Ajaccio is the capital of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea. A port city on the rugged isle's western coast, it was also the birthplace of French Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte in 1769. His ancestral home, Maison Bonaparte, is now a museum displaying family heirlooms. The baroque, 16th-century Notre-Dame Cathedral, where Napoléon was baptized, contains paintings by Delacroix and Tintoretto.
Strategically positioned between crossroads of land and sea routes, Alexandroupoli is a city in Greece connecting Europe and Asia. It is the capital of the Evros regional unit in East Macedonia and Thrace and is an important port and commercial center of northeastern Greece. With tranquil waterfronts and archaeological sites, Alexandroupoli is one of the newest cities in Greece, as it was only a fishing village until the late 19th century.
Bern, the capital city of Switzerland, is built around a crook in the Aare River. It traces its origins back to the 12th century, with medieval architecture preserved in the Altstadt (Old Town). The Swiss Parliament and diplomats meet in the Neo-Renaissance Bundeshaus (Federal Palace). The Französische Kirche (French Church) and the nearby medieval tower known as the Zytglogge both date to the 13th century.
Capital of Hungary and one of the largest cities in Europe, Budapest is filled with some of the world’s most famous archaeological creations like the Great Synagogue, Esztergom Basilica, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the fantastic Hungarian Parliament Building. Budapest is also famous for a number of splendid festivals, both cultural and gastronomic, which are held throughout the year.
Burgas is a city on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast. At its heart, the Church of Saint Cyril and Methodius is known for striking stained-glass windows over its main entrance. Nearby, the Ethnographic Museum explores Bulgarian folk culture, with colorful costumes and everyday items. Along Burgas Bay is the Sea Garden, with broad promenades, performances at its Summer Theatre and a viewing platform at the end of its pier.
Constanța is a city on the shores of the Black Sea, in south eastern Romania. Its long history, which goes back over 2,000 years, is documented at the National History and Archaeological Museum, near the port. The adjacent Roman Mosaics complex displays tiled floors dating back to the 4th century A.D. Nearby, the Great Mahmudiye Mosque is furnished with a vast Persian rug, while its towering minaret overlooks the city.
Debrecen is Hungary's second largest city after Budapest. It was the largest Hungarian city in the 18th century and it is one of the Hungarian people's most important cultural centres. Its two-towered, 19th-century Reformed Church sits on the expansive main square, Kossuth Tér. Nearby, the Museum of the Reformed College of Debrecen has exhibits on the history of the city and the college. The Déri Museum’s eclectic collection includes archaeological finds, centuries-old weapons, fine art, local craft displays and a chamber of wonders.
Genoa (Genova) is a port city and the capital of northwest Italy's Liguria region. It's known for its central role in maritime trade over many centuries. In the old town stands the Romanesque Cathedral of San Lorenzo, with its black-and-white-striped facade and frescoed interior. Narrow lanes open onto monumental squares like Piazza de Ferrari, site of an iconic bronze fountain and Teatro Carlo Felice opera house.
Kaliningrad is the capital of the Russian province of the same name, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania along the Baltic Coast. Dubbed Königsberg during centuries of Prussian rule, the city was largely reconstructed after WWII. Traces of its German heritage can be seen in the surviving Brandenburg Gate and the riverside Fishing Village, a dining and shopping destination with re-created medieval-style buildings.
Marseille, a port city in southern France, has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. At its heart is the Vieux-Port (Old Port), where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat-lined quay. Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a Romanesque-Byzantine church. Modern landmarks include Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower.
Odessa is a port city on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine. It’s known for its beaches and 19th-century architecture, including the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre. The monumental Potemkin Stairs, immortalized in "The Battleship Potemkin," lead down to the waterfront with its Vorontsov Lighthouse. Running parallel to the water, the grand Primorsky Boulevard is a popular promenade lined with mansions and monuments.
Pescara is an Italian city on the Adriatic Sea. It’s known for its beaches and as the birthplace of the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. His childhood home, the Casa Natale di Gabriele D’Annunzio, houses a museum about his life and works. The Museum of the People of Abruzzo has exhibitions on regional industries like ceramics and olive oil. Pieces by Miró and Picasso are on view at the Vittoria Colonna Museum of Modern Art.
Rimini is a city on the Adriatic coast, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It's known for its beachside nightclubs and shallow waters. South of the center, the Malatestiano Temple is a 15th-century reconstruction of an old Franciscan church, now a mausoleum for Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, a local nobleman. Nearby, the Malatesta-built Castel Sismondo is a medieval fortress now used for cultural events.
Split, a town on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, is known for its beaches and the fortress-like complex at its centre, the Diocletian's Palace, which was erected by the Roman emperor in the 4th century. Once home to thousands, today’s sprawling remains include more than 200 buildings. Within its white stone walls and under its courtyards are a cathedral and numerous shops, bars, cafes, hotels and houses.
Transylvania is a region in central Romania. It's known for medieval towns, mountainous borders and castles like Bran Castle, a Gothic fortress associated with the legend of Dracula. The city of Brașov features Saxon walls and bastions, as well as expansive Council Square, ringed by colourful Baroque buildings, the towering Gothic Black Church and cafés. Poiana Brașov is a popular ski resort nearby.