Half-term holiday costs rise as pound slumps against euro

Half-term holiday costs rise as pound slumps against euro


Families escaping Britain for a sunshine holiday in Europe this autumn can expect to pay more for their half-term break as the pound slumps against the euro, new research has revealed.

A survey by Post Office Travel Money has found a sterling slump of 5.2 per cent against the euro, meaning tourists get around £27 less euros than a year ago if changing £500.

Further research revealed that Spain's Costa del Sol is the best destination for keeping costs down, where both resort costs and package prices are low.

By combining the cost of a half-term family holiday package (two adults and two children) with meals and drinks for one week, the Costa del Sol was the cheapest of six popular European half term destinations at a cost of £1,108.

The Algarve was close behind with £1,137, just £29 more expensive. The other four destinations surveyed – Majorca, Marmaris, Ayia Napa and Tenerife – cost between £1,210 and £2,186 for a family of four.

Meals and drinks were also low in the Algarve and Tenerife. Eating out costs more in Marmaris, but lower package holiday prices make the top Turkish resort less expensive (£1,395) than Ayia Napa (£1,619) or Tenerife (£2,186).

Families planning a half-term holiday to Marmaris will find their pounds stretch further as sterling currently buys 7.6 per cent more Turkish lira than a year ago – the equivalent of over £35 on a £500 exchange.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: "Our new research proves just how important it is for families to check all costs when it comes to choosing a last-minute half term destination. The combination of low resort costs and cheap packages make the Costa del Sol best value overall, but with holiday prices changing all the time, the Algarve and Majorca are still worthy contenders this half term."

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Half-term holiday costs rise as pound slumps against euro

Autumn in Finland is especially breathtaking and defined by the spectacular golden explosion in the northern forests, where the ground is covered by fallen leaves and dotted with a collection of gourmet woodland gifts. 'Ruska', as the season is referred to, is when you can enjoy the abundant forests and pick berries and mushrooms for free under the Finland's 'everyman's right', which allows open access to forests for foraging regardless of land ownership. Nuuksio National Park offers a three-hour guided nature hikes taking in the best picking places for mushrooms and berries, which costs 75€ per person including transport from Helsinki or Espoo.

Ever wondered what food cooked inside a volcano tastes like? Head for the undiscovered archipelago the Azores, where you can sample cuisine from a Portuguese village located inside the crater of a sleeping volcano. In Furnas, on the island of Sao Miguel, there are hot springs spewing from the volcanic landscape and you can even witness your meal being pulled from the ground in a ceramic pot before being served to you. Azorean restaurant Tonys serves the island's traditional slow-cooked dish Cozido Das Furnas, which is a hearty stew of local sausage, beef and vegetables. Stay in Furnas within walking distance of Tonys for a week with Azores Choice from £3,905 for a family of four, departing in October, including accommodation in a villa, return flights, car hire and a selection of activities.

The first place you probably think of when you hear 'fall' is New England, but there are plenty of other destinations to experience the spectacular scenes of autumn in North America - and without the crowds. New Brunswick is one of Atlantic Canada's Maritime Provinces and a wonderful place to see the spectacular colours of the season. You'll fall in love with the gorgeous landscape of blazing foliage that you can experience by hiking, cycling or kayaking. Spot whales, visit the farmers markets with fresh autumn flavours and take part in the Giant Pumpkin Provincial Festival. Opt for a glamping holiday and stay in a brand new, unique Dream Dome (from £90 per night) at Ridgeback Lodge, overlooking Kingston Creek, with its huge windows so you can enjoy stunning views of the forest. There's a two-acre swimming pond for when you fancy taking a dip and Kingston Creek is ideal for canoeing.

Autumn is the perfect season for a walking holiday but this year it's all about leaving your hiking boots at the hotel and feeling the leaves between your toes on an invigorating barefoot stroll. The Engadine valley in Switzerland has long been popular with hikers and artists, and the village of Celerina has created four barefoot walks that cross meadows, ford streams and pass through the Staz Forest for you to take in the stunning autumn colours in an exhilarating and unique way. Grand Hotel Kronenhof offers a Golden Autumn in the Engadine package, available from 8 September to 19 October, allowing you to sample the barefoot trails and indulge in gourmet dinners, from £275 per night for two people.

