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​New generation cities snap at heels of traditional favourites

Press release   •   Aug 17, 2019 00:01 BST

Post Office Travel Money and Airbnb join forces to identify best value in top 10 growth cities

Little-known cities in Eastern Europe dominate the city holiday destinations that are showing the greatest growth in demand for Airbnb accommodation

Lviv in Ukraine heads that list and is cheapest in a new Post Office costs barometer

Bari in southern Italy is western Europe’s best value among the 10 growth cities

44% of city holidays are now celebration breaks - but few are hen and stag parties

Higher prices and over-tourism in European capitals may be leading growing numbers of UK holidaymakers to swap established favourites like Paris and Amsterdam for a new generation of little-known cities – according to a new city breaks review by Post Office Travel Money (, conducted in association with Airbnb.

The report is based on the 10 cities identified by Airbnb as showing the highest growth in bookings over the past 12 months1. Little-known Lviv in western Ukraine heads a list of largely unfamiliar cities, which include Tirana (Albania), Katowice (Poland), Kosice (Slovakia), Kaunas (Lithuania), Antalya (Turkey), Bari (Italy) and Alkmaar (Netherlands). Moscow and Lisbon complete the top 10 and are the only well-known city destinations to make the list.

When Post Office Travel Money researched the prices that visitors will pay in the 10 cities, it found that Lviv was also cheapest by far2. At £137 for a basket of 10 items, the cost in Lviv was over 10 per cent lower than in runner-up Tirana (£153) and a third of the total charged for the same items in Alkmaar (£410), the most expensive of the 10 growth cities but one that offers the benefit of its close proximity to Amsterdam.

In common with past Post Office city break surveys, the new report found that the five best value cities were Eastern European ones. Katowice (3rd, £192), Kosice (4th, £196) and Kaunas (5th, £237) joined Lviv and Tirana in a clean sweep for Eastern cities, while the port city of Antalya in the Eastern Med took sixth place (£246). Bari, another port city in the increasingly popular Puglia region of Italy, rated best value of three Western European cities (7th, £294).

The pricing research was based on items that are suitable for a Celebration Break. This was because almost half (44 per cent) of those who had been on a city break, the most popular type of overseas holiday, said they had done so to celebrate an anniversary3. Two-thirds took a Celebration Break to mark a birthday but only 15 per cent went for a hen or stag party. The items surveyed were for two people and included sparkling wine, cocktails, bike hire,

entry to museums and heritage attractions, Airbnb accommodation and a celebration dinner.

The cost of a three-course celebration dinner including a premium bottle of wine illustrates the value available to UK holidaymakers in the emerging cities. Prices in five of those cities were lower than the cost of a basic three-course meal in a tourist restaurant with house wine in the five cities that consumers said they would most like to visit on a celebration break4.

Three-course tourist meal with house wine Three-course celebration meal with premium wine

1.Venice £93.65 1. Lviv £35.14

2.Paris £91.79 2. Kosice £44.96

3.Amsterdam £70.33 3. Katowice £45.11

4.Dublin £66.76 4. Tirana £48.99

5.Barcelona £64.90 5. Antalya £64.42

However, the Post Office did find big variations between the cost of individual items in the growth cities. A bottle of sparkling wine averaged £27 across the 10 cities but could cost as much as £48 in Moscow and over £56 in Antalya. Although there was less variation in the cost of two cocktails, with prices averaging £12 (£6 per cocktail), researchers found that UK visitors could expect to pay over £18 – 50 per cent more – in Lisbon.

There were also big differences in the cost of a day’s bike hire for two people – a category added because of the growing popularity of cycling as a leisure pursuit. Hiring a bike in Kosice was found to cost just £9.40 rising to over£28 – three times as much – in Lisbon.

Unsurprisingly, accommodation cost least in Eastern European cities. Airbnb found that the average cost of a two night stay was lowest in Tirana (£49), Lviv (£55) and Kaunas (£56) but three times as much in Alkmaar (£170). However, the accommodation in Alkmaar cost £100 less than a basic three-star hotel in Amsterdam (£270 – City Costs Barometer March 2019).

Chris Dewe, Post Office Travel Money spokesperson, said: “City breaks are continuing to grow in popularity and outstrip demand for more traditional beach holidays. As that demand grows, it is inevitable that holidaymakers will look beyond the best known cities to find new alternatives. The fact that the 10 cities that have seen the biggest growth in the past year can all be reached by low-cost, direct flights from the UK is a definite factor in their success.

“However, our barometer research reveals that prices vary just as much in the new generation of short break cities as they do in more established destinations so we advise people to do their homework and check local prices before booking to get a more accurate idea of their holiday cost.”

