Traveling by train is one of the most relaxing and rewarding ways to see the world. The history of the world's railways is a long and fascinating one and has left a wealth of stunning architecture across the globe.
Here are just a few train stations that are worth traveling to.
1. Tanggula Mountain Railway Station, Tibet: The World's Highest Train Station
Located a staggering 16,627 feet (5,068 meters) above sea level, the Tanggula Mountain Railway Station in the Tibet Autonomous Zone is the highest train station in the world.
Although passengers are not permitted to board or alight at this station as of 2010, many routes on the China railway network still pass through here. It is not uncommon for trains to occasionally stop here to wait for other trains to pass, allowing passengers to take in their mountainous surroundings.
2. Atocha Station, Spain: An Oasis in Central Madrid
Originally built in 1851, Atocha Station was the first train station in Spain's capital city. Today, the station consists of two parts - one built in the 19th Century, the other built in the late 20th Century.
Though its stunning exterior has been a Madrid landmark for centuries, its recent addition of a tropical garden has become one of its best-known features.
3. Flinders Street Station, Australia: Australia's Oldest Train Station
Located at the intersection of Melbourne's Flinders and Swanston streets, Flinders Street Station's building has been a city landmark since 1909. However, the station itself dates back to 1854, making it the first city train station in Australian history.
With 110,000 passengers passing through the station each day, it is also the busiest train station in the Southern Hemisphere.
4. Grand Central Terminal, USA: New York City's Historic Landmark
Frequently referred to as Grand Central Station, this historic structure in Manhattan's Midtown is actually called Grand Central Terminal. It was officially opened in 1913 and boasts an incredible painted ceiling depicting constellations.
Architect firm, Reed & Stem, won a competition to design the now world-famous building in 1903. They worked in collaboration with fellow firm Warren & Wetmore to create the grand design we know today.
5. Luz Station, Brazil: Shipped From the UK to Sao Paulo
Erected in 1901, Sao Paulo's Luz Station was originally built in Glasgow, Scotland. From there it was disassembled, transported to Brazil, and reassembled into the building that still stands today.
Its classic Victorian design was created by English architect Henry Driver. Today, it is best known as the home of the Museum of the Portuguese Language.
6. Hua Hin Railway Station, Thailand: A Station Fit for Royalty
This beautifully colorful station building was erected by Thailand's Prince Purachatra Jayakara in 1926, though the station itself dates back as far as 1910. Its design merges traditional Thai aesthetics with Victorian architecture, making for a truly unique structure.
Though Hua Hin has been a popular seaside destination for decades, today its train station is a tourist attraction unto itself.
7. Milano Centrale, Italy: An Impressive Blend of Architectural Styles
The Milano Centrale station that we know today was designed in 1912 by Ulisse Stacchini. Stacchini's design was modeled after Union Station in Washington DC, USA and blends a variety of different styles, from Art Deco to Liberty.
It is Italy's second largest train station and serves as many as 120 million passengers each year.
8. Gare de Strasbourg, France: Where Past Meets Present
The original building for Gare de Strasbourg was designed by Johann Jacobsthal in 1883. Today you can still visit this structure, encased in a futuristic glass dome designed by Jean-Marie Railway Duthilleul and RFR in 2007.
Today, the station provides links to Paris, Berlin, and Vienna, among others.
9. Helsinki Central Station, Finland: A Gorgeous Example of Art Nouveau Architecture
Helsinki Central Station was designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1909, and construction was completed in 1919. The building is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, as well as a perfect example of Art Nouveau architecture.
The facade is crafted from Finnish granite and is notable for its green copper details.
10. Dunedin Station, New Zealand: The Gingerbread House of the South Island
Designed by George Troup in 1906, the quaint Flemish style of this station earned Troup the nickname "Gingerbread George". Upon its official opening, Dundein Station was renowned for its luxurious style.
The booking hall features a mosaic floor made of 750,000 porcelain tiles, and the roof was shingled with terracotta imported from Marseilles.
11. Kanazawa Station, Japan: The Gateway to the Temple City
Kanazawa Station is best known for its impressive red gate, or "torii". This design feature is a direct reference to Kanazawa's Buddhist history and the tradition of building torii at the entrance to temples.
This spiritual design is echoed throughout the station's interior too, with wooden pillars and beams creating gates throughout the central concourse.
12. Maputo Railway Station, Mozambique: Africa's Beaux-Arts Masterpiece
Since its construction in 1916, Maputo Railway Station has been wowing passengers with its beautiful architecture. It is notable for its copper dome, wrought iron latticework, and grand verandas.
Different features of the building were designed separately, with Mario Veiga, José Ferreira da Costa, and Alfredo Lisboa de Lima attributed to its creation.
13. Antwerp Central, Belgium: The Imposing Railway Cathedral
Antwerp's Central Station is often nicknamed "Spoorwegkathedraal" or "railway cathedral", thanks to its imposing architecture. The terminus buildings were designed by Louis Delacenserie, and construction was completed between 1895 and 1905.
The station suffered damage as a result of V-2 bombings in the second world war and was restored in 1986.
14. Estacao de Sao Bento, Portugal: A Gallery of Azulejo Tiles
Inaugurated in 1915, Porto's Estacao de Sao Bento is best known for its exquisite tile-lined walls. The stunning azulejo tiles are the work of artist Jorge Colaço, and depict a series of historical events.
The building itself was inspired by French architecture of the time and was designed by Marques da Silva.
15. St. Pancras, UK: Britain's Gateway to the Continent
Officially opened in 1868, London St. Pancras Station is known today as the home of the Eurostar line, connecting London to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
The station building was designed by Gothic architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, whose previous work consisted mainly of churches, cathedrals, and workhouses.
16. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Malaysia: Malaysia's Moorish Railway Hub
Designed by A.B. Hubbock in 1910, Kuala Lumpur Railway Station is an extravagant mix of Eastern and Western styles. Though the facade is influenced by Islamic design, the interior gives way to classical Victorian aesthetics.
The station was built by convicts and features a hotel and restaurant.
17. Istanbul Sirkeci, Turkey: Terminus of the Orient Express
Sirkeci station was completed in 1890, with construction overseen by architect August Jasmund. This impressive, Gothic structure was best known as the terminus for the famous Orient Express.
Today, the station houses a museum dedicated to the Orient Express and the history of Turkish rail. A delightful homage to the golden age of rail travel.
18. Liege-Guillemins, Belgium: A High-Speed Railway With Futuristic Design
Opened in 2009, the Liege-Guillemins station was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The structure is notable for its arched ceilings, made of white concrete, steel, and glass.
In addition to its cutting-edge design, the new building is also equipped to handle high-speed trains serving a number of destinations throughout Europe.
19. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, India: Mumbai's UNESCO-Certified Train Station
Formerly known as Victoria Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaj Maharaj is a breathtaking structure and relic of India's colonial past. Designed by F.W. Stevens in the lates 1800s, the building mixes traditional Indian design with Gothic Revival details.
The station was certified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
20. Southern Cross Railway, Australia: Melbourne's Ever-Evolving Station
Throughout its almost 150 year history, Melbourne's Southern Cross Railway has gone through a series of massive changes. Originally opened in 1859 under the name Spencer Street Station, it is today a modern metropolitan hub.
Its current design was created by Grimshaw Architects in 2002, and construction was completed in 2006. The modern building features a contemporary undulating roof, which has since become something of an urban landmark.
21. Haydarpasa Terminal, Turkey: Turkey's Largest Railway Station
Though currently closed for the foreseeable future, Haydarpasa Terminal is an unmissable feature of Istanbul's cityscape. Built in the year 1906 by German architects Otto Ritter and Helmut Conu, it remains the largest station in all of Turkey.
Its facade is clad with sandstone, and the interior features carved garlands and stained glass windows.