Capitalise on Christmas Shopping bargain breaks
Riga is the best bargain of 10 European cities surveyed for a Christmas Market break
Costs are down year-on-year in five cities with double digit falls in Lille and Munich
Designer goods cost over 22 per cent less in Berlin than in London and savvy shoppers can save almost a third on an Apple iPad or Levis 501s in Riga
Rock bottom prices for travel, accommodation, meals, drinks and festive fare make Riga the cheapest choice for a European Christmas shopping break in the annual Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer. Published in the week whenChristmas markets start to open across Europe, the Latvian capital has emerged as best buy for a two-night break – 41 per cent cheaper than Stockholm, the most expensive of 10 cities surveyed¹.
At £504 for a weekend break for two - comprising two evening meals with wine, coffee, festive drinks and snacks, B&B accommodation, flights and airport-city centre transfers, Riga has risen from last year’s runner-up spot to claim the top position from Tallinn on the back of a 7.8 per cent fall in its barometer total. Tallinn remains good value at £563 but has dropped to fourth place because of a 4.8 per cent rise in prices.
Riga is just one of five cities surveyed where prices are down this autumn. Sterling is now stronger against most European currencies than last autumn and, along with package prices falls and local price cuts for meals and drinks, this accounts for the drop in prices in half the cities surveyed. The biggest falls have been in runner-up Munich, down 14 per cent to £525, and third-placed Lille, where prices have dropped 15.4 per cent to £532.
The other cities where prices have dropped since last autumn are Vienna - ninth in the barometer table at £721, a year-on-year fall of four per cent - and Copenhagen. At £693, a two-night Christmas Markets break in Copenhagen has dropped 5.4 per cent since last year. This has made the Danish capital almost 19 per cent cheaper than neighbouring Stockholm, where a 6.6 per cent price rise means visitors will pay around £854.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: “The difference in prices revealed by the latest barometer show just how important it is for people planning trips to check prices and factor in all the costs they will incur on a Christmas Markets trip. Holiday homework before booking will show that short breaks to long-established favourites like Munich and Lille rate alongside Riga as best value for a bargain break.”
The biggest rise in barometer costs has been in Prague, which has dropped from third to fifth place in the table. Although the cost of meals, drinks and airport-city transfers remains by far the cheapest of the 10 cities at £108, limited availability for flights and accommodation has made the price of a two-night package in the Czech capital more expensive than in any of the other cities surveyed (£566). As a result, the barometer cost has risen 16 per cent to £674.
Prices have also risen in Budapest, albeit at a lower level than in Prague. An 8.3 per cent rise to almost £687 means the gap between the two Eastern European favourites has narrowed to £12.26 – making Prague just 1.8 per cent cheaper.
When comparing barometer costs in Berlin and Munich, two German cities with Christmas Markets that are popular with UK tourists, the Post Office Travel Money research reveals that prices are a third higher in Berlin (£697). However, the German capital is a bargain for Christmas designer gifts because prices were found to be over 22 per cent cheaper than in London shops.
When the Post Office compared the cost of six fashion, beauty and high-tech items, it found that shoppers would pay around £632 for these in Berlin, compared with £813 in London². Bargain hunters will find savings of 48 per cent on a pair of UGG boots (£81 vs £155) and 52 per cent on a Ralph Lauren shirt (£41 vs £85). The only item to cost more in Berlin was a Clinique lipstick, priced at £20.06 - 56p (2.9%) more than in London.
Christmas gift items were also over 15 per cent cheaper in Riga (£690) than in London. Shoppers can pick up a pair of Levis 501s at almost a third less than in London - £58 compared with £80 - while an Apple iPad cost 29 per cent less - £296 compared with £399.
Elsewhere in Europe shoppers can expect to pay more for most designer goods in the shops, according to the Post Office research. In Stockholm the six gift items cost £988, over 21 per cent more than in London.
Holidaymakers planning trips to the European Christmas Markets can purchase euro on demand at over 10,000 Post Office branches, while the other European currencies featured in the Post Office Travel Money report are available over the counter at more than 1,600 branches. Euros can also be ordered online at postoffice.co.uk for same day collection at selected branches, for next day collection at any branch or home delivery.
For more information, please contact:
Joanne Leahy Post Office Press Office 07791 894469
Christine Ball CBPR 01798 874177 / 07976 285997 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
-  Details of prices and cities surveyed for the 2017 Post Office European Christmas Markets Barometer can be found in the accompanying barometer tables. European Christmas Market dates and locations:
1.Riga, Latvia: 26 November-7 January, Dome Square
2.Munich, Germany: 27 November-24 December, Marienplatz
3.Lille, France: 17 November-27 December, Place Rihour
4.Tallinn, Estonia: 17 November-7 January, Town Hall Square
5.Prague, Czech Republic: 2 December-6 January, Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square
6.Budapest, Hungary: 10 November-1 January, Vörösmarty Square
7.Copenhagen, Denmark: 19 November-31 December, Tivoli Gardens
8.Vienna, Austria: 18 November-30 December, City Hall
9.Berlin, Germany: 27 November-31 December, Gendarmenmarkt and Alexanderplatz
10.Stockholm, Sweden: 18 November–23 December, Old Town
2 Post Office Travel Money compared the price of six items in shops in London and European cities (except Tallinn). These items were: Levi’s 501 men’s Original Fit Jeans (stonewash), UGG Classic Short Boots, Clinique Long Last Lipstick, Apple iPad, Ralph Lauren Oxford Slim Fit Shirt and Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ Eau de Toilette (100ml). Prices were lower in Berlin and Riga than in London:
|City||Total for six items||% more/less than London|
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