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There’s no place like home

Most of us would prefer a city break to London than any other European metropolis.

If you were going to attempt a guess at Britain’s favourite European city, what you say? The historic yet romantic city of Venice wouldn’t be a bad assumption, while many of us would probably stump for France’s stylish metropolis, Paris. Both would be wrong, as London and Manchester are the European cities we love the most.

If you are a little surprised at this, you will be even more surprised to learn that both Venice and Paris didn’t even make it into our top 10 of our best-loved European cities. No it seems we are indeed home-loving folk, according to recent research by price comparison service Pricerunner.

Its official: London is the most popular European city among British travellers, according to research. Despite the fact that the capital is ranked as the second most expensive city in the world, it attracts three times the number of visitors to its northern counterpart, Manchester. Other popular cities in the UK include Edinburgh, Glasgow and even Birmingham, which appeals to Brits more than the French capital, Paris. At first glance this may seem a bit strange but when you consider the poor exchange rate on the euro, you can see why almost half of Brits are choosing to avoid the eurozone altogether and prefer eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Top 10 European cities

London, BritainManchester, BritainRome, ItalyMalaga, Spain Alicante, Spain Stockholm, Sweden Faro, Portugal Tenerife, Spain Barcelona, Spain Larnaca, Cyprus The research analyses travel behaviour in 100 European cities and what can be purchased for £100 or the local currency equivalent, in some of the most popular destinations. For example, in London, £100 pays for tea for two at the Ritz and two one-day London Underground travel cards (all zones). For those of us on a budget, cities such as Stockholm in Sweden, Copenhagen in Denmark or Dalaman in Turkey are the most popular destinations outside the eurozone, as they provide excellent value for money. In Dalaman, for example, the equivalent of only £10 (24.47 Turkish Lira) will buy two adult tickets to visit the famous mud baths of Dalyan by boat, making it a very popular haunt.

Scandinavia is currently a fashionable choice of travel destination, particularly Sweden and Denmark, but it’s not surprising that Norway, ranked as the most expensive place in the world, does not get a mention in the Pricerunner league table.

With little reliance on the euro, eastern Europe is also a must for budget travelers with the most popular cities including Sofia and Burgas in Bulgaria or Prague in the Czech Republic. In Sofia, entry to the local zoo for two adults costs the equivalent of only 81p (two Lev), while two visitors to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam will pay almost £16 (€20). If you thought that was expensive then you’d better avoid the Emerald Isle’s crowning glory, Dublin, where two pints of Guinness will cost you £8.

Managing director of Pricerunner Mattias Berg says: “With the poor exchange rate on the euro we’re seeing an increase in the popularity of travel within the UK or least outside of the eurozone. It’s encouraging to see that we’re taking the time to enjoy our own country and not being put off by European travel altogether.”

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