Rising prices mean Tallinn has lost its top spot to Budapest in the annual Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer, published this week as Advent markets get underway across Europe. Tallinn, the 2012 best buy, now costs 59 per cent more for a two-night break than this year’s bargain choice, Budapest.
At £529 for a two-night break for two in early December, Budapest emerged as cheapest of 12 European cities, costing around 39 per cent less than Munich or Basel (both around £866). These were the most expensive cities surveyed for the Post Office Travel Money barometer, which includes two evening meals with wine, coffee, festive drinks and snacks, two nights’ B&B accommodation, return travel and airport-city centre transfers.
Even though sterling is worth just 0.3 per cent more year-on-year against the Hungarian forint, Budapest prices have fallen by 8.8 per cent compared with November 2012. By contrast, barometer prices for meals, drinks and other out-of-pocket expenses have risen 15 per cent to £123 in Tallinn – only partly as a result of a UK pound that is five per cent weaker year-on-year. When these higher prices were added to flight and accommodation charges, the overall total of £841 accounts for the Estonian capital’s fall to eighth position.
Latvia’s capital Riga (£530) was a close runner-up to Budapest (£529) when all the weekend break costs are taken into account - but this was because of the low package price (£378 for two in Riga compared with £450 for Budapest). Once visitors arrive in Riga, they can expect to pay considerably more than in Budapest because Post Office research revealed that meal, drinks and transfer costs were 91 per cent higher (£152 compared with just under £80).