Europe's Must-See Rail and Metro Stations
From Russia to Portugal, you’ll want to explore these European rail stations with Christie Sinclair.
Instead of making a beeline for the exit, stay a while to enjoy the spectacular designs of these five rail or metro stations across Europe.
Moscow's Metro Stations
Extravagant doesn’t even come close to conveying the magic of these spaces hidden beneath the streets of Moscow, almost all of which can be likened to a museum, with their palatial-like designs. With so many of the 203 stations worth the stop, your best bet is to load up a Troika card while on our 7 Day Russian Icons trip and make a morning of it (careful to avoid peak hour). Our picks are:
- Mayakovskaya station, for its ballroom-like hall
- Komsomolskaya station, with its canary yellow ceiling
- Kiyevskaya station, with its romantic paintings framed in gold
- Sokol station, for its voluminous vaulted ceilings
- Taganskaya station, with its vivid blue murals.
Sao Bento Railway Station, Porto
Smack-bang in the historic centre of Porto, Sao Bento station was named after the Benedictine monastery it replaced in the 19th century. While there’s nothing too exciting about the facade, it’s the intricate azulejo ceramic tiles, a collage of rich blue and white, that delights visitors at Sao Bento. If the walls could talk they’d tell stories of wars, the Battle of Valdevez and the Conquest of Ceuta. They’d divulge royal secrets and they’d speak of beautiful Portuguese landscapes. See this magnificent station on our 8 Day Highlights of Portugal trip.
University of Naples Metro Station, Naples
Do yourself a favour and set aside at least a few hours to wrap your head around this ultra-modern metro station. Renovated by forward-thinking New York designer Karim Rashid, a hypnotic collection of colours, shapes, patterns, graphic art and symbols takes commuters on a journey through the Italian city’s multicultural and academic communities. From abstract portraits to digital art and patterned walls backlit with LED lights, moving through this psychedelic public space to your next destination is a real trip.
Keleti Train Station, Budapest
Budapest’s Keleti Palyaudvar, meaning ‘east station’, is one of the country’s largest. The building was constructed in 1884 at a time when trains were powered by steam, which is why you’ll notice the massive steel-framed glass windows above the platforms – a design that allowed the huge plumes of steam to escape. Aside from the lobby, decorated with a large wall painting by Hungarian painter Mor Than, it’s the sheer size of the main hall that’s most striking – 16,800 square metres in total. View the enormity of this structure on our 11 Day Berlin to Budapest trip.
Rossio Train Station, Lisbon
Nestled between Rossio and Restauradores squares, Rossia Train Station is the main hub for Lisbon’s passenger trains. It’s also where you need to be if you’re heading for the hills of Sintra by rail. The most interesting feature of the Neo-Manueline exterior is the two enormous horseshoe-shaped entryways. Unfortunately, you can no longer view the statue of Portugal Dom Sebastiao that once adorned the facade. In 2016, it was shattered by a young tourist who scaled the building to take a selfie with the figure.