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Eastern European cities ‘best for bargain breaks for Christmas market shoppers’

Christmas market in Riga’s Old Town (Roman Babakin/Alamy/PA)
Christmas market in Riga’s Old Town (Roman Babakin/Alamy/PA)

Holidaymakers travelling abroad to visit Christmas markets may want to head to Eastern Europe to make their money stretch further, research from the Post Office suggests.

Latvia’s capital city, Riga, topped the list of bargain destinations for a European shopping trip for the fourth time running in Post Office Travel Money’s Christmas markets barometer.

Zagreb in Croatia was the runner-up, while Krakow in Poland completed the top three.

Two women posing next to one of the Nutcracker statue next to large Christmas tree in centre square at Advent Market. Zagreb, Croatia
Zagreb in Croatia was the runner-up in the Post Office’s ranking for bargain Christmas getaways (meanderingemu/Alamy/PA)

The Post Office compared costs in 12 European cities, with Vienna in Austria being found to be the priciest city in the survey.

Lille in France was identified as the best value among cities surveyed in Western Europe.

The Post Office looked at expenses such as return flights, two nights in three-star accommodation, airport transfers, two evening meals with wine, coffees, festive drinks and snacks.

Riga’s top ranking was due largely to the low cost of accommodation and cheap flights, the Post Office said.

The findings were released as Post Office research found more than two-fifths (42%) of Britons felt that the rising cost-of-living would have some impact on their holiday plans.

Nick Boden, head of Post Office Travel Money, said: “Short breaks are a practical way to holiday abroad for a lower cost and at this time of year Christmas markets are a real attraction.

“Although prices have risen across the board since we last conducted the survey, the scale of those increases varies significantly from city to city.

“This means budget-conscious Britons who do their holiday homework can potentially save hundreds of pounds by picking a city like Riga where costs are low.”

Michael Budge, the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s head of Atol, said: “Anyone looking to kickstart their festive season by visiting a European Christmas market should check their trip is Atol protected.

“If they book a flight and accommodation as part of a package, they can enjoy peace of mind knowing they will get a refund if their travel operator goes bust, or if they are already abroad, they will be flown home at no extra cost. When booking a holiday, UK consumers should look for the Atol logo in their travel company’s brochures, adverts and websites.”

Here are the typical costs of a two-night break visiting Christmas markets, according to research from the Post Office:

1. Riga, Latvia, £507.19

2. Zagreb, Croatia, £541.19

3. Krakow, Poland, £648.83

4. Tallinn, Estonia, £683.73

5. Lille, France, £724.82

6. Prague, Czech Republic, £732.55

7. Stockholm, Sweden, £740.60

8. Budapest, Hungary, £744.73

9. Salzburg, Austria, £775.43

10. Berlin, Germany, £797.10

11. Copenhagen, Denmark, £881.07

12. Vienna, Austria, £920.92