Post Office European city break tips

City break tips

We sent 6 of the UK's leading foodie and travel bloggers to Europe to check out how costs compare and offer some money saving tips.

Take a European break without breaking the bank

Thinking of heading off to Europe for a quick city break, but don’t want to break the bank? Post Office annual City Costs Barometer has done the hard work for you, looking into the cost of everything from travel to food to rank 36 cities across Europe. To put it further to the test we sent 6 bloggers away for the weekend, armed with a travel money card and appetite to save, here is how they got on.

Elizabeth from @tangoraindrop visited Riga, Latvia

City break tips - Riga, in Latvia is as a foodie travel destination and home of Europe's largest food market.

“I chose Riga as a foodie travel destination as Latvia is a country I knew very little of, cuisine-wise. I deliberately didn't research the food before I went, preferring to let the culinary adventure unfold naturally while I was there, and I'm really glad I did. While in Riga I browsed Europe's largest food market, located in five zeppelin hangars left over from the war, which gave me a great insight into what locals eat day-to-day. I accidentally stumbled upon the second best restaurant in the city and enjoyed an extraordinary three-course meal for an incredibly low price. I also enjoyed a very popular traditional dish of grey peas and bacon served with kefir and had my first taste of Riga Black Balsam, a local vodka-based drink. Latvian cuisine featured a lot of meat and seafood, pickled vegetables and grains I found, with Germanic and Russian influences. It's a place I'd love to go back to again. The pre-paid Post Office Travel Money card made it so easy to pay for my meals and culture experiences in Euros

Fast facts – Riga:

  • Riga is the third cheapest city break destination for 2018
  • The cheapest destination for accommodation at just £62 for two nights
  • Although one of the cheapest destination, Riga is one of the more expensive locations for a coffee at £2.72
     

Michelle from @greedygourmet visited Lisbon, Portugal

Money saving city break tips - Portugal’s capital Lisbon is steeped in history and boasts beautiful buildings. Don't forget to try the local delicacies like Pastel de Nata, which is a crisp pastry shell filled with baked custard, topped with icing sugar and ground cinnamon.

“If you haven’t been to Lisbon yet you’re in for a treat. Portugal’s capital is steeped in history and like most European cities, boasts beautiful buildings that were erected long ago. If you’re looking for decent quality food, be prepared to pay a little bit more but a good meal will still work out at slightly cheaper rate than an equivalent one in the UK. Lisbon is heaven for foodies and the Portuguese sure knows how to prepare seafood. Don’t forget to try Pastel de Nata, which is a crisp pastry shell filled with baked custard, topped with icing sugar and ground cinnamon.”

Fast facts for Lisbon:

  • Lisbon is the 9th cheapest city break destination for 2018
  • Prices have risen by 29% year on year
  • Foodies will find good value in Lisbon, the average cost of a 3 course evening meal for 2 with bottle of house wine is £47.07
  • Lisbon is the cheapest location for a coffee at just £1.36 a cup
     

Emma & Mark from @foodie_explorers visited Palma, Majorca

City break tips - Palma, the main city on the Balearic island of Mallorca can appear more costly than mainland Spain coastal, but there are many ways to visit on a budget.

“I visited Palma, the main city on the Balearic island of Mallorca is perhaps a little more expensive than its mainland Spain coastal counterparts but there are many ways to visit on a budget. I got the number 1 bus to/from the airport which is only €5 – much cheaper than a taxi and as the city centre is so compact you can walk to most places. For some culture, you don’t always have to pay out, Bellver Castle, Spain's only round castle looks unique and is free to visit on Sundays. The view from the top is also superb! Or head to Carrer Gambins where you'll find some quaint windmills – all free. If you’d like some Michelin-starred dining on a budget, the 3-course lunch menu at Marc Fosh is available on Saturdays at the same price as weekday lunch bookings (€29.50).”

Fast facts for Palma:

  • Palma sits 19th in the City Costs barometer Palma
  • Palma is well priced for food, with a 3 course evening meal for 2 with bottle of house wine costing just £48.33
  • However accommodation is quite costly setting you back £179 for a two nights stay


Natalie from @cuppiesncream visited Rome, Italy

City break tips: Rome, is a dynamic social and culinary scene asking to be explored. One coffee shop may charge €6 for a latte, while if you take a few steps off down a cobbled side street you’re likely to find one for €3.

