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
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: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Day In a Page

    Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

    Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

    Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US