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.

The Latvian capital has emerged as best buy for a two-night break – 41% cheaper than Stockholm, the most expensive of ten cities surveyed.

At £504 for a weekend break for two - comprising two evening meals with wine, coffee, festive drinks and snacks, bed-and-breakfast 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% fall in its barometer total. Tallinn remains good value at £563, but has dropped to fourth place because of a 4.8% 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% to £525, and third-placed Lille, where prices have dropped 15.4% to £532.

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.”

Christmas gift items were also more than 15% 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 costs 29% less - £296 compared with £399.

twn Are you sure that you want to switch to desktop version?