“Rome, a living, breathing city steeped in history with a dynamic social and culinary scene complete with street food stands selling everything from pizza to gelato to cannoli. One coffee shop may charge €6 for a latte, while if you take a few steps off down a cobbled side street I can guarantee you’ll find one for €3. If you’re lucky they’ll be a sneaky little biscotti on the side too. It’s about making the right choices and exploring to find the right prices. Be careful, do a little research and strive for authenticity. You can’t truly relax and enjoy your well-deserved getaway until you’re sitting back with a glass of Aperol in one hand and a menu in the other right? Rome is paradise for carb lovers, so the first thing that comes to mind about Roman cuisine is probably its delicious pasta. We headed to Colline Emiliane and I ate Gnocchi with cheese, a side order of garlic Spinach and yes, I got my Aperol Spritz all for a total cost of €28.”

Fast facts for Rome:

  • Rome sits mid table at 17th cheapest city break destination
  • The culture costs is at a premium in Rome, visits to a leading museum, gallery and heritage attraction will cost you £46.61
  • However you can get a fair priced 3 course evening meal for 2 with bottle of house wine at just £55.39


Diana and Natalia from @littlesunnykitchen visited Vienna, Austria

Money saving tip for European city breaks - if you’re interested in seeing the historic sights of Vienna, Austria, then consider buying Vienna Pass as it will save you money and you won’t have to stand in long queues.

“I visited Vienna in Austria and found loads of little ways to cut costs. When booking your hotel, look for an offer that includes breakfast at the hotel as this will save you lots of time in the mornings and stay in the city centre and explore the city on foot. If you’re interested in historic sights, then consider buying Vienna Pass as it will save you money and you won’t have to stand in long queues. For concerts or cultural events in Vienna, book your tickets online in advance as these can get sold out pretty quickly. Get a Travel Money Card from Post Office to save time of having to look for currency exchange spots. It’s also good to keep in mind that many places accept cash only. This card also allows you to withdraw cash from any cash point in the city.”

Fast facts for Vienna:

  • Vienna is 22nd place in the city costs barometer
  • Vienna is one of the more expensive locations to get around, a day travel card will set you back £12.76 and the cost of a 2 night stay for 2 will set you back £139
  • If you are looking for a quick cost saver take the bus to and from the airport it will only cost you £3.71
     

Emily from @em_luxton visited Berlin, Germany

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“Berlin isn't the prettiest place I've ever been, but I found it a really cool city. There's a lot of interesting history to explore, and the contemporary culture is awesome. The whole city is covered in street art, and there's even an urban art gallery. Costs-wise, I found Berlin to be a bit more expensive than I was expecting - especially the price of hotels! Public transport costs can add up fast, too, as it's a big city. My recommendation is to buy one of the 24 hour or multi-day travel cards, depending on the length of your trip. Each journey costs about 3 euros so it adds up fast. There's also a Berlin Welcome Card which you can buy in all the metro stations or in most hotels. It comes with unlimited travel, and discounts for the major attractions. Order it online before you arrive so that you can include the cost of your journey from the airport to the city centre. Another money-saving tip for Berlin is to look for all the free stuff to do, as there's plenty. The Berlin Wall Memorial is really eye opening and shows you exactly what the wall used to look like - along with real-life stories of families affected by the wall. Then there's the East Side Gallery, a section of wall that's been completely covered in murals. And of course all the street art across the city is totally free.”

Fast facts for Berlin:

  • Berlin is a top 20 destination, coming in at 18th
  • If you are looking for a city of culture for a fair price, Berlin has many places to visit for under £10
  • Berlin is pricey for food, a 3 course evening meal for 2 with bottle of house wine cost you £95.04

 

Full results of Post Office Travel Money City Costs Barometer 2018

Before you go away, don't forget to order your travel money from Post Office.

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Before you go away, make sure you have adequate protection so that you can solely think about enjoying yourself. Take out travel insurance from Post Office