Top EU destinations off the beaten track

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View of old town in Prague taken from Charles bridge
View of old town in Prague taken from Charles bridge. The architecture in the Czech Republic city attracts British travellers year after year.
Travel

Travellers who are desperate to trade tourist hotspots for cultural vacations this year can breathe a sigh of relief, as Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Money has exposed the currencies that have risen in popularity over the past four years – simultaneously highlighting some less-frequented European destinations.

The ‘top currency climbers’, as Sainsbury’s Bank coins it, are Polish Zloty, Czech Krona, Hungarian Forint and Islandic Krona, which have all jumped up at least three places since 2015, hinting towards the growing popularity of these destinations amongst British travellers. Simon Taylor, Head of Travel Money at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “Our currency data shows that European destinations are popular with holidaymakers who are looking for cheaper short-haul flights for a cost-effective trip.”

Polish Zloty has seen a remarkable change in popularity since 2015, having leapt up seven places from 14th to seventh in 2018. Poland has seen record-breaking tourist numbers in the past two years, which Sainsbury’s Bank attributes to its emerging music scene – Unsound Music Festival in Krakow is a major event for electronic music fans, and the festival has since expanded to New York, Prague and Minsk.

Czech krona now sits at eighth place, having previously been in 12th position. Tourism data has revealed that 13.2 million international travellers visited the country last year, and Prague’s Signal Festival – which showcases the city’s architectural features using light art and new technology, named one of the best light festivals in Europe – likely has much to do with these figures.

Jumping from 20th position up to 13th, Hungarian Forint has seen perhaps the biggest increase in popularity since 2015, with a five-per-cent visitor increase over the past year. Budapest attracts hordes of visitors throughout the year, but it’s the six-day-long Sziget Festival in August in particular that pulls in hundreds of thousands of festivalgoers annually. Indeed, Sainsbury’s Bank reported that Brits dominated the festival as the second majority ticket buyers after local residents last year.

With over 2.2 million people visiting in 2017, Iceland has experienced a boom in tourism recently, and consequently, the Icelandic Krona’s popularity has moved from 18th most popular currency to 15th. This time, it’s not a festival that’s to thank for the trend, but instead the hit TV show Game of Thrones, which filmed scenes in the breathtaking location.

Sainsbury’s Bank also recently highlighted some ‘top money tips’ to help customers save money when planning a holiday: checking for online deals for holiday essentials, exchanging money before getting to the airport, planning finances with friends and making a budget in advance are touted as some of the best ways to curtail costs, as well as ensuring that customers have the right travel insurance.