The third-largest city in France (after Paris and Marseille), Lyon isn't necessarily regarded as strongly as its large counterparts, but it sits in a picturesque spot in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, making it a gateway to France's alpine stretch to the east. Now considered a metropolitan area due to its expansive size, it was at one time part of the Roman Empire and still contains Ancient Roman ruins of Antiquity.
The second-largest Greek city (after Athens), Thessaloniki sits at the far corner of the Aegean and houses more than a million inhabitants. Also considered the capital of the Macedonian region, Thessaloniki has a long history of settlement and tumult. Due to its importance as a seaport and trading hub, it was favoured by the Ottomans especially and, as such, is home to many Turkish-influenced buildings and customs.
Though many wouldn't necessarily think it, Brno, the second-largest Czech city, is amongst the largest cities of the European Union. Home to medieval cathedrals, Eastern European castles, and the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, Brno sits where the Svitava and Svratka Rivers come together before, eventually, joining with the Danube (further down the tributaries).
It's a city of significant art and culture, being known as a UNESCO 'City of Music'.
Part of Andalusia, this southern Spanish city is part of the Costa del Sol and sits across the Mediterranean from Morocco. One of the longest-inhabited cities, Málaga is at a prime spot on the coast because it's one of a handful of cities that dots the shores near the Strait of Gibraltar, connecting all of the sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Today, Málaga is best known for sunshine, beaches, resort tourism, and seafood.
After Stockholm, Gothenburg is Sweden's second-largest city and it's one of the nation's most convenient for shipping, trading, and commerce (at least historically) because of its convenient spot on the edge of the North Sea. Though formerly a Dutch settlement, Gothenburg has since grown to be a cultural hub for Scandinavia, paving the way into the future with typical Swedish functionality while celebrating its traditional roots.
The capital city of Lithuania, Vilnius is likely best-known for its Old Town though it is a rapidly-expanding hub for the region. After Lithuania gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Vilnius took a turn into modernity, reestablishing itself as a major economic centre while also working to grow amidst a Gothic-built backdrop of mixed cultural identities, customs, and people.
At one time, Vilnius was considered 'The Jerusalem of the North'.
The capital of Moldova, Chisinau is right in the middle of the country, sandwiched between the nations of Romania to the southwest and Ukraine to the northeast. Home to approximately one third of all Moldovans, the city has been under both Ottoman, Russian, and Romanian rule in its long history. Due to the prominence of a local seismic zone, Chisinau has also been prone to earthquakes since it was settled (back in 1436).
Found on the edge of the River Tay as it flows into the North Sea, Dundee is the fourth-largest city in Scotland after Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen. Though the lands around Dundee have been occupied since the eleventh century, it was one of a handful of major UK cities to benefit from the Industrial Revolution (partly because of its port).
It flourished as an industrial centre all the way through World War II before pivoting into becoming an unexpected cultural hub in the British Isles.
Sitting on the Weser River, Bremen is a short trip northwest of Hanover, Germany near the North Sea coast and the Dutch border. The second-largest port in Germany (after Hamburg, to the northeast), it's perhaps best known for being part of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale about a group of animals who became musicians in the city. Germany is a country of varied landforms and environments; Bremen is regarded as one of the lowest-lying amongst them.
Sitting on the far end of the Bay of Naples from Napoli proper, Sorrento is a beautiful Mediterranean city sitting, cliffside, with a view of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. Known for beautiful weather and lemon groves, it's the point of embarkation for visitors to the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri.
It's known that the region was inhabited in the time of Vesuvius' massive eruption in 79 AD; realistically, Sorrento was inhabited more than six centuries earlier.