The best Christmas markets on the market

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Fancy a festive escape? Head to Hungary for Christmas magic, says Jeremy Gates

If you are thinking of flying to a Christmas Market in Europe this festive season, then think about flying to Budapest, because prices in Hungary’s capital have plunged nearly 9% in the last year.

A survey by Post Office Money claims two days’ B&B break in Budapest, including flights and living costs, is likely to total £529.55 per person this year. Tallinn in Estonia, the best buy for Christmas 2012, has seen local prices soar 15% since then and is likely to cost £841.23 for Christmas 2013.

Pricier options than Budapest also include Riga (£530.02); Lille (£704.04); Brussels (£749.47); Prague (£763 17); Trento, Italy (£781.58) Copenhagen (£840.32); Vienna (£841.44); Berlin (£852.21); Basel (£866.23) and Munich (£866.57).

That said though, some prices used in the Post Office survey look unnecessarily high, and you can shop around for better deals. For example, short break specialist Cresta offers two nights’ B&B in Budapest, with flights and four-star hotel accommodation, from £179, saving £63, ex-Luton December 9. Cresta also offers two nights’ B&B in Munich from £279, also with flights.

Another way to make savings on Christmas market trips is to travel there by coach: Eurolines, for instance, offers one-way tickets to famous European Christmas market destinations, including Paris, Lille, Dublin, Brussels and Cologne, from £15 one way. Special fares are available for all days of the week except Friday and Sunday, and the offer runs until December 15.

Famously cheap Coventry-based coach operator Harry Shaw has three night breaks in the Rhineland, based in Lahnstein, departing December 2 and 10, from £109.95. The website offers two nights’ B&B in Paris and Reims from December 6, starting at £145.

Gold Crest Holidays, departing from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and the Midlands, offer a three-day tour to Aachen and Valkenburg markets from £189, departing November 29 with B&B accommodation.


:: INFORMATION: Harry Shaw (02476 455544 and; Door2tour (0845 956 9686 and; Gold Crest holidays (01943 433457 and; Cresta (0844 879 8014 and; Eurolines (08717 818178 and

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