Perched on the banks of the Guadalquivir, hundreds of kilometres south of Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, the Andalusian capital is renowned for its unique beauty, slow pace of life and, above all else, spectacular local cuisine.
Less renowned than Berlin and Hamburg, this city on the River Main turns out to be a properly tranquil place to spend a long weekend. Europe’s third financial capital – after London and Paris – is also a place of simple pleasures, refinement and a whole of culture.
Just half an hour from Biarritz and around 100km from Bilbao, this Basque city is one of Europe’s best destinations for a sunny weekend away. So get out your espadrilles, swimming costumes and straw hats – we’re heading off to the banks of the Cantabrian Sea.
Less touristy than all the others, this city will win over anyone who likes street food and laidback seaside vibes. So forget the guidebooks, here are the best things to do in the city according to us.
Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland and the home of Guinness, that super-famous dry stout Irish people around the world can’t get enough of.
Few European cities feel like they’re in such perfect harmony with the water around them. You couldn’t visit Amsterdam without traversing the canals of the city centre. They’re literally unavoidable, and also an integral part of the tourist experience in the Dutch capital.
Liverpool, a former working-class city which has weathered economic crisis after crisis to become a thriving cultural hub, is now one of the UK’s best tourist destinations. Let’s explore a bit.
Valencia. Pairing a rich cultural history and with a contemporary thirst for the avant-garde, this city’s calles and callejones are ripe for a wander. So let’s go!
This city is known as Bologna la Rossa (Bologna the Red). It owes the nickname both to the bricks and tiles of its buildings and to its leftist politics. To get a feel for the place, you should first head to the Piazza Maggiore.
Another Belgian city that’s attracted exceptional craftspeople, architects, writers and painters over the years. Antwerp is one of those places where you can’t help but feel inspired as you wander its beautiful, historic streets.
The Florence of the Elbe. That’s the rather flattering nickname given to this city, so ravaged by human folly throughout its history. First it was largely destroyed by a fire in 1685, before being rebuilt for the first time and receiving its distinctive baroque look.
When people mention Pisa, you probably immediately think of the famous leaning tower. But we reckon you should kick off your trip by meandering along Via Santa Maria, the city’s main street...
Say you’re off to the city for a week or so sometime soon, there are loads of amazing exhibitions you should check out. Two of them will take you on a trip back in time.
That means welcome to Bilbao, in one of the four official languages of Spain. Yes, this week, we’ll be heading off to the Basque capital. Bilbao has had something of a new lease of life in recent decades, without ever losing its authenticity.
When we say Munich, many of you will probably immediately think of Oktoberfest, that annual knees-up during which beer, sausages and other German indulgences help create the ultimate – for want of a better word – sesh. But there’s so much more to this city than that notorious festival.
Torino is a much less touristy city, with just as much impressive history, architecture – and food. Turin, which was the first capital of a united Italy, is the jewel of the Piedmont region. Here’s where you go when you get there.
No doubt several of you have taken a boat heading for the Cyclades, without stopping at the historic capital that looks out over them. Athens is a vibrant city, infused with a distinctive Mediterranean art de vivre.
Because as impetuous and volcanic as Naples is, the sea no doubt helps the southern Italian city find its sense of balance. So, without further ado, let’s explore. There’s not one Naples, but multiple – perhaps that’s why there’s an s at the end.
Throughout its many major transformations over the past century, the German capital has kept reinventing itself and providing a refuge for avant-garde types. Will it ever get… boring? We doubt it, and that’s very much a good thing. So, let’s head on down for a quick tour.
We’re heading right to the very edge of Europe, and to be specific, to Saint Petersburg, the city that was the Tsars’ capital for nearly two centuries. Founded essentially from scratch by Peter the Great in 1703, this city is actually only 400km from Helsinki – something that’s often forgotten.
For four centuries the ‘Venice of the North’ has somehow managed to evade the rampant industrialisation that has transformed similar cities in this part of the world. So in this brief guide to the Belgian city, we’ll be properly travelling back in time. Let’s go.
Geneva regularly appears in top tens of the best places to live in the world, and even though the health crisis may have caused rankings like this to change somewhat over the past couple of years, the charms of this Swiss city remain clear for all to see. Let’s take a closer look.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be blown away: the entrance to the Art Nouveau station is ringed by four giant sculptures: the Lyhdynkantajat, by artist Emil Wikström, which give the rail station a look that’s equal parts solemn and sublime.
