Looking for a cheap holiday in 2016? Head to the Algarve

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It’s a pretty common situation: with Christmas out of the way, and family and friend-related commitments are satisfied – and with work back on the schedule! – many people start planning holidays. It’s more common than you think; it’s no secret these days that holiday companies make a lot of money in January and February, as we Brits try to escape the cold. But just where is best to go?


Luckily, the Post Office has returned with its annual Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer, which surveys the prices that those in the UK face when heading abroad for their holidays. As luck would have it, the postal service has discovered that prices are down in over half of the 44 cities and resorts surveyed every year.


The barometer surveys a number of key indicators that help holidaymakers have a good time abroad – or at least covers the basics needed. From the cost of dinner for two and the price of your average bottle of beer to a bottle of suncream and a cup of coffee, a lot of things factor into the Post Office’s standardised measure – and Portugal’s Algarve came top of the table, narrowly edging Sunny Beach on the Bulgarian coast, and third-placed Cape Town in South Africa.


The Post Office claimed that the “powerful pound” has helped prices drop by up to 20% in many resorts and cities, and a whopping 31% in Penang, Malaysia, in just 12 months. In fact, three in every four of the 40 best-selling currencies at the Post Office have weakened against the sterling over the last year, meaning that the “majority of holidaymakers heading overseas should find that their money stretches further”.


The Algarve came top of the Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer for the first time in five years because of its low costs for meals and drinks, while at the other side of Europe, Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach registered a price fall of 18%.


Meanwhile, the poor performance of the South African rand meant Cape Town was the prime long-haul destination of choice, and regular high performer Budapest finally overtook the Czech Republic capital of Prague as the “best value European city break destination” due to the ever-worsening performance of the Hungarian forint.


Another surprise value performer was Tokyo, Japan, due to the strength of the pound versus the yen; sadly, the same could not be said for the US, as the dollar continues to go from strength to strength.