Where are the most expensive and cheapest places in Europe to visit?

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If you are planning a holiday or trip to a destination in Europe, do you give much thought to how much it costs to stay there? There is a huge difference in the cost of your holiday in different EU countries. In recent years some of the former East European countries have joined the tourist revolution and every country in Europe now has a great deal to offer travellers and tourists. Of course, wherever you visit in the world there will be budget options but we are assuming here that you are not backpacking and living in hostels!

Which are the best value destinations and which are the most expensive? We take a little snapshot to give you an idea of holiday value. Its not easy to do an exact comparison because the capital cities are always more expensive but it’s all relative and just as you would expect to pay more for your restaurant or accommodation in Central London than say Taunton or Grantham, staying in the larger cities or tourist hotspots in any country will be more expensive. All the prices we looked at assumed you were staying in these locations and although they are approximate they will give you fairly good idea of what to expect if you visit.

Switzerland

By a fairly long way the most expensive place to visit. In an article last year we crunched the numbers on the cost of staying in Switzerland.

Norway

Norway is the second most expensive place to visit in Europe. It’s not a member of the European Union but it’s part of the European continent so it counts! Bergen is generally around 17% more expensive than London. (Although, if you live there rent is much lower).

The official currency is the Norwegian krone

A 3 course meal in a mid-priced restaurant will cost you around 800 krone (£66). A pint of domestic beer 90.00Kr (£7.50) and a bottle of mid-priced wine 150.00Kr (£12.50). 1ltr milk is 18.50Kr (£1.55), A loaf of bread 30.00Kr (£2.50) and a kilo of chicken fillets 121.50Kr (£10.15).

A single ticket on public transport is around 40.00Kr (£3.25). Taxi fares have a start price of 90.00Kr (£7.50) and cost a further 12.00Kr per mile (about £1.00). Petrol is 17.00Kr per litre (£1.40).

Iceland

Iceland has become a popular place to visit especially since the budget airlines have been flying there. Unfortunately, it’s location and climate means it produces little of it’s own goods and the fact its an island means it has to import a lot of it’s consumable goods including food, and that makes things expensive. It is considered to be about 15% more expensive than London but like Norway, the rent is generally lower.

The official currency is the Icelandic krona

A 3 course meal in a mid-priced restaurant will cost you around 13,700 krona (£79). A pint of domestic beer 1200Kr (£6.90) and a bottle of mid-priced wine 2700Kr (£15.50). 1ltr milk is 194Kr (£1.12), A loaf of bread 470Kr (£2.70) and a kilo of chicken fillets 2000 Kr (£11.50).

One way on local transport is 490Kr (£2.80) and taxi fares have a start price of 740Kr (£4.25) and cost a further 350Kr per mile (about £2.00). Petrol is 240Kr per litre (£1.40).

Denmark

Denmark is a stone’s throw from the UK internationally speaking. This has made it a popular place to visit especially for weekend city trips. It has a great reputation as a safe, clean and very interesting destination. The prices in Copenhagen are very similar overall to what you would find in London. Although once again house rents are cheaper if you live there.

The currency is the Danish Krone

A 3 course meal in a mid-priced restaurant will cost you around  700 krone (£78). A pint of domestic beer 50.00 Kr (£5.10) and a bottle of mid-priced wine 65.00 Kr (£7.30). 1ltr milk is 10.60 Kr (£1.20), A loaf of bread 21.00 Kr (£2.20) and a kilo of chicken fillets 61.00 Kr (£6.90).

One way on local transport is 24.00 Kr (£2.70) and taxi fares have a start price of 45.00 Kr (£5.00) and cost a further 13.00 Kr per mile (about £1.40). Petrol is 12.00 Kr per litre (£1.34).

It’s interesting to note that of the top 4 more expensive places to visit, 3 have the krone (or krona, meaning ‘crown’) as the official currency. The exchange rates are a lot different though and if you take a trip to any of these destinations don’t forget you can find the best exchange rates at the time on our website.

The other end of the scale

So if you are looking for a great value break in Europe, then the countries you might look at include:

Romania

There are lots of reasons to visit Romania and you can find plenty of information online so check it out. The currency is the Romanian leu. The prices in Romania are generally 50% lower than London and housing rent a whopping 80% lower. The prices you would expect to pay for a visit to the capital Bucharest would be:

A 3 course meal in a mid-priced restaurant will cost you around  L35.00 (£25). A pint of domestic beer L10.00  (£1.70) and a bottle of mid-priced wine L25.00 (4.20). 1ltr milk is L5.20 (88p), A loaf of bread L3.30 (56p) and a kilo of chicken fillets L22.70 (£3.80).

One way on local transport is L3.00 (50p) and taxi fares have a start price of L2.00 (34p) and cost a further L2.00 per mile (about 34p). Petrol is L6.00 per litre (£1.03).

Russia

*NB Okay so these articles are of the time they are written. Because of events since the post was published, as of 26th February 2022 it’s probably best not think about going to Russia for a holiday for a little while!

OK so we won’t argue about whether or not Russia is in Europe. It’s not European in ‘that’ sense but it is part of the continent of Europe so we’ve included it. It’s also a fantastic and great value place to visit. It’s the largest country in the world and has every kind of holiday experience you can imagine and prices will be even better value in the rural areas. Because it is the capital though, we looked at Moscow where prices are around 50% lower than London.

The currency is the Russian ruble.

A 3 course meal in a mid-priced restaurant will cost you around  ₽3000  (£28). A pint of domestic beer ₽250.00 (£2.30) and a bottle of mid-priced wine ₽600.00 (5.60). 1ltr milk is ₽77.00 (72p), A loaf of bread ₽48.00 (45p) and a kilo of chicken fillets ₽317.00 (£2.97).

One way on local transport is ₽50.00 (50p) and taxi fares have a start price of ₽150.00  (1.40) and cost a further ₽15.00 per mile (about 14p). Petrol is ₽50.00 per litre (50p). We didn’t look up vodka, but word has it it’s pretty cheap.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this little snapshot will give you an idea of the range of different value holidays you can take. Why not explore a lesser known destination even for a city break, because you can have a great value trip and see some amazing culture and scenery.

Thanks to Numbeo for helping with the research and could help you with yours if you want to explore other destinations. And don’t forget that wherever you travel, it’s important especially at the moment to check out the latest travel advice for your destination on the GOV.UK foreign travel advice pages.

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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