The efficiency, convenience and comfort of public transportation throughout the world can often vary, or be somewhat questionable, however, we have proof that it’s sometimes worth it to forego a cab and head underground to check out the subway scene. Check out our list of the top 10 most beautiful and captivating subway stations from all over the globe!
1) Stockholm, Sweden’s Tunnelbana: Admit it, you often can forget that you’re even underground, thanks to the integration of contemporary design at most subway stations. The designers of Stockholm’s ethereal Tunnelbana station realized that and wanted to do something completely different. This subway station takes its aesthetic cues from ancient cave paintings and the naturally enticing patterns of underground caverns.
2) Munich, Germany’s U-Bahn: Think Munich has a reputation for stark design and a grey color scheme? Think again. Munich’s suburban and subway systems are known for impeccable design and clean, pleasant stations. Many of the U-Bahn stations feature a veritable kaleidoscope of different art work and bright colors.
3) Shanghai, China’s Shanghai Bund Sightseeing Tunnel: Travelers going between Shanghai’s East Nanjin Road and Pudong are treated to a spectacular display of flashing lights as they glide in a glass capsule underneath the Huangpu River. For the entire 647 meters of the trip, a rainbow of strobing light delights and enchants, changing consistently as the train moves through.
4) Moscow, Russia’s Komsomolskaya Station: It’s important to remember that modern doesn’t always equal better. The Komsomolskaya Station in Moscow proves this point beautifully with its classic décor and theme of Russian history. The entire station – often described as a symbol of Moscow itself – is meant to be a tribute to the rich history of the country, as well as a beacon of inspiration for brighter future.
5) Frankfurt, Germany’s Bockenheimer Warte Station: Talk about an optical illusion! Frankfurt’s cheekiest station – the Bockenheimer Warte – is built to look a train had gone rogue and burst forth from underground. The surrealist design is incredibly realistic, and even features an accurate pileup of shattered sidewalk around the base of the station.
6) Basque County, Spain’s Metro Bilbao: Nothing is a better example of sleek, sexy design than Bilbao’s minimalist subway stations. While Bilbao may be a tiny town tucked away in the Basque region of Spain, its subway design is one to rival some of the biggest metropolises in the world. Complete with glass domed entrance portals and plenty of clean, open spaces, you may not ever want to head up to street level.
7) New York City’ City Hall Station: Sadly, this beautiful example of timeless subway station design has not been in use as a functioning MTA stop since 1945. However, the City Hall station in NYC is indeed open for visitor’s to stop by and fantasize about a time when New York’s underground was actually a desirable place to be. Gorgeous curved windows and geometric tile-work complete the look of this bygone beauty.
8) Chicago’s O’Hare Station: O’Hare International Airport – with its famous Tunnel of Lights – may get all the credit as the most futuristic transportation hub in the windy city, but we think that O’Hare Station could give it a run for its money. Built to service the airport, the O’Hare station is adorned with curved glass-block sidewalks, eye-catching mosaicked walls, and plenty of inspiring art.
9) Dubai, UAE’s Metro Stations: Among the modern jet-set of the 21st century, Dubai has accrued a reputation synonymous with luxurious, futuristic design and amenities. The city’s over-the-top metro stations are no exception. One of the most notable is the station at the Dubai Mall of the Emirates. Resembling a UFO from above, and topped with a shimmering golden roof, this metro station offers a level of opulence worthy of its country’s elite status.
10) North Korea’s Pyongyang Metro: While many details of this intriguing metro system remain shrouded in mystery, there’s no denying that North Korea has style. Rumor has it that the Pyongyang Metro was created to connect secret military facilities, and that the system even features clandestine government-only subway lines. Whether or not the stories are true, we love the classic look of the system’s artwork, coupled with the modernity of bold light fixtures.