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Spain offers holidaymakers best value

15th April 2011 Print

As the Easter and Royal Wedding holiday breaks approach, new research from Post Office Travel Money reveals that prices have plunged in Greece and Turkey. As a result, UK holidaymakers can expect their pound to stretch at least 10 per cent further than a year ago in the two eastern Med favourites. Despite this, Spain, the UK’s favourite destination, is lowest-priced in the 2011 Holiday Costs Barometer.

With prices pegged at 2010 levels and 36 per cent lower than in 2007 when Post Office Travel Money first created the Holiday Costs Barometer, Spain rated best value for wallet-watchers. A basket of 10 items, including a meal out for two, drinks and suncream, now costs £42.15. This is 15 per cent less than 2010’s top destination, Portugal, which has been pushed from first to third place by Spain and Bulgaria.

The best news for people planning trips to Europe this summer is the fall in prices in Greece, a traditional favourite for UK tourists. After a disappointing 2010, Greece has followed the cost-cutting example set by Spain and Portugal a year ago. Bars and restaurants on the top island resort of Corfu have slashed prices by 10 per cent, helping Greece edge closer to the top three value destinations.

At £58.87 for the barometer basket, Greece was 15 per cent cheaper than rival Turkey. However prices fell further in Turkey (13 per cent) than in any of the 14 destinations surveyed. The most significant factor was a 23 per cent price-cut for an evening meal for two in top Turkish resort, Marmaris. A stronger UK pound, up 3.1 per cent year-on-year, against the Turkish lira helped compound this benefit.

Elsewhere in Europe, sterling buys around the same amount of holiday cash as it did a year ago. However, UK tourists will find that their pounds stretch further in the USA (+6.3 per cent) as well as in the mid-haul holiday destinations of Dubai (+7.3 per cent) and Egypt (+13.7 per cent).

Sarah Munro, Post Office Head of Travel Money, said: "This year’s barometer shows that prices are pretty competitive in the top European holiday destinations even though sterling remains unpredictable. While Spain is undoubtedly best value overall, the healthy price fall in Greece means that this traditional favourite can once again be considered a good bet for wallet-watching holidaymakers.

"In fact the eastern Med looks a good choice all ways round as prices have fallen significantly in Turkey after 2010’s sharp rises. A combination of the weaker Turkish lira and lower charges by Turkish restaurants and bars have brought prices back to the levels UK holidaymakers came to expect during the noughties.

"However, wide cost variations remain between destinations, which means that tourists need to do their homework before booking. They should also avoid buying currency at the airport where they will get a poor rate and use a credit card like the Post Office Credit Card that offers 0 per cent commission for purchases abroad."

Barometer Findings At A Glance:

Greece was the only eurozone country of seven surveyed to show a price fall. Prices were pegged at 2010 levels in Spain and Malta but elsewhere they rose by at least three per cent. France (£81.48, up three per cent) and Italy (£88.21, up eight per cent) were most expensive - with Italy more than twice Spain’s total.

Outside the eurozone, prices in the fast-emerging Balkan destination of Croatia rose 10 per cent (£73.55 for the 10 items) because of a rise in the meal price.

Dubai, generally perceived as an expensive destination, entered the table in fifth place, six spots ahead of mid-haul holiday rival Egypt and 24 per cent cheaper.

While local prices in the USA were unchanged, the shopping basket cost six per cent less because sterling now buys 6.3 per cent more dollars than last April.

In the UK, Brighton was 10th placed in the survey, registering a 10 per cent price rise. A rise in meal prices and increased VAT accounted for the increase.

Currencies for countries featured in the Post Office 2011 Holiday Costs Barometer are among 25 available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches. 2,600 more branches stock US dollars while more than 8,500 branches offer euros over the counter. In total over 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at almost 12,000 Post Office branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery.