Every May, Europe (and a handful of other countries further afield) gears up for its annual dose of bold pop anthems, glitter-doused costumes, raucous flag waving and brilliantly fun mayhem. This grand occasion is better known as the Eurovision Song Contest, aka the most tuneful geopolitical event of the year.

In 2024, easyJet is partnering with this esteemed music competition, which will be hosted by Malmö in Sweden for the third year in the event’s history, thanks to a winning performance in 2023 from singer-songwriter Loreen.

First things first, though. If you’re wondering “When did Eurovision start?”, you’ll have to look all the way back to 1956, when the event kicked off in Lugano. It’s been quite the international journey since then, with a whole universe of iconic Eurovision outfits wowing audiences from year-to-year.

Apart from a few exceptions, the winning country has always hosted the next contest, which means that over its 68-year history, Eurovision has popped up in plenty of wonderful cities. If you fancy delving further into that history and gaining some memories to last a lifetime, here are some of those previous host cities worth exploring, all of which can be visited via a quick easyJet flight. 

If you’re keen to start with this year’s contest in Malmö, you’ll find all the information you need to get things underway by clicking here.

In need of some recommendations for Malmö when you’re not soaking up the Eurovision vibes? We’ve got you covered with our guide to the best things to do in Malmö.

Turin

Turin
The Mole Antonelliana towering over Turin at dusk / Image: Adobe Stock

The capital city of Italy’s Piedmont region has plenty of genteel charm, with tree-lined Baroque boulevards, stately piazzas, belle époque cafes and exquisitely chiselled churches. It’s also a treasure trove of culture, whether you want to dance to electronic music all night in the former factory district or visit the museums and galleries housed in jaw-droppingly ornate buildings. It’s no wonder it was picked to host the 2022 Eurovision contest, when Ukraine achieved its historic and poignant victory. 

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Vienna

Vienna
Belvedere Palace in all its splendour / Image: Adobe Stock

There are many things to thank Austria for, one of which is introducing the world to Conchita Wurst, the bearded singer and drag queen who won Eurovision in 2014 and became an LGBTQ+ icon in the process. Vienna was picked as host city for 2015 (when Swedish singer Måns Zelmerlöw claimed victory) and there’s no denying its beauty. With a wonderful mishmash of architectural styles from ornate Baroque to decorative Art Nouveau, it’s a joy to walk around, while its patchwork of districts – there are 23 across the city – each have their own distinct character, culture and nightlife, meaning there’s plenty to discover around every corner. 

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Athens

Athens
The mighty Parthenon on the equally mighty Acropolis / Image: Adobe Stock

We all remember Finnish hard rock band Lordi’s Eurovision win in 2006 with the brilliantly bizarre Hard Rock Hallelujah. But you might have forgotten that the host city that year was Athens, the ancient epicentre of Western culture. History is everywhere in the Greek capital, due partly to enduring ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Parthenon, but it's also a seriously cutting-edge spot that’s home to community-run art spaces, an innovative culinary scene, buzzing bazaars and beaches. 

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Rome

Rome
Morning sun at the Colosseum in Rome / Image: Adobe Stock

The 1991 Eurovision contest in Rome marked its place in the history books when both France and Sweden drew in first place. You’ll find plenty more history in this gorgeous city, where winding streets lead to secluded temples, 2,000-year-old ancient relics, ornate churches, stunning art collections and pretty fountains. It’s also blessed with bustling markets and one of the best food scenes on the planet. Magical.

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Munich

Munich
New Town Hall in Munich / Image: Adobe Stock

Munich hosted Eurovision back in 1983 and thanks to its trilingual presenter, this was the first competition to last over three hours, eventually won by Luxembourg. It’d be easy to spend that amount of time (and then some) in the Bavarian capital’s famous, tankard-clunking beer halls, but alongside the hearty food and drink you’ll also find an atmospheric Old Town full of neo-Gothic architecture, beautiful parks where you can swim and sunbathe, a rich art scene and plenty of arty districts with brilliant nightlife and music scenes. 

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Stockholm

Stockholm
Stockholm looking delightfully colourful / Image: Adobe Stock

Sweden is no stranger to the Eurovision song contest, playing host a whopping six times, with Stockholm picking up the duties in 1975, 2000 and 2016. For the full Eurovision experience, visit the ABBA The Museum, where you can perform on stage as the fifth member of the band. Pop star cravings satisfied, soak up the Old Town’s ancient jumble of crooked houses and cobbled alleyways, make the most of the fact that the city is built over 14 islands surrounded by water (perhaps via some wild swimming and sunbathing on tiny urban beaches) or immerse yourself in the Scandi chic vibe by hitting up the trendy photo galleries, cutting-edge bars and restaurants, and design shops. 

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Naples

Naples
Fancy gazing out from Naples towards Mount Vesuvius at sunset? Yes please / Image: Adobe Stock

Naples’ stint as Eurovision host city was way back in 1965, and just like back then, you’ll still find plenty of character and energy in this colourful city nestled beneath the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. It’s a vibrant mix of world-class museums, Baroque architecture, ancient ornate churches, energetic kasbahs and throbbing piazzas, underpinned by a buzzing nightlife scene. Don’t forget to dedicate time to deciding whether it does indeed serve the world’s best pizza. 

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