Walking through Tallinn during Christmas time is one of the most fairy-tale experiences you'll find. You can take a stroll through Hanseatic-style streets that have been around since the middle ages in Tallinn's Old Town, a UNESCO world heritage site. When the temperature drops, you can embrace the winter season by heading to Harju Street for some ice skating. And to top everything off, Old Town hosts the Tallinn Christmas market where you can try yuletide treats and shop at artisanal stalls. And as you do some shopping or try the warm mulled wine, you'll have a view of the impressive Christmas tree that overlooks the market.
Get ready for an Estonian Christmas with traditional cuisine
The Estonian way of life is based on the changing seasons and the bounty of nature that comes with it. Berries are collected throughout the summer, while fruits, vegetables, grains, and mushrooms are harvested in the autumn. These ingredients, as well as wild game and farm meats, are pickled, salted, smoked, and preserved in order to fill up the pantries for the winter. With commercial markets, it's no longer essential to preserve goods at home but the practice remains popular in the countryside and is increasingly making its way back into modern kitchens.
Winter dishes in Estonia are hearty and filling in order to provide energy and warmth during times of cold weather. Christmas food is no exception, and staple recipes include verivorst (blood sausage), sült (jellied head cheese), hapukapsas (sauerkraut), oven-roasted potatoes, and pork. Often the whole family will bake special Christmas bread alongside gingerbread. Apples and mandarin oranges are also enjoyed as Christmas treats. All the food is often paired with drinks like beer or Estonian-made wine which is typically quite sweet and includes sparkling wine from berries, rhubarbs, and gooseberries.
Experience something different at the Estonian Open Air Museum