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Top 5: Magnificent metro stations

From spectacular Soviet architecture to the antiquities of Greece, we've dug deep to find the most beautiful and bold subway stations

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Bockenheimer Warte station, Frankfurt. Image: Alamy

Bockenheimer Warte station, Frankfurt. Image: Alamy

01 Spectacle, Frankfurt
The city’s main transport artery has over 86 stations, most of which make a statement. The entrance to Bockenheimer Warte station appears to have a subway car crashing through the pavement, while others may look innocuous from the surface but are dazzlingly futuristic inside.

Syntagma station, Athens. Image: Alamy

Syntagma station, Athens. Image: Alamy

02 Antiquities, Athens
The construction of Syntagma station, under the Greek parliament, unearthed a motherload of ancient marvels: a Classic Era sculpture foundry, a sub-Mycenaean/Byzantine cemetery and a Roman baths complex to name a few. Many of these treasures are on display for commuters.

Stockholm. Image: Getty

Stockholm. Image: Getty

03 Caves, Stockholm
Often called the ‘longest art gallery in the world’, the Swedish capital’s 100-station network is a real beauty befitting one of the world’s design centres. The blue line’s stations celebrate the exposed bedrock with artfully placed lights, bold paint jobs and exquisite tiling. Don’t miss Solna Centrum’s magma-like red hues, the rainbow ceilings at Stadion and the blue frescos at T-Centralen.

Komsomolskaya, Moscow. Image: Alamy

Komsomolskaya, Moscow. Image: Alamy

04 Architecture, Moscow
Moscow may have only opened the first of its first metro stations in 1935 (London Underground had been open 73 years by then), but its network is now one of the busiest in the world. Komsomolskaya was built in the 1950s, a ballroom-like space, complete with gilded mosaics and chandeliers.

Toledo, Naples. Image: Alamy

Toledo, Naples. Image: Alamy

05 Art, Naples
Designed around the themes of light and water, Toledo station resembles an underground ice cave, with ‘Light Panels’ by Robert Wilson illuminating the station’s deepest corridor in an ethereal blue glow. This Naples hub is one of several Art Stations along metro lines 1 and 6, displaying more than 180 pieces of art, created by 90 international artists and local architects.

Published in the September 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)