Prices in Europe

Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:26 AM
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I think that one thing that can be learned from this is that the cost of a beverage does usually add ALOT to the price of a meal in much of Europe -- not counting situations where a glass of wine may actually be included in a "menu" in France. In the US iced tap water is always (as far as I know) free with a meal. This is not true everywhere in Europe. So if you're on a budget, be careful about the cost of beverages -- especially where there is no free water and you have to buy some liquid with a meal. In Belgium I had two different restaurants REFUSE to serve me tap water with a meal. Of course, in some areas -- Russia, for example -- you don't want to be drinking tap water.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:27 AM
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when they mean "1.50 €" in American writing.

"1.50" is "american writing"???? news to many people around the world, that's for sure!
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:38 AM
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It certainly depends on the country and the location within the city - tourist trap, expensive restaurant, or where the people who live there shop. We just returrned from Lisbon and Copenhagen and the difference in prices was staggering (though even in very expensive Copenhagen I doubt you could spend 15€ on a coke even if you tried!). Some examples - a plum in Lisbon was 10 cents, in Copenhagen it was almost a dollar, bottled water in Lisbon was about 60 cents (more in front of the castle for example), in Copenhagen it was close to 3€. Prices for food and drink in copenhagen (and in Switzerland last summer) were close to two to three times the prices in Lisbon ( and twice the price of Sicily, other parts of Italy, most of France, etc).

The prices in the original post are absurd, but prices can vary greatly from country to country and within countries, even within cities. If you value your money you'll look at the price before you buy. And maybe do some research and know that Denmark, Switzerland, Venice (yes I know Venice is not a coutnry) - might be more than other places. For a great value go to Portugal.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:58 AM
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€7 for toothpaste is perfectly possible - it's about a fiver in real money and there are places you could spend that - on specialist tooth whitening or other upmarket formulas - much the same as you can spend a tenner on soap at Lush, but most of us are quite happpy with the supermarkets own brand. Women pay hundreds of quid for gunk to put on their faces.

There are bits of Europe that are eye poppingly expensive. I can't ever think aboput the gin and tonic I had in Monte Carlo without whimpering like a girl when I remember the cost. The same applies to beer in Iceland. In both cases I had to have a drink to get over the shock. It didn't help.

However the fact that places like Monte Carlo is expensive is hardly a shock is it?

In general, in Northern Europe expect to pay in pounds what you would pay in dollars, and as a Euro-rouble thingy is worth about the same as a dollar, think in terms of adding 30% to what you're used to paying, more for specific items (usually alcohol and fags), and less for others.

But anyone who pays a fiver for a coke wants their bumps felt.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:58 AM
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Hi A,

Friends of ours just returned from London, Paris and Rome with the same complaint.

7-8E for a coke, 138E for salad and dessert for two (with tea), 300E for pizza for four.

I could only suggest that they consult me about their next visit.

OTOH, they didn't mind 300E/nite for a hotel.

European restaurants are not the place to buy American soft drinks. You can get bottled water, soft drinks, etc at grocery stores for not unreasonable prices.

We generally spend about 10-20E pp for lunch and about 25-45E pp for dinner - without wine.

No long ago, I got an excellent antibiotic throat spray without an Rx for 5E. That's a lot cheaper than in the US.

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:11 AM
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You can find toothpaste in the U.S. that will run 5 or 6 bucks so that doesn't surprise me. Did she drink the Coke from the mini-bar? Cokr might be more expensive in Europe just as mineral water is pricier in the U.S.

You can certainly eat in Europe without going bankrupt. It's simple, eat as the locals do, shop delis and cheese shops. In many countries don't sit down for that cup of coffee, stand at the bar.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:22 AM
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The poor people of Europe must be really rich if they can live there.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:23 AM
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> 300E for pizza for four <

Hi Ira, please tell me where they have eaten pizza topped with caviar?

(I just returned from the Balmoral in Edinburgh, probably the most expensive place in Europe, where they charges 12.99 lbs for pizza, this is roughly 20 €. I cannot imagine finding a place in Europe where you are paying more.)

These stories sound familiar to me. I remember many German friends returning from a trip to the USA and telling the same stories about outrageous prices in the USA. Must be a psychological phenomenon.

I travel the world a lot and, of course, compare prices. Here are my findings for restaurants and supermarkets (excluding tourist traps):

If prices in middle Europe (Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands) are 100:

then prices in USA are 100 (current exchange rates)

prices in Great Britain are 150

prices in Japan are 200

prices in Italy are 120

prices in Switzerland and Denmark are 130

prices in Spain are 60

Everything else are fantasy stories.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:29 AM
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We sometimes bought a Coca Cola Light (diet) in Paris, Normandy, and the Loire Valley while having a lunch or dinner. The lowest price was 3 euro and that was a small bottle size. On the Champs Elysees, we paid 9 euro for a large glass at an outdoor cafe while a small bottle of water was 4.50 euro. I didn't say "carafe" of water fast enough. Hard lesson.

From a street vendor or small store, we usually paid 1.50-2 euro for a can or plastic bottle.

When I bought I six pack of Coca Cola Light from Monoprix in Paris, I paid three euro TOTAL. That little fridge at the Hotel Bonaparte in Paris came in handy!

