000 offer euros over the counter.
Holidaymakers can compare resort costs at www.postoffice.co.uk/holidaycosts, which will be updated as the year progresses. They can also download the Travel Essentials App free at the App Store or Google Play, which provides barometer information for tourists before and during travel.
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