In Victorian times, it was nicknamed the ‘the second city of the British empire’, but in reality was a rather grey and gloomy industrial city. Times have obviously changed and Glasgow has thrown off its industrial identity to become a whole lot more colourful and creative.
Tucked in the north (relatively speaking) of Sicily, this luminous city is a land of contrasts which will win you over thanks to both its amazing art and architecture, and locals’ laidback way of life. So let’s wander around a little to see what it’s all about.
We’re heading off to Barcelona, surely one of the most characterful Mediterranean cities there is. The Catalan capital has long been one of Europe’s most creative, cultural cities, and since the 1980s, it has gradually undergone huge change and become one of European travellers’ favourite destinations.
Anyone who goes to Moscow will inevitably head straight to Red Square. So many historic events have taken place there that it’s easy to overlook just how old this public square is: it was built in 1480, during the reign of Tsar Ivan III. To the south, the majestic, colourful, almost hypnotic St Basil’s Cathedral looms over the city.
We’ll be heading to Nice, the dazzling capital of the Côte d’Azur. Or rather, Nissa la Bella, as the proud locals refer to it. And they have good reason to be, their home city being as radiant as it is (and so important inspiration for so many artists past and present). Without further ado, let’s head on a brief tour.
While both of the major Portuguese cities have attracted huge numbers of visitors in recent years, many still like to draw contrasts between them. As one common saying has it: ‘Lisboa diverte-se e o Porto trabalha’ (‘Lisbon has fun and Porto works’).
This idyllic destination could make a great next trip for you and your loved one: Prague. Such is this city’s beauty that you feel almost like you’ve been whisked off to another planet.
Hamburg. Germany’s second city is increasingly giving Berlin a run for its money. But it has a dark past: more than 80 percent of it was destroyed during the Second World War and its reconstruction was slow.
After all, this place is so inspiring that several other cities have tried to brand themselves the Venice of Scandinavia (Stockholm), the North (Bruges), the Middle East (Basra) or even the Languedoc (Sète)?
Our sleeper trains will offer a new cross-border travel experience all the way across the continent. So how could we not stop off in Brussels, that city that appears very much like the capital of the European Union (if there were such a thing)?
Marseille is a city of contrasts, and to really get a feel for it, it’s best to properly spend some time there – an extended holiday, say, rather than a flying visit.
Just like the banks of the Bosphorus strait, which appear to face off against each other (or embrace, depending which way you look at it), Istanbul is one of the most symbolic meeting-points between Europe and Asia.
Its unique blend of history and modernity, pride and conviviality, lends Edinburgh a very particular, almost magical air. The castle is no doubt the most iconic landmark in the city, and its turbulent history closely matches that of this fiercely independent nation as a whole.
Lisbon is another one of the destinations our trains will take you to (and we’re actually a little embarrassed it’s taken us this long to pay homage to this beautiful city). For a long time its charms were unfairly overlooked, but over the past decade or so, this city has become one of Europe’s most exciting metropolises.
Welcome to the Eternal City: Rome is one of those rare places pretty much every visitor wants to return again and again to. And with all roads famously leading there, that seems pretty fortunate.
What better than a quick stop in Stockholm to continue taking things at your own pace, to the rhythm of the waters that irrigate every corner of the Swedish capital?
In the Austrian capital, one of the best examples must be the huge, gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral, right opposite the Haas Haus, a postmodern building by architect Hans Hollein.
It’s no surprise the city was chosen as the host of the last Exposition Universelle in 2015 and that it will be hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2026.
For a long time, a sleeper train left Paris’s Gare du Nord for Copenhagen (København in Danish), allowing passengers to wake up in a city defined by subdued elegance everywhere you look.
The French capital will be home to the first of our hubs, from which you’ll be able to travel in style and comfort towards major cities across the Continent – as soon as we’re done reinventing the sleeper train, that is.
It has been the destination of many Europeans in need of restaurants open during the last confinement and yet, it is good now, when summer is here, that we very much want to go and forget about ourselves in the Spanish capital.