Europe’s cheapest city breaks revealed, as prices rise in most travel destinations


The cost of a dozen common holiday purchases, from a travel card and entrance to a museum to a cup of coffee and two nights in a three-star hotel, have been used to rank the value of 20 European cities for holidaymakers.

For the first time in several years, the results of the Post Office’s annual City Costs Barometer report have put two Western European cities ahead of Eastern Europe, with Athens topping the chart as the Continent’s best-value city break, followed by Lisbon. Krakow, Riga and Budapest take the third, fourth and fifth positions. Athens has risen through the ranks from 20th position in 2020.

The 2020 report put Lviv, Tirana, Budapest, Belgrade and Vilnius in the top-five value positions, but with Ukraine off the travel map this year, it does not feature.

Amsterdam was ranked as the most expensive of the 20 city break destinations in the Post Office report (Photo: Getty)

What is stark is that the overall cost of a city break has risen in the past two years, with the average city break in Athens costing £207.18, compared to £126.96 in Lviv in 2020 – an increase of 59.4 per cent. And while Lisbon is now in second position for a value break, prices have risen by an average 21 per cent in the city since last year, due to the cost of accommodation.

The five most expensive city break destinations for 2022, in descending order, are Amsterdam, Venice, Copenhagen, Dublin and Paris, with the average short break in the Dutch capital costing £592.79. This is 75.6 per cent more expensive than the most expensive city break (Zurich) in 2020, which came in at £420.09. The report also shows that prices in the Greek capital have fallen by 15 per cent, year on year.

Post Office Barometer 2022 results: the average cost of a two-night city break

  1. Athens – £207.18
  2. Lisbon – £218.03
  3. Krakow – £218.55
  4. Riga – £220.32
  5. Budapest – £220.95
  6. Prague – £248.50
  7. Madrid – £298.81
  8. Berlin – £316.97
  9. Dubrovnik – £318.30
  10. Rome – £347.17
  11. Barcelona – £384.80
  12. Bruges – £389.05
  13. Florence – £397.87
  14. Vienna – £401.64
  15. Stockholm – £421.16
  16. Paris – £423.42
  17. Dublin – £436.12
  18. Copenhagen – £455.75
  19. Venice – £456.92
  20. Amsterdam – £592.79

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The Post Office cites a shortage of hotel beds in Amsterdam and Venice as the reason for their comparative cost. It says that while costs for meals, drinks, sightseeing and transport have risen four per cent year-on-year in Amsterdam, the cost of two nights’ three-star accommodation has doubled to £403. More broadly, its research shows that accommodation prices have risen by more than 20 per cent year-on-year in 15 of the 20 cities surveyed – with the biggest increases in Amsterdam (+104 per cent), Barcelona (+67 per cent) and Paris (+62 per cent).

In the Post Office’s survey of 636 UK adults planning a city break in 2022, Athens only ranks at number 12, with Lisbon in 10th position and Paris, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Madrid the top five wish-listed destinations.

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money says: “Established favourites like 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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