Best value European destinations revealed in new study by Starling Bank
The research ranks the top 40 most popular European cities by a range of factors (e.g. food & drink, visual appeal) and compares scores with typical costs to stay
Lisbon is the overall winner, followed by Seville, Istanbul, Budapest and Prague
4th August 2022 - When it comes to the best experience at the best price, Lisbon, Portugal, ranks highest in a new study looking at the affordability of Europe’s most popular holiday destinations.
The research, commissioned by Starling Bank, graded the top 40 most-visited European cities according to seven categories: food and drink, things to do, accessibility, family-friendliness, night life, visual appeal and friendliness. These scores were then compared against the cost of staying in the city for a week to discover the best experiences per £1 spent. The study is intended to help holidaymakers get the most out of their travel budgets at a time when prices are rising.
Lisbon ranks top for best overall experience relative to expenditure, with an average cost of £440.20 per week to stay. It also scores highly for ‘things to do’ and ‘night-life’ making it the ideal destination for those keeping an eye on their bank balance.
Coming in a close second is Seville, in Spain’s Andalucia region, which comes top for family-friendliness and has an average cost of £492.94 per week. This is followed by Istanbul, Turkey, (a bargain at £274.14 per week and good for food and drink), Budapest, Hungary, (£412.03 per week and good for accessibility), and Prague, the Czech Republic, (£505.67 per week, scoring highly for its visual appeal).
Table 1: Top 10 Cities offering the best experience per £1 spent (top 40 available upon request)
|Rank||City, Country||Average cost/week|
|5||Prague, Czech Republic||£505.67|
Individual Category Winners
Best for Visual Appeal and Things to Do
London ranks highest for ‘things to do’ owing to its swathe of free art galleries, museums, beautiful public parks and landmarks. Yet as a relatively expensive place to stay (£929/week), it ranks as the 29th best value city out of the 40 researched.
Rome follows second in this category, and also ranks first for visual appeal and fifth for nightlife making it the perfect city to take in ancient ruins while sipping on a Campari spritz. And with a more modest price tag (£615/week) it sits ninth overall when looking at cost-effectiveness.
Best for Food & Drink and NightLife
If you’re looking for a good night out, look no further than Barcelona. There travellers can experience world-renowned clubs including Razzmatazz, Elrow and Nitsa. With an average cost per week of £579, Barcelona is a great option at a good price, reflected in its 10th spot overall for value for money.
Munich comes out on top for ‘food and drink’, topping the charts specifically in the street food sub-category. However, with middling scores in other categories and a price tag of £645 a week, it sits firmly mid-table in 21st place when it comes to getting bang for your buck.
Best for Family Getaways, Accessibility and Friendliness
For those travelling with children, Seville places first overall as the best family-friendly destination, scoring highly for child-friendly activities, accessibility when travelling with children and a family-friendly atmosphere. Paired with a modest cost (£492/week), this city is second overall in Starling’s list of great value holidays.
Scandinavia leads the way for accessibility with Stockholm taking first place. Despite also ranking top for friendliness, it was pushed firmly out of the best value range with costs of nearly £764 a week.
Best Cities for a Staycation
If going abroad isn’t an option, look no further than Edinburgh and Liverpool, which have an overall ranking of 13th (£642 weekly cost) and 17th (£610 weekly cost) respectively, making them much more cost effective to stay in compared with London’s 29th position.
Edinburgh secures three top ten spots in the categories, tenth for family-friendliness, eighth for things to do and fourth for friendliness, making it an all-rounder for families opting for a short flight or train ride.
Liverpool takes two top ten spots, coming in ninth for things to do, particularly for fans of The Beatles, and seventh for night-life. Seel Street is known for having some unforgettable late night haunts. Overall Liverpool is a great option for a city break with friends if you’re looking to save a few pounds.
Holiday budgeting with Starling Bank
To support holidaymakers in getting the most out of their getaways this summer, Starling Bank has created an interactive travel tool to enable better budgeting, ensuring you get the best experience for your money. The tool highlights what you can get for £100 in the world’s top tourist destinations.
Starling also offers customers fee-free travel anywhere in the world, simply pay on your card or withdraw cash in the local currency of your destination. Starling also passes Mastercard’s real exchange rate onto you, so travellers will always get more for their money, no matter what the currency.
Lavina Dsouza, owner of travel blog, Continent Hop, said: “With travel costs on the rise worldwide, it can be challenging to land on a destination that fits your budget. However, there are many ways to save money and Starling Bank’s travel tool helps by showing where you can get the most enjoyment for the best price.”
“I visited the Faro district in Portugal a while back and fell in love with the food and landscapes. I can’t wait to go back and visit Lisbon where you can see the smaller version of Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, witness some of the best architecture in Europe and try the famous Pastel de Belém. What’s more, local beer costs just over £1, a bottle of wine around £3.50 and meals cost under £10 per person. Public transport is also a steal at £1.70 per ticket - all of which assures significant savings throughout your stay.”
Rachel Kerrone, Director of Brand and Marketing at Starling Bank adds: “We know travel is on the agenda for many people this summer but at the same time, budgets will likely be tight due to the rising costs of living. We want to help people pick their holiday wisely, so they can get the best value for their money while still having a fantastic time.”