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12/16/2015 05:18 pm ET

15 European Christmas Markets We Love To Love Year After Year

Where chestnuts really are roasting on open fires.

If you were wondering whether Christmastime really is the most wonderful time of the year, look no further than Europe's Christmas markets. Seriously, your face will light up, your heart will warm and you might even begin searching for last-minute flights overseas.

From the 445-year-old market in Strasbourg, France to the utterly charming winter wonderlands in Basel, Switzerland and Vall d'Aosta, Italy, there's a market for everyone. Load up on the world's finest pastries while sipping hot chocolate, stock up on local crafts, or take a ride on a carousel while waiting to visit with Santa Claus.

Check out some, though definitely not all, European Christmas markets worth your time. Some are the iconic ones we look forward to every year, and others are the lesser-known spots that are just as lovely (and probably far less crowded). 

  • Frankfurt, Germany
    One of the <a href="http://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/en/Discover-Experience/Events/Festivals-in-Frankfurt/Frankfurt-Christma
    Nikada via Getty Images
    One of the most famous and largest markets in Germany, the Frankfurt Christmas market is located in St. Paul's Square and is oh-so-charming.
  • Vienna, Austria
    Christmas markets <a href="http://www.austria.info/uk/things-to-do/skiing-and-winter/christmas-markets/christmas-markets-in-v
    sborisov via Getty Images
    Christmas markets dot the Austrian capital city, and are located in iconic places like in front of City Hall and the famous Belvedere Palace. The markets are filled with chestnut and punch stands, and loads of handcrafted goods that make perfect holiday gifts.
  • Salzburg, Austria
    Handcrafted decorations, delicious pastries and tons of ambiance make the <a href="http://www.salzburg.info/en/art_culture/ad
    De Agostini / W. Buss via Getty Images
    Handcrafted decorations, delicious pastries and tons of ambiance make the Salzburg Christmas market one of Europe's most famous.
  • Milan, Italy
    <a href="http://www.turismo.milano.it/wps/portal/poc?urile=wcm%3Apath%3ATUR_EN_ContentLibrary/sitecontent/eventiamilano/emolt
    Gary Yeowell via Getty Images
    Markets are organized all over the city of Milan during the holiday season, and are filled with local treats and gifts for everyone on your list.
  • Vall d'Aosta, Italy
    The traditional Christmas village of Aosta, called the <a href="http://www.lovevda.it/en/database/2/craft-fairs-markets/aosta
    Flavio Vallenari via Getty Images
    The traditional Christmas village of Aosta, called the "Marché Vert Noël," looks like a magical fairy tale because organizers turn the Roman Theatre into an alpine village. There are crafts and sweets galore.
  • Wroclaw, Poland
    This lesser-known though equally lovely&nbsp;market is located in the old city's&nbsp;Market Square.
    Maciej Lulko via Getty Images
    This lesser-known though equally lovely market is located in the old city's Market Square.
  • Strasbourg, France
    Founded in 1570, Strasbourg's Christmas market is a <a href="http://noel.tourisme-alsace.com/en/strasbourg-oldest-christmas-m
    Daniel Schoenen / LOOK-foto via Getty Images
    Founded in 1570, Strasbourg's Christmas market is a truly special site to see. It's known as the oldest Christmas market in France and showcases the finest of Alsatian fare.
  • Tallinn, Estonia
    Held in <a href="http://www.visitestonia.com/en/tallinn-christmas-market">Town Hall Square in Tallinn</a>, this Estonian Chri
    Michael Avina via Getty Images
    Held in Town Hall Square in Tallinn, this Estonian Christmas market looks straight out of a Disney movie. Little huts surround the most famous Christmas tree in the country.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
    Christmas in&nbsp;Copenhagen is just as festive as it sounds. The <a href="http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/get-spir
    MyLoupe via Getty Images
    Christmas in Copenhagen is just as festive as it sounds. The Tivoli Gardens' Christmas market is filled with decorated wooden houses, snow-topped trees and of course, Santa Claus.
  • Helsinki, Finland
    The <a href="http://www.visithelsinki.fi/en/whats-on/events-in-helsinki/helsinki-christmas-market-2015">Christmas market&nbsp
    Jussi Hellsten
    The Christmas market in Helsinki, Finland shows off the city's best restaurants as well as crafts and goods perfect for your home.
  • Stockholm, Sweden
    The <a href="http://www.visitsweden.com/sweden/Things-to-do/Culture-heritage--arts/Christmas-markets/Stockholm/">market&nbsp;
    scanrail via Getty Images
    The market at the Big Square in Old Town, Stockholm is the oldest and most festive one in the city.
  • Basel, Switzerland
    Close your eyes and imagine the most perfect, snowy Christmas scene. Good news! That <a href="http://www.baslerweihnacht.ch">
    Flavio Vallenari via Getty Images
    Close your eyes and imagine the most perfect, snowy Christmas scene. Good news! That perfect scene exists in Basel, Switzerland, where we're pretty sure you can't get more Christmas-y if you tried.
  • Prague, Chez Republic
    It's huge, crowded and can't be missed -- <a href="http://www.prague.eu/en/event/6662/christmas-markets-2015-on-the-old-town-
    Nicole Kucera via Getty Images
    It's huge, crowded and can't be missed -- Prague's Old Town Square is a happy Christmas wonderland this time of year.
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
    There are a few markets to see in Edinburgh but the one in <a href="http://www.visitscotland.com/en-us/see-do/events/winter-f
    Travelpix Ltd via Getty Images
    There are a few markets to see in Edinburgh but the one in Prince Street Gardens has a children's market that's part of Santa Land.
  • Madrid, Spain
    The Christmas market in <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187514-d190142-Reviews-Plaza_Mayor-Madrid.html
    Meinzahn via Getty Images
    The Christmas market in Madrid's Plaza Mayor is colorful, festive and filled with family fun. Ride the carousel and take it all in.

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