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Amazing Subway Stations from Around the World (The Underground Scene)

Subways stations offer an opportunity for cities to show their personality, whether it’s laid-back, flashy, or utilitarian. Some of these stations are truly breathtaking, causing visitors stop in their tracks and admire the artistry on display. Below, we’ve shared seven of the most incredible metro stations on Earth, from opulent halls to psychedelic tunnels.

Moscow, Russia

Russia’s capital has one of the most ornate subway designs in the world, with romantic paintings, arched marble columns, and gorgeous chandeliers. It’s more fitting for a king’s ballroom than a public transportation system, but the traditional decor gives a stunning first impression. In particular, the Kievskaya station has beautiful frescoes with gold accents and detailed frames.

(Image by Popova Valeriya)

Shanghai, China

China’s economic hub has a clean, modern subway system that runs on time, but offers little in the way of personality. However, if you’re looking for an extraordinary subway train in Shanghai, try the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. Linking the main waterfront area to Pudong (Shanghai’s financial district), this underwater train travels across the Huangpu River with a dazzling light show inside the tunnel. It may not be the fastest or most practical train in Shanghai, but the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel is one of a kind.

(Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. Image by Katoosha)

Dubai, UAE

Crashing the world stage with projects like the Burj Khalifa and Palm Islands, Dubai isn’t afraid to show off its wealth. The city’s subway system is just as over-the-top, with gorgeous chandeliers that look like sea creatures, mood lighting like a luxury hotel, and other futuristic accents. Construction began on the subway lines in 2009, so they have the newest automated technology, which means the trains don’t have drivers. You can also buy a “Gold Class” ticket, which is a separate first class car with dedicated seats for each passenger.

(Image by Laborant)

New York, USA

On the whole, New York’s subway stations have seen better days, with decades of caked-on grime, furry creatures scurrying around, and unpredictable trains that pull into a station when they feel like it. New Yorkers wouldn’t have it any other way. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, like the magnificent Grand Central Terminal, or the new World Trade Center PATH station, which has a huge mezzanine that lets in plenty of light.

(Image by MISHELLA)

Paris, France

Just like the City of Light, the Paris Metro is all about romance and beauty, with stations that take your breath away. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic stop is Arts Et Métiers, which serves the industrial design museum of the same name. Inspired by Jules Verne, the station was redesigned in 1994 by a comic book artist named François Schuiten. Designed to look like a steampunk submarine, the station’s riveted copper interior and portholes are truly magical, no matter your age.

(Image by Mariontxa)

(Image by bellena)
(Image by HUANG Zheng)

London, England

Originally powered by steam, the London Underground (also known as “the Tube”) has come a long way since its inception in 1863. Today, London’s subway system has an astonishing 270 stations, with over a billion rides taken per year. It was the first underground railway in the world, and it’s still one of the largest, only trailing behind Beijing and Shanghai. Though the Tube isn’t an artistically dazzling subway, stations like Westminster and Canary Wharf have an imposing charm.

(Image by inigocia)

Stockholm, Sweden

All jokes about Ikea aside, Sweden is famous for its sleek and functional design, and that explains why Stockholm’s Tunnelbana metro system is unlike anywhere else on Earth. Instead of creating underground walls and hallways for pedestrian traffic, the Stockholm subway designers decided to leave the exposed bedrock as part of the design. Then, they commissioned artists to paint massive murals on the rock, giving them a pleasing and otherworldly look. Each station boasts a unique theme and color palette, and over 140 artists were involved in the massive undertaking.
To see more photos, check out The Underground Scene lightbox.

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Eduardo Silva

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