trans-european express


The great cities of London, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. Plus the magic of Avignon, Cordoba and Seville. 



london  |  paris |  avignon  |  barcelona
madrid   |  cordoba  |  seville  


Looking at a map, this sure seems like an amazing, but also arduous journey, traversing Europe from north to south. But you'll travel exclusively on some of the fastest trains in the world, and thus every trip is merely a short and easy jaunt.

That gives you plenty of time to explore this parade of incredible cities we have lined up. You'll cross the Thames, the Seine and the Rhone. You'll marvel at St Paul's, Notre Dame, Avignon's Papal Palace, Gaudi's Sagreda Famila and Cordoba's Moorish cathedral.  And your tastebuds will progress from a pint of lager to a glass of sherry. Unless, of course, you do the trip in the opposite direction. (This being Silver Tray, you can do whatever you want). 


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What's included

your first-class private journey

Travel on some of the world's
fastest trains

Carefully curated and centrally located
four-star hotels with breakfast

Private walks in each city
with a local insider

Switch the walk for a free car
and go for an all-day drive

Private transfers
in. all cities.

Total cost per person
at $300/day




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London   |  Day 1 and 2

Still charming and quirky 

One of the world’s most visited cities, London is happily big enough that its true character – its Victorian charm and Dickensian quirkiness -  is still to be found when you venture away from the iconic attractions.  If this is your first visit, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and a dozen other sights beckon. Millions of tourists agree that they are unmissable. Locals, however, tend to skip the West End and Westminster in favour of neighbourhoods that remain authentically and uniquely London.  In a city with a foot print as big as this, that is not hard: The British capital is teeming with colourful districts, fascinating experiences, and sparkling gems that remain hidden to most visitors. 

City of Lights

Paris  I  Day 3 and 4 

You already know that this is the most romantic, stylish, and fashionable city in the world. No recommendations necessary for the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre, then. But once you’ve completed the obligatory list of must-see sights, many even more enchanting (and far less crowded) experiences await. Already walked down the Champs-Elysées? Now meander through Le Marais, one of Paris' oldest, coolest and most charming districts with cobblestone streets, secret courtyards, and chic boutiques. Seen noisy Place de la Concorde? Now visit serene Place des Vosges, the oldest and most beautiful square in all of Paris. Summited the Eiffel Tower? Now descend into the Catacombs, the city’s underground cemeteries, with their skull-and-boned lined tunnels. 

Papal pleasures

Avignon  |  Day 5 and 6

This medieval town in scenic Provence was for a few precious years the centre of the universe: Clement V made Avignon the centre of the Roman Catholic world for some 70 years back in the 1300s, and while His Holiness did not have the convenience of a TGV line in his front yard, the town in many other ways looks remarkably like it did back then. The fortress-like Papal palace with its imposing stone halls still dominates the old centre; ancient ramparts still ring old Avignon; and walking in the pedestrianised centre with its leafy squares can feel quite medieval – unless you’re here during the Avignon Festival in July, one of the most important contemporary performing art events in the world. We’re sure Clement V would not have approved.

Like London, just with sunshine

Barcelona  |  Day 7 and 8

Everyone wants to go to Barcelona, and you’ll soon understand why. It has the cultural and design clout of cities like London, but with the added benefit of endless sunshine, great beaches, and an unbeatable foodie scene. Barcelona is an architectural and cultural hub studded with brooding cathedrals, myriad museums, and magnificent Gaudí creations. Take a stroll down shadowy lanes of the Gothic quarter, past tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. See the mesmerizing masterpieces of the world’s most creative and unusual architect, Gaudí. Hit the important museums devoted to two local citizens, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. Finish off the last hours of sunshine with a sundowner on one of the city’s seven beaches, then head for dinner at a Michelin-starred temple or at a humble, family-run tapas bar. 

Local hero

Madrid  I  Day 9 and 10

Madrid and Barcelona are arch rivals in everything from politics to football. Barcelona wins out as the most popular city, which just means that Madrid has far fewer tourists. One result of that is that the city is better value. Another result is that is the nightlife – which is even livelier here than on the coast - is almost entirely local. But what the capital especially has going for it are two kinds of masterpieces: The incredible art and the fantastic food. 

The art scene comes courtesy of the New World, which Spain plundered so effectively that the royals were flush with money and could afford to shower riches upon the finest artists of the day. They did so for centuries, and museums like the Prado and the Reine Sofia are legends on the scale of the Louvre. With your soul well-nourished, go dine.  And be prepared for the second great show of the day. Madrid has evolved into one of the richest culinary capitals of Europe. The city has wholeheartedly embraced all the creativity and innovation of Spain’s gastronomic revolution.

Islamic capital

Cordoba  |  Day 11 and 12

Welcome to Europe’s biggest and most cultured city. Well, she used to be. Back in the day, like a millennium ago, Córdoba was the most worldly and sophisticated place you could possibly hope to visit. This used to be the capital of Islamic Spain. Today, Córdoba is remains one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in all of Andalusia. 

Córdoba has two strong claims to fame. One is the old town. And by old we mean downright medieval with winding, stone-paved lanes. Stay an extra day and go for a walk with Silver Tray’s local insider who will ignore the gaudy touristy area and instead take you to the authentic neighbourhoods where the true treasures are: Wrought-iron balconies and lamps, overhanging trees, golden-stone buildings, and every few minutes yet another quaint little hidden plaza. The other great claim to fame is a building. Not just any building, but one of the world’s greatest Islamic buildings, and one of the most beautiful structures you’ll ever see. The Mezquita is serene and mesmerising. A glorious mosque that was the pride of the entire Islamic world, until the Spanish started using the mosque as a cathedral. 

The end of your journey:
This calls for a glass of sherry

Seville  |  Day 13 and 14

Seville is not a big town, but its historical riches and everyday pleasures are enormous. This was the port from which Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors set off for the New World, and the resulting wealth is evident everywhere. Columbus’ tomb is here, and may even contain his corpse, although the jury is still out on that. Even if it’s just his brother, the church is a must-see: Not only the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, but originally a mosque from Moorish times. Climb the church tower / minaret for stunning views over the beautiful city. You can see the beautifully decorated, narrow streets of the Barrio Santa Cruz far below, and once back a ground level, you should certainly explore this maze of old Jewish buildings and enchanting squares.  The old town is also where you find the breathtaking Alcázar Palace. Like the cathedral it has both a Muslim and Christian past, and the result is something straight out of the Arabian Nights – or maybe Game of Thrones, which used the palace as a set.