Lifestyle Riga has been named the best-value city for a Christmas market mini-break — and you've probably never even considered it

  • Published:

Cheap flights, inexpensive gifts, and festive charm make Latvia's capital city the best Christmas shopping spot in Europe.

Dome Square Christmas market in Riga. play

Dome Square Christmas market in Riga.

(Flickr/Karlis Dambrans)

  • Riga, Lativa, topped a list of European Christmas market cities.
  • Post Office Travel Money compared the 10 destinations.
  • Riga beat more mainstream destinations such as Munich and Prague.
  • Designer brands are often on sale there for less than London prices.


Forget Munich's cosy beer halls and Lille's dazzling light displays — Riga, the capital of Latvia, has been named the number one European city for a Christmas minibreak in 2017.

Post Office Travel Money named Riga the best-value city break for a Christmas shopping weekend — and it's pretty festive out there, too.

The survey of ten popular European cities with stand-out Christmas markets — including Munich, Copenhagen, and Budapest — analysed the cost of a weekend in each destination.

The Post Office's survey pegged the cost of a weekend away for two in Riga at £504, taking into account flights, airport transfers, accommodation, food and drink — and made sure to include a festive treats allowance.

A stall in Riga selling traditional Latvian souvenirs made from wood. play

A stall in Riga selling traditional Latvian souvenirs made from wood.

(Flickr/Karlis Dambrans)

While Prague was rated the cheapest of the ten for general cost of living, limited flights and accommodation in the Czech capital meant that the whole-trip cost came out at £574.

Christmas markets in Munich and Berlin are also popular yuletide destinations for UK tourists. However, due to the cost of the average trip, the cities placed second and eighth respectively.

The Post Office Travel Money's top 10 Christmas shopping destinations, along with the estimate total cost, are:

1. Riga, Latvia: £504
2. Munich, Germany: £525
3. Lille, France: £532
4. Tallinn, Estonia: £563
5. Prague, Czech Republic: £574
6. Budapest, Hungary: £686
7. Copenhagen, Denmark: £692
8. Berlin, Germany: £697
9. Vienna, Austria: £720
10. Stockholm, Sweden: £853

The survey also found that Christmas shopping in Riga is significantly cheaper than in the UK.

It compared the prices of six typical Christmas presents — a Ralph Lauren shirt, Clinique lipstick, Marc Jacobs perfume, Levis 501 jeans, an iPad, and UGG boots.

Riga came out 15% cheaper overall than average prices in London, while Berlin was 22% cheaper and Stockholm was 21% more expensive.

Towering Christmas trees take pride of place across Riga's markets. play

Towering Christmas trees take pride of place across Riga's markets.

(Flickr/Karlis Dambrans)

The city has three major Christmas markets in Doma Laukums (Dome Square), Līvu Laukums (Livu Square), and Esplanade Park — meaning you won't run out of seasonal shops and activities to check out over the weekend.

It also claims to be home to the first ever Christmas tree, dating back to 1510.

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