Looking for a European Christmas market experience steeped in history? Then look no further than the Tallinn Christmas market in Estonia.

It’s the country’s capital and the historic centre transforms into a snowy paradise during the festive season, boasting one of Europe’s oldest and most popular Christmas markets.

Don’t think it’s worth visiting? Then appreciate that in 2019, the Christmas market was voted Europe’s best in a poll of 208,000 travellers by European Best Destinations. It prides itself on being child-friendly and the event will impress.

We think you’ll love it and here, the Christmas.co.uk team takes a closer look at what Tallinn offers to help you enjoy a great festive market experience.

When is the Tallinn Christmas market in 2024?

Tallinn’s Christmas Market is held in the city’s charming Town Hall Square.

There’s a huge Christmas tree which becomes a festive hub, surrounded by lovely wooden stalls offering traditional Estonian crafts, delicious treats and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

In 2024, the opening hours are 10am to 8pm on these dates:

30 November 2024 – 6 January 2025

Why visit Tallinn for its festive markets?

There’s a lot to enjoy at the Christmas market in Tallinn, such as:

  • Festive treats: Warm yourself up with a steaming mug of glögi (mulled wine) infused with cinnamon and cloves. There are traditional Estonian gingerbread cookies (piparkook) – and you can enjoy a slice of piparkoogimaja (gingerbread house), a tasty festive treat. Indulge in a serving of mulgi puder (barley porridge) topped with berries and cream – a comforting winter dish. Plus, don’t miss out on a taste of verivorst (blood sausage – it’s better than it sounds!), a local Estonian delicacy enjoyed during the festive season.
  • Handcrafted treasures: Explore a treasure trove of Estonian craftsmanship. Find unique Christmas ornaments depicting Tallinn’s iconic landmarks like the Town Hall or the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, hand-knitted woollen mittens and scarves perfect for the cold weather, intricately carved wooden toys featuring Estonian folklore characters, and warm sheepskin mittens to keep your hands warm. Witness skilled artisans demonstrating their traditional crafts, like felt-making, glass-blowing, and weaving.
  • Festive entertainment: Immerse yourself in the heart-warming atmosphere with traditional Estonian carols sung by local choirs. The dazzling Christmas illuminations lighting up the historic buildings and streets are impressive and there’s even a performance by Santa Claus himself, who doubles as a multilingual MC for weekend events on the market stage.


Magical Tallinn Christmas Market Experience 2023

Here’s a great video from Visit Tallinn and an enthusiastic presenter who calls the market ‘as cute as a button’.

It is certainly an eye-catching city.

The Old Town is a pretty place to spend time in – and there’s plenty of snow to enjoy.

The presenter stresses that the Christmas market isn’t too small or too big – there’s enough to do here and enjoy for everyone.

The Town Hall is 700 years old with a striking interior – and the trip to the top is worth it to look down on the market. Entry is €2 or free with the Tallinn Card (see below).

The presenter also tells us that Tallinn was the first city in Europe to begin the tradition of erecting a Christmas tree in its market. That tradition is now 580 years old.

We quite liked the mulled wine stalls that have pots of extras you can just chuck on such as lemon slices and nuts and raisins.

The food stalls are also interesting, while the knitted woollen mitten stalls are crying out for your cash as these make for great gifts.

There are also cute toy elves available who help Santa deliver his presents.

The presenter also puts together a traditional Estonian Christmas dinner from the stalls – blood sausage, sauerkraut and roast potatoes. There’s also some cranberry sauce added.

The video also extends into the night when the festive lights come on – it’s a lovely, festive experience.

Essentially, the Christmas market in Tallinn is small when compared to many others but it certainly does have a charm and a lot of great stalls to visit.

It has a laid-back atmosphere, and it is somewhere families can relax and enjoy.


The tradition of Tallinn’s Christmas market

Tallinn’s Christmas market boasts a rich history dating back to 1444, making it one of the oldest continuously operating Christmas markets in Europe.

Originally established as a one-day market for locals to buy provisions for Christmas Eve and the dark winter months, it has evolved into a major tourist attraction while retaining its warm and welcoming spirit.

That’s because the market retains its medieval charm, with many vendors dressed in traditional Estonian attire, adding to the authentic atmosphere.

This is also a chance to explore the Old Town of Tallinn, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its cobbled streets, towering spires and historic architecture.

