Revealed: The cheapest and priciest European Christmas market breaks, and it’s Riga that’s the best value (with a glass of mulled wine costing just £3.50)… while Vienna is the most expensive
- Stockholm is ‘surprisingly’ among the cheapest destinations for Christmas market getaways in Europe
- The ranking is based on results from this year’s Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer
- READ MORE: Nine ENORMOUS holiday homes you can book right now for New Year’s Eve
The best-value European Christmas market breaks for Britons have been revealed in an annual report – and it’s Riga that’s number one.
Britons will see their pound stretch the furthest in the Latvian capital followed by Stockholm, Sweden, in second place and Zagreb, Croatia, in third.
Vienna in Austria comes out as Europe’s most expensive festive-break destination for Britons.
This is according to the Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer 2023, which compared the price of a two-night B&B stay for two in 12 European cities plus flights (or Eurostar) and five everyday costs.
The basket of goods included two three-course meals with wine for two, four festive snacks and four glasses of mulled wine or punch from the Christmas market.
The best-value European Christmas market breaks for Britons have been revealed in an annual report and it’s Riga (pictured) that’s number one
Britons will see their pound stretch the furthest in the Latvian capital followed by Stockholm (pictured), Sweden, in second place. Costing just under £600 overall, Stockholm is ‘a surprise runner-up’ in this year’s barometer, the Post Office said
EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKET BREAKS WHERE THE POUND STRETCHES THE MOST AND THE LEAST IN 2023 (AND THE DATES THEY TAKE PLACE ON)
1. Riga, Latvia: £506
Dome Square, December 3 – January 8
2. Stockholm, Sweden: £559.50
Old Town, November 25 – December 23
3. Zagreb, Croatia: £559.60
Zrinjevac Square, December 2 – January 7
4. Prague, Czech Republic: £640
Old Town Square, December 2 – January 6
5. Tallinn, Estonia: £663
December 1 – January 7, Town Hall Square
6. Budapest, Hungary: £713
November 17 – December 31, Vörösmarty Square
7. Lille, France: £740
Place Rihour, November 17 – December 30
8. Krakow, Poland: £756
Rynek Square, November 25 – January 1
9. Berlin, Germany: £768
Gendarmenmarkt, November 27 – December 31
10. Salzburg, Austria: £846
Cathedral Square, November 23 – January 1
11. Copenhagen, Denmark: £902
Tivoli Gardens, November 19 – December 31
12. Vienna, Austria: £933
City Hall, November 10 – December 26
Source: Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer 2023
Taking the crown for the fifth year running, Riga is 46 per cent cheaper than Vienna, the results found.
Riga’s £506 price tag is marginally lower than last year (down one per cent) and almost 10 per cent cheaper than Stockholm (£559.50) and Zagreb (£559.60), its closest competitors, the Post Office said.
The city’s win is ‘the result of low-cost flights and competitively priced accommodation rather than prices on the ground because the city was ranked only sixth cheapest for meals and drinks’, the study highlighted.
By comparison, Krakow (eight, £756) is far cheaper on the ground, with meals and drinks for two days costing just £144 compared with £199 in Riga.
However, a scarcity of pre-Christmas flights has made the cost of travel far more expensive this year, the report shows.
As a result, barometer costs are up by nearly 16 per cent and the Polish city has dropped five places this year in the barometer table after ranking third in 2022.
Croatia’s capital Zagreb is the third cheapest European destination for a Christmas market break. Pictured: Zagreb’s Christmas market in Zrinjevac park
The priciest cities for a Christmas market break in 2023 are Vienna (first, £933) and Copenhagen (second, £902), the report shows. Pictured: Christmas market stalls in front of Vienna’s City Hall
Flight and accommodation costs are down in Copenhagen, which means that overall price rises for a two-night break have been minimal at 1.6 per cent. Pictured: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, decorated with Christmas market stalls and festive lights
Stockholm is ‘a surprise runner-up’ in this year’s barometer, the Post Office said.
‘Although meals and drinks remain expensive compared to its Eastern European competitors, a 9.4 per cent rise in sterling’s value against the Swedish kronor has helped reduce prices for these items,’ it explained.
‘More significantly, good hotel availability and a fall in flight costs on the back of strong competition on the route between London and Stockholm explains why the city is a great choice for bargain hunters.’
The research found that the overall cost of a two-night break is down over 25 per cent compared with last year.
Just 10p behind Stockholm is Croatia’s capital Zagreb, where prices ‘do not seem to have been affected by the country’s change in currency from the kuna to the euro’, the report suggests.
The basket of Christmas goods compared in the survey includes a three-course meal for two with wine, four glasses of mulled wine, a two-night stay at a B&B, and direct flights or Eurostar for two
Meal and drinks prices are only 0.6 per cent higher than a year ago and a two-night Christmas market break costs 2.8 per cent more overall than last year.
Prague (fourth, £640) climbed two places this year, helped by a big fall (21 per cent) in the cost of flights and accommodation, the Post Office said. With an overall price fall of 13 per cent, it’s one of six cities where barometer costs have dropped over the past year.
Riga, Stockholm, Berlin, Budapest and Tallinn are the other five.
Pricey Vienna (£933) sits just ahead of Copenhagen in the table (second, £902).
At £344 and £375 respectively, the cost of meals and drinks for two days in both cities is around £150 more than in Riga (£199).
Those planning to see the Christmas markets in Salzburg (pictured) might have to watch the purse strings. The Austrian city ranks as the third most expensive (£846) on the barometer
However, flight and accommodation costs are down in both, which means that overall price rises for a two-night break have been minimal – 1.6 per cent in Copenhagen and 0.8 per cent in Vienna.
Those planning to see the Christmas markets in Salzburg might also have to watch the purse strings. The Austrian city ranks as the third most expensive (£846) on the barometer.
Laura Plunkett, Head of Travel Money at Post Office, said this year’s barometer is ‘the best possible evidence’ that it always pays off to tally up all holiday costs before booking a trip abroad.
‘As the research shows, a scarcity of pre-Christmas flights has resulted in higher travel costs to Krakow, usually one of the best value cities in our pricing surveys,’ she added. ‘While good flight availability has reduced the cost of city breaks to Riga and Stockholm.
‘However, low meal and drinks costs can also have a big impact on the overall price of a short break, and this explains why Zagreb, Prague and Budapest are cities to consider for holidaymakers planning a Christmas market break.’
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