From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe

By TravelWiseJan 2, 2024 19:29 PMNews
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Antwerpen-Centraal in Antwerp
Antwerpen-Centraal in Antwerp. Source: Canva

You may be tempted to plan your next rail adventure around the many new rail routes that are popping up across Europe. At the same time, you can experience the glamor of traveling by train without even leaving the station.

From a historic "railway cathedral" to an underground art installation, Euronews has listed the most beautiful train stations in Europe that are worth visiting during your travels.

Antwerpen-Centraal in Antwerp, Belgium: a transport temple

Antwerp's main train station is one of the most important transportation hubs in Belgium, with high-speed connections to Amsterdam, Paris and Marseille.

It is housed in an eclectic building designed by Belgian architect Louis Delacenseri in the late 19th century, drawing on Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau and Baroque styles.

The huge dome over the waiting room earned the station the name Spoorwegkathedraal, or "railway cathedral".

Marble, tall columns and intricate ironwork frame the station clock, giving way to glass-ceilinged train halls that were originally designed to disperse the smoke from steam locomotives.

Hungerburg station in Innsbruck, Austria: an alpine wonder

Running from the center of Innsbruck to the start of the Seegrube cable car, the Hungerberg funicular passes through four stations designed by London-based Zaha Hadid Architects.

The futuristic Hungerburg station stands out against the natural backdrop of the Karwendel Alpine Park, offering a gateway to Austria's hiking trails, ski slopes and mountains. Its curved glass roof seems to float in place, and its smooth icy surface mimics the mountains in the distance.

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
Hungerburg station in Innsbruck. Source: Canva

Estación de Atocha in Madrid, Spain: a tropical jungle

The busiest train station in Spain is imposing, but not particularly remarkable from the outside. It is the interior that brings the wow effect thanks to the tropical greenhouse.

Before heading to the modern terminus next door to catch a high-speed train to Barcelona, Malaga, or Alicante, have a coffee and admire the lush garden that fills the abandoned old part of the station.

With thousands of plants and flowers from all over the world, it will give you a sense of tranquility.

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
Estación de Atocha in Madrid. Source: Canva

Gare do Oriente in Lisbon, Portugal: a modernist wonder

Designed by leading Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the intermodal transport hub was built for the Expo '98 World Expo. With its glass and metal lattice, the modernist design is an eye-catcher.

It houses a Lisbon metro station, high-speed suburban and regional rail lines, a bus station and a shopping center.

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
Gare do Oriente in Lisbon. Source: Canva

King's Cross Station in London, England: a lesson in restoration

King's Cross Station in London is a Grade I listed building, which recognizes its exceptional architectural and historical significance. This made its modern transformation even more challenging and impressive.

The dramatic undulating roof rises above the West Concourse. It was opened along with the meticulously restored original facade for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Over the past decade, the project has sparked regeneration throughout the neighborhood, making the station known as more than a gateway to the north and home to the Harry Potter 9 platform.

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe. Source: Canva

Toledo Station in Naples, Italy: art under the city streets

A shimmering sea of blue mosaics deep beneath Naples' old district has added creativity to the area.

The Toledo metro station, which is reached by a 40-meter escalator, is part of the city's Stazioni dell'Arte project, in which world-renowned architects and designers have left their mark on Line 1 metro stations.

Before entering the oceanic depths of the station, you descend past mosaics of the city's history and sunny yellow displays.

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe. Source: Canva

São Bento in Porto, Portugal

Portugal is known for its beautiful azulejo tiles, some of the most impressive of which can be found at the São Bento train station in Porto.

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe. Source: Canva

About 22,000 tiles make up its 551 square meter panels, which depict scenes of Portuguese history and rural life. They were designed and painted by the famous artist and potter Jorge Colaso and opened in 1903.

 

 

 

From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe
From cathedrals to underground art exhibitions: which cities have the most beautiful train stations in Europe. Source: Canva
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