One of the market’s big attractions is that it prides itself on showcasing and selling traditional Estonian crafts. This is where you will find unique handmade treasures you won’t find elsewhere, supporting local artisans and taking home a piece of Estonian culture.

The other big reason for visiting is when compared to other major European Christmas markets, Tallinn offers a more affordable experience, allowing you to enjoy delicious treats, handcrafted souvenirs, and festive activities without breaking the bank. See below for more about the cost of visiting Tallinn.

How to plan a visit to Tallinn Christmas market

While the Tallinn Christmas market is highly recommended, do consider these Christmas.co.uk tips:

Planning: Aim for weekdays, if possible, to avoid weekend crowds, especially during peak season. Book your accommodation well in advance

Clothing: Tallinn winters can be quite chilly, with temperatures often dipping below freezing. Pack warm layers – thermals, a winter coat, hat, gloves, and sturdy boots with good grip are essential. Remember too that the city has a lot of cobbled streets, and you should expect snow showers so be prepared for slippery conditions underfoot!

  • Currency: Estonia uses the Euro (€). Consider exchanging some currency beforehand or using a travel card. Most stalls accept debit and credit cards, but some don’t so carry some cash, just in case
  • Souvenirs: Keep an eye out for unique Estonian keepsakes. Consider a hand-knitted woollen scarf featuring traditional Estonian patterns, a beautifully carved wooden figurine depicting a mythical creature from Estonian folklore, or a box of delectable piparkook cookies to share back home
  • Basic Estonian phrases: Here are a few basic Estonian phrases that will be appreciated by locals: ‘Tere’ (Hello), ‘Aitäh’ (Thank you), ‘Palun’ (Please), ‘Vabandust’ (Excuse me) and ‘Rõõmsaid jõule!’ (Merry Christmas!).


3 reasons to visit Tallinn Christmas market

Here’s another great YouTube video from Visit Tallinn with three reasons this Estonian city is worth a visit at Christmas.

The first reason is to enjoy hot mulled wine in a magical market setting. The drinks do look tasty!

The drink is made with Vana Tallinn which is, the presenter says, guaranteed to keep the winter chill out. She adds nuts and raisins, along with lemon slices to the drink for more zest.

The second reason is to grab a plate of traditional Estonian Christmas dinner. The blood sausage and sauerkraut look enticing enough.

The third and final reason is to enjoy the market at night and there’s no doubt that the festive lights add an ambience to enjoy.

There’s also a look at one of the concerts that is held on the main stage and it’s also nice that people can leave a message for Santa on the Christmas tree – it’s a lovely tradition.

The video illustrates nicely why the Christmas market at Tallinn is worth a visit for those who want to get off the beaten trail and visit somewhere different.


How to get to Tallinn for Christmas

  • Flying: There aren’t that many options to fly direct to Tallinn from the UK, but you could consider Wizz Air flights from Luton, prices start at £41 per person, and Ryanair and Wizz fly from Stansted with similar air fares. Flight times are less than three hours and British Airways flies from Heathrow. Air Baltic and easyJet fly from Gatwick too. Also, Flightsfrom.com points to Finnair flights via Helsinki that take five hours. You can also travel via Warsaw and Frankfurt which take around six hours.
  • Ferry: For a scenic journey, consider taking a ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn. This option allows you to experience the Baltic Sea and explore another Nordic capital city on your trip. The ferry journey itself is short, around 2-3 hours, and offers onboard amenities like restaurants, shops and entertainment.
  • Driving: Driving from London to Tallinn will take 29 hours, using the Channel Tunnel. You’ll need to drive through France, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Flying is easier, cheaper and more convenient!
  • Train: Travelling by train is also a possibility but takes 43 hours and will cost around £160 using the Eurostar from London to Amsterdam, then via Berlin and Stockholm before catching the ferry to Tallinn.
  • Bus: Travelling by bus from London to Tallinn is a budget-friendly option – but will take 42 hours. It will cost between £130 and £200. If this is an option, then Flixbus offers more help.

Staying in Tallinn

Here are some ideas for the best places to stay in Tallinn for the Christmas markets. We recommend staying within the Old Town since this will put you right next to the market. We used Booking.com and a couple of other platforms to find hotels and hostels, and if you’re on a tight budget, look further away from the Town Hall Square where the main market is located because there are some good deals a little further out, especially near the Viru Gate.

