Europe’s Oldest Metro systems

Which European cities have a metro/ subway system and when was the first line opened?

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Map of the metro/ subway systems in Europe.

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In 1863, the London Underground opened. It was the first metropolitan railway system in the world. Since then, many metro systems have been developed all around the world. The Budapest Metro, is the second oldest in the world. It opened 33 years after the London Underground opened. Shortly after the opening of the Budapest Metro, the Glasgow Subway opened. The circular line with 15 stations, has never been expanded since it opened.

We can see on this map, that most major European cities have a metro system. But we also see some unexpected smaller cities with a metro system. Lausanne, with a population just under 150,000, has a metro system with 2 lines and 28 stations. It is the smallest city in the world to have a metro system. On top of that, it’s also the only city in Switzerland with a metro system.

Now, there are several public transport systems that might appear like a metro system, but are not included in this map. A good example is the German U-Bahn you will find in a lot of major German cities. Despite these systems being partially underground, they are not considered to be a metropolitan railway system. These kinds of systems are light rail (similar to a tram) and are therefore not included in this map.


  1. The map has a mistake. Greece’s metro (subway) was built in the 90’s and opened in the beginning of 2000!

    “Line 1 opened as a *conventional* steam railway in 1869 and electrified in 1904. In 1991, Attiko Metro S.A. constructed and extended Lines 2 and 3”.
    “Athens Metro”, the company, began operation in 1869….BUT Athens didn’t have a subway until 2000. Line 1 is NOT a subway line. It is just connected to the metro lines.

    Today we have a metro line in Thessaloniki too!

    Greece has by far the newest and most modern metro system.


  2. Es interesante este metro, en Barcelona se considera que la línea de Barcelona a Sarria (ahora un barrio de Bcn pero antes un pueblo cercano) de 1864 es un metro aunque funcionara por arriba (calle), esta misma línea, vías etc se hizo subterráneo en 1924. Muchos historiadores lo consideran un tren metropolitano. ¿Como se podría averiguar esto?


  3. This map is wrong. The oldest underground transport system with a train was build in İstanbul in 1875. This could be found with the simplest question for this maps content in Google: “oldest metro system in the world”

    First result says it was build in 1875, named Tünel, in İstanbul.


    1. Hi Serhat,
      I didn’t include Tünel because it’s not a subway or metro but an underground funicular. It is indeed one of the oldest underground urban rail. Urban rail is an all-encompassing name for various types of urban/suburban local rail systems (E.g., metro, light rail, tram, funicular). This map only covers one type of urban rail: metro. That’s why Tünel is not included, as it’s not a metro.


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