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Europe’s Best Train Stations for Food

Rail travel is a core part of the fabric of life for many Europeans. In 2022, trains in Europe had a performance of approximately 393 billion passenger-kilometres. While major cities like Paris and Frankfurt boast comprehensive metro systems and suburban networks designed to transport large numbers of commuters, more than 11,500km of high-speed rail has been constructed across the EU since the 1980s – making it easier than ever to travel across the continent.

For most European cities, its central station represents something of a hub for getting around. They are also famed for their architectural majesty, from the 19th-century grandeur of London’s St Pancras to the strikingly modern Santiago Calatrava-designed Liège-Guillemins. 

Whether you’re a busy commuter or a longer-distance intercity traveller, Europe’s great railway stations are known for their wide variety of food options, including lavish restaurants such as Le Train Bleu at Paris’s Gare du Lyon — establishments that remind us of the ‘golden age of rail travel’.

But in which cities can you find Europe’s finest cuisine? Radical Storage has analysed the dining options at Europe’s 100 most popular railway stations to find out. 

What we did

To work out which European city has the best dining options at its railway stations, we used Google data to analyse the variety, cost and average rating of restaurants and eateries at 100 of Europe’s most popular stations. 

With this information, we created a simple index rating which takes into account the quality of establishments and their value for money. 

Key findings

  • London is Europe’s best city for train station food, with an overall rating of 7.5 based on our index metric. 
  • Hamburg Hauptbahnhof is Europe’s best station for food, with an overall rating of 8.43 based on our index metric
  • German cities have seven of the 20 best stations in Europe for dining
  • Paris’ Gare Saint-Lazare has Europe’s priciest train station meals, with the average dining experience costing €41.42.
  • Zagreb’s Glavni Kolodvor is the cheapest major station for food, with a meal and drinks costing just €10.20.

London is Europe’s best city for food at train stations

Based on our index rating system, we found that London takes the crown as Europe’s best city for train station dining. Its rail hubs scored an average of 7.5 in our index rating, with a meal at one of the British capital’s major stations costing around €25.49. 

London has no less than 14 rail termini that serve destinations all across the UK (as well as Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels if you include the Eurostar platforms at St Pancras). Its variety gave London the edge over its European rivals, with 181 different food and drink options for passengers. 

Top 10 Best European Cities for Food at Train Stations

Berlin and Paris are also among Europe’s highest-rated cities for train station food. Paris’s six terminal stations each offer a distinct variety in terms of food quality, with a total of 160 establishments to choose from. However, Berlin’s dining options worked out cheaper overall — averaging €21.65 compared to Paris’s €25.58.

German Bahnhofs among best European stations for food

Serving as an entry point to Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg Hauptbahnhof handles around 550,000 passengers a day, making it the most-frequented station in the country. Our research shows that it is also Europe’s best train station for food. Its Wandelhalle (promenade hall) sits above the station’s platforms and has a wide range of dining options serving local and international cuisine. 

Top 20 Best European Train Stations for Food

Following a £1bn renovation completed in 2018, London Bridge has become one of the capital’s most desirable rail hubs. According to our research, it is Europe’s second-best station for food, with an average rating of 4.0 for its 34 on-site restaurants. 

London Bridge also boasts Europe’s tallest building, the Shard, on its footprint. So commuters facing a delayed service could find time to enjoy one of the tower’s bars and restaurants with incredible views of the capital’s skyline.

Seven German stations crack the top 20 for best station food. This includes Berlin’s popular Friedrichstraße station (rated 8.04 in our index) and Leipzig’s Hauptbahnhof (8.02), which underwent an extensive renovation in 2013 to become ranked by the Consumer Choice Center as the best station in Europe as of 2021. 

10 most expensive European stations for food 

While Paris’s Gare Saint-Lazare is arguably more famous for being the subject of Monet paintings than as a hub for Parisian commuters, it is also recognised — at least according to this research, as having Europe’s priciest train station food. 

It is home to a 10,000m2 shopping mall with 13 restaurants, including the Michelin-rated Brasserie Lazare. The average meal at Paris’ third-busiest station will cost you €41.42 on average, while a meal at the neighbouring Haussmann Saint-Lazare on the city’s RER network will cost €30.92. 

Stockholm’s Central station is Europe’s second-priciest railway hub, with an average meal costing €36.46. More than 60 million visitors pass through the Swedish capital’s busiest station each year, and its vast main hall is home to a wide range of shops, cafés and restaurants.

Despite London’s reputation as an expensive global city for tourists and residents, just one of its 14 terminals is among the priciest for dining. Located in the heart of the ‘Square Mile’ – the capital’s historic centre and primary financial district, Liverpool Street is the UK’s most expensive station for food. The average meal here will cost €33.02.

10 cheapest European stations for food 

Zagreb is often thought of as one of Europe’s most affordable cities for tourists, thanks to a lower cost of living compared to other EU states. With a meal and drinks costing just €10.20, Zagreb’s central station (Glavni Kolodvor) is by far the cheapest rail hub in Europe for food. 

Despite Venice’s reputation as an expensive city to visit due to its unique canal-lined streets, its main station Santa Lucia is also among the most affordable in Europe for a meal. Food and drinks here will cost just €16.38.

Interestingly, Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof appears among Europe’s cheapest major train stations for food, with the average meal costing €17.43. This appears to be great value for money, considering our analysis found it to be Europe’s best-rated for food according to Google data. 

Methodology

Using a seed list of 100 central European railway stations sourced from Listchallenges.com, we analysed Google Maps data to find all restaurants and eateries inside each station and its immediate vicinity, as well as the average ratings and number of reviews for each establishment. 

To create our ‘index rating’ we created a scale from 1-10 which takes into account the average price of food for each station, the average Google reviews rating for each establishment and the total number of establishments in each station. If a station had a large number of restaurants with good-value food that Google reviewers rate highly, it will score better in our ranking.

We then corroborated this with manual research of each station’s restaurants to find out the cost of an average meal, a beer, a coke and a coffee, adding up each cost to give us a total price for the average dining experience at each railway station.

By Giacomo Piva

Giacomo Piva, CMO and Co-founder at Radical Storage
Giacomo Piva has worked in the travel industry since 2008 across multiple niches including tourist transportation, luxury travel, and ecotourism. He now focuses on growing the global luggage network, Radical Storage, which is currently available in over 500 cities, in the likes of London, Paris, New York, and Rio de Janeiro.
Giacomo has a bachelor's degree in Communication Science and an in-depth experience across travel marketing, especially in improving a brand’s digital presence within the industry.