When it comes to getting around some of the biggest cities in the world, nothing may be more advantageous than a stellar knowledge of the city’s public transit system. Not only will it help save you valuable time, but as you’re going to see by our 15 examples below, public transit stations can be some of the most beautiful places in the entire country. We cover the globe to feature photos from Chile, Russia, Dubai, the United States, Italy, Spain and Canada, and that is still just the tip of the iceberg.
All of the 15 stations below carry with them a unique sense of charm, whether it’s using the natural landscape surrounding them, infusing artwork to help make a more welcoming environment, or in China’s case, implementing a visual show alongside a stereo system that will have you thinking you’re at a Pink Floyd concert.
Many of the buildings below won awards for their architecture and prove that even if you have one of the nicest cars in the world, you still wouldn’t mind making a stop at these transit stations.
15. Toledo Metro Station (Italy)
When you consider the transit station in Toledo, Naples is one of the many “Metro Art Stations,” you can imagine there was some pressure to create a beautiful looking station. There are several stations in Italy that are not only beautiful to enter (like the photo above), but also feature some beautiful architecture in the surrounding area.
The station also makes sure to feature signage that is clear and uncluttered, and great attention to detail is put into making sure the area always looks clean and that the artwork is protected. The Toledo station in particular was opened in 2012 and is also 50 meters underground.
14. Sokolniki (Moscow)
If you are able to scrounge together 32 rubles ($0.50USD) you would be able to experience the Sokolniki Moscow Metro line. The station has been in operation since 1935 and while it’s stunningly beautiful, it only took 5 months to complete the concrete shell of the station.
The inside was created by Ivan Taranov and Nadezhda Bykova and as you can see from the above photo, features pillars that are faced with grey-blue Ufaley marble. The station is named after Sokolinki Park which is located nearby. The park features a wide variety of wildlife, including 76 different types of birds. In the summertime, the outside of the station also has bright flowerbeds. It has also been dubbed the “Park of culture and leisure” since 1931, so you can imagine it’s probably a pretty relaxing place to hang out.
13. Rådhuset Metro Station (Sweden)
Below you’re going to see another beautiful station from Sweden, but we definitely need to introduce you to how beautiful their transit systems is with the Rådhuset metro station. Located in Kungsholmen, Stockholm, the station was opened on August 31st, 1975. The station looks absolutely breathtaking, but it definitely isn’t because of the artwork that they’ve inserted into the area. Sweden instead used the exposed bedrock in the surrounding area to help create a beautiful underground station.
You can’t honestly tell me Batman wouldn’t use this transit area for some pretty sneaky (and badass) spy stuff! And if he did, he’d probably also be pretty stoked to learn that the Police Headquarters are also located very close to the Rådhuset metro station. As well as this, the local City Hall is also located nearby and features the luxurious restaurant Stadshuskällaren.
12. Avtovo (Russia)
If you’re hanging out in Russia and not checking out the Sokolniki line, then perhaps you’re hanging out on the Avtovo which is part of the Saint Petersburg Metro. The Avtovo was designed by Yevgenii Levinson and has been in operation since November 15th, 1955.
You may love the finished look, but it’s far from the original vision of Levinson. He originally had aimed to use glass on all of the columns, but after a time constraint became evident, they elected to go for the white marble. The station is also known for the theme that is centered around the defense of Leningrad, as seen by various swords and shields that adorn the walls.
While it may look like you’re traveling in luxury, you’ll be able to take a single metro ride for 35 rubles (about $0.55USD). Located nearby is the Avtovo Circus, a well as the Museum of Anna Akhmatova and the Silver Age.
11. Beijing Railway (China)
The Beijing Railway is one of the most pivotal transit stations in China. It features 14 platforms and has been in operation since 1959. The predecessor station, better known as the Zhengyangmen Railway Station, was also located in this spot. It was built in 1901 and was in operation until the alteration in 1959.
The new station required over 2 million people to work on the project and cost 57.82 million yuan. If you want to take a trip on this railway it’s the far more affordable at 2 yuan ($0.30USD).
Located nearby is the Beijing Ancient Observatory, as well as the Ming City Wall Relics Park. The park is known for being the area with the best-preserved area of the Ming Dynasty city wall. While some areas of the park require admission, much of the park is free and open to the public at all times.
10. Westminster Underground Station (London)
London may stereotypically be known for the gloom and rain, but you have to admit the Westminster Underground Station definitely looks pretty sleek! The station was originally opened in 1868, but experienced a major overhaul in 1999. The design was a huge hit and won various awards, including the Royal Fine Art Commission Millennium naming it the Building of the Year in 2000. If you have access to an Oyster card you can travel for £2.40 (about $3USD), but if not a trip will cost you £4.90 ($6USD). There is definitely plenty to see in London and by taking the train, you’ll find yourself incredibly close to both Big Ben (who doesn’t love looking at clocks?) and the Westminster Bridge.
9. Astor Place (New York City)
If you’re trying to get yourself around the madhouse that can be New York City, knowledge of the city’s public transit system is definitely going to come in handy. Astor Place transit is a station that is located on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line. It has been in operation since 1904 and in 2015 saw over 5 million passengers take the train.