  • Hostels: Tallinn has a good selection of hostels, many of which are in the Old Town. Prices start from around £15 per night for a bed in a dorm room. Some popular options include Old Tallinn Backpackers, Tallinn CityWalls Hostel and CRU Hostel.
  • Budget hotels: the Adoryal Hotell has air-conditioned rooms, a terrace and a bar, or there’s the Meriton Old Town Garden Hotel.
  • Mid-range: If you want more comfort and amenities than a hostel, but don’t want to break the bank then expect to pay between £50 and £100 per night. The options include the von Stackelberg Hotel Tallinn (from £80 per night) is an elegant hotel with comfortable rooms, a spa, and a great restaurant; St Petersburg Hotel (from £60 per night) offers a great location, and the Park Inn by Radisson Central Tallinn (from £50 per night) offers good value for money. Alternatives include the Nunne Boutique Hotel which is close to Town Hall Square and costs around £100 per night.
  • Luxury: Tallinn is home to a few five-star hotels for those wanting a touch of luxury with prices starting at £150 per night. Options include: Schlössle Hotel (from £200 per night) which is a grand hotel in a historic building with an excellent restaurant and a spa; Hotel Telegraaf (from £180 per night) is an art deco hotel, and the Radisson Collection Hotel Tallinn (from £150 per night) is on the waterfront and with stunning views of the city.
  • Airbnbs: A great alternative to hotels, especially if you’re looking for a more local experience or want more space for your money, are Airbnbs. We found there is a good selection in the city’s Old Town and prices start from around £30 per night for a private room.

Other attractions for your stay in Tallinn

Tallinn offers a lot of attractions along with its Christmas market, including:

  • Kumu Art Museum: Enjoy Estonian art history with its comprehensive collection from the 18th century to the present day
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral: This is an impressive cathedral – it’s a majestic Russian Orthodox church with striking onion domes, offering stunning views of the city from its bell tower
  • Town Hall Square: Outside of the Christmas market season, Town Hall Square is a bustling hub, offering historical landmarks like the Town Hall itself and some great restaurants and cafes
  • Medieval City Walls: Walk along the well-preserved sections of Tallinn’s medieval city walls, with an insight into the city’s past and panoramic views.

Budgeting for your Tallinn Christmas market trip

If Tallinn sounds like the place where you want to enjoy its history, charm and Christmas market, here’s a rough budget for a visit in 2024.

Food: The cost of food at the Christmas market is quite affordable with most stalls offering food options for no more than £8.50 – £12.75. Allow £30-£40 per day to cover breakfast, lunch and dinner, with some drinks included. You can find a variety of traditional Estonian food at the Christmas market, as well as international cuisine

  • Drink: Mulled wine costs around £4.25. Other drinks vary in price
  • Accommodation: See above for the range of hotels and hostels in Tallinn but expect to pay around £115 for a mid-range hotel
  • Transport: Local transport within Tallinn is quite affordable – this is a cheap city in comparison to UK cities. There’s a Smartcard for travel – it’s a pre-loaded card and you can travel on any public transport for €2 per hour. There’s also the Tallinn Card which offers free public transport and free entry to 50 museums and attractions, it costs around £30 for 72 hours
  • Souvenirs and gifts: Allow £50-£100 for souvenirs and gifts with traditional Estonian souvenirs such as handmade knitwear, amber jewellery and wooden crafts widely available.

Nearby Christmas markets

Extend your festive experience by visiting other Christmas markets in the region:

  • Helsinki Christmas market: Finland’s capital city has a lovely Christmas market offering Finnish crafts, glögi, and a beautiful setting in Senate Square. Take a day trip by ferry across the Baltic Sea
  • Riga Christmas market: In the capital of Latvia, there’s a vibrant Christmas market with a focus on Latvian crafts, traditional food and a lively atmosphere. You could consider a multi-city trip exploring the Christmas markets of the Baltic capitals. For example you could fly cheaply to Tallinn, then take in Riga (Latvia) and Vilnius (Lithuania) – it’s only 105 miles with good roads and train services.

Enjoy the unique attractions of Tallinn’s Christmas market!

We think that Tallinn’s Christmas market offers an interesting blend of festive cheer, rich history, and a touch of medieval magic.

It’s very different to the festive markets found in France and Germany and the market showcases Estonian crafts, delicious local cuisine and we found the people friendly and the main attractions easy to find.

For many visitors, Tallinn promises an unforgettable Christmas market experience.