European Train Station Index

Published by: BouncePosted

European train stations are more than just ways of getting around. They’re architectural masterpieces, historical landmarks, and integral parts of the urban fabric that connect cities across Europe. 


These stations vary significantly in style, size, and atmosphere, reflecting the rich diversity of European culture and history. But which are the most favored by people traveling in Europe?


To find out, Bounce has analyzed Europe’s 30 busiest stations on factors such as passenger reviews, number of platforms, and social media popularity.

Europe’s most popular train stations

1. Zürich Hauptbahnhof, Switzerland - 7.76 out of 10

Zürich Hauptbahnhof tops the list with an overall score of 7.76, with a high review score, substantial Instagram and TikTok presence, and a remarkably short travel time to Zurich Airport

Often abbreviated as Zürich HB, it’s one of Switzerland's most important railway stations, with numerous domestic and international services passing through. Zürich HB serves as a crucial link in Switzerland's extensive rail network, offering direct connections to other major Swiss cities and regions and international destinations such as Germany, Italy, France, and Austria.

2. Gare du Nord, France - 7.59 out of 10

Gare du Nord in Paris, while being the busiest with 292.2 million annual passengers, ranks second with a 7.59 overall score. Its vast social media presence, particularly on Instagram, highlights its iconic status despite a lower review score, which could reflect the challenges of managing such a high traffic volume.

Its name, translated as "North Station," reflects its primary role as a hub for trains traveling to destinations in northern France, as well as international routes connecting Paris with major cities across Europe. It offers high-speed TGV services to destinations such as Brussels, London, and Amsterdam, making it a key link in the European rail network. Additionally, the station provides connections to Paris' extensive metro and RER commuter train systems, making it easy to get to other parts of the city. ​​

3. Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof, Germany - 7.30 out of 10

Frankfurt Main Station comes in third, scoring 7.30 out of 10 overall. It stands out for its blend of high passenger volume, relatively good review scores, and a moderate distance from the airport, showcasing the German transport network's efficiency and positive passenger experience.

Situated in the heart of Frankfurt, the country's financial capital, this transportation behemoth is a vital link connecting local, regional, and international train services.

Which station is the busiest?

Gare du Nord - 292.2 million annual passengers

Gare du Nord in Paris, France, is the busiest train station in Europe. It is a hub for domestic and international train services, including connections to London via the Eurostar service. It handles just under 300 million passengers a year, making it the busiest station on the continent.

Which station has the most platforms?

Gare du Nord, Roma Termini & München Hauptbahnhof - 32 platforms

Three stations across the continent each have 32 mainline platforms: Gare du Nord, Roma Termini & München Hauptbahnhof. As mentioned, Gare du Nord is the continent’s busiest station, but Roma Termini and München Hauptbahnhof are among the biggest and most important in their respective countries.

Which station is the best reviewed?

Amsterdam Centraal - 4.5 out of 5

The station with the highest average review score on Google is Amsterdam Centraal, with 4.5 out of 5. The station's strategic location in the heart of Amsterdam makes it a bustling hub of activity for commuters and tourists alike. Its architecture is a remarkable blend of different styles, with its grand façade featuring a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and modern elements.

Which station is the most popular on social media?

Liverpool Street - 194,892 Instagram posts/4,599 TikTok posts

Liverpool Street Station is one of London's busiest and most iconic railway stations. It’s also the most popular on social media, with just under 200,000 posts on Instagram and 4,599 on TikTok. Located in the heart of the City of London, it is a central transportation hub connecting the capital to destinations both within the city and across the United Kingdom. One of the distinctive features of Liverpool Street Station is its grand Victorian architecture, characterized by its ornate ironwork, towering glass ceilings, and intricate brickwork.

Which station is closest to the airport?

Zürich Hauptbahnhof - 9 minutes away

Zurich Airport is just 10 kilometers north of the city center, where its main train station is located. This means it's straightforward to get to, with a journey time of just nine minutes on the IC5 train and other available options. For example, the S-Bahn, specifically the S2 and S16 lines, offers a connection to the airport, or there are trams and buses too.

If you’re planning to pass through some of Europe’s best train stations on an Interrailing adventure, here are some tips from Cody Candee, CEO and Founder of Bounce:

“Interrailing through Europe offers a fun and flexible way to explore the continent, allowing travelers to experience the rich diversity of cultures, languages, and landscapes. When planning your Interrail journey, it's essential to think strategically to make the most of your adventure:

  • Research and Planning: Research the countries and cities you're interested in visiting. Europe's rail network is extensive, but some routes may require reservations or offer limited services. Use the Interrail timetable to check train times and plan your route accordingly. Consider the Eurail Pass for non-European residents, which offers similar benefits.
  • Flexibility: One of the most significant advantages of interrailing is its flexibility. While having a general route in mind is important, be open to changing your plans. You might discover a hidden gem or receive recommendations from fellow travelers you want to take advantage of.
  • Accommodation: Book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or in popular destinations. Hostels are an excellent option for budget travelers and can be a fantastic way to meet other travelers. However, budget hotels or Airbnb are preferable for those seeking more privacy. 
  • Refunds: Consider the flexibility of your bookings. Many hotels and hostels provide free cancellation up to a certain date before your arrival, which can be invaluable if your plans change. It's wise to book accommodation through platforms that allow for easy changes and refunds. Some services may offer 'pay at the property' accommodation options, which are typically more flexible if your plans change. However, remember that these flexible options might come at a slightly higher cost than non-refundable bookings, which are usually cheaper but riskier if your plans change.

“By following these tips and planning carefully, you can ensure your interrailing trip through Europe is both memorable and rewarding. Whether you're exploring the historic streets of Rome, the vibrant markets of Istanbul, or the picturesque landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, interrailing is a unique way to experience the best of Europe.”

Methodology

We analyzed the 30 busiest train stations in Europe on the following factors, giving each a normalized score out of 10 for each factor before taking an average of these.

Annual passengers & number of platforms (tracks)

Both were sourced from Wikipedia’s list of busiest railway stations in Europe. Note that only data from national networks is shown. The London stations only include figures on the National Rail network, not journeys on the London Underground network. The Paris stations include all journeys on the SNCF mainline network and RER but not the Paris Métro. The number of platforms generally includes only mainline trains; for Paris, that includes Transilien and RER but excludes Métro.

Review score

The average review score left by passengers on Google Maps.

Instagram posts

The number of Instagram posts that mention the station using hashtags as of February 6th, 2024.

TikTok posts

The number of TikTok posts that mention the station using hashtags as of February 6th, 2024.

Time to the airport

The number of minutes it takes to travel from the train station to the city’s main airport, according to Google Maps. For Utrecht, which doesn’t have an airport, we used Amsterdam Schiphol. Bern has no direct trains to the airport, so the figure includes a bus connection.

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