Most expensive cities in the world to visit

From New York to Paris, here are the most expensive cities in the world. Can you guess which city topped the list?

New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re off on a city break this summer, you may be wondering which are the most expensive cities in the world to visit.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-living crisis, many of us are looking forward to a holiday this year.

For those on a tight budget, consider booking a trip to one of the cheapest countries. And regardless of your budget and destination, always check out the best travel debit or credit cards and take out appropriate travel insurance to get your holiday off to a flying start.

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For city breaks, we reveal the most expensive cities in the world. 

Hint: if you’re looking for best-value-for-money cities, scroll down to the bottom of the list for the cheapest popular cities for tourists. 

Most expensive cities in the world to visit

Travel company Rustic Pathways has looked at the top 10 most visited cities in the world. And then ranked them according to how expensive they are for a one-night trip. It has done this by analysing the average cost of accommodation, transportation and food and drinks from travel providers such as Kayak, Viator and TourRadar.  

Shayne Fitz-Coy, CEO of Rustic Pathways, said: “With the cost of living having risen dramatically over recent years for many countries, many will still want a holiday abroad, but will be looking to spend less than they usually would. A short-haul city break is a great option for potential holidaymakers who want to visit new places but spend a bit less.”

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Top 10 most expensive cities in the world to visit
City Hotel TransportationFood EntertainmentTips and handoutsAlcoholTotal
New York City£280£39.20£40£144£11.20£35.20£549.60
Paris£261.60£18.40£36£67.20£30.40£32£445.60
Dubai£272£10.40£44.80£15.20£2.40£27.20£372
London£248£25.60£34.40£32.80£4.80£23.20£368.80
Rome£153.60£18.40£40.80£31.20£38.40£24£306.40
Amsterdam£176.80£16.80£37.60£32£5.60£30.40£299.20
Barcelona£166.40£16.80£28£28.80£9.60£22.40£272
Tokyo£124£14.40£30.40£55.20£6.40£40£270.40
Madrid£133.60£16£29.60£29.60£4£25.60£238.40
Berlin£110.40£15.20£44.80£19.20£1£21.60£212.80

Source: Rustic Pathways

1. New York City

Commanding top place is New York City, averaging at £549.60 per person for a one-night break. Thanks to landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square, plus a rich archive of films set in the Big Apple, it’s on many holidaymakers’ bucket lists and has come out on top in several lists as the most expensive city to visit in the world. 

2. Paris

In second place is Paris, where a one-night stay costs £445.60 per person, with numbers tilting towards the more expensive side due to high entertainment costs and steep tips. The French capital is famous among travellers for its Eiffel Tower, western artworks in the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and local boulangeries. And with the 2024 Summer Olympics not so far away, the city has increased tourist tax by 200% this year to support transport and accommodation. 

3. Dubai

Arguably one of the most popular cities in the Middle East, Dubai ranks third due to sky-high accommodation costs (the average hotel costs £272 for a night). It’s a tourist hotspot due to its famous landmarks – notably the Burj Khalifa, extravagant shopping centres and towering buildings. 

4. London

The only UK city that ranks in the listing, London is certainly an unsurprising addition as one of the most expensive cities in the world, costing roughly £368.80 for a night’s stay. Famous attractions include Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace and the British Museum with one of the largest permanent collections in the world. Beyonce and Harry Styles’ concert tours boosted London’s live music venues and brought fans from all over the world, with Taylor Swift’s billion-dollar Eras Tour also set to make headlines this year.

5.  Rome

Rome is the fifth most expensive popular city in the world, costing a total of £306.40 per person. Holidaymakers interested in history, architecture and authentic Italian food enjoy visiting this city, with well-known landmarks such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.

6. Amsterdam

One of the most travel-friendly cities in the world, Amsterdam ranks at number six with an average cost of just under £300 per person. It’s famous for its old castles, canals, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, though hotel costs and alcohol can be on the pricier side. 

7. Barcelona

A glimpse into Catalan culture has made this Spanish city a popular destination for holidaymakers, with costs averaging at £272 per night. The cityscape is home to the Sagrada Familia, the world’s tallest unfinished church, Roman archaeological sites and a number of seafood specialities. 

8. Tokyo

A weak yen has boosted tourism in Japan. Costing about £270.40 a night, the high-tech capital city is home to the Tokyo National Museum, Imperial Palace, Meiji Shinto Shrine, skyscrapers, shopping centres and several Michelin-star Japanese restaurants. Although flights from the UK will be expensive, it does have one of the cheapest accommodation costs out of our top 10 cities.

9. Madrid

Another Spanish city on the list, Madrid ranks quite close to Barcelona, but it is slightly cheaper at roughly £238.40 per night. It’s hugely famous for football, with Real Madrid CF having won a record 14 UEFA Champions League titles, making the city a hotspot for football fans. But its rich history, art collections, vibrant nightlife and being home to Europe’s largest palace are also reasons worth a visit. 

10. Berlin

In last place comes Berlin, where a night’s stay costs around £212.80. This makes it the best value for money if you want to go to one of the most-visited cities in the world. The German capital is a cultural hub known for its historical Cold War sites such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag for its famed glass dome, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a vibrant nightlife for youngsters. 

How to maximise your travel budget

To make your travel budget go further, you should consider not just the cost of the holiday but also how you’re going to spend your money. Here are a few tips to follow:

Choose the right travel card: It’s important to only use the best debit and credit cards when travelling abroad, or else you could be stung by high exchange fees of around 3%. 

Buy travel insurance and travel money in advance: Another way to cut costs is by searching for the best travel money deals and travel insurance ahead of time, rather than leaving it to the last minute and bearing the brunt of missed small print on your cover or having to pay high exchange rates at the airport.   

Avoid holiday scams: Holidaymakers should also remain vigilant and avoid holiday scams, especially when a travel deal seems too good to be true. Last year, Action Fraud reported £12.3 million lost to holiday scammers, with an average victim losing £1,851 to such crimes. 

Oojal Dhanjal
Staff writer

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money. Oojal has an MA in international journalism from Cardiff University, and before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website, where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals. Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music, and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues. Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl.