Komsomolskaya Station, Moscow: What La Scala in Milan is to opera, so Komsomolskaya Station in Moscow is to the subway. As in: as good as it gets. When you step into the rarefied, chandelier-strewn milieu of the station, you’ll feel more aristocrat than sleep-deprived commuter.
Photo courtesy of scaliger/iStock/Thinkstock
T-Centralen, Stockholm: Once you’re down in the belly of the beast, it’s easy to forget how far underground you are. Not at T-Centralen station in Stockholm. Between the rough, rocky walls and the Paleolithic-esque decorations, you’ll feel like you’re spelunking - in a very, very nice cave.
Photo courtesy of m2my/iStock/Thinkstock
Formosa Boulevard Station, Kaohsiung:
Formosa Boulevard Station in Kaohsiung, Taiwan would be any old subway stop if it weren’t for the poetically named “Dome of Light”
. The largest stained glass installation in the world, it took Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata
a whopping four years to complete the piece. Be grateful, commuters.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user pslee999
Arts et Metiers, Paris:
Subways and submarines - both experts at charting depths. It makes sense, then, that the Arts et Metiers station in Paris is decorated to look like the inside of an aquatic vessel. Taking a page out of Jules Verne’s
notebook, its portholes and copper interior will make your journey to work feel, for a moment, like a storybook adventure.
Photo courtesy of jimmymc81/iStock/Thinkstock
Toledo Station, Naples:
Imagine a nightclub set within a mosaic-tiled spa, and you have an approximate idea of what the Toledo metro station in Naples looks like. One of the city’s experimental “art stations,”
its shimmering tiles and light installations are the polar opposite of dank and dingy.
Photo courtesy of CAHKT/iStock/Thinkstock
BurJuman Center Station, Dubai: The connection between being underground and underwater was made in Paris’ Arts et Metiers metro stop, and Dubai follows the trend with its BurJuman Center station, which just happens to house giant, illuminated jellyfish sculptures.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user R Zwart
Staroměstská Station, Prague:
Each station on Prague’s A Line has a distinctive, Lego block-like look,
though, with its red and gold color scheme, Staroměstská Station may just be the prettiest.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ullis Andersson
The Bund Sightseeing Tunnel, Shanghai:
Okay, so it’s not technically a subway station. But the Lego Bund Sightseeing Tunnel,
which separates The Bund and Lujiazui under the Huangpu River in Shanghai, is its own must-see. If all subway journeys were accompanied by light shows of this calibre, we wouldn’t need coffee.
Photo courtesy of Xiangyang Zhang/iStock/Thinkstock
Candidplatz, Munich: It’s hard to be a grumpy commuter when the station you’re waiting in looks like a giant rainbow. It’s amazing the difference a coat of paint can make.
Photo courtesy of Manfred Steinbach/iStock/Thinkstock
City Hall Station, New York:
The City Hall station
in New York has to be our favorite shuttered subway stop. Untouched by the daily grime of millions of passengers, it’s a bizarre and well-preserved glimpse of the olden days when the subway was actually, dare we say, elegant. Though it’s not frequently open to visitors, see if you can catch a glance while riding on the 6 train.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Joe Behr