The cheapest places for Britons for an autumn 2022 European city break revealed: ATHENS offers the best value… Amsterdam the worst

  • A study compared tourist costs in 20 top European cities, from evening meals to hotel accommodation
  • Lisbon and Krakow in Poland come second and third in the ranking, with Venice coming 19th
  • Amsterdam and Venice’s position in the list is a result of steep rises in accommodation prices in the cities 

Athens is the best value for Britons for a European autumn city break, according to an annual study.

The Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer compared tourist costs in 20 European cities named as top choices by Britons planning a city break, with Athens claiming the top spot ahead of Lisbon (second) and Krakow in Poland (third). The most expensive city in the ranking is Amsterdam.

It is the first time in the barometer’s 15-year history that a city in western Europe has beaten an eastern European city to first place.

Athens is the best value for Britons for a European autumn city break according to an annual study – the Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer

The Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer compared tourist costs in 20 European cities named as top choices by Britons planning a city break. Lisbon, above, is ranked second

The ranking is produced by an analysis of 12 typical tourist costs, including an evening meal for two with wine, drinks, two nights’ three-star accommodation, sightseeing and city transport.

At £207, Athens was easily the cheapest. Lisbon claimed second with £218 – though the cost of two nights’ accommodation has spiralled from £73 in September 2021 to £115 now – Krakow third with £219, Riga fourth with £220 and Budapest fifth with £221.

Among the other cities that rate as good value for money are Prague (£249, sixth), Madrid (£299, seventh), Berlin (£317, eighth), Dubrovnik (£318, ninth) and Rome (£347, 10th).

‘Madrid, Berlin and Rome are established city break destinations making their first appearance in the top 10,’ Post Office Travel Money said.

Krakow comes third in the ranking, which has been topped by a western city for the first time in 15 years

Amsterdam comes bottom in the table, with Post Office Travel Money explaining that its position is a result of accommodation in the city doubling in price

Analysing why Amsterdam came bottom (£593) and Venice just above it in 19th (£457), it commented: ‘Both have been impacted by a scarcity of hotel beds, which has caused steep rises in the price of accommodation.

‘Although costs for meals, drinks, sightseeing and transport have risen just four per cent year on year in Amsterdam, the cost of two nights’ three-star accommodation has doubled to £403. Accommodation costs have risen by a third this year in Venice and overall barometer costs by 20 per cent.’

The research found that accommodation prices have risen by over 20 per cent year on year in 15 of the 20 cities surveyed.

Tables from Post Office Travel Money detailing the top ten in its autumn city breaks barometer

The soaring cost of accommodation is the main reason why city break prices overall are higher this year, Post Office Travel Money said, pointing out that only Athens (down 15 per cent) and Krakow (down one per cent) have registered falls in the total cost of a city break.

The research also found big differences in meal costs.

A three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of house wine ranged from £38.96 in Athens and £41.04 in Lisbon to £139.53 in Stockholm.

On a positive note, the cost of eating out has fallen in half of the cities surveyed. The biggest falls have been in Krakow (-20 per cent), Vienna (-13.9 per cent) and Berlin (-12.8 per cent).

Post Office Travel Money’s research found that accommodation prices have risen by over 20 per cent year on year in 15 of the 20 cities surveyed 

Post Office Travel Money revealed that its research in recent years ‘has consistently found cultural attractions to be one of the main stimuli for city break trips’, adding: ‘However, as with other barometer commodities, the cost of visits to heritage sites, museums and galleries varies dramatically. Dublin offers the best value at just £6.93 because visits to its leading museum and gallery are free. By contrast, culture is most costly in Dubrovnik where visits to a museum, gallery and heritage site cost £57.28.’

Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, said: ‘According to our latest research, over two in five of those planning trips abroad will be taking a city break, making this the most popular type of overseas holiday for the fifth consecutive year. However, Britons need to be aware that the rising prices in Lisbon are typical of what we found across Europe, fuelled by big increases in accommodation charges.

‘Established favourites such as Paris, Amsterdam and Venice may be top choices among the holidaymakers we surveyed but they are also expensive places to visit and people who are prepared to swap to a city with a lower cost of living can make their pounds stretch much further. Athens and Lisbon are half the price and offer a sunny autumn climate as well as low prices. Our advice to holidaymakers is to do their homework and check prices before booking.’

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