Few places can be as romantic as Tallinn at Christmas. Covered in a blanket of sparkling snow, this fairytale medieval city oozes with unique charm with its delightful christmas market, wonderful window displays and cozy cafes.
Little did we know as we crossed the icy Baltic sea, that we were going to fall in love with Tallinn from the very first moment we stepped into it.
Wandering around the winding maze of narrow cobblestone streets was like being in a magical winter wonderland, especially when outdoor candles fill the lanes with a warm glow under a purple sky.
Medieval Old Town
Enclosed within perfectly preserved city walls, Tallinn´s magnificent old medieval town captivates you with its spire-crowned churches, cobblestone streets, pastel-painted merchant’s houses and onion-domed cathedral.
The enchanting Town Hall Square hosts the most beautiful Christmas market you could ever imagine. Plenty of brightly decorated wooden stalls gather around a stunning Christmas tree covered in sparkling white hoarfrost. Although temperatures dip quite drastically this time of year, it is imposible not to soak in the festive mood.
The scents of cinammon and roasting nuts fill the air as artisans sell traditional gifts like homemade scented candles, buckwheat pillows, wooden toys, wickerwork, woolly hats and slippers, ceramic and glassware. I particularly loved the wool hand muff I bought which kept my hands cozy and toasty warm.
Children have also the opportunity to see bunnies, geese, reindeers and ponies. As you can see in the picture, the baby reindeers were adorable. They really melt our hearts!
Don´t forget to bring your letter to Santa who will be willing to receive you with the warmest smile at his own house. Tallinn´s Christmas market will lure you in with its fairy tale touch!
Magical Winter Scenes
Every morning I jumped out of the comfy bed of our hotel and rushed to the window hoping to find the city covered in powdery white snow. After a bountiful breakfast, we wrapped up in warm clothes and went outside into the crisp air.
The frosty tingle on our cheeks, the soft sound of snow crunching underfoot, the smell of a log fire…Winter in Tallinn is pure magic!
There is an incredible air of timeless serenity as you walk around the Old Town. From Toompea Hill you will enjoy mesmerizing views of the city’s rooftops, all the way to the Baltic Sea. Built over the grave of an Estonian hero Kalev, the spectacular onion-domed St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral will also captivate you.
Viru Street, the main pedestrian street in the Old Town, will take you back in time to the medieval era. Cozy cafes and restaurants emit a welcoming glow as you pass by, especially in the late afternoon when the sky starts to darken.
The romantic park on Harju Street turns into an ice-rink every winter. At night, when the ice-rink is fully lit, you can enjoy an evening of ice skating under the stars.
Tallinn has lovely little walkways like Katarina Käik (St. Catherine’s Passage) where you can watch artisans making jewellery, pottery and stained glass. After a freshly snowfall, these hidden passages takes on an even more magical feel.
So grab a little cup of “Hõõgvein” (“glowing wine”) and get lost in the maze of narrow streets in the Old Town!
New Year´s Eve in Tallinn
The turn of the year is a magical time and we tend to celebrate it in evocative and romantic places all around the world. From jazz and classical music concerts to private parties and balls, Tallinn comes alive on December 31st. In the heart of the city, Estonia Concert Hall is a unique venue for a truly special evening.
There´s nothing more special than having a candlelight dinner as the snow falls gently outside the window. Countless restaurants and hotels offer delightful menus to welcome in the New Year in style.
As midnight approaches, the Town Hall Square becomes the rendezvous of locals and tourists willing to ring the New Year near the world’s first Christmas tree. When the clocks strikes twelve o´clock, Tallinn´s sky bursts into colour with fireworks.
Shivering, teeth clattering, with temperatures below freezing point, Guille and I toasted, kissed and made a wish: Never stop travelling!