Turkey and Bulgaria named cheapest European beach resorts for families

Bulgaria and Turkey are the best bets for bargain-hunting families looking to cut their holiday spending, a report has revealed. 

The annual Post Office Travel Money Family Holiday Report found that prices have fallen in over half of the 15 leading European resorts surveyed – despite the pound’s recent decline in value.

Other cheap destinations include the Algarve in Portugal and the Costa del Sol in Spain.

Prices are down almost 14 per cent since last summer in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, making it the best value of the 15 destinations

The Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer compared costs of food and drink for a family of four

The Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer compared costs of food and drink for a family of four 

However, the report, using figures from May 2019, found that three-quarters (73 per cent) of parents who set budgets bust them by 25 per cent, spending £159 extra on the average budget of £630 on their last trip. 

The biggest pitfall for parents is likely to be the cost of food and drink. Families spent an average of £336 in restaurants, bars and shops, according to the Post Office poll. 

The only place where they could easily cut that cost is Sunny Beach, Bulgaria, where prices are down almost 14 per cent since last summer to make it best value of the 15 destinations.

At just over £32 for a family meal for four including drinks together with the cost of a coffee, bottle of beer, glass of wine and soft drink, Sunny Beach has pulled away from its competition and is over a third cheaper than runner-up Marmaris, Turkey (£50, but £43 without beer and coffee). 

Over the course of a week, wallet-watchers can expect to spend around £225 in Sunny Beach – over £100 less than the average that families spent on food and drinks. By comparison, prices in Ibiza, Croatia (Zadar), France (Nice) and Italy (Sorrento) are over three times as high.

Ibiza (£97, down 11 per cent), Zadar (£97, -0.5 per cent) and Sorrento (£130, -5.7 per cent) are among eight destinations where UK visitors will find a fall in meal and drinks costs. 

The biggest fall is in the Algarve, where the Post Office barometer basket has plummeted since last summer by almost a third (31.3 per cent). At less than £51, the Portuguese family favourite is by far the cheapest of 11 eurozone resort areas surveyed.

Ibiza, Zadar and Sorrento are among eight destinations where UK visitors will find a fall in meal and drinks costs

Ibiza, Zadar and Sorrento are among eight destinations where UK visitors will find a fall in meal and drinks costs

Prices have also fallen by 9.5 per cent in Playa de Palma, Majorca (£75), to make it sixth cheapest in the food and drinks barometer. Although the Costa del Sol (£66) remains lowest-priced of three Spanish destinations surveyed, this is 30 per cent pricier than the Algarve.

The cost of beach extras is another potential budget buster because Post Office research found that parents spend an average of £153 on kids’ items. It showed 86 per cent splashed out over £35 on ice-creams, while other big ticket items are water parks (average spend £51), pedalo rides (£30) and beach gear like buckets and spades, lilos and swimming goggles (£37).

The cost of beach items varies significantly across the 15 resorts surveyed for the Family Holiday Report Beach Barometer. Marmaris is easily the cheapest place for fun in the sun at just £34.39, a year-on-year fall of around 11 per cent. 

The 10 beach items surveyed cost over 44 per cent more in its closest competitors – Sunny Beach (£49.55) and Costa del Sol (£50.93).

The value available to families visiting Marmaris and other Turkish resorts has been boosted by a sterling surge that makes it worth around 20 per cent more against the Turkish lira than last summer. This means visitors can currently expect to receive around £83 extra in Turkish lira on a foreign exchange transaction of £500 at the Post Office.

The value available to families visiting Marmaris (above) and other Turkish resorts has been boosted by a sterling surge that makes it worth around 20 per cent more against the Turkish lira than last summer

The value available to families visiting Marmaris (above) and other Turkish resorts has been boosted by a sterling surge that makes it worth around 20 per cent more against the Turkish lira than last summer

Marmaris is easily the cheapest place for fun in the sun where beach extras cost £34.39, a year-on-year fall of around 11 per cent

Marmaris is easily the cheapest place for fun in the sun where beach extras cost £34.39, a year-on-year fall of around 11 per cent

As with meals and drinks, Post Office Travel Money researchers found that Beach Barometer prices have dropped in over half of the resorts surveyed. Aside from Marmaris, the biggest falls have been in two of the more expensive resorts. In Sorrento prices have dropped 12 per cent to £92.82 and in Ibiza they are 17 per cent lower than a year ago at £93.09.

The highest premium on beach fun is in Nice (£106.01). The 10 beach barometer items cost over three times as much in the South of France as in Marmaris. However, while prices have risen only marginally in Nice – by 1.8 per cent – there have been bigger increases in Greece and Croatia since last summer. 

Families visiting Crete (£72.68) can expect to pay 13 per cent more, while they are likely to pay 11 per cent more for the 10 items in Porec, Croatia (£73.56).

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: 'Families who are still considering where to holiday will benefit by doing their homework and matching the best value resorts in our survey with the cheapest late deals'

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: ‘Families who are still considering where to holiday will benefit by doing their homework and matching the best value resorts in our survey with the cheapest late deals’

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: ‘If you’re planning a beach holiday abroad, keeping a tight rein on your holiday funds will be crucial this summer to avoid busting the budget. 

‘The Beach Barometer reveals how paying for beach items can tip the family holiday budget into the red so plan carefully and keep costs down by packing suncream, insect repellent, swimming goggles and last year’s lilo into the suitcase. That should help pay for ice creams!

‘Another easy win is to buy currency before leaving home to avoid poor airport bureau rates.’


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