The World's Longest Art Gallery Is In An Unexpected Location

If you're an art lover and spend your vacation days exploring art museums, taking in each individual piece and analyzing the details, Stockholm, Sweden, one of the cleanest cities in the world, might just be a stop on your bucket list. The city has plenty of art museums that feature all sorts of mediums ranging from sculptures to paintings to immersive exhibits to photography and more. However, it also features a particularly unique museum in a surprising location. No, it's not any singular building with a unique design, and it's not an outdoor venue either. Instead, it's tucked away in the city's metro system. People walk through it as tourists and scurry by as commuters. Its location within the city's subway system makes the pieces it features accessible to all.

The subway features over 90 stations decorated with art. There are no photos hanging on the walls, but rather entire walls brought to life with murals, tile work, sculptures, and more. "I had been intrigued by Stockholm's subway art, so I was super excited to check it out for myself — and it definitely did not disappoint," blogger Caroline wrote for the blog Pictures & Words. "Obviously, I did not have enough time to check out all 90 stations in the system, but the ones I did stop at did have some truly unique, spectacular works."

Exploring Tunnelbana

The subway art sprawls out over 68 miles, making it the longest art museum in the world. Beginning in 1957, it's provided a home for the work of multiple artists, who often find solace in creating art. These masterpieces decorate walls, platforms, escalators, and subway entrances. The whole thing is known as the Tunnelbana — t-bana for short — Swedish for "tunnel railway." Since it's all underground, the installation makes for a great option on rainy or snowy days and to escape from the elements. It also makes venturing out on public transportation fun in a unique way, as each stop reveals something new.

The 90 subway stations in Stockholm feature 150 different artists' work. You'll see rainbows, patterns, colors, sculptures, and more as you explore each unique stop. Some popular ones include the Sona Centrum Station, Kungsträdgården Station, Universitetet, Odenplan (Stockholm Public Library), and Solna Centrum. "[Stockholm's Tunnelbana] has some of the most beautifully decorated subway stations anywhere," a reviewer on TripAdvisor wrote. "Each station is like a different art exhibit."

When to visit

Those wanting to see and hear the story behind the Tunnelbana displays, as well as the history behind the project, can take a guided tour. If you're looking for one in English, be sure to visit in the summer since that's when tours are offered in English. You can visit year-round, but be sure you plan to visit when the tours are offered in your language.

Since Tunnelbana is a functioning subway station, it can get crowded, especially during rush hour. Stockholm, one of the friendliest cities in the world, is still a busy one. Keep this in mind if you plan to visit. Midday or late at night is the best time to go if you plan to visit during the week. Weekends are usually less busy, making any time of day suitable.

To visit, you only need to purchase a subway ticket. Discounted rates are available for children, students, and the elderly. You can also buy a day pass, a three-day pass, a weekly pass, or a month-long pass depending on the length of your stay.