The travel industry has felt the force of COVID-19, but exactly how much have prices fallen as a result? Each year, the UK Post Office releases its City Costs Barometer, a study that compares criteria such as the price of meals, city transport, sightseeing experiences and accommodation in European cities to find an average cost of visiting different destinations. The latest results show a stark drop, with prices plummeting across the board.

Has COVID-19 killed the city break?

The study showed falling prices for certain items and experiences in 25 of 27 examined cities, all of which are currently exempt from quarantine rules for UK travelers. The City Costs Barometer also revealed that overall prices are lower than a year ago in over half (52%) of cities, with the biggest falls of almost 26% in Reykjavik and Oslo. The fall in cost is largely due to the decline in hotel prices in top European cities. Only two cities (Athens and Katowice) registered rises in the average cost of two nights’ three-star accommodation compared with March of this year.

500px Photo ID: 79954195 - Captured on a recent trip to Ireland.
Dublin has seen prices drop © Evan Hammonds / 500px

A total of 12 city break items were examined, focusing on data such as the cost of a return bus trip from the airport to the city centre, a bottle of beer, and a visit to a top museum. In Dublin, prices are down 25.5%, while in Northern Ireland prices are down 22%. Belfast saw the second biggest fall overall at 25.2%. Eastern European cities dominate when it comes to best overall value, with Vilnius and Warsaw coming out as the best choices for budget travelers. Krakow boasts the cheapest accommodation, at an average of £75 (US$100) for two nights for two people, while a meal for two and a bottle of wine is the cheapest in Prague.

“This year’s report reveals that there is plenty of choice across Europe in cities that offer great value. We have chosen to feature only those cities currently excluded from quarantine restrictions but we urge people planning trips to watch FCO advice carefully before booking their holiday,” Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money said. Most expensive in the 2020 City Costs Barometer is Zurich, where the barometer total of £420.09 (US$557) is over twice as high as the top eight cities in the report.

Editor's note: Please check the latest local travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice.

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