Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:44 AM
From the bustling streets of historic Budapest, to the lush tea plantations of Sri Lanka, here’s where cash-strapped Brits should be heading to this summer:
No surprises here. Budapest has consistently topped the best value chart lists in the last few years. Like in many other cities in Eastern Europe, notably Prague, holidaymakers are enjoying bargains in Budapest with sterling rising 3.1 per cent year-on-year against the Hungarian forint.
According to the Post Office Travel Money's annual City Costs Barometer 2013, which reveals the cost of meals, drinks, sightseeing, city travel and hotel accommodation in 25 city break destinations - prices in the Hungarian capital are less than a third of those in Europe's most expensive cities - Stockholm (£420.36) and Copenhagen (£440.45). At £134.76 for 12 typical city break items - including meals, drinks, two nights' weekend accommodation, sightseeing and city transport costs - Budapest has emerged as best value in the Post Office survey of 25 cities. What’s more, Budapest came second only to Warsaw for best five-star value hotel costs at an average of £96 per night, according to the latest Hotels.com Hotel Price Index.
Vilnius was a close runner up in the Post Office Travel Money's annual City Costs Barometer 2013. Lithuania’s capital is certainly one to watch, with more and more travellers exploring the small city which is famed for being home to one of the largest old town centres in Europe, which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its array of grand baroque buildings. A £140.99 for 12 typical city break items, it came ahead of Warsaw (£151.69) and Riga (£155.34), which was last year’s most affordable city break.
Spain still reigns in this category – the perennial favourite of British holidaymakers. The top resorts came out as the Costa del Sol; Alicante, the gateway to the Costa Brava and Benidorm; the Canary Isle of Tenerife; and Palma de Mallorca – all are famed for their year-round sun, sea and sand. Visitor numbers were also reportedly bolstered by the fact that more than a million of us Brits live in Spain year-round.
But the Costas face stiff competition from Greece, where room rates are down by up to 40 per cent as well as an 18 per cent drop in resort costs, the biggest fall in Europe.
Sri Lanka has yet again been announced as the best value long haul destination by the Post Office. Sri Lanka also shares the top spot with Spain in the Post Office Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer - both joint cheapest of 42 destinations surveyed. At £36.14 for eight items, including an evening meal with drinks, Spain and Sri Lanka’s holiday cost totals were under half those of 21 other destinations and a quarter of the cost in Australia and South Korea, the most expensive countries surveyed. And according to MoneyCorp, Brits heading for the beaches of Sri Lanka can enjoy an exchange rate that is almost 14 per cent better than it was in early 2012; that’s an extra £68.33 for every £500 spent!
What’s more, with British Airways returning to Sri Lanka in early 2013 after a 15-year absence, visiting ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ has become even easier! Not only is it excellent value, Sri Lanka offers holidaymakers something a little bit different than the usual beach break, with pristine sandy beaches, verdant countryside, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates, as well as culture and character in spades.
In the Far East, falling prices in Bali (£40.47) and Vietnam (£43.20) helped these fast-rising destinations overtake Thailand to take fourth and fifth Post Office barometer places. Vietnam benefited from the introduction of direct flights from the UK, with the Post Office reporting growth of 51 per cent year-on-year in Vietnamese dong sales. More hotel openings are expected to keep room prices competitive and a stronger pound should also help to justify Vietnam’s place in the Post Office hotlist for the second year running.
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