IT was stuck in a Communist time warp for half a century but it seems that Bulgaria is now truly out of the cold.
The south-eastern European country, an EU member since 2007 and with a population of around seven million, is proving the best-value destination for British tourists in search of a bargain.
The country, noted for its beaches, Alpine peaks and bird watching, comes out the cheapest destination in a Post Office travel money survey.
A basket of 10 typical holiday spending items, including evening meals and drinks, cost just £43 in Sunny Beach on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
In contrast, the items in the two priciest destinations surveyed - Tuscany and Sorrento in Italy - cost over £100. Marmaris in Turkey was the second cheapest, with items costing just £54.
Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca areas were also good value for money, as was the Portuguese Algarve and Paphos in Cyprus where prices have plunged 21 per cent in the last 12 months.
Only a little less pricey than the Italian regions was Ibiza where the basket of items was £97, with travellers to Nice in France paying £96.
Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “The strength of sterling is great news for people planning holidays abroad and they can make sure their holiday cash stretches even further by doing their homework before booking to pick a destination where prices have fallen furthest. Resort prices can make or break the holiday budget so choose a destination where healthy competition between restaurants and bars has resulted in cheaper meals and drinks.”
Another survey, from foreign currency company First Rate Exchange Services, showed that an increased number of UK adults intend to take a holiday abroad this year.
Nearly half of the 5,136 adults polled said poor UK weather was a key factor in their decision to travel abroad. Of those planning trips, more than half intend to restrict themselves to spending the same as last year on booking their trip, on travel money and on resort spending.