Holidaymakers seeking islands in the sun for an autumn sunshine break will find the garden paradise of Madeira best value

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  • Post Office Travel Money unveils first Islands in the Sun Holiday Barometer of destinations exempt from UK quarantine (
  • Madeira is unbeatable value among eight holiday islands and cheaper than the Canaries

After Turkey was added to the UK quarantine list yesterday (1 October), islands in the sun are emerging as the most practical choices for UK holidaymakers still considering an autumn break abroad, according to Post Office Travel Money. 

Following the government’s announcement of a more targeted approach to quarantine that would exempt islands with low Covid-19 rates from countrywide regulations, the UK’s largest foreign exchange provider has compiled its first Islands in the Sun Holiday Barometer, comparing prices for meals, drinks and other tourist items in eight European and Caribbean islands1.  Holiday costs on the Portuguese island of Madeira were found to be lowest.

Among the Eurozone ‘islands in the sun’ – with Madeira, Rhodes and Sicily surveyed for the first time, Post Office Travel Money found that the low cost of both alcoholic and soft drinks helped to make Madeira the cheapest option.  A popular autumn break choice among flora and fauna enthusiasts, the so-called ‘garden island’s’ barometer total of £65.53 made it slightly less expensive than runner-up Paphos (£66.40), where prices in the Cypriot resort have risen 3.7 per cent year-on-year.

Although they remain under quarantine rules, Post Office Travel Money also researched three Canary Islands and found that none of these could compare with Madeira on price (prices included in the table for comparison purposes).  The cheapest of the three, Lanzarote, was almost 12 per cent higher than in Madeira, with Tenerife and Gran Canaria more expensive still.

The report also revealed big price differences between resorts in the same country.  Visitors to Cyprus can expect to pay around 20 per cent more for the eight items in Limassol (£79.72) than in Paphos.  In Greece, prices in fourth-placed Rhodes were 19 per cent lower than in Corfu at £77.52 compared with £95.72.  This made Corfu the most expensive European Island in the Sun.

The Caribbean islands surveyed for the report were more expensive than any of the European destinations. Prices in Antigua were 41 per cent higher than a year ago at £107.80 for the eight tourist essentials.  This is most likely because cheaper restaurants remain closed in the island capital St John’s.  By comparison, the barometer cost in St Lucia was only nine per cent up on 2019 levels in Rodney Bay (£111.58). 

Nick Boden, Head of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four UK currency transactions said:

Although a number of popular destinations in Spain, France and Greece are quarantined at the moment, our new report reveals that holidaymakers who want to travel abroad still have plenty of good choices among European and Caribbean islands.  Madeira will make a great substitute for the Canary Islands, if these remain subject to quarantine, and the autumn temperature in Cyprus will make its resorts a great holiday option.  Further afield, visitors to the Caribbean can expect an even sunnier climate.” 

Comparing temperatures in the 12 islands in October, Post Office Travel Money found that St Lucia offers the highest temperature of 31°, while the highest in Europe is in Paphos, where the temperatures can hit 27° in October:

Rodney Bay, St Lucia31°C high (28°C average)
St John’s, Antigua29°C high (26.5°C average)
Lanzarote, Canary Isles27°C high (23°C average)
Paphos, Cyprus27°C high (22°C average)
Gran Canaria, Canary Isles26°C high (23°C average)
Tenerife, Canary Isles27°C high (22°C average)
Limassol, Cyprus25°C high (21°C average)
Rhodes, Greece24°C high (21°C average)
Madeira, Portugal23°C high (21°C average)
Corfu, Greece23°C high (18.5°C average)
Sicily, Italy22°C high (17.2°C average)

The Post Office is the UK’s leading provider of foreign currency, offering euros straight away at around 5,000 branches. These can also be ordered online at for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches, for next day collection at any branch or for home delivery. 1,600 larger Post Office Branches stock 30 leading currencies while around 60 currencies can be pre-ordered at around 5,000 branches or online at for next day branch or home delivery. 

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