When the first snowfalls and the rooftops get their winter veils on, you know Christmas is just around the corner in Tallinn. And what a joy it brings to the city! The cobblestone streets get dressed in white, and the cafes along the way have their candles and string of lights in the window, tempting visitors with hot chocolate and delicious baked goods. There’s a festive atmosphere in the air, and Tallinn is in high spirits.
Tallinn Christmas market
Named the Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2019, Tallinn never disappoints visitors who come here to get their dose of festive mood and joyful cheer. The Christmas market usually in Tallinn takes place from late November until early January, so you’ll have plenty your time to visit Tallinn and experience the local joy.
The Old Town of Tallinn is one of the most picturesque and charming areas in the city. This is where the main Christmas Market is set and where tourists come together to enjoy a hot cup of mulled wine and some delicious local food. You’ll see that the stalls follow the German style, but the food is Estonian. Try the jellied meat (sült) and beetroot salad, and don’t leave Tallinn without a bite or more of herring. Sauerkraut and roast potatoes and pork are everywhere, and so are the Christmas bread and black pudding with pickled pumpkin.
If you’re not a big fan of mulled wine, but you would never say no to beer, you just have to try the traditional homemade beer that is the best companion to your roast. You’ll find plenty of local beer brands but also look for special Christmas brews like Saku and A Le Coq.
Fancy some dessert? Go traditional with a kringle, a pretzel-shaped sweet bread. The local buns are served with whipped cream and are absolutely irresistible, especially after a day spent outdoors skiing or sledging in the nearby winter wonderlands. And, while you’re here, in the Old Town, enjoying delicious festive treats, why not visit the Tallinn Town Hall that dominates this Christmas painting. It is the oldest town hall in the Baltic countries and Scandinavia and has a poetic charm that invites history to take a front seat in contemporaneity.
Attractions in Tallinn
If you can find the strength to leave the Christmas market behind, you should stop at some of the most beautiful attractions in Tallinn. Estonia’s capital is steeped in history. From the Old Town’s enchanting cobblestone streets to the spired churches and merchant houses, everything around you tells stories about a fascinating past. Do visit the restored 15th-century cannon tower (Kiek in de Kok), as well as the Bastion and the Aleksander Nevski and St Mary’s Cathedrals for tales of history and wonderful architecture.
Fans of museums will have a great time at the Seaplane Harbor Museum where they can learn about the country’s maritime past. The museum is housed in old seaplane hangers and invites visitors of all ages to take advantage of the numerous interactive features that bring the exhibits and stories to life. You can even fly a seaplane and have a boat race so, yes, this museum is not just for kids.
The museums of Tallinn are a great way to learn about Estonia’s history and culture. However, they are also some of the most beautiful places in town where you can hide for a couple of hours and leave the cold winter weather at the door. Visit the Kadriorg area for your pick of museums. The Imperial Baroque Palace is a must-see if you love art, while the Art Museum Café should be on your list if you love pastry and tea. The park of Kadriorg becomes a winter wonderland in December when all its buildings get their Christmassy lights on and create a fairy tale ambience.
For the most beautiful views of the city, head to one of the many viewing platforms in Tallinn. Make sure you don’t miss the views from the Kohtuotsa viewing platform. From there, the entire Toompea hill area unfolds before your eyes. This is one of the two distinct areas that make Tallinn’s Old Town – the other one being the Lower Town. Dating back to the 13th century, Tallinn has many stories to tell to curious visitors who love medieval tales.