Picture-Perfect European Train Stations
Exploring Europe by train is exciting and inspiring yet many people are surprised that the rail experience begins right from the stations. Here are the top 7 mind-bogglingly beautiful European train stations that you don’t want to miss during your train trip in Europe!
If you’re traveling on train to Madrid or if the Spanish capital is on your rail bucket list, prepare to be amazed right from the minute you step off the car! Pretty from head to toe, Madrid’s Estación de Atocha Railway Station, also called Puerta de Atocha, is recognized by thousands for its immaculate beauty. Its interior is reminiscent of an indoor botanical garden and has an extensive plaza under a glass cupola, adorned with countless green plants, trees and ponds, making it look like a petite tropical jungle. The station’s central location is also a privilege as it is close to key tourist attractions and is easily linked to the rest of the city with two metro stations.
Amsterdam Central Station is not only a major transport hub of the Netherlands but is also a tourist attraction on its own. When arriving by train to Amsterdam from Paris or another European city the first thing that grabs attention is the breathtaking 1889 Neo-Renaissance building of the Central Station that is located right on the waterfront in appealing surroundings of many canals. Interestingly, the noteworthy station stands on three man-made islands in the heart of the capital and was designed by Pierre Cuypers, famous for his design of Amsterdam’s popular Rijksmuseum. The station is within a walking distance to main sights, making it a prominent place to begin touring the city.
When traveling Europe by train you are likely to see the charming Western railway station in Budapest, also known as Budapest-Nyugati that was built by the Eiffel Company in 1877. The iconic station is one of the three main stations in Hungary’s capital, welcoming guests of the city with its ornate exterior. Whereas if you’re traveling on train from Vienna to Budapest you are also in for a treat as you will arrive to the nearby sprawling Keleti Station, boasting a unique and striking resemblance. The building was erected in 1884 and is a noted historic monument of Budapest, adorned with beautiful frescoes on the inside and with statues of famous inventors and engineers James Watt and George Stephenson on the outside. Today it is the busiest transportation heart of Hungary.
The bustling cosmopolitan capital of France is lucky to be home to several stations that can be considered architectural landmarks. The fabulous icon of Paris, the Gare du Nord station, was completed in 1864 and is recognized today by its neoclassical style and a facade decorated with 23 marvelous statues. The engaging building has been a backdrop in numerous films including a feature in the 2004 movie “Ocean’s Twelve”. Another significant station in Paris is the lively Gare de Lyon that greets passengers traveling on train from Venice to Paris. The building’s antique clock on the rear tower is the centerpiece of the station and its notable attribute. Gare de Lyon’s chic Train Bleu restaurant located inside is also a popular tourist destination noted both for its close to royal design and delicious cuisine.
Porto boasts an extraordinary rail station, Sao Bento, that is often ranked one of the most beautiful stations in the world. Completed in 1916, it took more than 14 years to build and inside you can find over 20 thousand ceramic blue and white tiles painted by Jorge Colaco. The tiles cover a large part of the station’s walls and depict important moments in Portugal’s history. The eye-catching Azulejo tiles are an important hallmark symbol of Porto, decorating many buildings in the city. But make sure to not miss your train as you admire the beauty of the imposing and awe-inspiring Sao Bento Station! If you arrive to the city on a train from Lisbon to Porto to the Campanha Station, take a minute to enjoy it’s 1877 facade.
Is there a train station more astounding than the Belgian Antwerp Central station? Also referred to as Antwerpen-Centraal it is one of the most architecturally impressive train stations in Europe and the world. The building was erected in 1905 and is indeed eye-pleasing. It stands out with its design that mixes numerous styles including eclecticism and neo-Baroque. The spacious and picturesque Antwerp Central station has overcome multiple renovations and is made up of several levels and 14 tracks, weekly receiving hundreds of trains that connect Belgium to France, the Netherlands and other European countries and cities.
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Have you ever taken a rail journey in Europe? What were your highlights and lowlights?