Tallinn’s Christmas market has been running since 1991 and gone from strength to strength. Considered among the Europe’s finest, the Town Hall Square becomes a romantic and atmospheric place where the local merchants sell a range of Estonian arts and crafts, as well as mulled wine and traditional food.
Once you have slowly walked through the streets of magical Tallinn’s medieval Old Town, finally strolling around the Christmas market in a nice winter day or early evening feels like you’ve just arrived at a winter wonderland – especially when it has snowed.
Tallinn is also the home of the world’s first Christmas tree. This tree was erected on Tallinn’s Town Hall Square and was the focal point of a ritual that began in 1441, and involved unmarried merchants singing and dancing with local girls around a tree, which was then burnt. The tree was the first public Christmas tree ever put on display in Europe by the Brotherhood of Black Heads guild.
On these days, the Christmas tree is surrounded by wooden stalls where vendors sell decorations made from wood, hand-knitted jumpers, wool hats, ceramic- and glassware, homemade scented candles, and other decorations made by local artisans. Once you have grown tired of wondering around, you can treat your body (and soul for that matter) either with traditional savoury treats, such as hog roasted pork, sauerkraut, blood sausages; or sweet ones like gingerbread, marzipan, local honeys and other nibbles. On a cold winter day, it’s warming to wash it down with a mulled wine or glögi, as it is called here.
If you happen to be at the right time, you might even bump into Father Christmas who has arrived to pose for photos with children. Entertainment does not need to end there, though. Candle-lit restaurants and cafes nearby provide a romantic atmosphere for an intimate meal out and the Old Town is bustling with classical and jazz concerts, and other cultural activities.