The best second cities to visit in Europe

The best second cities to visit in Europe

10. Antwerp – Belgium’s capital of cool known as the city of diamonds is located in the Flemish region of Belgium. The old city formed by the 16th Century fortifications has many narrow, winding streets with beautiful old gothic buildings. The city centre is dominated by magnificent stone steeples and its medieval house museum. Antwerp is one of the best cities in the world by combining its charming city centre with its modern fashion design scene and its vibrant nightlife.

9. Graz – Feel like you have just stepped foot into a time machine by witnessing a combination of amazing Renaissance and baroque architecture. This makes up the narrow maze-like streets and the town’s main square, which was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1999. As you look up into the hilltop, you will see that the city is dominated by Schloꞵberg, a hilltop fort. Graz is arguably the most underrated second city in Europe.

8. Cork – “Everything good about Ireland can be found in Cork” it’s hard to argue with such a bold statement after visiting this gem of an Irish city. Bars, restaurants & cafes are packed into gorgeous 17th-century alleys crammed with character & atmosphere. Not to be missed are the outstanding English market and Cork city Gaol with its wonderful castle-like structure. Most Corkonians will disagree that Cork should be on this list as it is locally known as “The Real Capital”.

A street in Cork City, Ireland
A street in the city centre

7. Glasgow – The United Kingdom’s third-largest city is generally overlooked by its neighbor Edinburgh. Up until the 1980s, Glasgow had a reputation of being quite rough. Today that has completely changed into a vibrant city packed with history, personality & great experiences and in 1995 it became the European capital of culture. Expect to find outstanding Victorian and art nouveau at every street corner. Whether you’re here for museums or nightlife, Glasgow’s got you covered.

6. Porto – Wynd your way past merchants’ houses in the narrow cobbled street through to the grand plaza of the Trindade district, then wine & dine on the region’s magnificent cuisine. In this city of charm, you should take a relaxing stroll along the river Duoro and experience the true beauty of this fascinating city. It’s not just the quality of food that makes this city great, it’s the shopping, its numerous attractions, and the affordability of it all. Porto is one of the cheapest cities in all of western Europe.

5. Lyon – Forget about the crowded streets & overpriced foods in Paris and experience everything that Lyon has got to offer! Its city center reflects 2000 years of history from the Roman amphitheater des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux to the modern district in the Presqu’ile peninsula. If you’re a food lover this is the place for you, with its top-of-the-range Michelin restaurants and its top-quality local restaurants. It’s the local cuisine that makes Lyons’s bouchons so unique.

4. Split – Situated on the beautiful Dalmatian coast, Split is the ideal European destination for a city break or a beach getaway! There are not too many places in Europe which can offer so much quality at affordable prices. With cathedrals, Forts and Palaces dotted around the area you can imagine that the city is just bursting with history. Experience life as it had been lived for thousands of years in and around the old town and after a long day be sure to cool off at one of its fantastic beaches.

3. Bergen – When most people imagine a trip to Scandanavia they think of places such as Oslo, Copenhagen, or Stockholm the three capitals and largest cities. Bergen could easily be classed as one of the prettiest cities in the world! The Hurtigruten coastal ferry is one of the most spectacular journeys on the globe crossing the arctic circle on its daily trip between Bergen and Kirkenes. On this, you will experience coastal fjords, dock at isolated villages, and witness dramatic headlands.

Bergen City
Colourful buildings in Bergen

2. Krakow – Second city? second to none. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you visit this marvelous city. Whether it’s the middle of December sipping on hot chocolate and kicking your way through the snow or its mid-July sitting in the Old town medieval market square sipping on a cold drink, Krakow will never disappoint no matter how many times you visit. Behold the Wawel castle which was built in the 13th century & also the magical salt mines which are only twenty minutes from the city center. It may be Poland’s second city, but it’s one of the best cities to visit worldwide.

A cathedral in Krakow
Krakow Cathedral

1. St Petersburg – Up until 1918 St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian federation leaving behind much evidence of this. Palaces, Cathedrals, Soviet & neoclassical architecture litters the land it surrounds. There is so much to see and do throughout the day such as the top-class parks & museums that will keep you entertained for hours. Whether you’re looking for a vodka-fuelled night or a relaxing dinner at the panoramic restaurant, St Petersburg will have a solution to everyone’s perfect night.

St. Peter & Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg
St. Peter & Paul fortress

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Choose an amount


Or enter a custom amount

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: