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Europe's Top 5 cities: 2012

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Oh, 2012. Another 12 months before Bruce Springsteen rasps through 5,000 more "Santa Clause is Coming to Town"s on the radio, before another year is at an end. The following are Europe's top five cities to be seen this year:

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Aberdeen, Scotland
The Silver City, Aberdeen lies on Scotland's north-eastern coast and is Scotland's third largest metro. The elegant Union Terrace Gardens number among the city's 45 parks. Thankfully unlike most of Scotland's rocky beaches, the beach of Aberdeen is long and sandy. Rife with music halls and regal architecture, Aberdeen is not to be missed this year.

Ålesund, Norway
Yet another coastal city, and not far at all from Aberdeen coincidentally! Merely seeing the city's nightscape is enough to tug one's wanderlust. A marvel of Art Nouveau architecture, the town is a sweet mixture of imperial and charming, nothing short of the norm for Norway. The best time to visit is late August, when the annual Norwegian Food Festival is held in Ålesund.

Valletta, Malta
Lying in southeastern Malta, Valletta is one of Europe's least acknowledged capital cities. It is difficult to see why, as it is the epitome of "Mediterranean". Beautiful, modern piazzas are as easy to find as the gardens. A visitor will soon realize that Valletta is a seaside maze of streets, a labyrinth of palaces and public squares.

Novi Sad, Serbia
Novi Sad is Serbia's second largest city. It is nicknamed "the Serbian Athens" for good reason - most serious Serb artists have at one point or another have had a stint in Novi Sad. The city's architecture embraces the Serbian stereotype: powerful and imposing. From Liberty Square to the town hall, and perhaps even more so for the outlying farmlands, it remains a city for the artist.

Bratislava, Slovakia
Bratislava is ideal for travelers in that it lies on Slovakia's border with both Austria and Hungary. There are 1,200 sq.ft. of public green space per inhabitant of Bratislava; there are 431,000 people. Aside from its music scene being shaped by Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Haydn, and Bartók, the Bratislava Castle has become emblematic for all of Slovakia.

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