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Winter bucket-list inTallinn

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, offers a charming winter experience with its historic old town, festive markets, and numerous seasonal activities. If you're an expat or an Erasmus student on a budget, here's a must-try winter bucket list for your time in Tallinn. These activities offer a mix of outdoor and indoor experiences, allowing you to enjoy the winter wonderland of Tallinn while staying within your budget.

1. Visit Christmas Markets (Jõuluturg):

The Christmas markets in Tallinn are famous for their charming and historic setting. The most renowned market is located in the heart of Tallinn's Old Town, particularly in the Town Hall Square. This market, known as "Rahva Jõuluturg," is renowned for its authenticity, featuring local handicrafts, traditional Estonian food, and an enchanting atmosphere. It will open its doors on 1st December 2023.

When you visit the Christmas markets in Tallinn, make sure to try "glögi," which is a popular Scandinavian mulled wine. It's a warm and aromatic beverage made by heating red wine with various spices like cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel. It's often served with almonds and raisins. Glogi is a staple at the Tallinn Christmas markets and is a delightful way to warm up and immerse yourself in the festive spirit.

2. Try Traditional Estonian Food:

Olde Hansa is a restaurant located in the heart of Tallinn's Old Town. It offers a unique dining experience where you can savour traditional Estonian and medieval European dishes. The ambience is designed to transport you back in time, with staff dressed in medieval attire and an interior reminiscent of the Middle Ages. While it's not the cheapest option in town, it's worth it for a special occasion or a taste of history.

Kompressor: If you want a budget-friendly option, head to Kompressor. This eatery is famous for its delicious and generously sized pancakes, both sweet and savory. It's a favourite among locals and students alike due to its affordable prices. The casual atmosphere is welcoming, making it a great place to enjoy traditional Estonian cuisine without breaking the bank.

Of course! Here are more details for two additional items on the winter bucket list in Tallinn:

3. Ice Skating:

Harju Street Park: Harju Street Park, also known as Harju Ice Rink, is one of the popular ice skating spots in Tallinn during the winter season. What makes it even more attractive is that many outdoor ice rinks, like Harju, offer free admission. You may only need to pay a small fee for skate rentals. This makes it an affordable and enjoyable way to experience winter in Tallinn.

Tondiraba Ice Hall: If you want an indoor ice skating experience, Tondiraba Ice Hall is a great option. It's the largest ice hall in Estonia and offers public skating sessions. While indoor ice skating typically involves a fee, it's a fantastic way to skate in a controlled environment, ensuring that you can enjoy this activity even when the weather is less cooperative.

4. Visit Kadriorg Park:

Kadriorg Palace: Kadriorg Park is a picturesque destination in any season, but it takes on a special charm during the winter. The park is home to Kadriorg Palace, a Baroque gem built by Peter the Great. Even if you don't visit the museum inside, the exterior of the palace and its surrounding gardens are worth exploring. In winter, the park's pathways may be dusted with snow, creating a serene and scenic atmosphere.

Kumu Art Museum: While in Kadriorg Park, you can also visit Kumu Art Museum, which is Estonia's largest and most impressive art museum. It houses both classical and contemporary Estonian art collections. It's an excellent place to warm up, immerse yourself in Estonian culture, and appreciate art in a cosy environment.

5. Sauna Experience:

Estonian Sauna Culture: Saunas hold a special place in Estonian culture, and experiencing an Estonian sauna is a must. Many hostels and public saunas in Tallinn offer affordable sauna sessions. The tradition involves alternating between hot saunas and cold plunges, which is invigorating and healthy, especially during the colder months.

Local Rituals: Sauna sessions are often accompanied by unique Estonian rituals, such as whipping yourself with birch branches (a process known as "vihtlemine") to improve circulation and relax muscles. It's a cultural experience that provides warmth, relaxation, and a deeper connection to local traditions.


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