Go East for bargain breaks

  • Eastern Europe has cheapest destinations when it comes to the cost of a family holiday this year
  • Holidaying in Turkey and Cyprus is still cheaper than in the UK
  • Holidaying in struggling Spain and Greece will cost families more than last year
  • Italy and Iceland are the most expensive holiday destinations
  • Average European holiday costs for one week is £2,076

The research, which looked at holiday expenses including accommodation, car hire, eating out and family entertainment revealed how much a week away this summer could set a family of four back.

A week spent in Bulgaria would cost a typical family of four £1,221 compared to £2,209 for a week in Brighton. Notably, Bulgaria’s costs have dropped by 22% since last year making it the most affordable option this summertime. Other bargains include Budapest, Hungary at a cost of £1,455 and Limassol, Cyprus for £1,739.

At the other end of the scale, there is bad news for Iceland as Reykjavik is likely to burn the biggest hole in people’s wallets with expenses for a week’s holiday setting a family back a massive £3,383. Even holidays in the economically struggling destinations of Spain (£2,375) and Greece (£2,054) will cost more than the UK with overall costs having risen by six per cent since last year, so it is essential to research where you are going.

If you choose to holiday in the UK over cheaper options abroad, total prices for the week would include £1,140 for accommodation, meals out at cafes for £560, and ice creams for the family coming to £63.

John Howells, Head of Travel Money at Tesco Bank said, 

“With the average cost for all items on a holiday for one week coming in at £2,076, a two per cent increase on last year, it is essential holidaymakers are not just looking into the cost of travel but also the expenses they are likely to incur once they are there. For instance, car hire and accommodation, the two most expensive holiday costs that make up 71% of weekly spend, have risen by six per cent since last year. Holiday costs have clearly been impacted by the Euro exchange rate and rising costs in the recession, therefore families wanting a holiday on a shoe string really need to do their research to make their money go further.”

Guide to holiday expenses

Weekly holiday expense Cheapest Most expensive
Accommodation Sofia, Bulgaria - £560.59 Reykjavik, Iceland - £1897.00
Car hire Brighton, UK - £232.57 Reykjavik, Iceland - £940.87
Meals at a café Sofia, Bulgaria - £154.14 Rome, Italy - £833.00
Drinks at a café Faro, Portugal - £30.03 Barcelona, Spain - £126.00
Ice cream Budapest, Hungary - £14.63 Limassol, Cyprus - £73.08
Suntan lotion Sofia, Bulgaria - £4.84 Nice, France - £24.04
Zoo / theme park Sofia, Bulgaria - £5.28 Limassol, Cyprus - £78.32
Beach accessories Sofia, Bulgaria - £2.64 Athens, Greece - £21.30
Souvenir T-shirts Barcelona, Spain - £12.77 Rome, Italy - £68.00

Total costs for each holiday destination 

Destination Total costs (£)
Reykjavik, Iceland 3,383
Rome, Italy 2,836
Barcelona, Spain 2,375
Dubrovnik, Croatia 2,333
Nice, France 2,320
Faro, Portugal 2,262
Athens, Greece 2.054
Brighton, UK 2,209
Bodrum, Turkey 1,819
Ljubljana, Slovenia 1,750
Limassol, Cyprus 1,739
Budapest, Hungary 1,455
Warsaw, Poland 1,315
Sofia, Bulgaria 1,221


One area where holidaymakers can make savings is by shopping around for their holiday currency, even if they are travelling at the last minute.

Howells adds: “Getting a good rate on your foreign currency can make your holiday money stretch a lot further, and ensure you don’t lose out on any savings you might have made by picking up a cheap break. In the unlikely event that you find a better exchange rate at another ‘high street’ bureau-de-change, Tesco Bank will match it, so you can buy with confidence at Tesco”.

With Tesco Travel Money, consumers can pick up great value currency, travellers cheques or pre-paid travel cards with their weekly shop, in the evenings and on Sundays in one of more than 130 stores across the country or customers can order by 2 pm Monday to Thursday, for next day delivery via our call centre or online Service. 


For more information and media enquiries please contact:

Tesco Bank press office

+44 (0) 131 274 3630 

About Us:

Tesco Bank’s goal is to make banking and insurance easier and better value for people who shop at Tesco. Tesco Bank participates in the Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board.

Tesco Bank is a trading name of Tesco Personal Finance plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC173199. Registered Office: 2 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9FQ

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