Airbnb also revealed some of the most popular Experiences in the city break destinations. Walking tours conducted by locals were particularly popular as well as Experiences focusing on art, architecture and food. Airbnb Experiences enables visitors to take part in cookery classes (e.g. Knead you cook and eat – how to make Orecchiette pasta in Bari - £24) or take a food tour (Lisbon’s best flavours - £36). More offbeat options included Game Night in Antalya where tourists can take a Tavla (backgammon) course (£15) or ‘Find a palace underground’, a discovery of art and architecture on the Moscow Metro (£18).

To find out more go to:





Hadi Moussa, General Manager for Northern Europe from Airbnb said: “British holidaymakers are always looking to discover new destinations and it appears the nation is embracing alternative destinations for city breaks across Europe. With locals sharing their homes, passions and skills on the Airbnb platform, we can only expect to see this trend continue over the coming year, as more and more people look to explore new parts of the continent with their loved ones."

Euros are available on demand at over 9,000 Post Office branches and these can also be ordered online at for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches, for next day collection at any branch or for home delivery. Other currencies featuring in the Celebration Breaks Barometer are available over the counter at more than 1,600 branches and for pre-order in all branches or online purchase. Euros can also be loaded onto a Post Office Travel Money Card, which is widely accepted in shops, restaurants and bars.


For more information about the Airbnb properties available to rent in the 10 growth cities, go to

For more information, please contact:

Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469

Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997

Notes to Editors:

1: Source: Airbnb year-on-year growth of inbound British arrivals between 1 June 2018 - 31 May 2019.

2 Post Office Travel Money Celebrations Break Barometer is based on 7 August exchange rates. Prices were

supplied by tourist offices of participating cities except Kosice and Alkmaar (researched online). Two-night

accommodation prices are based onthe average price of a two night stay in an Airbnb listing in June 2019. All barometer prices referred to in the press release are rounded up or down to the near pound

1 2 3 4 5
ITEMS Ukraine Albania Poland Slovakia Lithuania
Bottle of sparkling wine (750ml) £16.42 £20.92 £17.96 £18.10 £22.55
Cocktails for two £7.22 £9.30 £8.08 £10.24 £12.22
3 course evening meal for two with bottle of house wine £35.14 £48.99 £45.11 £44.96 £83.90
Snack lunch for two £4.92 £4.76 £13.47 £10.26 £6.68
Return bus/train transfer from airport to city centre for two £0.66 £2.48 £3.58 £1.88 £1.88
24-hour travel card for two £0.98 £2.48 £6.28 £6.02 £10.34
Bike hire (one day) for two £9.84 £12.40 £22.00 £9.40 £22.54
Top tourist heritage attraction entry for two £2.64 £0.00 £10.78 £15.04 £11.28
Top museum or art gallery entry for two £4.60 £3.10 £2.46 £5.64 £9.40
SUBTOTAL £82.42 £104.43 £129.72 £121.52 £180.79
Two nights' Airbnb accommodation for two £55.00 £49.00 £62.00 £74.00 £56.00
TOTAL BAROMETER COST £137.42 £153.43 £191.72 £195.52 £236.79
6 7 8 9 10
ITEMS Turkey Italy Russia Portugal Netherlands
Bottle of sparkling wine (750ml) £56.42 £23.49 £47.72 £21.61 £27.25
Cocktails for two £12.86 £11.28 £17.72 £18.78 £13.16
3 course evening meal for two with bottle of house wine £64.42 £80.80 £102.26 £86.43 £75.72
Snack lunch for two £10.97 £16.91 £15.00 £15.03 £20.20
Return bus/train transfer from airport to city centre for two £4.38 £9.40 £13.64 £11.28 £41.34
24-hour travel card for two £4.70 £9.40 £6.28 £12.22 £13.16
Bike hire (one day) for two £13.16 £18.78 £17.72 £28.18 £16.92
Top tourist heritage attraction entry for two £6.26 £16.92 £27.28 £18.78 £9.40
Top museum or art gallery entry for two £9.40 £9.40 £13.64 £18.78 £22.54
SUBTOTAL £182.57 £196.38 £261.26 £231.12 £239.69
Two nights' Airbnb accommodation for two £63.00 £98.00 £75.00 £147.00 £170.00
TOTAL BAROMETER COST £245.57 £294.38 £336.26 £378.12 £409.69

3Populus research (1-2 May 2019) conducted for Post Office Travel Money among 2,123 UK adults found that two-thirds are planning to holiday abroad this year. 37 per cent are planning a city break this year and 52 per cent had been on a city break holiday in the last five years – a total of 940. 44 per cent of those consumers said that the reason for their trip was for a celebration and two-thirds of that group were celebrating a birthday.

4 Populus research (1-2 May 2019) among 940 city break holidaymakers found that the cities rated most suitable for a celebration break were: Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, Dublin, Rome, Prague, Vienna, Madrid and Budapest. 

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