Beer bargains and dear drinks: Which are the cheapest – and most expensive – cities for beer?

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Krakow market square, Poland
Krakow market square, Poland

Related tags: Switzerland

Geneva, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv are the most expensive cities to buy beer in – while cities like Krakow, Kiev and Cape Town offer drinkers more for their money, according to a report from travel comparison site GoEuro. 

The 2015 Beer Price Index, released today, ranks 75 world cities in terms of price.

Currency appreciations and devaluations have been key reasons for variation between 2014 and 2015, with changes in the Swiss Franc exchange rate pushing Geneva and Zurich both into the top 15 most expensive cities for beer.

Where’s cheapest for beer?

Krakow (Poland), Kiev (Ukraine), and Bratislava (Slovakia) were the cheapest cities in GoEuro’s Beer Price Index, with an overall average price of $1.66, $1.66 and $1.69 for a 33cl beer respectively.

These cities are less expensive in general, but the list of cheaper cities threw up some surprises as well, said GoEuro.

Often regarded as a more expensive destination, Cape Town’s ranking in the top 15 cheapest cities for beer – just cheaper than Warsaw - was quite surprising,” ​the company said. “Similarly Malaga’s placement in the top five among cities such as Bratislava and Delhi had been unexpected.”

And the most expensive?

While $10 in Krakow would buy six bottles of beer (overall average price of $1.66 per 33cl), it would not even cover two bottles in Geneva ($6.32).

“Switzerland in general is highly regarded as an expensive destination - Switzerland often ranks highest as one of the most expensive countries,” ​said GoEuro. “This is for several reasons, including an overall higher cost of living compared to other countries combined with higher minimum and average wages.

“Geneva specifically, with its links to the UN and as a home to wealthy diplomats, could naturally be regarded as a more affluent destination, meaning costs will also be higher.

“At the end of 2014, the Swiss Franc became strongly appreciated as a result of the end of the floor rate from the Swiss government. Since then Swiss prices compared to the Euro are approximately 20% more expensive.

Geneva: picturesque but pricey

"This means that visitors to Switzerland will feel the squeeze more when in these cities, which unsurprisingly places Geneva high in the rankings.”

In order of cheapest to most expensive, other major cities were listed as follows: Delhi ($1.75), Berlin ($2.58), Brussels ($3.18), Los Angeles ($3.24), Toronto ($3.27), Paris ($4.24), Sydney ($4.46), London ($4.52), Tokyo ($4.77), Singapore ($5.13) and New York ($5.20).

Oslo ($5.31), which was the most expensive in the index in 2014, was down four places this year under Geneva ($6.32), Hong Kong ($6.16), and Tel Aviv ($5.79).  

What city drinks the most beer?

Bucharest tops the annual consumption per capita figures, at 133 litres compared to Cairo at the other extreme at just 4 litres.

“One reason is because of Eastern Europe’s long history relating to beer, meaning consumption is more likely to be engrained into the culture,” ​said GoEuro.

“Southern Europe, for instance, is better known for its history of wines, so would perhaps top capita consumption if wine were to be measured instead of beer.”

GoEuro is a bus, train and flight comparison travel site, and explains Munich and its famous Oktoberfest remains a popular choice with tourists.

“Munich during Oktoberfest is a well-known destination for beer-drinking travellers, along with Prague which offers a beer museum alongside an annual festival,” ​said the company.  

“Belgium has a beer tour promoted by the government, and as a large exporter of beer is well-known among beer drinkers. Finally the UK is home to an impressive selection of breweries which attract thousands of visitors each year.”

However, the consumption figures for the 2015 Beer Price Index are based on citizens, and are not calculated to include tourists. 

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