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Head to the Baltic for a bargain Christmas Markets break

Press Release   •   Nov 12, 2016 00:01 GMT

  • Tallinn is best value of 10 Christmas Markets cities surveyed in Europe – a third cheaper than Stockholm, the most expensive
  • Designer goods cost less in seven of the European cities surveyed than in the UK – Munich and Budapest are over 10 per cent cheaper than London

Tallinn has emerged as the bargain choice for a festive shopping break in the Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer (www.postoffice.co.uk/christmasmarkets)¹. As the countdown to Christmas gets underway on the Continent with the opening of the first Advent markets, the Estonian capital has taken top spot in the annual survey of 10 European cities for the first time since 2012.At £538, the price tag for a two-night break for two was a third cheaper than in Stockholm (£800), which was most expensive in the survey.

Tallinn’s barometer total – comprising return flights, B&B accommodation, airport-city centre transfers, two evening meals for two with wine, coffee, festive drinks and also snacks at the Christmas Market – is four per cent cheaper than a year ago, despite the weakened pound.Although sterling is worth 18 per cent less year-on-year against the euro, tourists visiting Tallinn will be ‘quids in’ because local prices in Tallinn have fallen 10 per cent and the cost of a two-night package is over 10 per cent lower as well.

Runner-up Riga, capital of Latvia, is another bargain option for UK shoppers because its barometer total of £545 is just three per cent higher than 12 months ago.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, which accounts for one-in-four of all UKcurrency transactions, said: “The great value available in these two Baltic capitals helps to dispel the idea that UK tourists will be seriously out of pocket wherever they travel abroad after sterling’s slump in value. Of course, this is not the case everywhere in Europe so the challenge for people planning trips in the coming weeks will be to do their homework and book a destination offering a combination of good value package prices and low costs for meals and drinks.”

Completing the East European 1-2-3 is Prague (£582), which has scored well because of the low cost of eating out in the Czech capital. However, the higher cost of flights and accommodation researched by Post Office Travel Money - over £100 more than for a trip to Riga – has kept Prague well behind the two Baltic State capitals on price.

The high cost of a Christmas Markets package also means last year’s ‘best buy’ Budapest (£634) has dropped to sixth place in the barometer table.Although the city is still cheapest for meals, drinks and transfers at one-third (£89.96) of the cost in Stockholm (£297.58) or Copenhagen (£305.94), it was the most expensive city for a flight and accommodation package (£544).

Munich boasts one of the oldest and most famous Christmas Markets and has emerged in this year’s report as best value for a festive break in Western Europe.While meals and drinks cost more than in the East, Munich’s package price was the cheapest of the 10 cities.As a result, the overall barometer cost for the German favourite (£609) was £142 lower than in neighbouring Austria, where a two-night break for two was priced by the Post Office at £751, as well as being £25 cheaper than Berlin (£634).

Munich is also the place to snap up designer bargains away from the Christmas Market.When Post Office Travel Money compared the cost of six fashion, beauty and high-tech items, it found that shoppers can slash almost 14 per cent off the London cost (£873) in Munich (£751), despite the weak pound.It also found savings of 10 per cent in Budapest (£785), eight per cent in Riga (£804), 7.8 per cent in Vienna (£805) and 4.7 per cent in Berlin (£832).Prices were also lower in France, with savings of eight per cent over the London price in Strasbourg (8.3 per cent, £801) and Lille (4.1 per cent, £838).

Expensive brands such as Marc Jacobs fragrance and Apple iPads cost less in Europe than in the UK.For example, shoppers can shave over 45 per cent off a 100ml bottle of Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ Eau de Toilette, which costs around £41 in Budapest and Munich, compared with £76 in Oxford Street.Similarly shoppers can save 26 per cent on a pair of men’s Levi’s 501s stonewash jeans in Budapest – at £62.67 compared with £85 in London.

And an Apple iPad Air 2 (32GB, Wi-Fi) was cheaper in every European city surveyed than in London (£379) – as much as a third less in both Vienna and Munich (£259).

But prices are not universally lower than in London.The latest Fitbit Blaze Smart Watch was significantly pricier in most Continental cities, costing as much as 43 per cent extra in Copenhagen where the watch will set shoppers back almost £70 more than the London price (£159.99).UGG boots are best bought in the UK too.The only place cheaper than London was Strasbourg and the saving was just two per cent - £152 compared with £155 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.

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Gabrielle O’GaraPost Office Press Office 020 7250 2534

gabrielle.ogara@postoffice.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

[1] Details of prices and cities surveyed for the 2016 Post Office European Christmas Markets Barometer can be found in the accompanying barometer tables.European Christmas Market dates and locations:

  1. Tallinn, Estonia: 18 November-7 January, Town Hall Square
  2. Riga, Latvia: 27 November-7 January, Dome Square
  3. Prague, Czech Republic: 26 November-1 January, Old Town Square
  4. Munich, Germany: 25 November-24 December, Marienplatz
  5. Lille, France: 18 November-30 December, Place Rihour
  6. Budapest, Hungary: 11 November-6 January, Vörösmarty Square
  7. Strasbourg, France: 25 November-31 December, Place de la Cathédrale
  8. Copenhagen, Denmark: 19 November-31 December, Tivoli Gardens
  9. Vienna, Austria: 12 November-24 December, City Hall
  10. Stockholm, Sweden: 19 November–23 December, Old Town

2 Post Office Travel Money compared the price of six items in shops in London and European cities (except Riga and Tallinn). These items were: Levi’s 501 men’s Original Fit Jeans (stonewash), UGG Classic Short Boots, Clinique Long Last Lipstick, Apple iPad Air 2 (32GB Wi-Fi), Fitbit Blaze Smart Watch and Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ Eau de Toilette (100ml).Prices were lower in seven of the cities than in London, with Munich offering the cheapest deals:

CityTotal for six items% more/less than London
London£873.49
Munich£751.18-14.0%
Budapest£784.90-10.1%
Strasbourg£800.85-8.3%
Riga£804.07-8.0%
Vienna£805.49-7.8%
Berlin£832.08-4.7%
Lille£838.09-4.1%
Stockholm£887.25+1.6%
Copenhagen£935.50+7.1%
Prague£986.38+12.9%

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