Cheapest and most expensive cities to visit

Whether you like to spend your holidays lounging on a sunbed, or you prefer something more active, cost is bound to be a factor when deciding where to go. Prices for destinations, particularly large cities, can vary hugely as demonstrated by the results of a number of surveys on holiday costs.


We looked at reports such as the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Cost of Living Survey and The Backpacker Index to find the cheapest and most expensive cities. Here’s what we at The Money Shop found out:

Most expensive cities


Scandinavian cities consistently top the lists of most expensive cities but this hasn’t stopped the Danish capital becoming a popular destination. It’s an ideal place for a long weekend because flights take a couple of hours from London or Manchester and the airport is only 20 minutes from the city centre.

Known for its world class restaurants and understated design aesthetic, you can explore much of the cycle friendly city in a couple of days.


Money can’t buy you love but it certainly helps when you’re visiting the city most synonymous with romance. This year, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Paris as the world’s 8th most expensive city.

To keep costs down, stay at accommodation away from the tourist attractions and eat at restaurants popular with locals. Make wine your tipple of choice too because it will cost less than beer. According to the Beer Price Index, a 330ml beer typically costs £6.99.


There isn’t much that’s cheap in Iceland - a pint costs about £8 and a cappuccino is about £4.38. The good news is that many of the top attractions are free. That’s probably why 316,000 Brits visited Iceland through Keflavik airport in 2016 - 31% more than in 2015.

Iceland’s big draw is its hauntingly beautiful landscapes. During a day trip from the capital you can visit the Golden Circle’s trio of geological wonders. You’ll see jets of hot water shoot out of the ground at the Geysir hot springs and get up close to the breathtaking Gullfoss waterfalls. Then you can head to see the rift valley at Thingvellir national park which also has a great campsite.

And don’t miss the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. It may not be free but no trip would be complete without it.

cities-new-yorkNew York

Flight prices to New York are dropping but once you’re there you’ll have to dig deep into your pockets.

A basic lunch and drink costs about £12 although there are cheaper options - like a Big Mac meal but even that costs about £6.

The flight comparison site Skyscanner advises that the cheapest time to visit is in late winter or early spring. The busiest time is around Thanksgiving and Christmas but you may still want to visit then because that’s when the city feels most like you’re in a movie.

Cheapest cities


cities-pragueTourists flocking to Prague for its nightlife means it’s no longer as cheap as it used to be but it still has many bargain accommodation and food options. The City of a Hundred Spires also has lots of historic charm and magnificent gothic architecture.

A stroll along the iconic Charles Bridge at sunset is a firm favourite for lovers - despite the crowds. You’ll have plenty of jazz clubs to entertain you and beer lovers will be spoilt for choice.


cities-budapestBudapest has long been popular with backpackers but now others are opening up to its attractions. Hen parties are flocking to the Hungarian capital for its lively nightlife while those after some culture go for the castles, cathedrals and stunning houses of parliament.

There’s also a burgeoning food scene, so you can enjoy a Michelin star meal for a fraction of the price you’d pay in most cities. Dumplings and goulash are the national favourites and cafes with sweet treats are also common.

Cape Town

cities-cape-townCape Town is a cheap long haul destination that has plenty to offer. Whether you are after beautiful beaches, history or wildlife the coastal city has it all.

It’s a great destination for adventurers who can hike up Table Mountain, or go on one of many walks and cycle rides in some of the world’s most scenic landscapes.

You can get a return flight for about £450 or less, if you keep an eye on flight prices. That’s a bargain considering it’s 6,000 miles from London! You can get a coffee for about £1.55 and enjoy a decadent meal without breaking the bank.


cities-splitThis charming old city along the Croatian coast is great value for money. Renting an apartment is a very cost effective option for families and large groups.

Top quality seafood, gentle strolls along the promenade and plenty of beaches make this the perfect place for a relaxing getaway. There are plenty of pebble and rock beaches but if you prefer sand head to Bacvice beach.

You can also get the ferry for a day trip to a nearby island like Hvar where the crowds go to party.


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