If traveling makes us feel like we’re living in a movie set, going through these train stations is more than looking for conventional transport.
Often immortalized as symbols of magnificence, emotional reunions or melancholy goodbyes, the stations help to tell the cultural history of a community or country.
That’s why we’ve selected some of the world’s top must-stops! Which one would you like to land on?
1. World Trade Center Transportation Hub | New York, USA
As a result of the work of famous architect Santiago Calatrava, the New York station was recently completed and the highlight of the project is the elliptical structure of steel and glass measuring almost 75,000 square meters known as the Oculus. Structural steel ribs extend upward, like open wings. More than an architectural work of art, the station plays an essential role for city dwellers, as it connects trains, 11 subway lines, a ferry terminal and buildings. The World Trade Center Transportation Hub also houses a mall.
2. Antwerpen-Centraal | Antwerp, Belgium
Belgian architect Louis Delacenserie designed this 1905 masterpiece using an eclectic yet impressive combination of architectural styles. The extravagant building was damaged by bombs during World War II, though it remained structurally sound. But in the 1980s, the building was still in ruins. It was meticulously restored in 1986 and greatly expanded between 1998 and 2007.
3. Sirkeci Station | Istanbul, Turkey
Originally serving as the terminal for the famous Orient Express, Istanbul’s Sirkeci Station was built in 1890 by Prussian architect August Jasmund. It’s one of the best examples of 19th century blending of western and eastern styles – fitting, as Istanbul is the crossroads of Europe and Asia. No longer used as a station, it is now home to the Istanbul Railway Museum.
4. Atocha | Madrid, Spain
Although it has existed since 1851, in 1992, this one of the largest train stations in Spain gained a shopping center and an indoor garden, thus also serving as a greenhouse for plants. Its façade is an icon of 19th-century railway architecture and had, in the direction of the work, the participation of Alberto Palacio, a collaborator of the Eiffel Tower. The iron used for the roof was brought in from Belgium, while the bricks came from different parts of Spain.
5. Liege-Guillemins Station | Liege, Belgium
The structure designed by Calatrava is gigantic and can be seen from afar, due to its location. Completed in 2009, the Liege-Guillemins station replaced the 1958 structure that stood on the site, offering an ultra-modern, magnified view of the site. Without a defined façade, the new building serves to connect two neighborhoods that were previously divided by the train line.
6. Grand Central Terminal | New York, USA
The station was and is constantly the setting for films and television series, which makes it recognized by many people. Originally built in 1871, it was demolished in 1903 and completed ten years later, and is now also a New York tourist spot. There are more than 750,000 people moving between its 49 hectares, 44 platforms, and 67 iron rails on two different levels every day. It is the biggest train station in number of platforms. With marble stairs, it’s famous painting on the ceiling and the Tiffany clock on the 42nd St façade, it is, in addition to the train station, a mandatory stop to eat at one of the more than 30 dining options.
7. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus | Mumbai, India
To fuse the then-popular Victorian Gothic style with Indian influences, British architect FW Stevens worked with local artisans this 1888 season to create the elaborate structure seen today. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 for its inventive architectural aesthetic.
8. São Bento Station | Porto, Portugal
Built on the site of a former 16th-century monastery, the São Bento Train Station was designed by architect José Marques da Silva. Although the Beaux Arts building is a beautiful structure in itself, what is most striking are the 20,000 tin tiles that decorate its interior. The plastic artist Jorge Colaço completed the project between 1905 and 1916.
9. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opened in 1910, Kuala Lumpur train station is monumental. Its interior doesn’t draw much attention, but outside, with pavilions covered by domes, arches and many minarets, the station is a historic and beautiful building with architecture mixed between Eastern and Western styles. Since a modern station opened in the city, KL Sentral in 2001 has come to be known as the old station.