Dublin new budget capital of culture

A new Post Office Travel Money Cost of Culture report has revealed that Dublin is the city where culture costs the least. 

Dublin, Ireland.
Dublin, Ireland.

The Irish capital was found to be much cheaper than Warsaw, Budapest and Prague, the Eastern European cities that set the pace for a culture-cramming break a year ago.

Based on six cultural attractions – visits to Ireland’s National Museum, National Gallery and Trinity College to see the Old Library and Book of Kells as well as ballet, opera and musical nights out – Dublin’s cultural barometer basket weighed in at just over £76, more than 25 per cent cheaper than a year ago.

Not only does this make the city the best value of 17 cultural capitals surveyed by the Post Office but also less than half the price of 10 competitors, including London.

Dublin’s six cultural highlights cost less than one ticket in London for The Barber of Seville (£115, London Coliseum) or Romeo & Juliet (£115, Royal Opera House).

London remains Europe’s most expensive city for culture after registering a 12.5 per cent rise in the Cost of Culture basket to £287.50 compared with last year.

Paris is almost as expensive at £247.64 but prices in both cities are far lower than in New York, where transatlantic travellers can expect to pay £491.73.

In New York a category 2 ticket for the Metropolitan Opera (Otello) will set UK visitors back £212 while the New York City Ballet (Balanchine) costs over £177.

Budapest has retained its position as second cheapest in the survey at £91.31 for the six cultural highlights, although prices are up 13.6 per cent compared with a year ago.

For holidaymakers who prefer the idea of mixing sunshine with a city break, Lisbon looks to be best value.

The Portuguese capital scored with the third cheapest barometer cost of £94.41.

Despite the increased value of sterling, which gives UK visitors 13 per cent more Polish zloty for their pounds, Warsaw, last year’s best bargain, has fallen to fourth place because performance prices have mushroomed 51 per cent to £105.10 in 12 months.  Fifth-placed Prague has seen a 20 per cent increase to £111.52.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “Last year we were advising holidaymakers to head east to Warsaw, Budapest and Prague for the lowest-priced highbrow break. Now Dublin has leapfrogged all three and looks a great bargain, especially as flights to the Irish capital are shorter and such good value too.”

However, the Post Office points out that the price you pay will depend on your taste in culture. For example, entry to the most popular museum, gallery and heritage site is free in Copenhagen, which is 10th placed in the overall barometer at a total price of £154.20, but these attractions cost over £35 in Amsterdam. And while there is free entry to the British Museum and National Gallery in London, the Tower of London rated as the most expensive heritage site at £24.50 – over twice the price of every other site surveyed.

The report found that the cheapest European cities for ballet, opera and music events cost a sixth of those in the most expensive cities.

A ticket for Lisbon’s National Ballet Company (Pedro e Ines) will cost £18.16 compared with £115 for the Royal Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet in London.

Similarly, holidaymakers will pay £21.34 a ticket for the Polish National Opera’s production of the Merchant of Venice compared with around £130 for Madam Butterfly at the Paris Opera.

In Budapest a programme of Strauss by the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra costs £10.47 but a Warsaw National Philharmonic classical concert is £52.10.

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