Prices have fallen in half of the 12 destinations surveyed for the 2023 Post Office Christmas Markets report, with Latvia’s capital, Riga, coming out as having the best value.
The annual report tots up average prices for popular Christmas market cities, with the final cost made up of return flights, bed and breakfast accommodation, airport to city centre transfers, evening meals, wine, coffee and snacks.
Riga not only remains the cheapest choice – retaining its place in the top spot for the fifth year – but its prices are slightly lower than last year. The price tag of £506 for a two-night break for two people is 1% lower than last year.
Riga is almost 10% cheaper than Stockholm, its closest competitor, and is 46% cheaper than Vienna, the most expensive city on the list.
The Post Office report said: “Riga’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.”
By comparison, Krakow (£756 for two nights) 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.
As a result, barometer costs are up by nearly 16% and the Polish city has dropped to eighth place in the barometer table from third a year ago.
At just under £600, Stockholm is second on the list. Prices have fallen 25% year-on-year. Although meals and drinks remain expensive compared to its Eastern European competitors, a 9.4% rise in sterling’s value against the Swedish kronor has softened the increase.
Zagreb, capital of Croatia, is third on the list, with a total of almost £560. Meal and drinks prices are only 0.6% higher than a year ago. Overall, a two-night Christmas market break costs 2.8 per cent more than in 2022.
A big fall in the cost of flights and accommodation – 21% down on last year – has helped Prague (£640) to climb two places up the barometer table to fourth position.
With an overall price fall of 13%, Prague is one of six cities where barometer costs have dropped over the past year.
Besides Riga, Stockholm and Prague, other cities to record price falls are Berlin (£768, down 4.1%); Budapest (£713, down 4.9%) and Tallinn (£663, down 3.5%).
Copenhagen (£902) and Vienna (£933) have again proved to be the priciest cities for a Christmas market break.
At £375 and £344 respectively, the cost of meals and drinks for two days is around £100 more than in Tallinn (£242) the next most expensive city for these items. However, flight and accommodation costs are down in both, which means that overall price rises for a two-night break have been minimal, with prices up 1.6% for Copenhagen and 0.8% for Vienna.
|Destination||Travel cost||+/- vs 2022|
|1. Riga, Latvia||£505.73||-1%|
|2. Stockholm, Sweden||£559.50||-25.2%|
|3. Zagreb, Croatia||£559.60||+2.8%|
|4. Prague, Czech Republic||£640.23||-13.1%|
|5. Tallinn, Estonia||£663.38||-3.5%|
|6. Budapest, Hungary||£713.25||-4.9%|
|7. Lille, France||£739.82||+1.6%|
|8. Krakow, Poland||£755.83||+15.8%|
|9. Berlin, Germany||£768.01||-4.1%|
|10. Salzburg, Austria||£846.02||+8.5%|
|11. Copenhagen, Denmark||£901.62||+1.6%|
|12. Vienna, Austria||£932.61||+0.8%|