When I was backpacking solo in Europe early this year, there was one thing that I realized: traveling across Europe is made so much easier using the railway system!
Of course, it can be expensive, too, but it’s cheaper sometimes than taking the plane, and definitely faster than taking the bus.
Except in a few cities, I did try to take pictures of the train stations in Europe that I passed through. Here are some of my favorites (or at least the memorable ones!).
I arrived in Bremen via carpooling, and the driver dropped me off at the railway station. My friend Elma had given me directions on where to go, telling me to take Tram 21 to her house just a few stops away.
Unfortunately, I didn’t remember that she said “tram,” and I went inside the station, desperately asking one person after another to direct me to the right ride. Unfortunately, most of them didn’t speak English.
I stayed on this spot for at least an hour, trying unsuccessfully to find someone who could understand me. The 6th person I asked finally told me that I was in the wrong place, and that the trains passing by here were for regional trips.
I had never felt so helpless before, but still, it was memorable because I realized how easier things could have been if only I spoke a bit of German.
I arrived in Copenhagen at 5 in the morning via Eurolines. The bus dropped me off at a bus stop (they didn’t have a bus terminal there), a little bit dazed from having woken up suddenly and afraid that I had slept through my stop and arrived all the way to Oslo.
When I got off, I realized that it was drizzling and I didn’t have an umbrella, and getting wet is definitely not fun at dawn (or any other time) on a winter month!
At 5 a.m., it was still very dark, and I didn’t know where to find the central railway station where my host in Copenhagen, Nis, was supposed to meet me. I just walked in the same direction the bus had taken, and I was very glad to see the station after a few minutes.
One reason why I liked this station was that there were so many restaurants open already around that time, not to mention it protected me from the cold. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy anything, not even coffee, because I didn’t realize the Danes use kroner and not euros and I didn’t bother changing my money.
As with most metro stations in Europe that I had visited, Vienna’s make it so much easier to go around and see the city’s sights.
This is where I got off when I went to see the Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a must-see for all visitors to Vienna.
The Roma Termini is the biggest station I’ve been to in my travels in Europe. It has almost 30 platforms and kilometers to walk from the first to the last platform.
From where I get the tickets, for example, to the platform where I usually take my ride to my Couchsurfing host’s place in Acqua Acetosa, I had to walk for more than 500 meters.
Once, I arrived an hour earlier than my scheduled trip, so I sat reading for a while, waiting for the announcement of which platform my train was going to be.
Unfortunately, I got so engrossed in my reading (as well as thinking about the fountains in Rome that I’d seen that day) that I only had 3 minutes to spare to catch my train!
I ran all the way to the platform but it was so far that I missed it. I had to take another train to a different station that had me walking the rest of the way to my host’s house, not really a fun thing to do at 10 p.m., especially since I didn’t have a map and had to rely on street signs to guide me.
Prague, Czech Republic
I loved the designs of the metro stations in Prague. Somehow it reminds me of Lego blocks. Most of the stations I’d seen there were of the same look, only differing in color.
One interesting thing about the Náměstí Míru station is that it has the longest escalator in the European Union at 87 meters. There are 533 steps, and if ever the electricity goes off, it would be a great way to work out!
While ordinary-looking, Athens’ metro stations are wonderful. There are artworks and sculptures everywhere, especially in the Acropolis station. It was also in Athens when I experienced being given a free ticket.
A lot of people buy tickets that are good for a day, and when they’re going home, they just give them out to people who are just about to buy one.
Coming from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Austria, I was really very surprised when I arrived in Budapest.
Their metro system looked really old and decrepit by comparison! There were railway employees as well who manually checked our tickets, something that I was definitely not used to in Europe. I remember thinking, “Is this a 3rd world country?”
After spending a day there, though, I managed to let go of my preconceived notions about what European countries should be and learned to appreciate the charms of this old city.
And finally, here are my favorites!
I only stayed a day in Dresden but I really loved the city.
I spent most of my day exploring the old town, and I remember thinking that if I were given a choice of where to live, I’d do so here.
Hamburg is one of the richest cities in Europe, and you can see that in their buildings and commercial structures. Their central station looks pretty cool (and busy), with a shopping center and other facilities inside.
I also loved it that they played classical music there, which I later learned was a strategy to drive away drug dealers and users from the area. Weird eh?
Antwerp Central is one of the most beautiful stations in the world, and it is my favorite. While the facade is already a beauty, it is even more wonderful inside. It has lavishly decorated interiors composed of 20 kinds of marble and stone, and its dome, arches, and glass materials have made it known as the “Railway Cathedral.”
Antwerp is also famous for its diamonds, and inside the station are around 30 diamond shops as well as a diamond gallery.
How about you? What’s your favorite train station?
