Sizzling Sun-Cream Prices Abroad Leave Brits Hot and Bothered

by Julia on July 31, 2019


Travel retailer Holiday Hypermarket surveyed 2,000 British holidaymakers on their use of sunscreen abroad. Among the stand-out findings were:

  • 44% take just one bottle of sun cream abroad (the NHS recommends four)
  • a quarter of us don’t take any sun cream at all
  • Buying sun cream overseas is expensive
  • Stocking up in the UK beforehand almost always works out cheaper

For a family of four, the cost of buying sun cream while on holiday can run into three figures. In Ibiza, holidaymakers reported paying up to £17.45 for a single bottle. In many cases, this can lead to a choice between paying over the odds and taking our chances against the sun. Most of us, wisely, would pay up – but that means overspending on extra protection while abroad.

What’s the right amount to take?

The amount of sun cream we need depends on a range of factors. Longer trips require greater supplies, and fair-skinned people need to be more generous with their sun-cream usage than dark-skinned people.

The survey asked how many 200ml bottles were taken for a week-long holiday. The NHS recommends four bottles per adult, but 90% of respondents confessed to taking two or less. The recommendation is to apply two tablespoons of lotion five times per day, which works at 60ml per day. However, in practice we aren’t as precise in our application of sun cream, and thus much more sunscreen is needed.

How much does it cost to buy while on holiday?
Britain is among the cheapest places to buy suntan lotion in Europe. The average price for a 200ml bottle of branded suntan lotion is a mere £4.50 according to the Post Office’s Holiday Costs barometer.

On the other hand, the most popular tourist destinations charge a hefty premium for the same product. In Ibiza, the worst offender, the cost is £17.45, and the situation isn’t much more palatable in Halkidiki, Greece, or Limassol, Cyprus, which charge £13.15 and £12.71 respectively.

Let’s consider a family of two adults and two children who take just four bottles for the whole week. Some basic arithmetic reveals how much they will need to spend to reach the NHS-recommended total of 12 bottles. In Greece it’s £69, in Cyprus it’s £65, and in Ibiza it’s a whopping £103 – more painful than falling asleep in the sun…

The table below shows the average cost of sun lotion in package holiday destinations across Europe, plus the extra cost of buying eight bottles in that destination compared to the UK.


Location One bottle: average cost for   200ml SPF15 branded sunscreen Eight bottles: total cost of buying at holiday destination Eight bottles: difference in cost compared to buying in UK
UK £4.50 £36 n/a
IBIZA, Spain £17.45 £139.60 £103.60
HALKIDIKI, Greece £13.15 £105.20 £69.20
MAJORCA, Spain £13.15 £105.20 £69.20
LIMASSOL, Cyprus £12.71 £101.68 £65.68
ALICANTE, Spain £12.28 £98.24 £62.24
BENIDORM, Spain £11.93 £95.44 £59.44
SLIEMA, Malta £11.51 £92.08 £56.08
ZADAR, Croatia £9.23 £73.84 £37.84
POREC, Croatia £7.29 £58.32 £22.32
LISBON COAST, Portugal £7.02 £56.16 £20.16
MARMARIS, Turkey £6.67 £53.36 £17.36
CORFU, Greece £6.31 £50.48 £14.48
PAPHOS, Cyprus £6.25 £50.00 £14.00
CRETE, Greece £6.14 £49.12 £13.12
TORREMOLINOS, Spain £4.82 £38.56 £2.56
ALGARVE, Portugal £3.94 £31.52 -£4.48
SUNNY BEACH, Bulgaria £2.34 £18.72 -£17.28


Craig Duncan of Holiday Hypermarket says: ‘Cost is one of the most important considerations for any holiday, yet Brits are underestimating the amount of sun cream they need and then wasting hundreds by stocking up abroad.

‘A British family can spend an eye-watering £200 to buy extra lotion for a two week holiday in Ibiza. That could easily cover a few delicious family meals, a room upgrade or new holiday clothes.

‘Buying enough sun cream at a supermarket in the UK is one of the most effective money-saving holiday hacks there is!’

Check out the infographic below that illustrates Holiday Hypermarket’s research:



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