Head east for Christmas shopping bargains, says survey

Britons banking on pre-Christmas shopping bargains should head for the former Eastern Bloc countries, it was revealed today.

Twenty years on from the fall of the Berlin Wall, shopping in the German city is cheaper than in Paris, a survey by Post Office travel services showed.

And items in cities such as Prague and Budapest and the Polish cities of Warsaw and Krakow are even cheaper than in Berlin, the survey showed.

The poll looked at the costs in Paris of eight typical Christmas gifts - including cameras, perfume and jeans - compared with cities in the old Eastern Bloc.

It showed that Prague offered best value for money, with the items 9 per cent cheaper than in Paris.

Jewellery, CDs and wood carvings were particularly good value in Warsaw and Krakow. where the Polish zloty now buys almost 6 per cent more than it did 12 months ago.

The eight items in Berlin were 4 per cent cheaper than in Paris, with Budapest the cheapest for drinks and eating out.

Post Office head of travel services Sarah Munro said: "Budget-conscious UK tourists who want to plan a shopping trip in Europe this year should do their homework before booking to ensure that they pick a city break where the pound in their pocket will stretch further.

"Sterling continues to move up and down on a daily basis against the euro but the eastern European currencies - particularly the Polish zloty - have remained weak and this means that Christmas shoppers can get the most for their money in cities like Prague, Warsaw and Budapest at their Advent markets and in the shops."