See The 12 Most Beautiful Train Stations In Europe

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Updated: September 26, 2023
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Europe has an incredibly rich history but more than that, its architecture is stunningly beautiful. Everywhere you walk, you’re in awe at the fine details each building has. When it comes to train stations, it’s no different. Unlike the United States, many European train stations have been built to add character and culture to their cities, as it’s the most used public transport type.

These railway stations are amazing works of art. From Portugal to Belgium, Spain to Turkey, let’s take a look at the 12 most beautiful train stations in Europe.

London St. Pancras Station

St. Pancras station

London St. Pancras Station was one of many casualties, with some damage, during the Blitz in World War II.

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The London station is located in the United Kingdom’s capital city. The station opened in 1868, taking a whopping 20 years to build. It is an impressive Victorian Gothic station painted in brick red. When British Railways shifted to Euston Station for their railway activity, St. Pancras saw some decline. But in recent years, it has bounced back, serving as one of Eurostar’s arrival and departure stations in London.

Milano Centrale

Milan

Milano Centrale is so ornate and over the top that it even has sculptures of bulls, winged horses, lions, and other animals.

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Located in Milan, Italy, Milano Centrale is the second-biggest train station in Italy. It opened in 1931 and has a blend of several styles of architecture, like Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Interestingly enough, the original idea was that the railway station would be a simple building. However, the dictator of Italy, Benito Mussolini, wanted to flex Italy’s muscles and ensure the train station was grandiose and powerful-looking. And the station is definitely over the top — with sculptures and elaborate and ornate ceilings and walls.  

Antwerp Central Railway Station

Antwerp, Belgium cityscape at Centraal Railway Station

Architectural experts all agree that the Antwerp Railway Station is one of the finest and most iconic stations ever constructed.

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Opening in 1905, the Antwerp Central Station is the city’s main railway station. For inspiration, the architect took requests from the King of Belgium at the time, Leopold II, to fashion it like Lucerne’s train station and the Pantheon in Rome. When you see it in person, you will see how grandiose and elegant the station is — from the ornate details on the walls to the glass windows. 

Amsterdam Central Station

Amsterdam Central Station in Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Amsterdam Central Station is built in a Beaux-Arts style of architecture.

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The Amsterdam Central Station in the Netherlands is huge. It’s so huge that it is the largest train station in the entire European Union. Over 250,000 people use this railway station every day. Opening in 1889, it is a major hub of activity. It links the city’s public transport including buses and boats, as well as a direct route to the airport. 

Madrid Atocha

Tropical garden in a European main train station

Madrid Atocha Station is named for the nearby church, Our Lady of Atocha.

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The Atocha Railway Station is the main transport hub for the city of Madrid, Spain. It was built in 1851, but a fire destroyed the station, so it was rebuilt in 1892. This time, it was red brick and wrought iron that made it look stunning. But it was the renovation of 1992 that made it unique to Europe’s other stations. The main concourse was removed to make way for a tropical garden with lush greenery and palm trees. It features a pond with fish, turtles, and several species of tropical birds. 

Estación del Norte

Valencia railway station facade North Estacio

Valencia’s Estación del Norte is located next to the Bullring of Valencia.

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Valencia’s main train station primarily serves medium-distance travel in its province and autonomous community. La Estacion del Norte, or the North Station, opened in 1917 and it is of art nouveau style. The exterior is painted yellow and has statues of Valencian oranges lined throughout the station. The interior has gorgeous tiles depicting Valencian history, culture, and its people. It’s a must-see on a visit to Spain.

Helsinki Central

Helsinki - Main Train Station

Iconic and avant-garde, Helsinki Central Station is a transit hub for the Nordic country, serving over 200,000 people every day.

©benkrut/iStock via Getty Images

Located in Finland, the Helsinki Central Station was built in 1919. It’s a very art deco building that looks kind of futuristic, but also traditional at the same time. On both sides of the station, there are two pairs of statues carrying orbs of light called the Lantern Carriers. This adds flare and shock when visitors look at the red-brick Finnish railway station, which also has a clock tower on one end of the station.