Ice for water or a soda wasn't a problem in most restaurants, either. Most of the time they brought a little parfait glass with six or seven ice cubes.

With all the heat we experienced, no other drink hit the spot like a Coca Cola Light. Tasted even better than a French or American diet Pepsi.

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:29 AM
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Having just been in Italy, I can say that soft drinks do hover around 4 Euros...but cappuccinos are 1 Euro and there are cafes on every street corner.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:31 AM
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Is she perhaps a mutual friend we share? I have a friend who embellishes EVERYTHING...what a drama queen!?
Everyone believes about 1/2 of everything she says...but we love her!
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:38 AM
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When Coke is 15 Euros a glass it is time to start drinking wine.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:39 AM
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A cup of coffee at a café in St Mark's Square can cost €10.00. But it's not the coffee that you are paying for is it?
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 05:47 AM
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I assume that cup of coffee was purchased at some place like Florian? Yes, I agree that you are not "paying" just for a cup of coffee.

I guess it is ultimately all relative.

I am one of those people who has, more than once, spent over $500 a night in a hotel room because I thought it was "worth it" (yes, I alreday know not everyone agrees) but for some strange reason I am the one who thinks 15 Euro for a drink is ridiculous.

Perhaps this is because I cannot possibly re-create the hotel experience on my own but I KNOW I can buy a Coke cheaper somewhere...sigh.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 06:41 AM
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As someone has already suggested, wine is less expensive than Coca-Cola in most of France. In Paris, the prices might be about the same for a glass of either.

I was in Paris in April and walked through a market on the rue Montmartre near Les Halles. A vendor was selling big round globe artichokes from Brittany. I didn't notice the price per kilo. I asked for two artichokes. The price was 29 euros! I told the vendor he was crazy. He said he was glad most of his customers weren't as cheap as I was. Ha ha! Can you imagine paying $35.00 for two artichokes? He was obviously trying to rip people off.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 06:48 AM
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I must admit that when I run out of toothpast or similar articles in Europe, despite going to supposed "discount" type stores, I am amazed how much those things cost for tiny sizes. But admittedly I'm used to buying big tubes of Ultrabrite at the Dollar Store for $1 each. When I ran out of spray deodorant a few days before leaving Paris, I went to four places before I finally gave up and coughed up 12 euro for a small can of the stuff. It explained a lot in terms of the smells on the subway and busses.
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 06:55 AM
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Hi trav,

>Everything else are fantasy stories.<

There is a difference between what an informed traveler will pay and what a clueless visitor will pay.

The folks I am speaking of are not the sort to make up stories.

I am not going to ask to see the receipts.

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 07:05 AM
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You friend is either: exaggerating, confused, or shopping/eating in the wrong places. I accept the toothpaste example but doubt the soda one.

I spend a lot of time in Switzerland and even there you can eat without going bankrupt.

To the original question of how to survive a month in Europe... the usual suggestions apply.

1) Shop at a grocery store or open air street markets for great stuff
2) Eat a larger meal at lunch time
3) Seek out local cafes off the tourist path especially those catering to workmen's specials
4) Buy bottles of wine from a shop rather than in a restaurant
5) Purchase pre-made sandwiches from bakeries
6) in Paris eat crepes from corner stands

etc. etc.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 07:11 AM
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The OP reminded me of Economist magazine's "Big Mac Index".

The latest stats show $3.51 per Big Mac in Euro vs $3.15 in the US (though much more expensive in Switzerland).

You might also take note that many items sold in UK are INCLUSIVE of sales tax. Considering UK VAT is 17.5%, the sticker price MAY look quite expensive vs ex-VAT US$ prices.

Having said that, I do feel some items tend to be more expensive in the UK, notably dry cleaning bills and manicure. Then again, NY has more ample supply of cheap migrant labour force, probably...

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 07:11 AM
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I regret to say that I've been naive enough to let someone overcharge me when I ate in Rome -- but it was at a restaurant just outside the Vatican -- where tour books warn it is RIFE with places that take advantage of the high tourist traffic. If only I'd read the WHOLE book.

Other than that, yes, prices can be higher because of the exchange rate, but I never met a Coke for $15. Your friend must have been taken for a ride.

The most I ever paid for a Diet Coke (Coca Cola Light) in Paris was $5 Euro -- and after that I stuck with a good Bordeaux, which was only $2 or 3/glass - There's nothing quite like starting your drinking at noon "in the name of the budget".

In our budget, I allow about $50 Euro a day for food per person. That's $10 for breakfast, $15 for lunch, and $25 for dinner. I can do a little better for lunch by eating at a deli (getting a sandwich and water or a soda), and a little worse at dinner time.

It's also a matter of where you are that matters. I've paid much more to eat in New York City until my brother showed me how a Big Mac in Times Square is $5, but you pay normal prices outside the touristy areas.

Over all, NY was more expensive than Paris, but London was horrendously expensive by comparison to other European cities. I routinely paid $3 BP for a beer, which is nearly $6 -- but then I did get a whole pint. By comparison, I've paid $15 for a martini in NYC, and didn't get the benefit of sitting in a nice British pub in the neighborhood north of Trafalgar Square.

Just like anywhere else, it's about paying attention and only paying the prices you see on the menu.

And for the toothpaste -- that must have been one heck of a large tube.

Happy travels.


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