Cost of city breaks tumbles in some popular European destinations

Holidaymakers planning city breaks in 2019 may find they get better value for money than a year ago as the typical costs in many tourist hotspots have tumbled, analysis has found.

The review of 48 destinations by Post Office Travel Money found the cost of a city break can vary hugely – from under £150 to more than £450.

Costs in some popular destinations have tumbled over the past year – including in Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, Madrid, Lisbon and Berlin.

A cheaper and wider choice of accommodation has helped push down prices, the report said.

It looked at how much getaways could add up to in various destinations, including the cost of a two-night stay for two adults in three-star accommodation – as well as typical costs that holidaymakers might incur such as transport within the city, food and drink and visits to attractions. Costs also took exchange rates into account.

The City Costs Barometer found a city break in Madrid is around £317.06 – 14.3% cheaper than last year.

A break in Berlin could could cost around £252.84 – a 10.7% annual fall.

At £256.32, a typical break in Rome is 9.3% cheaper than a year ago, while the average cost of a break in Venice is £325.11 – an annual 23.3% fall.

St Marks Square Venice
A view of Venice, Italy. The cost of a city break in Venice has fallen by 23.3% year-on-year, Post Office Travel Money said (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

A break in Amsterdam could cost £444.29 – a fall of 17% year-on-year, while a getaway in Lisbon adds up to around £207.27 – down 1.4%.

Barcelona is 2.4% cheaper than a year ago, at around £348.93.

Travel costs to each destination are not included in the report.

It also looked at the cost of a city break in the UK's capital cities.

The findings suggest that, within the UK, tourists may see their money go further in Cardiff.

The cost of a stay in the Welsh capital is around £292.90, just pipping Edinburgh (£295.25).

London was the most expensive city within the UK, at £364.07 – a year-on-year rise of 3.7%.

Meanwhile, a break in Belfast costs around £312.65.

Dublin city
Temple Bar, Dublin. The typical cost of a city break in Dublin is £385.07, the research found (Brian Lawless/PA)

A getaway in Dublin would set holidaymakers back £385.07, the report found, although this is a slight 1% year-on-year fall.

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Best European city break destinations
Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice
Young woman stands on the bridge and looks at the canal of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cityscape view with coastline and beach, Nice, Cote dAzur, France
Madrid Spain
People walking at the roof of Oslo Operahouse in the mist
Hundertwasser house in Vienna, Austria
Copenhagen Street and City View, Christianshavn
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Lithuania, Vilnius, view to the modern city of Vilnius with Europa Tower and Neris River in the foreground
Valencia, Spain - May 28, 2017: Principe Felipe museum and Hemisferic building in Valencia, Spain. Was designed by Santiago Calatrava architect.
Europe, Spain, Valencia, City of Arts and Sciences (Ciudad de las Artes y de las Cenciea de la Valencia)
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Holidaymakers looking for a bargain break will also find value in Eastern Europe.

The report highlighted Vilnius in Lithuania and Belgrade in Serbia as places offering value, with the cost of a getaway at around £147.35 and £151.57 respectively.

Warsaw in Poland is also among the cheapest destinations in the research, costing around £160.35.

And a break in Istanbul in Turkey costs around £166.83 – with the relative weakness of the Turkish lira against sterling keeping costs down for UK tourists.

Bucharest in Romania, Porto in Portugal and Bratislava in Slovakia were also among the cheapest destinations in the research.

Meanwhile, Athens was cheapest of the 48 cities surveyed for a three-course meal for two with wine – costing around £36.65. The overall cost of staying in Athens was found to be around £197.13.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: "Sterling is currently stronger than a year ago against every European currency but that could change, so holidaymakers would be wise to consider both exchange rates and the underlying costs they will incur on a city break before booking.

"Canny travellers can save hundreds of pounds by comparing the cost of accommodation and picking a city where hotel prices are low and where meals, drinks and sightseeing prices are also cheap."

Prices have increased in some destinations over the past year – with the biggest price jump in the research found in Krakow in Poland, at 21.2%.

But overall costs in Krakow are still relatively cheap, at £200.47.

Paris was also found to be 1.3% more expensive than a year ago, at £324.86 typically.

While Vilnius was the cheapest destination, Reykjavik in Iceland was the most expensive city looked at, with the cost of a getaway at around £462.61 – a 9.6% year-on-year fall.

With Brexit looming, Mr Brown suggested keeping an eye on currency fluctuations and changing enough money before leaving to cover likely costs, or loading cash onto a pre-paid card to avoid extra transaction charges overseas.

Here are the top 10 destinations with the biggest price falls, according to Post Office Travel Money, with the percentage decrease, the typical price of a break now and the typical price a year ago:
1. Venice, minus 23.3%, £325, £424
2. Amsterdam, minus 17.0%, £444, £535
3. Nice, minus 14.4%, £211, £246
4. Madrid, minus 14.3%, £317, £370
=5. Oslo, minus 13.0%, £444, £511
=5. Vienna, minus 13.0%, £276, £317
7. Copenhagen, minus 12.9%, £411, £472
8. Warsaw, minus 11.5%, £160, £181
=9. Vilnius, minus 11.1%, £147, £166
=9. Valencia, minus 11.1%, £218, £246

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