Culture

Tallinn: The best Christmas market in Europe

Estonia’s capital Tallinn is Europe’s most sought-after Christmas city, followed by Vienna, Strasbourg and Krakow, suggests analysis carried out by British car hire excess insurance provider insurance4carhire.

With over 600 searches a year for ‘Christmas in Tallinn Estonia’, Tallinn is the most popular city in Europe for people in the UK to visit over Christmas. Tallinn is also the winner of the European Best Destinations award for Best Christmas Market in Europe 2019.

Following tradition, the Tallinn Christmas Market will be open until January 7, 2020.

In the city’s Town Hall Square, visitors will find an enormous Christmas tree, the symbol of Christmas, first put up in Estonia in 1441 – a world first.

This year, Tallinn is dominated by heart-shaped ornaments. These were chosen to decorate the Christmas market for a number of reasons – the heart is a symbol of love, and Christmas is probably one of the most heartfelt holidays of all. But also because Tallinn’s Old Town, the venue of the city’s Christmas marketplace, is heart-shaped when viewed from the air, and advertises itself as the heart of the city.

Every year, more than half a million people visit the Tallinn Christmas Market from all over the world. For children, entertainment is provided by carousels and Santa Claus, who distributes candy in his little house to those who are good at reciting verses. You can buy high-quality handicrafts from all sorts of nick-nacks to practical winter accessories. Domestic production is preferred in the selection of goods because it is the local flavour that adds personality to the Christmas market. Also, this year’s beautiful Christmas tree is local – grown on Rõika Street in Haabersti District.

Photo: Sergei Zjuganov

As a new outlet this year, the Hiiumaa small producers’ hut will open its doors, offering exciting and genuine Hiiumaa products such as fish chocolate, artisanal bread with blackcurrant, lamb shank, honey and more. Also for the first time, the Tallinn Art Ceramics Factory is represented in the market, selling beautiful ceramics made according to 300-year-old traditions.

Among the refreshments are well known Christmas dishes, like sausages and sauerkraut but also brand new ones that are perfect for Christmas time. Over the Town Hall Square drifts a spicy scent of mulled wine – this hot Christmas drink is served in a very broad assortment, with different flavours, both for children and adults.

The Christmas spirit is held up, as always, by a special cultural programme. At the weekends, different groups from both Estonia and abroad appear on the stage of the Christmas market, with around 3,000 performers appearing on the stage in all. During the Advent period, an Advent candle is lit every Sunday, and church and city leaders greet visitors.

Furthermore, celebrating the 800th anniversary of the city, the Tallinn Christmas Market, in cooperation with the Tallinn City Museum, is organising one-and-a-half-hour Christmas strolls on Sundays discussing the emergence of Tallinn and how Christmas was once celebrated. The strolls begin in the Christmas market and are conducted in Estonian, Russian, and English. Christmas strolls include walking around in Toompea, visiting the City Museum, and the thematic exhibitions of Kiek in de Kök.

Photo: insurance4carhire