First held in 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland, the Eurovision Song Contest is one of the great European traditions that brings together an entire continent to celebrate unity through song. In 2011, pop duo Eldar & Nigar won the competition for Azerbaijan granting the Euasian country hosting rights for 2012.
As Europe prepares to battle for Eurovision glory, we thought we survey the past five host cities.
Dusseldorf, Germany - 2011
When popular Germany starlet, Lena, won the competition with her rendition of the song Satellite, her home country decided to host the 2011 competition in Dusseldorf. For travellers to Dusseldorf, the old town is a great place to stroll during the day but don't forget to return when the sun sets for the great night-life. Also consider checking out the promenade stretching along the banks of the Rhine River and the Burgplatz, the Castle Square.
Oslo, Norway - 2010
With a brave performance void superfluous theatrics, Norwegian Alexander Rybak wowed the audience in Russia to turn his Eurovision experience into a fairytale. Oslo is a beautiful city to explore – admire the Royal Palace, the Opera House and the Cathedral. Also consider taking a tour of the City Hall and the Akershus Festning, a fortress dating to 1299.
Moscow, Russia - 2009
Dima Bilan believed he could win Eurovision in Serbia and delivered Russia their first ever win. The must-see Moscow attractions are centred around Red Square and include the Kremlin, Lenin's Mausoleum and St Basil Cathedral. It's also worth watching either a ballet or opera at the world famous Bolshoi Theatre.
Belgrade, Serbia – 2008
Serbian Marija Šerifović delivered a win for her country in Helsinki with the song entitled Molitva. Start your exploration of Belgrade in Knrz Mihailova Street, the central pedestrian thoroughfare. Also on the list would have to be the Belgrade Fortress, the Old Royal Palace, the White Palace and the New Palace. For lunch, head to Skadarlija, a street lined with many restaurants.
Helsinki, Finland - 2007
The hard rock outfit, Lordi won Eurovision for Finland when they performed in Athens in 2006. Helsinki, the Finnish capital, is a terrific city break destination. While in town, head across to Suomenlinna, a tremendous sea fortress. Other sites include the Church in the Rock, the Sibelius Monument and the Parliament House.