TAKING a city break to Europe is risky these days but you could be rewarded with a big-time bargain as hotels, bars and restaurants battle for business.
A costs “barometer” factoring in meals, drinks, sightseeing and travelcards reveals prices have tumbled from pre-lockdown levels in most top destinations.
Reduced demand for hotels since Covid took hold in March is a key factor, with rates for rooms slashed to tempt guests.
The good news for those keen to holiday near to home — with no risk of having to quarantine — is that breaks here and in Ireland are among the cheapest.
Across 12 items — also including coffee, wine, a meal and a sightseeing tour — the biggest fall was in Dublin.
The combined cost was £324, down 25.5 per cent from March and 20 from a year ago.
Belfast saw a similar fall and at £253 offered better value than Edinburgh (£269), Cardiff (£273) and London (£318).
Prices for 50 cities were researched in March, when Post Office Travel Money’s annual City Costs Barometer was due. But publication was delayed by Covid-19.
All prices were checked again in August but the report now focuses on 24 cities not subject to UK quarantine rules or other countries’ restrictions.
In a best-value barometer dominated by Eastern Europe and led by Vilnius in Lithuania and Warsaw, Poland, the report found prices as much as a quarter lower compared with last summer and early March.
Prices are lower than a year ago in two-thirds of cities, with the biggest falls of almost 26 per cent in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Oslo in Norway.
Even more cities — 22 of the 24 surveyed — saw falls for August compared with March.
The Italian trio of Rome (20 per cent), Milan (18 per cent) and Verona (also 18 per cent) reported some of the biggest drops after Dublin.
A key factor in the price falls has been greater hotel availability, which has led to more competition and lower room rates.
Seven of the top ten cities for value are in Eastern Europe.
With just £1 separating them, Vilnius (£166.36) and Warsaw (£167.43) are the cheapest.
With Portugal now added to the list of countries exempt from quarantine, Lisbon has re-entered the top ten in fourth position (up from last year’s 14).
At £395, Copenhagen is the most expensive city — over twice the price of the top four cities.
Nick Boden of Post Office Travel Money said: “Prices compare very well with those a year ago — most notably because of the falls in hotel prices caused by greater availability after the Covid-19 lockdown.
“We have chosen to feature only those cities currently excluded from quarantine restrictions but we urge people planning trips to watch Foreign Office advice carefully before booking their holiday.”
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