Travel Money

Autumn sunshine report – which islands offer best value for tourists?

Post Office Travel Money unveils the first Islands in the Sun Holiday Barometer of destinations exempt from UK quarantine.

Madeira is unbeatable value among eight holiday islands and cheaper than the Canaries.

Madeira city Madeira City Madeira City

After Turkey was added to the UK quarantine list on 1 October, islands in the sun are emerging as the most practical choices for UK holidaymakers still considering an autumn break abroad. 


Following the government’s announcement of a more targeted approach to quarantine that would exempt islands with low Covid-19 rates from countrywide regulations, we’ve compiled the first Islands in the Sun Holiday Barometer, comparing prices for meals, drinks and other tourist items in eight European and Caribbean islands1. Holiday costs on the Portuguese island of Madeira were found to be lowest.


Among the eurozone ‘islands in the sun’ – with Madeira, Rhodes and Sicily surveyed for the first time – we found that the low cost of both alcoholic and soft drinks helped to make Madeira the cheapest option. As a popular autumn break choice among flora and fauna enthusiasts, the so-called ‘garden island’ barometer total of £65.53 made it slightly less expensive than runner-up Paphos (£66.40), where prices in the Cypriot resort have risen 3.7 per cent year-on-year.


Although they remain under quarantine rules, we also researched 3 Canary Islands and found that none of these could compare with Madeira on price. The cheapest of the three – Lanzarote – was almost 12% higher than in Madeira, with Tenerife and Gran Canaria more expensive still. However, if you’re still interested in travelling to the Grand Canaria read our travel insurance to the Canary Islands guide.


The report also revealed big price differences between resorts within the same country. Visitors to Cyprus can expect to pay around 20% more for the eight items in Limassol (£79.72) than in Paphos. In Greece, prices in fourth-placed Rhodes were 19% lower than in Corfu at £77.52 compared with £95.72. This made Corfu the most expensive European island in the sun. Read about travel insurance for Greece.


The Caribbean islands surveyed for the report were more expensive than any of the European destinations. Prices in Antigua were 41% higher than a year ago at £107.80 for the eight tourist essentials. This is most likely because cheaper restaurants remain closed in the island capital St John’s. By comparison, the barometer cost in St Lucia was only 9% up on 2019 levels in Rodney Bay (£111.58).


Comparing temperatures in the 12 islands in October, we found that St Lucia offers the highest temperature of 31°, while the highest in Europe is in Paphos, with temperatures hitting 27° in October.

Rodney Bay, St Lucia  31°C high (28°C average)
St John’s, Antigua 29°C high (26.5°C average)
Paphos, Cyprus  27°C high (22°C average)
Gran Canaria, Canary Isles 26°C high (23°C average
Tenerife, Canary Isles   27°C high (22°C average)
Limassol, Cyprus  25°C high (21°C average)
Rhodes, Greece 24°C high (21°C average)
Madeira, Portugal 23°C high (21°C average)
Corfu, Greece 23°C high (18.5°C average)
Sicily, Italy 22°C high (17.2°C average)


If you’re heading off to catch the last of the year’s warm weather, you can get your travel money with Post Office. Ordering online offers better rates than in-branch, but you can also get your euros the same day at thousands of branches. We’ll also deliver to your home or nearest branch. You can order over 60 currencies.            


Read the Post Office Travel Money Autumn Sunshine report 2020

Remember that travel exclusions aren’t included in these tables, and you will need to check the latest government advice before booking your travel.

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