Celebration Breaks Drinks Barometer

| May 31, 2016


  • Forty-five per cent of people on a city break are there for a celebration: London, Paris and Barcelona are their top choices (www.postoffice.co.uk/celebrationdrinks)
  • Drinks cost least in Prague – less than half the price of 10 other top cities
  • Palma offers the cheapest prices for drinks of those surveyed in Western Europe
  • Tallinn, Barcelona and London are best for bubbly at less than £30 a bottle


Celebration Breaks Drinks BarometerAlmost half of those visiting cities across Europe are now there to celebrate an anniversary or big event – ranging from birthdays, retirement and forthcoming weddings to marriage proposals¹.This trend has helped to make city breaks the UK’s top holiday choice² according to research for the Celebration Breaks Drinks Barometer from Post Office Travel Money.

The research reveals that people planning celebration trips rate ‘a good range of bars and restaurants’ as their top priority ³ – with Prague offering the lowest prices for drinks.

Although London, Barcelona and Paris top the consumer research poll of cities most popular for a celebration break4, Post Office Travel Money’s cost comparison of 12 drinks in 16 European celebration capitals found Prague (only 9th in the poll), to be unbeatable value5.

The Czech capital’s tally of £28.74 for the average price of drinks, ranging from beer and wine to cocktails and spirits, toppled Budapest (£30.20) from last year’s top spot to second place. Prague’s prices, down eight per cent year-on-year, are also less than half of those in 10 of the 16 cities surveyed, including London (£60.70), Barcelona (£60.56) and Paris (£63.26).

The Post Office research found that bargain-hunters should head to cities in Eastern Europe.Aside from Prague and Budapest, three others – Krakow (£33.82), Riga (£49.95) and Tallinn (£53.11) – made it a clean sweep for Eastern European cities at the top of the table.

Majorca’s capital, Palma (£56.72), emerged as cheapest in Western Europe.Its barometer cost for the 12 drinks is also lower than in two other Spanish seaside celebration cities.At £65.79, Ibiza Town was 16 per cent more expensive, largely because of the high price of more than £8 for cocktails, brandy and Southern Comfort.However, Marbella in the Costa del Sol was most expensive of the 16 cities at £71.93 – and 27 per cent more than in Palma.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said “Our research shows that the cost of a special celebration evening out can vary dramatically, depending on your choice of drink and which city you visit.Check out prices before booking a city break because some advance homework can help to ensure the bar bill doesn’t bust the celebration budget.”

For example, London, the most popular choice for a celebration break but only 10th in the cost comparison, was cheapest in Western Europe for spirits like gin, vodka and whisky. However, it was the most expensive of the 16 cities for a Dry Martini (£8.90) and also the priciest capital city for a cocktail (£6.95).

Equally, Dublin, 12th in the survey at a barometer cost of £62.88, was most expensive for beer (£4.42) and wine (£4.84) but second cheapest to London for spirits.

Drinks prices in Berlin (£57.54) were the lowest of the capital cities surveyed in Western Europe with Amsterdam (£58.14) just a few pence behind.The Dutch capital also emerged from the consumer research as the most popular city choice for groups of hens and stags6.

As part of its research, Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four of UK foreign exchange transactions, compiled a Bubbly Barometer, based on the lowest cost it found for a bottle of champagne in popular tourist areas. This was cheapest in Tallinn at £20.18 but Barcelona (£24.22) and London (£28.95) were, unexpectedly, the next best value of the 16 cities surveyed.In sharp contrast, a bottle of bubbly cost over £55 in Prague.

Andrew Brown said: “There is no doubting the tremendous growth in demand for city breaks.The Association of British Travel Agents has named them the most popular type of holiday taken abroad by UK tourists for the past two years and our own research supports this.Not only does this show that 45 per cent of people take city breaks overseas, but it also found almost three-in-five of those aged 18-34 choose this type of holiday.

“This explains why we have seen such big increases in currency sales for the best value cities in Post Office branches and online over the past five years.There has been a 50 per cent rise in sales of the Polish zloty and 40 per cent for the Czech koruna in that time – both of them long established top 20 Post Office currencies – while Hungarian forint sales have mushroomed by almost 200 per cent.Savvy travellers are obviously switching on to the great value in cities like Prague, Budapest and Krakow as well as to the low airfares available.”

Victoria Bacon ABTA Director of Brand and Business Development said: “Last year, ABTA research found that city breaks overtook beach holidays as the most popular type of break for UK holidaymakers, with around half of the population taking a city break. We are very lucky to have many of the world’s most beautiful and fascinating cities within easy reach, with good value flight options and efficient transport connections to an enormous variety of destinations in Europe and further afield. Whether travelling with a partner, friends or family or on your own, city breaks can also be very affordable, particularly if you travel outside of peak periods.”

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euros on demand at over 10,000 branches.The other currencies that feature in the Celebration Breaks Drinks Barometer report are among 30 leading ones available over the counter at 1,600 larger Post Office Branches.A total of up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

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