Thrifty holidaymakers looking for a holiday where their pounds will stretch the furthest might consider heading to Bulgaria, according to this year’s Post Office Travel Money Holiday Costs Barometer, which compares costs in 19 European beach resorts.

Tumbling prices in Sunny Beach have made the Black Sea resort cheaper than a year ago and the best bet for a bargain break for the fourth year running.

At around £37, the barometer basket of ten tourist staples – comprising lunch and evening meals, drinks, suncream, insect repellent and a daily newspaper – costs 10% less in Sunny Beach than last year, despite the weaker pound.

An evening meal for two with wine will set UK visitors back less than £20, while lunch for two is under £6 and suncream is cheaper than the lowest-priced UK bottle at £3.72. The research also found tourist costs in Sunny Beach to be lower than at any time in the past five years.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Operators have already reported that holidays to Bulgaria are selling like hot cakes and our research makes it clear that Sunny Beach will offer cash-strapped holidaymakers unbeatable value this year.

“Meal costs are really the deciding factor in Bulgaria’s favour. Over the course of a week’s holiday, lunch and evening meals for two will cost around £175 in Sunny Beach, but this could mushroom to more than £600 in more expensive resorts in France or Italy.”

The Algarve is again the runner-up resort to Sunny Beach, although holiday costs are 56% higher than in Bulgaria at more than £58. The Portuguese hotspot remains the cheapest of 14 eurozone resorts surveyed and around £2 cheaper than the Costa del Sol (£61) in third place. Prices in both destinations are less than half those in Ibiza (£131), the most expensive resort surveyed.

The company found wide cost variations between resorts in the same country; in Spain, the Costa del Sol remains a bargain choice for Brits, but holidaymakers can expect to pay 25% more for the barometer items in neighbouring Costa Blanca (£76) and 47% more in Mallorca (£89).

There are differences too between the four Greek islands surveyed. Crete, ninth in the table, is cheapest at just under £82 for the tourist staples, while Zante (£82) is a few pence more and Kefalonia (£84) comes close. However, tourists visiting Corfu (£90) can expect to pay 10% more.

Brown said: “Greece is looking very popular this year with tour operators reporting increases of up to 40% in bookings, but it will pay bargain hunters to factor resort costs into the overall price they pay for their package. “Swapping resorts could save a lot of money and this applies to popular resorts all over Europe as well as to Greece.”

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