One of the key reasons for our trip to Estonia was to enjoy the impressive Tallinn Christmas Market. The market evokes images of twinkling lights, delicious food, and a fun crowd coming together in Tallinn. The reality couldn’t be closer as we celebrated the festivities in the Tallinn Hall Square. Visiting Tallinn for its Christmas market is one of the oldest traditions in Europe, and Forbes recently declared it one of the top 10 most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. With all the great food, drink, and festive cheer we could possibly want, we went to explore Tallinn Christmas Market.
Tallinn Christmas Market
Part of the appeal of the Tallinn Christmas Market is its cosy atmosphere, incredible historic location, and the beautiful medieval buildings that surround it. Christmas is the most important date in the Estonian calendar, and it dates back to the pagan celebrations of winter.
In Tallinn particularly, the Christmas market is the historical focus and the main meeting place throughout the winter months. Today, you can still mix with Tallinn locals enjoying the festive vibes and shop for homemade Christmas gifts. You’ll find local independent stockists selling gorgeous gifts like sumptuous furs, woollen socks, and wooden decorations. Try delicious seasonal Estonian foods like blood pudding, gingerbread, and glögi, or tasty hot mulled wine.
We grabbed a couple of glögis (only a couple of Euros each, bargain!) and picked out some food. We went for a bratwurst sausage, which came with pumpkin and pickled cabbage. You can also add on some cranberry sauce and pickles for free. It was absolutely delicious, and the perfect sustenance for a boozy evening in Tallinn.
We explored the rest of what the Tallinn Christmas Market had to offer, from the adorable souvenirs at the stalls, to live performances. Bring the kids along to enjoy the stage with Santa Claus and his live reindeer. You can even take pony rides. There’s a full programme planned each festive season with dancing, singing, and entertainment for all ages.
There’s a real fairytale atmosphere thanks to the beautiful Christmas tree at the centre of Town Hall Square. It marks the tradition of the Christmas market here, which first began in 1441. You’ll find heart shaped ornaments all over the tree – they mark symbols of love, and the heartfelt season of Christmas itself. Tallinn Old Town is also shaped like a heart when viewed from above, and so it’s often advertised as the heart of the city.
Over half a million people visit Tallinn Christmas Market each year. It’s the perfect opportunity for a little Christmas shopping, with elegant crafts, from decorations to hats and scarves.
Haunted Guest House, Tallinn
We wandered the Tallinn Christmas Market, with our hot glögis keeping us warm. Before we knew it, we came across an attraction we spotted on Atlas Obscura. Hands up if you love that website as much as I do!
This is the Haunted Guest House. Legend has it that the landlord of this Old House got into money troubles. Desperate to make some cash, he rented out the top two left rooms of this house to a stranger who appeared in a cloak. The one condition of the stranger was that he needed complete privacy. Of course, another guest looked through the keyhole into the room having heard a party taking place.
What they discovered caused the male guest to fall back, dying pale and grey haired. The final thing he had time to say was that he saw the Devil getting married. To this day, it’s still possible to stay in the guest house. Rumour has it you might still hear the clinking of glasses from the party – but make sure to keep an eye on your keyhole!
In search of a drink after that creepy sight, we discovered the aptly named Beer House. Decked out like an Austrian brewery, it’s expansive and fun. You can order large steins of beer and relax. The food also looks delicious, with a variety of roasted meats and all the traditional trimmings. We relaxed with a beer and took in the fun surroundings.
Journey from Tallinn to Helsinki
Before too long, we had to get to the ferry terminal in Tallinn for our journey back to Helsinki in Finland. We settled in for the two hour journey in the Sea Pub that we’d enjoyed on our journey from Helsinki to Tallinn.
We grabbed some drinks and enjoyed the live music for most of the journey. It’s definitely one of the most indulgent trips I’ve been lucky enough to take! I also managed to fit in a little duty free shopping, and before we knew it, we were back in Helsinki.
Grabbing some Lime scooters, we were keen not for the night to end just yet. We headed to the Sky Room at Helsinki’s Clarion Hotel. It’s a chic bar with rooftop views over the city. We sipped and enjoyed the views and atmosphere, with a DJ playing tunes on that Saturday night.
It’s definitely worth stopping in to shelter from the cold and to experience Helsinki from a different perspective.
After a long and fulfilling day, it was finally time for us to head back to our apartment. There’s plenty more fun to come as we experience Helsinki over the next couple of days!
Have you visited Tallinn Christmas Market? If so, what did you enjoy most? What did you see and do? Let me know in the comments below!