Prices have fallen by up to 23 per cent in popular European cities, a new study has revealed.
Post Office Travel Money said that this is partly because sterling remains much stronger than in spring 2018, but also because of price cuts across much of Europe.
It found in a review of 48 destinations that prices have fallen in two-thirds of cities for a basket of 12 typical tourist items in March 2019 – including a range of drinks, an evening meal for two with wine, two nights’ three-star weekend accommodation, sightseeing charges and city transport.
Prices have dropped by over 23 per cent (down £99) in Venice for a basket of 12 typical tourist items
The report found the biggest falls in traditional favourites were led by Venice, where prices dropped over 23 per cent (down £99) compared to March 2018, and Amsterdam, which remains the most expensive eurozone city, despite a 17 per cent (£91) fall in barometer costs.
Cheaper accommodation – based on an average of the 10 lowest priced three-star city centre hotels, B&Bs and apartments available for two nights in late March – was the biggest contributory factor to the barometer price falls.
The Post Office said more availability had lowered prices in almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of the cities surveyed.
The biggest falls were in Amsterdam (down £95 for two nights) and Venice (down £77), while there were also big reductions of £54 in Madrid, £35 in Nice and £28 in Vienna.
Amsterdam remains the most expensive eurozone city, despite a 17 per cent (£91) fall in barometer costs
Although the best-known cities are cheaper this year, Britons looking for a bargain break will find lower prices in Eastern Europe, particularly its lesser-known capitals.
Vilnius and Belgrade head a list of emerging cities that dominate the best value top 10 and where costs are lower than in established Eastern favourites like Budapest and Prague.
Vilnius, capital of Baltic State Lithuania, narrowly beat Belgrade to take the top barometer spot.
At £147.35, the total barometer cost was down 11.1 per cent year-on-year in Vilnius.
Prices in Serbian capital Belgrade, one of 10 cities first surveyed last August for the Post Office Unsung Cities Report, were £4 higher at £151.57, a rise of 1.9 per cent. Warsaw (£160) has moved up to third place from fourth last year on the back of an 11.5 per cent fall in prices.
The Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, pictured, has been named as the cheapest place for Brits to enjoy a European city break, according to a new report
Apart from Belgrade, there are four other new entrants to the 10 best value cities. Three of them – Bucharest (5th, £168), Porto (6th, £173) and Bratislava (8th, £182) – are among the Unsung Cities first featured last August and prices in all three have dropped since then by 4.1 per cent, 6.1 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively.
Porto in northern Portugal is the only city in Western Europe to break the Eastern stranglehold and rate among the 10 cheapest places for a bargain break.
By comparison, prices are 20 per cent higher in capital city Lisbon (£207), which has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in a decade, despite showing a 1.4 per cent price fall. Another Western capital, Athens (12th), was cheapest of the 48 cities surveyed for a three-course meal for two with wine at £36.65
The other new top 10 entrant, Istanbul (£167), is one of four new cities to be surveyed and achieved fourth place because of the ongoing weakness of the Turkish lira, currently worth 31 per cent less than a year ago against sterling.
Prices in Serbian capital Belgrade are £4 higher in March 2019 compared to March 2018 at £151.57, a rise of 1.9 per cent
BIGGEST CITY PRICE FALLS BAROMETER
1. Venice -23.3% £325
2. Amsterdam -17.0% £444
3. Nice -14.4% £211
4. Madrid -14.3% £317
5. Oslo -13.0% £444
6. Vienna -13.0% £276
7. Copenhagen -12.9% £411
8. Warsaw -11.5% £160
9. Vilnius -11.1% £147
10. Valencia -11.1% £218
11. Berlin -10.7% £253
12. Bratislava -10.1% £182
Price last year
It is not all good news because prices have risen in 15 cities. The biggest price rise of 21.2 per cent was in Krakow, last year’s best value city, while higher-priced accommodation in Lille has resulted in an 18.8 per cent overall increase.
Visitors to Scandinavia are likely to find its cities expensive.
The five Nordic capitals (Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Reykjavik and Stockholm) were again among the priciest cities in the Post Office report.
A table from Post Office Travel Money showing the cheapest places for Brits to head to on a European city break
Stockholm was cheapest of these at £395, while Reykjavik was the most expensive city overall. However, the Icelandic capital’s £463 barometer total was almost 10 per cent lower year-on-year, thanks to the sterling surge.
Cardiff has been included in the survey for the first time and proved to be the cheapest of the four UK capitals at £293, just pipping Edinburgh (£295) to the title.
London was the most expensive at £364, a year-on-year rise of 3.7 per cent. Prices in Belfast fell marginally (-0.9 per cent) to £313 and remain significantly lower than in Dublin.
Brits wanting a bargain holiday in Portugal should note that prices in Porto, pictured, are 20 per cent cheaper than in the capital Lisbon
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’
The most expensive place in Europe for Brits on a city break is Reykjavik, pictured, where the 12 items cost a total of £462.61
Although the gap has narrowed since last year, prices are almost 19 per cent lower in Belfast, with higher-priced accommodation accounting for the higher barometer cost in Dublin.
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. This applies to most cities in Eastern Europe but also to Porto, Athens and Lisbon.’
Among the most expensive cities on the list are the Nordic capitals of Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, Reykjavik and Stockholm