What's the cheapest capital in Euroland?

A stamp, a beer, petrol, or even a telephone call

By next thursday, as you know, the peseta, pfennig and punt will be well and truly extinct, along with the guilder, mark and three kinds of franc. For the citizens of the 12 Euro countries, the escudo is already as dead as a drachma. The single currency has been embraced, or at least invited in to stay.

By next thursday, as you know, the peseta, pfennig and punt will be well and truly extinct, along with the guilder, mark and three kinds of franc. For the citizens of the 12 Euro countries, the escudo is already as dead as a drachma. The single currency has been embraced, or at least invited in to stay.

For British travellers, the benefits are considerable. No longer will you lose cash every time you cross a frontier. But equally important, visitors can at last make easy price comparisons between one country and another – at least for some items.

Many of the travellers' purchases are too slippery to define to make comparisons meaningful. Anything from the price of a beer to the cost of a hotel room is a highly variable quantity, since prices differ widely from one establishment to another even in the same street. But there are certain commodities where the price is more or less fixed within a country.

Using four items – the cheapest adult bus ticket in the capital city, the cost of a stamp for a postcard home, a three-minute local call from a payphone and a litre of unleaded petrol – The Independent has constructed an unusual basket of purchases in a bid to identify the cheapest and priciest Euro destinations. (The information has been supplied by national tourist boards, so let us know if you think they are understating costs.)

Top of the league for budget travellers is Athens, the only capital to sneak in below €2 for the basket of commodities – assisted by the cheapest bus fares and petrol in Europe. Greece was the last country to join the single currency, and appears to offer the best value for travellers.

The next six – Rome, Lisbon, Madrid, Dublin, Luxembourg and Paris – are separated by only 26 cents (16p). The French capital is the first in the "expensive" half of the table; the median cost for Europe is €2.60, and Paris is 3 cents on the wrong side.

A special guest appearance has been allowed by London, where each of the components has been converted to Euro prices. The capital has been treated generously, with a second-class domestic stamp accepted rather than a stamp for abroad (at 37p, nearly twice as high). The bus journey allowed was a 70p suburban one, rather than the £1 flat rate for any bus journey trespassing on the central area. With such concessions, London scored a relatively modest €3.24. The remaining five Continental capitals hit €3 or above; Brussels, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Vienna and Berlin are the high-cost cities. Berlin comes out worst because of a particularly expensive bus ticket, though to be fair this will take you around for up to an hour.

The smart (or mean) traveller on a tour of Euroland will catch a bus and fill up with petrol in Athens, make phone calls in Paris, and post cards in Madrid (or, even better, wait until he or she gets home).

To stretch your funds, the things to avoid are buying stamps in Holland, refuelling in Rome, phoning a friend in Helsinki and boarding a bus in Berlin. And remember the simple things in life are barely half the price in Greece compared with Germany.

Additional research by Liz Jones

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...