While this might not be the most aesthetically pleasing building on the inside in comparison to others on our list, the outside has a sense of elegance to it. Not to mention it is one of the original 28 subway stations in the city and you need to give it some respect for that! A trip on the subway will cost you $2.75, and it will take you close to McSorley’s Old Ale House, as well as Cooper Union New Academic Building!
8. Monroe CTA Station (Chicago)
The Monroe CTA Station may seem like it’s a simple design, but it is notable for also being part of the longest subway platform in the world. While the station was open in 1951, it was far from an easy process. The station originally began construction in 1939, but in 1941 the lack of materials due to the war caused the station to stop construction. You better hope commuters are happy with the overall layout of the Chicago transit system, as in 2015 over 2 million people rode this transit line.
The Monroe Station is also notable for the 13 various buses that you can also make connections with, making much of Chicago accessible from this point. Two of the more notable areas that you may want to check out are the Chicago Millennium Park, as well as the Cloud Gate (a famous sculpture). It costs $2.25 to ride the train.
7. Dupont Station (Toronto)
Adding a bit of diversity to our list, why not travel up north to Canada and check out the beautiful Dupont Station in Toronto. The station was opened in 1978 and different renovations, including three elevators, have been included over time to help make the station more accessible to people. The station was designed by Dunlop-Farrow Architects who had the intention of creating a cavernous feeling.
The artwork inside the station was constructed by James Sutherland who used pieces of glass to create flowers that were built into the station’s tiles. It will cost you $3.25CAD to ride the train and it will take you close to the Casa Loma, as well as the Spadina Museum.
6. Universidad De Chile (Chile)
While you may think you’ve stepped into a museum, we assure you that you are just looking at one of the most popular metro stations in Santiago, Chile. The underground station was constructed in 1977 and is of course, most famous for the mural which was completed by painter Mario Toral.
Toral had the inspiration to divide the platform into two areas, one part to signify the past of Chile (and was completed in 1996), and another section to signify the present Chile (which was completed in 1999).
The station is definitely notable around the world, with the BBC naming it one of the most beautiful stations in the world in 2014. The train will take you along the Paseo Ahumada (the primary shopping district) as well as La Moneda Palace.
5. Kungsträdgården (Sweden)
While we are going to take a moment to highlight the Kungsträdgården (try saying that 5 times fast), as you know by now, there is no shortage of amazing subway systems in Sweden. In fact, it is reported that over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm will feature a design (be it a mosaic, sculpture, engraving etc.). The Kungsträdgården utilizes the exposed rock face to help give it the feeling of being in a giant cave.
There are plenty of great things to see in Sweden, but both The Great Synagogue of Stockholm and fittingly Kungsträdgården Park are both located near this amazing transit station. You should also probably check out Abba: The Museum, because how do you go to Sweden and not spend some serious time loving Abba?
4. BurJuman (Dubai)
When it comes to creating a classy environment, why not decide to go with blue chandeliers? It clearly worked for the creators of the BurJuman station which opened in 2009 and is one of the most popular transit areas in Dubai. The station is located beneath the BurJuman shopping centre which is over 800,000 square feet and features 320 different stores/services.
You may also find it interesting to note that the station was originally called the Khalid Bin Al Waleed station, but needless to say, it quickly lost out to public opinion who referred to it as the BurJuman station.
3. Iidabashi (Tokyo)
While your first impression may be that you are looking at something straight out of a sci-fi movie, we assure you that you are in fact looking at the Iidabashi Station entrance located in Chiyoda, Tokyo. The station is accessible for 170 yen ($1.60USD) and is located near the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden, as well as the Tokyo Daijingu. The garden is one of the oldest and best-preserved parks in all of Tokyo and was originally created in 1629.
The station originally opened in 1928, but in 2000 the Ōedo Line was added. The design for the new line was done by Makoto Sei Watanabe. It is reported that the JR East Station sees roughly 90,000 passengers use this system daily.
2. Nuevos Ministerios (Spain)
If you’re traveling around in Madrid, Spain, one of the most convenient places you could go for transit is the Nuevos Ministerios. At least up until 2006, passengers would be able to check their flights for the Madrid airport, take a train to the airport and board their flight. It made traveling out of and into Madrid incredibly convenient and streamlined, but unfortunately, security concerns now require passengers to check-in again at the airport.
The station features several large pictures of Madrid throughout the underground station. Make sure you don’t get too rowdy though as a police station is also located underground.
1. The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (China)
We need to end our list with something unique, so what better way then to talk about The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel that is located in Shanghai, China? The transit system runs 646.7 meters and allows users to cross the river that connects the Bund and Lujiazui Areas of the Pudong District. It was the first cross-river pedestrian tunnel to be set up in China.
The train is clearly meant to be a visual spectacle and features a 360 degree view of the changing scenery. If that wasn’t enough, it also features a surround sound system to help really immerse the rider in their journey. Talk about a trippy way to unwind!
It costs roughly 50 yuan ($7.40USD) for a one-way trip and only takes 3-5 minutes to ride the train.