THINKING of getting away this Christmas? From Riga to Prague, there’s plenty of amazing deals for a two-night break for two.
We’ve got the lowdown on the cheapest seasonal markets you can visit around Europe, according to the Post Office Travel Money Christmas Markets Barometer, breaking down the total cost of a typical two-night B&B break for two.
THE city has a gorgeous medieval pedestrianised Old Town and its Christmas Market in Dome Square runs from November 30 to January 5.
You’ll be able to stock up on all the normal treats with stalls selling hand-knitted shawls and mittens, aromatic candles and specialist woodwork.
There is also a more modern market in Livu Square and Esplanade Park, with a Ferris wheel and even a rabbit village to keep the kids happy.
For a Latvian speciality, try the grey peas with bacon – a lot tastier than it sounds.
TOTAL COSTS: £496.64
THE main market in Zrinjevac Park has stalls beneath 220 plane trees decorated in lights.
Buy handmade souvenirs, ornaments and Croatian honey, jam and olive oil. There’s also live music in the pavilion where you are just as likely to hear a DJ set as Christmas carols.
King Tomislav Square has an enormous outdoor ice rink and foodies should visit Strossmayer Square for a host of pop-up stalls selling the best local street food and wine.
Don’t miss Gric Tunnel – an underground wonderland with a new theme each year.
TOTAL COSTS: £522.65
THE market in Town Hall Square in the Old Town is open now until January 7, with stalls around a vast Christmas tree selling traditional handicrafts. For kids, there’s the chance to visit Santa, a carousel and ice rink for family fun.
There’s authentic Estonian art and gifts at the ARS Art Factory’s Pop-Up Christmas Fair on Parnu mnt where 90 local artists, designers and creative companies work.
Foods sold at the markets include black pudding with pickled pumpkin and kringle, a pretzel-shaped sweetbread.
TOTAL COSTS: £530.90
HOME to the biggest Christmas market in northern France, Lille is just 82 minutes from London on the Eurostar.
The main market in Place Rihour opens from November 22 with more than 90 wooden chalets, ferris wheel and funfair.
For more unusual gifts, try La Piscine Museum of Art and Industry, where you can buy presents in the gift shop.
For food, the patisserie Meert has been serving cakes and sweets for more than 300 years and its waffles are a treat.
Or try the local Maroilles cheese – very pungent.
TOTAL COSTS: £575.38
WENCESLAS and Old Town Squares’ markets are open from November 30 to January 5.
In the Czech capital’s Old Town there are hundreds of brightly lit wooden huts selling all the usual fare — embroidered lace, puppets and dolls as well as a nativity-inspired petting zoo with sheep and ponies.
There’s also daily carol singing, lively beer tents and, when hunger strikes, hams roasted on spits, barbecued sausages and langos – a traditional flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup.
TOTAL COSTS: £612.81
RYNEK, the Polish city’s medieval main square, houses the Christmas market from November 29 to December 26.
Stroll among the wooden cabins that are lit for the festive season and limited to 80.
A contest for the most impressive nativity crib is held every year and the entries – some more than 6ft high – are displayed in the square in the run-up to Christmas.
Warm up with local speciality smalec, a traditional spread of lard mixed with spices on hot slices of bread and topped with sausages, onions and pickles.
TOTAL COSTS: £616.04