As prices soar, these destinations offer a glimmer of hope for budget travellers

·5-min read
Aerial view of boats and beautiful architecture at sunset in Marmaris, Turkey.
Aerial view of boats and beautiful architecture at sunset in Marmaris, Turkey.

Prices for travellers are rising sharply all round the world. Hardly surprising you might think given what is happening in this country. But according to the latest Holiday Costs Barometer from the Post Office, the rises caused by inflation are being exacerbated by a fall in the value of sterling against many currencies.

The Barometer, produced in partnership with online agent Travel Republic, covers 40 destinations and indicates that prices for UK travellers have risen in 80 per cent of the resorts and cities surveyed. And, in some, the rises have been huge – as high as 80 per cent in Costa Rica and 60 per cent in Mauritius.

There are a few bright spots, however. Best value overall is Cape Town, South Africa. Boosted by the South African rand’s fall of almost 16 per cent against sterling in recent months and competitive pricing in restaurants and bars, the city produces the lowest total overall at £51.44 for a basket of eight tourist items. (This comprises a three-course evening meal for two with wine, bottle of beer, glass of wine, can of cola, large bottle of water, cup of coffee, sun cream and insect repellent). In total, prices in Cape Town have fallen by 8.4 per cent overall compared with last year.

Tokyo (prices are two per cent lower at £71.49) and Kuta in Bali (down 1.8 per cent at £68.10) were slightly cheaper. And sun-lovers might experience a moment’s excitement to hear that prices in Mahé in the Seychelles have dropped 17.6 per cent compared with last year. But since the basket still costs £192 – nearly four times as much as the equivalent in Cape Town –  your excitement may be short-lived.

So overall, it seems we must brace ourselves for a significant dent in our spending power when travelling this summer. To help you to avoid the worst of it, I have taken a closer look at the data. With spring in the air I have focused on a dozen short-haul resort destinations in Europe and Egypt, since I think these are most relevant to people at the moment. If you want to study the full survey it is at

What the report doesn’t tell us, is the basic cost of your holiday – comprising hotels and flights. So this year, with the help of and I have also compiled our own separate table to reflect this.

Where do I find the best value locally?

As the Post Office table shows, Marmaris in Turkey wins the battle for the cheapest shopping basket at £57.59. But only just – and you will have to pay a lot more than last year. Despite a 19.2 per cent fall in the value of the Turkish lira against the pound, prices in Marmaris have more than doubled since last year. This is because inflation locally has been so high – partly fuelled by a 55 per cent rise in the minimum wage in Turkey’s bars and restaurants. Sunny Beach in Bulgaria is only marginally more expensive at £58.30, and here too prices have risen steeply – by 20 per cent over last year.

The Algarve retains its place as the cheapest Eurozone destination of the nine surveyed. Even so, prices have risen by a third to £60. This rise is similar to the increases in the Costa del Sol (£74), Paphos in Cyprus (£78), Funchal in Madeira (£85) and Sliema in Malta (£91). Meanwhile, price increases in Corfu (basket cost £81) were much more modest – up only 4.2 per cent.

The Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh has also benefited – from the tourist’s point of view – from the steep fall in the local currency against sterling in recent months. Its basket came out at £73, very similar to costs on the Costa del Sol.

Marmaris Town harbour view in Turkey - Nejdet Duzen
Marmaris Town harbour view in Turkey - Nejdet Duzen

Which are the most expensive destinations?

Of the short-haul destinations surveyed by the Post Office, Nice was out on its own, with a total basket cost of £118.28. Most of this was down to the high cost of eating out – £86 for a three-course evening meal for two with wine. That’s more than twice as much as in The Algarve, Marmaris and Sunny Beach and nearly 30 per cent higher than the next most expensive meal on the table (in Porec, Croatia).

Perhaps surprisingly, because Malta used to be one of the cheaper destinations in the Med, the Maltese resort of Sliema also fared poorly in the survey with the next highest total cost of £90.85. Porec was the third most expensive European destination overall, at £88.08.

What about the other costs?

It is no use heading all the way to what looks like a cheap destination, if the price of your airfare and/or hotel more than wipes out any savings. So, to give some more context, I asked to provide average hotel prices and to extract data on airfares for the destinations we selected.

It’s not a perfect comparison – holiday costs can vary hugely depending, for example, on when you book and whether you travel independently or take an all-inclusive package. And I have had to use last year’s high season prices for the hotels – they will probably be higher for this summer. Our table should be studied accordingly.

Broadly speaking, however, it confirms the excellent value offered by Turkey (£1,241 for a week in peak season for two people including flights and hotels) and Bulgaria (£1,140 for the same) for both the basic price of the holiday and costs on the ground.

But it throws up some surprises. While the Algarve and Sharm el Sheik may look relatively cheap in the Post Office table, overall they are expensive for flights and accommodation (£1,918 and £1,817, respectively). And while on the ground costs in Nice and Malta were high, airfares and hotels (£1,340 and £1,549) were at the cheaper end of the scale.


Head east to Turkey’s Mediterranean resorts or Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast for the lowest holiday costs overall. Otherwise, don’t assume that because a destination looks expensive on the ground, that those prices will necessarily be reflected in the cost of flights or even hotels.