Cities where the pound goes further

As holiday budgets get squeezed by a weaker pound and rising living costs, where are some of the best and worst cities for value for money?

While the Brexit-induced slump in the pound has failed to dent appetite for foreign travel, it has made tourists think much harder about where they go.

As two recent surveys have highlighted, this focus isn’t just about tracking the performance of sterling against various currencies. It’s about finding those locations that offer consistently good value.

Eastern European cities have traditionally rated among the cheapest places to take a bargain break, but there are signs that this may be changing.

Value for money

In its ninth annual city costs barometer, Post Office Travel Money said many western European capitals now provide the low prices usually associated with Prague, Budapest and other eastern European cities.

It named Paphos in Cyprus, which is Europe’s joint Capital of Culture for 2017, as the cheapest of 36 cities surveyed in its annual costs barometer. The study found that 12 typical city break costs, such as an evening meal for two with wine and two nights’ weekend accommodation, came to £138 in Paphos.

Lisbon (£162) is western Europe’s cheapest capital city, while Athens (£191) has retained its top 10 place in the survey for the third year running.

Overall, prices for UK visitors are up across Europe — mainly due to the fall in sterling — but year-on-year these rises amount to 10% or less in a third of cities. In Palma, prices are around 5% lower.

Most expensive

At the other end of the spectrum, travellers may wish to avoid Geneva, Paris, Zurich and Copenhagen as these European cities are in the top ten of the latest cost of living survey provided by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Singapore retains its title as the world’s most expensive city for a fourth consecutive year, with prices 20% pricier than New York in ninth place and 5% more expensive than Hong Kong in second place.

The survey compares the prices of 160 goods and services in 133 cities around the world. London is in its lowest position in 20 years, having fallen to 24th place.