Bulgaria tops list of bargain European beach holidays

Holidaymakers wanting a bargain European beach break should head to Bulgaria, a study has found.

Sunny Beach on the Black Sea coast offers the lowest priced tourist staples for UK travellers, according to Post Office Travel Money.

Researchers calculated that a basket of 10 goods at the resort - including bottled water, suncream, restaurant bills and an English newspaper - costs almost 10% less than last year, despite the weaker pound.

An evening meal for two with wine will set UK visitors back £20, while a bottle of local beer is only 70 pence.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: "Tour operators have already reported that holidays to Bulgaria are selling like hot cakes and our research makes it clear that Sunny Beach will offer cash-strapped holidaymakers unbeatable value this year.

"Meal costs are really the deciding factor in Bulgaria's favour. Over the course of a week's holiday, lunch and evening meals for two will cost less than £200 in Sunny Beach but this could mushroom to over £600 in more expensive resorts in France or Italy.

"If you haven't already booked a holiday do your homework to find a resort which best fits your budget."

Holiday costs in Portugal's Algarve - the second cheapest of the 19 destinations featured - are 57% higher than in Sunny Beach, according to the report.

Spain's Costa del Sol was the third least expensive, followed by Turkey's Marmaris and Cyprus' Paphos.

Researchers found wide cost variations in the same country, with goods on Greece's Zante around a tenth cheaper than on Corfu.

The most expensive resort in the study was the Spanish island of Ibiza, at more than three times the cost of Sunny Beach.

Mr Brown said: "Greece is looking very popular this year with tour operators reporting increases of up to 40% in bookings but it will pay bargain hunters to factor resort costs into the overall price they pay for their package.

"Swapping resorts could save a lot of money and this applies to popular resorts all over Europe as well as to Greece."

:: Here are the 10 cheapest destinations for a European beach holiday, according to the Post Office Travel Money report:

1. Sunny Beach, Bulgaria

2. Algarve, Portugal

3. Costa del Sol, Spain

4. Marmaris, Turkey

5. Paphos, Cyprus

6. Costa Blanca, Spain

7. Porec, Croatia

8. Limassol, Cyprus

9. Crete, Greece

10. Zante, Greece