Size doesn’t matter – or it does, sometimes. Let’s not go there right now, and focus on traveling. When visiting a country, toruist usually opt out for the biggest city; however, skipping those might not be a mistake, but beautiful surprise and experience. So, how about choosing the second biggest cities? Just for the hell of it! Here are 25 cities around the world that will definitely impress and astound anyone.
1. Yokohama, Japan
Yokohama is home to 3.7 million people and the second largest suburb in the world. . A humble fishing village during feudal times, this city is nowadays the hub for Nissan Motor Company and several major Japanese technology and shipping conglomerates.
2. Cork, Ireland
At 119,230 people over 14.4 square miles, Cork may not be the biggest second city on the list, but with a nickname like “The Rebel City” it might be one of the most badass. Various traditions surprise toruist, such as special ways to prepare what some Westerners might view as leftover waste from the butchering process, such boiled pigs feet (crubeens), and intestines paired with blood sausage (tripe and drisheen). Pass!
3. Gothenburg, Sweden
The fifth largest city of the Nordic countries, Gothenburg, Sweden, is home to over half a million people and one of the largest football tournaments in the world, the Gothia Cup. It’s also known for its advantageous trade location, noteworthy manufacturing industry, and innovation.
4. Ankara, Turkey
Ankara isTurkey’s capital and has a population of almost 4.5 million people. It’s also famous for a number of native species and their products, including mohair from the long-haired Angora goat, fur from Angora rabbits, Muscat grapes, and the Turkish Angora cat. There’s also plenty of sites to visit.
5. Bergen, Norway
On the western coast of Norway, 278,000 people form the city of Bergen. Recently, Bergen has become well known as the “street art capital of Norway;” the city council has begun protecting key pieces of art with protective glass and plans to be a leader and stronghold for that particular form of media by 2015.
6. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
6.3 million people call Rio home, making it the second largest city in Brazil, the third most populous area in South America, and the 26th largest city in the world. I guess we all remember its particular brand of Brazilian Carnival, the annual celebration of Lent featuring ornate costumes and incredibly detailed parade floats. Love it!
7. Rotterdam, Netherlands
Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, and also a port. Nicknamed “Gateway to Europe,” Rotterdam is also home to the Erasmus University Rotterdam of international acclaim, with its business courses ranking in the top 10 both in Europe and worldwide.
8. Kosice, Slovakia
Sharing the 2013 “Cultural Capital of Europe” title with Marseille, Kosice boasts fusion of an industrial economy with arts and culture and placing a key emphasis on sustainability. It’s also quite beautiful.
9. Busan, South Korea
The largest port city in South Korea, and home to 3.6 million people, Busan is also home to the famous 7.5-mile Haeundae Beach and the world’s largest department store. I think I’ve heard enough.
10. Porto, Portugal
The famous birthplace of port wine, Porto is part of an elite quintuplet of global cities on the Iberian Peninsula (along with Madrid, Valencia, Lisbon, and Barcelona). Coincidentally, in addition to port wine, Porto is also a chief producer and exporter of cork. Does anyone have any bottles available?
11. Krakow, Poland
Dating back to the 7th century, Krakow is one of the oldest cities in Poland in addition to being its second largest. Dubbed the “European Capital of Culture” by the EU in 2000, the country takes great pride in its art events and collections, orchestras, and host of famous theaters for the performing arts.
12. Quito, Ecuador
As the capital city of Ecuador, Quito is home to 2,671,191 people as of 2014. Located at 9,350 feet above sea level, Quito stands as the world’s highest official capital city, and the historic center there was one of the world’s first UNESCO cultural heritage sites.
13. Milan, Italy
With a population of 1.3 million, Milan’s influence in industry, fashion, design, commerce, and world finance has made it a key “global city.” Milan also sees over 6 million tourists a year, with many flocking to the Santa Maria Delle Grazie to view the variety of Leonardo Da Vinci murals, including the original “Last Supper.”
14. St. Petersburg, Russia
At nearly 5 million inhabitants, St. Petersburg is the northernmost large city in the world, and one of the largest cities on this list. As Tsar Peter the Great’s cultural capital of Russia, St. Petersburg is home to 221 museums, 80 theaters, 2,000 libraries, dozens of historical buildings, 45 galleries, and hundreds of festivals. This is one place you shouldn’t miss out on!
15. Melbourne, Australia
With a population of 4,347,995, Melbourne may not be the most populous city in Australia, but it has ranked among the top three most livable cities in the world every year for over a decade. Sometimes called “Australia’s cultural capital,” it is a hub for arts, music, sports, and dance.
16. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is located on the Persian Gulf and has a population of 921,000 as of 2013. As a world-titan of the oil and natural gas industries, it is considered one of the richest and luxurious cities on the planet.
17. Damascus, Syria
Also known as the “City of Jasmine,” Damascus is considered one of the oldest cities to have remained continuously inhabited since its founding, between 2000-1000 BC. Damascus is nowadays home to an annual international trade exposition and the only stock exchange in Syria, a testament to its financial power and relevance.
18. Cordoba, Argentina
Founded in 1613, Cordoba, located in the middle of Argentina, is home to some of the oldest buildings in the country. With a population of just over 1.3 million, Cordoba’s six universities and host of graduate schools makes it a key hub for higher education in Argentina.
19. Durban, South Africa
Durban sets itself apart for being the largest port in South Africa. It’s home to about 600,000 people as well as several major tourist attractions, including the Golden Mile, a mile of beach stretching from uShaka Marine World in South Beach, to Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World.
20. Hamburg, Germany
The eighth largest city in the EU, Hamburg has a population of over 1.8 million and is home to the Port of Hamburg on the Elbe, the second largest port in Europe and tenth largest in the world. No worries, there’s plenty to do around town.
21. Marseille, France
Marseille is the largest French city on the Mediterranean coast and historically has been France’s most significant shipping port. This city has a history that stretches back centuries before Paris conceivably existed and today is a major tourism hub for France, drawing 4.1 million visitors in 2012.
22. Guadalajara, Mexico
With only 1.5 million people compared to the 8 million living in Mexico City, Guadalajara has managed to maintain strong ties to its heritage and traditions, making it a key site for cultural tourism. Located on the western side of Mexico, Guadalajara is one piece of culture you should visit.
23. Beijing, China
It should be no surprise that Beijing makes this list. At a whopping 21,150,000 inhabitants as of 2013, Beijing is not only the second largest city in China but one of the largest cities in the world. With a rich history spanning 3,000 years, today Beijing stands as the last of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China, and is the political, cultural, and educational heart of China.
24. Alexandria, Egypt
Alexandria is the largest coastal city on the Mediterranean, and one of the most prosperous shipping and trade ports in history. Founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, it was also the second most powerful city in Antiquity. Today, Alexandria is home to 4,546,231 people, and still processes more than three-quarters of Egypt’s imports and exports.
25. Delhi, India
Of the 1,255,720,200 people currently living in India, about 11 million of them live in Delhi. With a strong history as several-time capital of India’s various empires, the city is peppered with over 1,375 historic buildings, sites, and monuments.