Europe best for holiday value in 2015

Photo: Toffee Maky

Switzerland’s surprise decision to uncouple itself from the euro – its franc was previously pegged at 1.20 euros – has left the country’s currency up approximately 12 per cent. While the cost of skiing in the Swiss Alps may have just taken a hike, though, the Post Office’s ninth annual travel holiday survey reveals that the rest of the continent is a bargain hunter’s best friend.

Indeed, the strength the pound against the euro means that UK tourists have more cash to spend everywhere in Europe (except Turkey) compared with a year ago, while lower prices in European cities and resorts have helped them fill eight of the top 10 best value places in the Post Office’s rankings.

The cost of eight tourist staples including meals and drinks has fallen in two-thirds of the European countries surveyed – most dramatically by over 19 per cent in Crete (£41.74), which is seventh placed of 46 destinations.

The best value destination, though, is Prague, as the Czech capital (£35.29) kicked Bali from its top spot. Although Bali remains the best value long haul resort, a 21 per cent increase in its barometer basket and the increasing power of the pound against European currencies explains why the Indonesian island (£38.09), has been overtaken and fallen to fifth position.

Portugal’s Algarve (£36.04) retained its runner up place for the second consecutive year and therefore remains Europe’s best value beach resort, only just beating Bulgaria (£36.14) and Spain’s Costa del Sol (£36.80).

The biggest barometer increase in Europe has been in Turkey, where a 13 per cent rise in costs in Marmaris has largely reversed the price falls reported a year ago. As a result, Turkey has dropped to 10th in the table and been overtaken by Eastern Med rival Cyprus, making its first ever top 10 appearance on the back of a six per cent fall in barometer costs in Paphos.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Holidaymakers travelling to Europe in the coming year can look forward to better value-for-money, although they should still do their homework to ensure they don’t miss out on the best deals.”

Indeed, the Swiss shock this week is a reminder of how quickly global pictures can change as a result of currency shifts.

“Holidaymakers should keep a close eye on exchange rates before deciding on a destination to see where they will get the most for their money,” cautions Brown. “Just a few months ago we were reporting a five year high against the US dollar but now the pound buys almost seven per cent fewer dollars than last January. Conversely, the pound is currently worth nearly six per cent more against the euro than a year ago and has kept at high levels for much of the past year. That could change because exchange rates are unpredictable.”