Last week I travelled to Tallinn for the weekend to see what the Christmas time in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is all about. Even though I visit Tallinn regularly at least a couple of times a year, as it only takes 2 hours by ferry from Helsinki, this was my first visit to the city during the festive season. During the weekend I did lots of great Christmassy things and want to share my best experiences and best places to soak up Christmas spirit in Tallinn.
1. Tallinn Christmas Market
After dropping off my bag at the hotel I headed to the annual Tallinn Christmas Market held at the Town Hall Square in the very heart of the medieval Tallinn Old Town by the majestic Town Hall. This is definitely the best place to soak up Christmas spirit in Tallinn. A beautifully decorated tall Christmas tree stands proudly in the middle of the square surrounded by little huts and stalls selling crafts, knitwear, souvenirs, and seasonal Estonian delicacies and hot drinks. Plentiful Christmas lights and seasonal decorations create a festive atmosphere, and aromas of gingerbread and mulled wine fill the air.
2. Streets of Tallinn Old Town
At Christmas time Tallinn’s Medieval Old Town provides a very magical atmosphere with colourful houses, medieval gates and walls as well as narrow cobble stone lanes decorated with twinkling candles, seasonal decorations, Christmas trees and beautiful lights.
3. Harju Ice Skating Rink
Skating around the popular Harju Ice Skating Rink admiring the striking St. Nicholas’ Church next door is a great way to tune into the Christmas spirit. The atmosphere here is vibrant with plenty of people enjoying the outdoors and fresh winter air in the heart of Tallinn Old Town.
4. Gingerbread Mania Art Exhibition
This seasonal art exhibition, Gingerbread Mania at the Gallery of Design and Architecture, has been created by over 100 professional artists and designers who have turned 300 kg of dough into unique gingerbread creations. I have seen lots of very decorative gingerbread houses in my life but never such creative and skillful pieces like owls, squirrels, trees, birds, snakes and everything related to forest.
5. Tallinn Flower Market
The best place to buy Christmas flowers in Tallinn must be the many flower shops by Viru Gate on the eastern edge of Tallinn Old Town. In addition to regular flowers and bouquets they have very pretty Christmas flowers, miniature Christmas trees, decorative Christmas bouquets, beautiful garlands and wreaths as well as mistletoes.
6. Cafe Maiasmokk and Marzipan Museum
The oldest cafe in Tallinn with unique interior, Cafe Maiasmokk, is my favourite place to take a break and enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of cake in Tallinn Old Town. The premises also hold a small exhibition about the history and uses of marzipan showcasing around 200 marzipan figures. Here you can watch a marzipan artist at work painting hand-made marzipans. They have a good selection of delicious marzipans as well as hand-made chocolates to take home for Christmas.
7. Boutiques and Gift Shops in Tallinn Old Town
Tallinn Old Town accommodates hundreds of cute boutiques, small design stores as well as handicraft and gift shops making Tallinn Old Town a great place to shop for Christmas presents and tasty local Christmas treats.
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