Rip-off Dublin? How prices compare with Paris, Madrid, Berlin

Beers are cheaper but taxis more expensive in New Zealand, home of Ireland tourism critic

A night in Dublin will set you back about €186,  the second most expensive in our selection of cities.

A night in Dublin will set you back about €186, the second most expensive in our selection of cities.


New Zealand tourism expert Prof Michael Hall said on Thursday that he would never recommend a short break in Dublin because the city is a “rip-off”.

Some things may well be more expensive in Dublin and to get an accurate picture we compared a small basket of items against Paris, Madrid, Berlin and Auckland to see how our capital city fared. What we found was that Dublin isn’t the most expensive in any category, but it isn’t the cheapest either.

The main bone of contention for Prof Hall was the cost of a hotel, which he said put him out of pocket by €400 per night. To get a relatively accurate measure of room costs across our cities we compared only the cheapest non-airport based Hilton brand hotel on a specific night in July. A night in Madrid would set you back €195 while the second most expensive was Dublin at €186 per night. Incidentally, New Zealand was the cheapest in this category, with a city centre Hilton costing €166 per night there.

Big Mac

Often touted as a good metric of cost in different locations is the price of a McDonald’s Big Mac. In this category we fared well. A Big Mac on O’Connell Street costs €4.10; on the Champs-Élysées it would set you back €4.75; if you were to enjoy your Big Mac at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, you’d pay €4.20 for the privilege while in Madrid you’d shell out €5.50. Again, New Zealand provides good value for money on the Big Mac front with the McDonald’s burger costing €4.02.

Bus tours

A common tourist activity is the hop-on-hop-off bus tour and we’ve priced that across our cities. Auckland proves to be the most expensive on this front, costing €29, while Berlin will cost you the least at €17 for a 24-hour ticket for one adult. Dublin, Madrid and Paris are closely priced for the bus tour with the first two costing €19 and the French capital tour coming in at €20.


Another point of comparison we’ve included is the cost of a taxi. Obviously, this is more difficult to compare than the other categories so we’ve looked only at the price of an airport transfer for up to three passengers. Because some cities have airports a considerable distance out from the city centre, we’ve looked only at main airports. This category is relatively closely priced. An airport transfer in Madrid will cost €35 and €36 in Dublin. A similar journey in Berlin will set you back €47 and in Paris the cost will be €49. Auckland’s taxi transfer cost will negate the saving you make on your Big Mac and will set you back about €56. It’s worth noting that taxi prices are difficult to get a handle on so we looked at a number of operators to get a price that was as representative as possible.


After all your bus tours and taxi transfers you may want to shell out on some beer and, somewhat surprisingly, Dublin isn’t the dearest for that. According to travel search engine GoEuro’s 2016 beer index, Paris will cost you the most at €9.01 for a 330ml bottle of beer. The cheapest place to get the same bottle is Madrid where the cost is €4.26. In Prof Hall’s home country the cost is €5.41 while in Dublin it is slightly more expensive at €5.58.