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
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.
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
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
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.
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’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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
|London St. Pancras
|Antwerp Central Railway Station
|Amsterdam Central Station
|Estación del Norte
|São Bento Railway Station
|Gare de Lyon
|Rossio Railway Station
The photo featured at the top of this post is © RuslanKphoto/Shutterstock.com
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