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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Prague is the place for a cheap break

PRAGUE has pulled ahead of its Eastern European rivals to emerge as the cheapest city for UK holidaymakers to take a bargain break this spring, according to Post Office Travel Money’s City Costs Barometer (www.postoffice.co.uk/cityreport2010).

However the survey by the UK’s largest provider of foreign exchange also revealed price falls in some eurozone cities, with Lisbon and Dublin rating as best buys.

Despite the weak pound, which now buys 7.4 per cent less Czech koruna than a year ago, Prague was by far the cheapest of 15 city break destinations surveyed by Post Office Travel Money – with prices well down on 2009 levels (-38 per cent, comparing seven of the items also surveyed in 2009, including meals and drinks).

At £106.17, the 11 typical city break items -including drinks, meals, accommodation, sightseeing and transport - cost almost two-thirds less in Prague than in New York, the most expensive city surveyed (£307.96). Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Budapest and Warsaw emerge as cities where thrifty tourists will get more for their money, even though sterling has slipped significantly year-on-year against their currencies.

Low prices in Lisbon, second-placed in the City Costs Barometer, prove that the eurozone can also be good value for a city break. However the Post Office found wide variations in prices between the eight eurozone cities surveyed. For example, barometer items that totalled £122.53 in Lisbon cost over twice as much in Paris and Rome, the most expensive eurozone cities.

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: “UK holidaymakers planning a city break this spring should do their homework very carefully. We found big price differences between cities and in cash-strapped times tourists can make their pounds stretch further by picking one of Europe’s cheaper capitals, like Prague or Lisbon.

“The exchange rate is another factor to consider before booking a break. Although sterling remains weak against the euro, it is stronger than 12 months ago so UK tourists picking a eurozone city where prices have fallen could actually be quids in.”

One of the cities where the Post Office did find lower costs was Dublin, second cheapest in the eurozone (£174.86). Criticised in the past for high accommodation, meal and drinks prices, Dublin looks to be 2010’s dark horse and a definite contender for a bargain break – especially for culture vultures. The Irish capital was cheapest for cultural attractions – with free entry to the top museum and gallery surveyed.

Accommodation prices in Dublin have also dropped by 11 per cent, one of the biggest price falls recorded by Hotels.com, who contributed room costs for the Post Office City Costs Barometer.

Alison Couper, Communications Director at Hotels.com said: “Now is a great time to visit the Irish capital as hotels there haven’t been so affordable for years. Dublin hoteliers have been offering great rates and promotions to attract customers during the credit-crunch.”

Istanbul, one of three European Capitals of Culture for 2010 – with a range of special cultural events scheduled, is another good value choice for a city break. At fourth place in the Post Office barometer, prices were low for all the items surveyed and sterling remains relatively stable against the Turkish lira. Although accommodation prices were up 15 per cent year-on-year, three-star hotels rooms were among the cheapest in the cities surveyed for the City Costs Barometer.

Currencies featured in the City Costs Barometer are available on demand at 1,600 Post Office branches (except the Hungarian forint, which can be pre-ordered). 2,600 additional branches offer US dollars on demand, while a total of over 8,500 branches stock euros. Alternatively over 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery.

1 comment:

  1. If anyone wants to enjoy the cheapest and relaxing holiday vacations then the Prague is the ideal choice for visitors. The city is so inexpensive and costs so less in accommodation food and shopping. Hence it is a much better place to stay than London and Paris.