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This Hidden Gem Is The Best Christmas Destination In Europe

Cecilia Rodriguez
Cecilia Rodriguez Senior Contributor
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
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Christmas tree at Tallinn's Town Hall Square.    Photo:Hendrik Osula/LightRocket via Getty ImagesGetty

Tallinn, the beautiful, medieval capital of Estonia, on the Baltic Sea, has been chosen as the #1 European Christmas Destination 2019, by more than 208,000 global travelers from 106 countries who voted over the past 10 days.

With a walled, cobblestoned Old Town, considered one of the best-preserved Hanseatic (the trading alliance in northern Europe between the 13th and 17th centuries) town centers in the world, Tallinn won its title over better-known Christmas destinations such as Strasbourg, Aachen, Vienna, Leipzig, Budapest, Basel, Dresden and Nuremberg.

Christmas in Tallinn                 Photo: UIG via Getty ImagesGetty

Since 2009, the competition has been runby European Best Destinations, in partnership with more than 300 European tourism offices and the EDEN Network, created by the European Commission to promote culture and tourism in Europe.

For the past five years, Strasbourg and Zagreb had traded the title that, according to the organizers, brings “an important media and economic impact and massive coverage by the international media.”

Pedestrians walk under Christmas lights decorating the streets in Strasbourg, France,       Photo: Frederick Florin/ AFP/Getty ImagesGetty

Zagreb, which has won in 2016, 2017 and 2018 was, in fact, declared out of the competition according to the organization's rules. "The capital of Croatia is however more beautiful than ever," they stated.

Most of the past winner cities of European Best Destinations' competitions have seen significant growth of their tourist sectors: 16-plus percent for Porto awarded in 2017, 13% for Bordeaux awarded in 2015, 25% for Zadar (Croatia) awarded in 2016, 40% for Zagreb, awarded in 2016-2017-2018, 11% for Wroclaw, Poland, which won the title of European Best Destination 2018. 

Zagreb, Croatia dressed for Christmas           Photo: Alen Gurovic/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesGetty

Tallinn Christmas Market will be promoted during 2019 to millions of travelers on European Best Destinations, which has the most-visited page for visitors looking for Christmas Markets in Europe.

"The Tallinn Christmas market delights everyone with its coziness, historical location, wonderfully preserved medieval old buildings and long traditions,"  the competition organizers explained. "In recent years, the Tallinn Christmas market has been elected as one of the best Christmas markets in the world." 

A general view of Saint Stephen Basilica in Budapest, Hungary      Photo: Getty ImagesGetty

The list of the 20 finalists of the “must-see” Christmas Markets competing for  the prestigious title were:

1. Tallinn (Estonia),  2.Budapest (Hungary), 3. Strasbourg (France), 4. Vienna (Austria), 5. Erfurt (Germany), 6. Poznan (Poland), 7. Brussels (Belgium), 8. Aachen (Germany) 9. Prague (Czech Republic), 10. Cluj-Napoca (Romania), 11. Montbeliard (France), 12. Metz (France), 13. Leipzig (Germany), 14. Dresden (Germany), 15. Basel (Switzerland), 16. Cologne (Germany), 17. Nuremberg (Germany), 18. Amiens France), 19. Seville (Spain) 20. Chester (United Kingdom).

Dresden, Germany: The Christmas pyramid rotates behind the stalls at the Striezelmarkt, open until 24 December.  Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty ImagesGetty

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Summary | 8 Annotations
Since 2009, the competition has been run by European Best Destinations
2018/12/11 08:20
Pedestrians walk under Christmas lights decorating the streets in Strasbourg, France,     
2018/12/11 08:20
Tallinn Christmas Market will be promoted during 2019 to millions of travelers on European Best Destinations, which has the most-visited page for visitors looking for Christmas Markets in Europe.
2018/12/11 08:20
The list of the 20 finalists of the “must-see” Christmas Markets competing for  the prestigious title were:
2018/12/11 08:20
1. Tallinn (Estonia)
2018/12/11 08:20
8. Aachen (Germany)
2018/12/11 08:20
15. Basel (Switzerland)
2018/12/11 08:20
20. Chester (United Kingdom).
2018/12/11 08:20