It may look like the Caribbean but this gorgeous beach is on the tiny, undiscovered island of Principe off the west coast of Africa. The former Portuguese colony is accessible by air via Lisbon and Sao Tome, the nearest major island, and as well as exploring the cultural heritage and relaxing on the beaches, you'll want to do some wildlife spotting. Spot humpback whales on their migration routes, search for unique birdlife, and from November, witness Leather, Loggerhead and Green turtles nesting on the beaches. Scott Dunn offers a seven-day holiday in Principe, with a stay at Bom Bom Island Resort and return flights via Sao Tome from £2,045 per person.

Celebrate the Great British Weather this autumn by watching it turn over a hot toddy in Cornwall. The South West coast is perfect for cosy days watching dark skies and dramatic waves crashing on the beach, while enjoying tasty buttered crumpets in front of an open fire. The Lugger in Portloe offers a Storm Watching package (£318 for two people for two nights), where you can get away from it all (phone signal is intermittent to none!) and relax on the sea front location in the fishing village. Macs, brollies and wellies are provided when you fancy venturing outdoors and special coastline-inspired dinners are served, featuring wild garlic, nettles and other seasonal treats.

The Gower Peninsula in South Wales attracts many tourists to its surf in summer, but it's autumn that the locals live for. September and October is when the sea is at its warmest, they say, and this is when mid-Atlantic storms pump more swell onto the beaches – the peninsula’s intricate coastline guarantees shelter from larger waves or winds for beginners. Better still, autumn means fewer visitors and more waves to surf - in other words, more fun! Head for Llangennith, a popular destination with families and surfers, and regarded as the surfing capital of Gower. Stay at The Kings Head (five nights in a double/twin room from £399), located close to the beach, with its locally-sourced food and real ale. What more could an autumn surfer want?

Japan’s cherry blossom season in spring is a stunning sight to see, but in autumn, the maple trees blaze into vivid displays of scarlet, saffron and gold, creating an equally spectacular display. The koyo (colourful autumn leaves) are superb in October and can be witnessed in gardens on scenic strolls and ancient walks. HF Holidays offers a 13-day Imperial Japan holiday (£3,695, including flights, accommodation and tours) in October, with highlights that include walking the gardens of temples in Kyoto and staying in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. While Japan Journeys offers leaf-peepers and gardening enthusiasts a 10-night guided Classic Gardens Tour, from £2,895 (including flights, accommodation and some meals) departing 15 to 26 November, with highlights including a visit to the landscaped gardens at Koraku-en in Okayama and the Adachi Museum of Art Garden at Yonago.

Cannes and Venice may host two of the most glamorous international film festivals but how would you like to be part of Iceland's celebration of the movies at Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) this autumn? From 26 September to 6 October, the world's most exciting and innovative filmmakers descend on the capital for an enormous party. Head for the swim-in cinema at the Laugardalslaug indoor pool, where you can don your swimsuit and watch a well-known family friendly classic or take a journey to the centre of the Earth and watch a film in RIFF’s own cave-cinema, situated in the middle of Iceland’s magnificent landscapes. Wow air has a special RIFF Festival Package for travel between 26 and 30 September and 3 and 7 October (from £273 per person), including a Festival Pass, four nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast and return flights from London Gatwick. Optional package extras at additional cost include airport transfers, the swim-in cinema, the cave-cinema, a northern lights boat tour and a visit to the Blue Lagoon.

This autumn marks the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, before the centenary of the Great War in 2014. Whether you're a history buff or just interested in the world wars, France, Belgium and Germany are three of the best places to get an insight into World Wars I and II. Railbookers offers a World War Anniversary Tour (from £349 for four nights including accommodation and tours) by rail that takes in a tour of the Ypres Salient from Ypres or Bruges, a visit to the significant battlefields of the Somme and a guided tour from Caen to get an insight into the D-Day landings. You can also learn about life in Germany in the last days of the Second World War on a visit to Berlin.

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