Getting to and from destinations can be one of the most stressful aspects of traveling. But what if transportation was more than a means to an end? What if some of your transportation hubs were actually cool places to visit?
Two words: Train stations.
While trains aren’t as common as buses or cars in the United States, traveling by train is a normal part of daily life in much of the world. Because of this, there are some truly beautiful train stations out there. Here are three awe-inspiring train stations you should add to your “Must See List” next time you are in the area.
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1. Kanazawa Station – Ishikawa, Japan
A train station, mall, and cultural icon—Kanazawa Station has everything. You’ll find yourself in a large, well-organized building. It’s split between two sections: east and west, with a central space for trains to run between the two.
On the east side of the station, you’ll see the Motenashi Dome. The Dome, made of aluminum and glass, covers the east plaza while letting natural light shine in. When exiting the east side, you’ll see the Tsuzumi-mon Gate. Designed to reflect traditional Japanese drums and traditional shrine gates, it brings a mix of traditional and contemporary architecture to the station. It’s also a popular tourist photo stop.
Entering from the west side, you’ll see a wide open garden space for resting and meeting with others. There’s also a special monument created in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Kanazawa becoming a modern city. The name of the monument is Yuuyou which means eternal flight in English. It’s intended to symbolize the ideas of always looking forward and being innovative.
As you walk through the central area of Kanazawa Station, you’ll notice that you’re walking through 12 wooden gates that look like they belong in a Japanese shrine. Each of these 12 gates displays art from throughout Kaanazawa’s history. This art includes lacquerware, woodwork, and ceramics.
You’re literally walking through history as you locate your train.
2. Napoli Afragola, Naples Station – Casoria, Italy
Opened in 2017, the Napoli Afragola Station was designed to bridge different southern Italy communities. It was also designed to look like an actual bridge that arches over its railways.
The station has circulation routes so passengers don’t run into each other or have to go a long way to get to their train. In fact, many people end up taking paths that lead above the railways.
Napoli Afragola Station’s central area is the main hub. It’s designed for passengers descending onto different train platforms and to give people a place to rest. It’s shaped like the point of a trapezoid and is made of 200 differently shaped ribs and covered in Corian. The station uses modern technology to be eco-friendly and sustainable. Integrated solar panels adorn the roof, and expansive glass planes let natural light in.
This creates a light and airy atmosphere despite the people bustling around. You can rest and people-watch while enjoying the station’s different restaurants and cafes.
3. Antwerp Central Station – Antwerp, Belgium
On your approach to this historic station, you’d be forgiven for assuming you’re entering a gothic church instead of heading inside an old train station. Also known as the Middenstatie or Railway Cathedral by locals, the Antwerp Central Station is a wonder created by the hands of many different artists.
The stone station was built from 1899 to 1905 by Louis Delacenserie, who was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The dome is 246 feet high at its highest point. The reason for this height was to accommodate the smoke from steam-powered engines.
The station’s steel canopy was designed by Clément Van Bogaert somewhere between 1895 and 1899. The canopy is around 140 feet high and 610 feet long.
Antwerp Central Station opened its doors in 1905 and was officially deemed a protected monument in 1975. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t get some renovations. In 1986, the old train station was thoroughly fixed up, and between 2000 and 2009, two levels were made under the station for more traveling.
The station currently has three levels. The top is at street level and features a shopping center, restaurants, a variety of jewelry stores, and even a grocery store. The two underground levels are mostly for getting on and off trains.
There Are So Many Beautiful Train Stations to See!
These are only a few of the many different beautiful train stations around the world. If these stations have piqued your interest, you should consider creating a list of train stations you want to visit and develop vacations around the list.
After all, people commonly make lists of major landmarks or cities they want to see. Why not make a list of train stations?
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