What to do in Tallinn in Winter

Tallinn makes for a quick day trip from Helsinki, as it’s only about two hours away by ferry. Bigger boats such as Viking Line offer the complete Finnish day trip experience, with bars, duty-free shops, karaoke, and dance floors (mainly filled with older couples dancing to old Finnish hits, but after a few drinks, you’ll want to get up and dance too!). Smaller boats offer a quicker journey, but are much less rowdy, so if you’re looking for a quieter journey or travelling solo, then this is probably the better option. Tallinn is a picturesque town that offers a lot to see in the winter months, so here are a few options if you have a free day in between studying, or want a nice trip once you’re finished with exams.

Old Town Christmas Market

Tallinn’s Christmas market has been voted among the best Christmas markets in Europe. It’s located in Old Town’s charming main square. You can find hand-carved juniper wood items, traditional woolen clothes such as scarves, sweaters, and mittens, and of course ornaments. Once you’re finished looking through the stalls, you can get a warm cup of glögg (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic are available). If all your time is dedicated to studying and family up until the new year, don't worry. The Christmas market is open until January 8th. There are also a number of other Christmas markets in Tallinn. While most have already passed or are coming up soon, take note of them for next year.

Christmas Treats

After warming up with some glögg, get some treats to fill you up. Tallinn is home to the unique Marzipan Museum, where you can look at marzipan figurines and even paint your own for a modest fee. The shop also sells ready-made marzipan and chocolates of dozens of flavors. If marzipan is not your thing, you can also indulge in gingerbread at the Gingerbread Mania exhibition, held until January 9th, or buy some from the many bakeries in Old Town.

Go shopping

Just like Finland, Estonia also has its own flair for design. While you’re unlikely to find unique Estonian designs at the Christmas market, Old Town is filled with boutiques selling such items, ranging from art prints to clothes. Estonia's official travel site has a list for you to scroll through if you want to be prepared, but being spontaneous can lead to lovely surprises. Tallinn's Old Town can take a short time to go through if you're only looking at the architecture (another note: head over to the Kohtuotsa viewing platform in Toompea hill to get a lovely view without all the tourists), but small boutiques line its streets, and you're sure to find something unique in them.