São Bento Railway Station

Portuguese blue tiles of Sao Bento train station

The Portuguese painter, Jorge Colaço, who painted the tiled masterpiece at the São Bento Railway Station, took 11 years to complete his work.

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Located in Porto, Portugal, the São Bento Station has a Beaux-Arts style with a Renaissance flair. It was built on the site of what used to be a Benedictine monastery. The inside of the train station boasts a magnificent 20,000-tile collection that depicts Portuguese life, culture, and history. The tiled masterpiece called azulejos in Portuguese was designed by artist Jorge Colaço.

Gare de Lyon

Restaurant Le Train Bleu in Gare de Lyon

In a complete tragedy in 1988, a French fast-moving runaway train in Gare de Lyon collided with another train that was stationary and killed 56 people.

©&#169 jan kranendonk/iStock via Getty Images

Gare de Lyon in Paris, France, is one of the most important railway stations in the entire continent of Europe. The original train station was built in 1847, however, when Paris was awarded the bid to host the World Exposition in 1900, it was decided that Gare de Lyon would be completely renovated. With an ornate clock tower at the corner of the station, Gare de Lyon sits next to the Seine River. Once inside, there is a large fresco by French painter Albert Maignan inside the equally fancy and real-looking Le Train Bleu restaurant.

Rossio Railway Station

Rocio Station

Although it is not the main train station in Lisbon, the Rossio Railway station is the primary transport station that takes visitors and residents to the nearby town of Sintra.

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The second Portuguese railway station in this article, the Rossio train station, is located in Lisbon. Constructed in a typical Manueline form of architecture, the station opened in 1891. This is not Lisbon’s main train station, but its unique style of architecture has caught people’s attention and it is one to look after.

Liège-Guillemins

A completely empty station

Liège-Guillemins Railway Station serves 15,000 passengers every day.

©YuricBel/iStock via Getty Images

Take a look at Liège-Guillemins Railway Station in Liège, Belgium and you will see similarities in architecture with bridges around Europe. That’s because Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed it in his signature style. It is a modern train station, different from the others on this list. Originally built in 1842, this remodel was built in 2009.

Sirkeci Gari

Sirkeci Railway Station (Turkish: Sirkeci Tren Gari). Waiting hall. Famous train station of Orient Express

The Orient Express, which started passenger service in 1883, began in Paris and ended in the Sirkeci Train Station. 

©Elena Sergejeva/iStock via Getty Images

Lastly, Sirkeci Gari is a Turkish railway station located in the city of Istanbul on the European side of the country. Painted in pink and white, the station is in the style of Art Deco with a blend between Eastern and Western architectural styles, too. Sirkeci Gari was originally built because there was increasing demand with wealthy Europeans wanting to travel and explore the East.

Conclusion

And there you have it, the 12 most beautiful train stations in Europe. Each of these train stations are unique in their artwork, from gothic or Victorian to modern and sleek. Each of them has a special vibe that makes them picture-perfect. 
As you jet across Europe, remember to stop and take in the beauty of these 12 most beautiful train stations in Europe.

12 Most Beautiful Train Stations in Europe

#StationLocation
1London St. PancrasLondon, England
2Milano CentraleMilan, Italy
3Antwerp Central Railway StationAntwerp, Belgium
4Amsterdam Central StationAmsterdam, Netherlands
5Madrid AtochaMadrid, Spain
6Estación del NorteValencia, Spain
7Helsinki CentralHelsinki, Finland
8São Bento Railway StationPorto, Portugal
9Gare de LyonParis, France
10Rossio Railway StationLisbon, Portugal
11Liège-GuilleminsLiège, Belgium
12Sirkeci GariIstanbul, Turkey

The photo featured at the top of this post is © RuslanKphoto/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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