- The Tale of Tonyo the Brave - June 14, 2022
- Things To Do in São Paulo, Brazil: Visit the Consolação Cemetery - October 31, 2021
- Solo Travel Tips: Brussels, Belgium - February 17, 2021
Oslo to Bergen railway is a good one. Think it is the highest railway in Europe / the world. Climb from Oslo into the Norweigan mountains as the steam mists up the windows…stop and tour at the very highest tiny train station at the top…take the choo-choo down the other side of the mountains to the green moo-moo cow & sheep filled pastures towards Bergen.
ay, ngayon ko lang nabasa ito! it’s tram 6 that goes to University, not 21. :-). i was not clear about my instructions too — i should have told you that the tram stop is outside of the station. 🙂 balik ka aleah!
Kind of surprised that nothing in Paris made the list, but I like what you have here. Germany has some great stations as well such a good system in general.
Rome was a lot bigger than I had expected. We were there for a few hours. Enough time to get a slice of pizza across the street and catch our train to the airport. Gotta go back to Rome.
Great post! I have come through the Namesti Meru station a few time recently. I was amazed at the length of the escalator, but had no idea it was the longest in the EU..thanks for that tidbit of info!
Amazing story! I love how you simply create your post and the europe trip is one of my goal too, I’ll keep you posted on mine as well. In the meantime, I’ll follow your stories! 🙂 Have a safe trip!
Your photos remind me of all the movies I’ve seen that are set in European train stations. Even though they are everyday places where people get from Points A to B, drama and romance are inherent in the background.
You’ve got a lovely collection. Train travel is made more beautiful when you arrive (or leave) from stations that look like these. I’ve not been through any of these but I like Dresden and Antwerp.
@ Mary: Wish I could have gone to Paris. I heard so much about their stations there too.
@ Eileen: Thanks 🙂
@ Wander Shugah: Let’s all invade Europe! hehe
Dreaming of my own eurotrip with your europosts! Inspiring ka tlga 😉
Love all the different stations and the fact you have been to all of them
Awesome post! We love taking the trains in Europe. That Copenhagen one is all too familiar now =) We hung out there a lot last month. The only other one I’ve been on here is Termini which didn’t impress me too much. Those German stations sure are nice. That Antwerp one is beautiful such a contrast to Brussels’ own. My fave so far that we’ve been on has to be Gare du Nord in Paris. It has a lot of character with great architecture.
@ Dick Jordan: I did that (the mad dash) when I was traveling by train from Herentals (Belgium) to Amsterdam. I had to change trains 3x, and I only had 10 minutes to get off the train, look for the right platform and run for it with my backpacks. In stations like Antwerp (huge!), I really had a hard time!
@ Lisa Goodmurphy: I agree 100%. They are so efficient too!
I love that you have a story about each one of the train stations! We had never traveled by train in Europe until our most recent trip when we took the train from Paris to Versailles, Disneyland and even to Geneva for a day. I was so impressed by the train system – so much easier to travel that way than dealing with airports and security etc.
Rome’s Termini station is where I departed on my first European train trip. Like you, I ended up rushing from one side of the station to the other in a mad dash to board the train headed to the next destination on my itinerary. Luckily, I was able to hop on just before the train started to roll!
@ Kymri: Thanks.
@ Jade: I second that 🙂
We take the train whenever we are in Europe- makes it so easy to travel and if you want something last minute, it’s totally fine!
What a great collection of themed photos!
@ Cathy: I wish I could have visited France too. I hear they also have nice railway stations there.
@ Debbie: Thanks! I agree about just going there and watching the trains and people come and go. When I was in Rome, I loved just sitting there and making up stories about the people there 🙂
Great pictures! I love traveling by train and European train stations can be very beautiful. Plus its just fun to watch all the trains come and go 🙂 I had the same reaction to Budapest’s metro. Its hard coming from German and Austrian rail/metro’s to Budapest’s run down system.
I’m a huge fan of Europe’s rail stations and loved this post. Antwerp is a favorite of mine as well — “The Railway Cathedral”! Your photo of Hamburg’s station brought back good memories, too.
@ Leigh: I know. I admit (shamefacedly) that I sounded like an American when I asked people there why they don’t speak English LOL I was so mortified later when I realized that!
@ Jackie Smith: I enjoyed writing it. Would definitely want to go back to Europe.
Nothing makes the travel bug in me come to life more than a train station. Love this post. It brought back memories of Athens and Rome.
You’ve had some great adventures – or shall I say misadventures at the train stations. This was a good read and once again awakens me to the fact that speaking several languages like most Europeans would be a such a benefit when traveling.
@ Razlan: They were fake? LOL Yeah, even the whole Acropolis is a fake now, but at least, the original ones are preserved.
@ Laurel: Very true!
Great list! I was surprised to see that I’d been to 6 of the ones you listed. I love train stations that have character.
Wow, great compilation! Many wouldn’t have give these stations a thought as they pass from place to place. From this list, I have been to Athens, Prague and Budapest. Of these three, my favorite is definite the Acropolis station in Athen… even if the stone sculptures were obviously fake 😀
@ Spencer: Good for you. 🙂 I wish I’d taken a pic of the station in Germany. It also looked cool and so big!
@ Mica: Go go go! Dream of your own Eurotrip na!
Thanks for this post. Na-excite na naman ako! 😀
Happy to say I have been to all of them except Bremen. They were all so cool.