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Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, best value for a bargain break

Staff Writer |
Holidaymakers looking for the best value beach resort in Europe are likely to find that their pounds will stretch further outside the Eurozone, according to research for thisyear’s Post Office Travel Money Holiday CostsBarometer.

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In a comparison of costs in 18 top European destinations1, the Post Office found that beach resorts in Bulgaria and Turkey are far cheaper than in their lowest-priced Eurozone competitors, Portugal’s Algarve and the Costa del Sol.

For the fifth year running, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is best value for a bargain break, even though prices have risen 16 per cent since last spring.

At just over £43, the Post Office barometer basket of tourist staples – lunch and evening meals, drinks, suncream and insect repellent – is less than half the price in two-thirds of the other destinations surveyed.

‘Cheap as chips’ meals are the main reason for the Black Sea resort’s dominant position. Two people can have an evening meal with wine for around £26 and lunch for less than £9.

Runner-up Marmaris (£57) cannot match Sunny Beach on price but the plummeting Turkish lira – down 25 per cent year-on-year against sterling – means holidaymakers visiting Turkey will get much more for their money.

To add to that, local prices remain low because of competition between restaurants and bars, keen to attract tourists back after a lean couple of years. As a result, barometer prices in Marmaris are 20 per cent lower than a year ago.

A 17 per cent rise in prices in the Algarve means visitors can expect to pay around £68 for the barometer items this year – 20 per cent more than in Marmaris and 57 per cent more than in Sunny Beach.

Even so, the Portuguese hotspot pipped Spain’s Costa del Sol (£72) for the title of cheapest Eurozone resort. Post Office Travel Money also found prices in both these areas to be significantly lower than in the Eastern Med’s Eurozone resorts.

Best value among the Eastern Med’s Eurozone resorts is Crete (£81), fifth-placed in the survey.

Crete is one of only two Eurozone destinations – from 13 surveyed – where prices have dropped over the past year, albeit by just 1.7 per cent.

By comparison, prices in Limassol, Cyprus (£117), the most expensive Eastern Med resort, are 43 per cent higher.

The biggest Eurozone price fall is in the South of France where barometer costs in Nice (£114) are now 2.4 per cent cheaper than a year ago.

In contrast to this, prices in Sorrento (£123) have risen 3.5 per cent, making it the most expensive resort surveyed and 44 per cent pricier than the Algarve.

Outside the Eurozone Post Office Travel Money found that prices have dropped by 10 per cent in the Croatian resort of Zadar (£98). Further north, prices are over eight per cent higher in Porec (£106).

Croatia is just one of four countries where Post Office Travel Money researchers found dramatic price variations between resorts.

In Greece, UK tourists can expect to pay 12 per cent more in Corfu (£91) and 23 per cent more in Halkidiki (£100) than in Crete (£81).

In Cyprus the difference between Paphos (£88) and Limassol (£117) is even greater at 32 per cent.

The same applies in Portugal where holidaymakers will find prices in the Algarve (£68) almost a third lower than on the Lisbon coast (£101).

The biggest price gap is in Spain, where visitors to Majorca (£108) can expect to pay 51 per cent more for the barometer items than in the Costa del Sol (£72).

Although prices have dropped by 10 per cent since last year, Ibiza (£118), remains the most expensive of four Spanish destinations surveyed, costing 65 per cent more than in the Costa del Sol.

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