The holiday season is one of the most exciting times of the year, and there is nothing quite like it in Europe. With copious amounts of mulled wine, ice skating galore, and thousands of twinkling little lights, these 10 spectacular Christmas markets in Europe will put you in a festive mood.

Strasbourg in the Grand Est (Alsace, France)

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At France’s oldest Christmas market (over four centuries old), Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling. A glow radiates from Strasbourg’s over 100-ft-tall (30.5 metres) Christmas tree and lit streets, highlighting the magic of the season. This market has it all, including Alsatian wine, traditional foods, and endless shopping. (Open from Nov 25 to Dec 24. For more information visit their website.)

Belfast Christmas Market (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

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If sugar and spice make Christmas nice, this market has everything you need for a festive celebration. With beer tents, carousels, a Santa train, and even a large snow slide, visitors can enjoy the over 100 vendors and experiences from all over Ireland. (Open from Nov 19 to Dec 22. For more information visit their website.)

Noël au Jardin (Geneva, Switzerland)

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One of Switzerland’s most majestic Christmas markets is Geneva’s Noël au Jardin. You can browse through the large collection of craftsmen in the region to find your perfect Christmas gift, enjoy delicious food including Geneva raclette, which is also referred to as fondue, or stroll through the park to see all of the shimmering Christmas lights. (Open from Nov 17 to Dec 23. For more information visit their website.)

Vörösmarty Square (Budapest, Hungary)

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Warm yourself up with a chimney cake, goulash soup, or hot tea as you wander the streets of Budapest’s largest and most lively Christmas market. If you prefer, skate on the rink by Vajdahunyad Castle for an enchanting winter wonderland experience. With striking sights and delicious Hungarian cuisine, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. (For more information, visit their website.)

Hyde Park (London, England)

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Experience a winter wonderland in the heart of London with a variety of attractions, activities, entertainment, food, drinks, and so much more. Whether you’re into a boozy celebration with a bar made of ice, holiday snacks, or ice skating, this market has it all. (Open from Nov 18 to Jan. For more information visit their website.)

Skansen (Stockholm, Sweden)

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For more than a century, Kansen’s Christmas market has delighted visitors with mugs of mulled wine, traditional Swedish delights, and homemade gifts. Warm yourself around an open fire in a farmstead and hear about old Christmas traditions as you have yourself a merry little Christmas. (Open from every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov 25 to Dec 18. For more information visit their website.)

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market (Berlin, Germany)

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German Christmas markets date back to 1434, and while German cities still reign supreme in the Christmas market scene, the Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market in Berlin is a yuletide treasure. With both culinary delights and festive gifts, there’s something for everyone. (Open from Nov 21 to Dec 31. For more information visit their website.)

Plaza Mayor Christmas Market (Madrid, Spain)

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Madrid’s main square transforms into a lively holiday market in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with more than 100 stalls lined up in the square. Enjoy Christmas lights, Nativity scenes, shopping, and a smorgasbord of delicious sweets. (Open from Nov 25 to Dec 31. For more information visit their website.)

Tivoli Gardens (Copenhagen, Denmark)

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Take a stroll through the Tivoli Gardens and marvel at the thousands of Christmas lights twinkling like stars as you celebrate the holiday season. Enjoy handcrafted crafts, gifts, and more than 1,000 beautifully decorated Christmas trees that create the most idyllic Nordic Christmas atmosphere. (Open from Nov 19 to Dec 3. For more information visit their website.)

Piazza Santa Croce Market (Florence, Italy)

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There is a thriving Christmas market located in Florence’s most famous square, Piazza Santa Croce, that draws on the tradition of German Christmas markets, but with a bit of an Italian twist. ‘Tis the season for light-filled stalls of German bratwurst and kraut as well as Italian cheeses, jams, chocolates, and wines! (Open from Nov 19 to Dec 18, for more information visit their website.)

This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com

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