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Surprising price hike at European Christmas markets

Surprising price hike at European Christmas markets Photo: Christmas Market in London (Getty Images)

Traditional Christmas markets are currently taking place in many cities across Europe. Prices there are generally higher, as usual. However, this year's sharp increase in expenses for festive events has shocked many visitors. Euronews Travel details the situation with prices at European Christmas markets this season.

€21 for a hot dog and €10 for mulled wine: prices at European markets

A 2023 survey named the Christmas market in Budapest the best in Europe, "but with €21 hot dogs on the menu, enthusiasm is starting to wane," the publication notes.

With an average salary below €830 per month, local residents are forced to pay much more at the markets than usual. For instance, a portion of goulash costs €12, and stuffed cabbage rolls are priced at €17. As Margit Varga, a guest, points out, “this isn’t designed for Hungarian wallets”.

However, Hungary is not the only country where prices at festive Christmas markets have shocked visitors.

"Food inflation continues to bite, having reached a high of almost 20 per cent in the EU earlier this year," the publication says.

Surprising price hike at European Christmas marketsPhoto: This year, the Christmas market in Budapest surprises with high prices (Getty Images)

Prices at themed festive markets in Britain are also shocking guests.

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, with its traditional winter festivals and enchantingly beautiful streets, promises a magical Christmas atmosphere. However, this year, the local Christmas market has been dubbed "hell on earth" with "unprecedented extortionate prices" from kiosk owners. Hamburgers cost £12 (€14), tickets for the big wheel are £10 (€11.60), and mulled wine is a whopping £7 (€8).

Usually, prices at such events are lower in the northeastern city of York. But this year, hamburgers and snacks there also cost £12, and mulled wine is around £5 (€5.80).

"That’s almost on par with London’s famous Winter Wonderland, where mulled wine will set you back £5.70 (€6.60), burgers cost up to £14 (€16.20) and hot dogs are £8.50 (€9.90). At peak time, a ride on the giant wheel costs £11 (€12.80)," the publication states.

Surprising price hike at European Christmas marketsPhoto: Edinburgh promises a magical Christmas atmosphere with traditional winter festivals and fabulously beautiful streets (Getty Images)

A similar situation is unfolding at the Christmas market in Liverpool. The local newspaper Liverpool Echo published prices for some products: £6.50 (€7.50) for mulled wine and £8 (€9.30) for sausages.

Social media is flooded with complaints that “you'd need to take out a mortgage to purchase any of these items” and “I’ll go to the nearest Greggs” – a cheap British bakery chain. Some added that the blame lies with the organizers, not the kiosk owners, as renting a medium-sized space in the market costs £10,000 (€11,600).

Prices are also higher at fairs in Germany

In Germany, the homeland of Christmas markets, festive winter events attract millions of tourists. This year, visitors are widely reporting that prices there have also significantly increased.

Traditional Glühwein at the Berlin Christmas markets costs 4-5 euros, and up to 10 euros with the Christmas market. This is much higher than what many visitors are willing to pay. Visitors at the Spandau Christmas market commented to the Berliner Zeitung: "Wow, it's expensive here!" and noted that prices are noticeably higher than last year. According to the TV channel BFM TV, a similar price increase is noticeable at the Christmas market in Strasbourg, France.

Surprising price hike at European Christmas marketsPhoto: Prices also increased significantly at themed winter events in Germany (Getty Images)

"At least Europe’s Christmas markets are free to enter," notes Euronews Travel.

Reminder: In the comments to RBC-Ukraine, travel expert Marina Kazakova explains what to consider when planning a trip to Europe for themed winter markets and where it's worth going.