Skip Navigation

University Towns

Travel Forums Europe University Towns

  • 1
  • 2
Last Post
1. Posted by vickim (Full Member 125 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Can anyone recommend some good university towns in Europe (including the UK).

I want to check out some European Universities and have no idea where to even start. Putting academics aside, I am looking to visit a few towns that are really geared towards university students and have a high population of young people. Schools with a high International studemt population would also be good to know.

I have travelled quite a bit throughout Europe and have visited some pretty fun and lively locations but now I looking specifically for university places.

2. Posted by hmorsi (Budding Member 10 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

You might want to check out Greifswald in Northern Germany. It has a population of about 55,000, about 10,000 of whom go to Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald. Its a quiet little town but worth seeing if you're specifically looking for university towns.

You might want to time your potential visit to catch the Greifswald International Student Festival, which is organized annualy (or every other year). The town is really lively during the festival. I've been there twice and had a great time.

3. Posted by ozman (Full Member 118 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

You probably already know about Oxford and Cambridge in Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire, England. Both of these towns practically ARE the universities. Huge young student population in both of them. I personally think Cambridge is the nicer town.

4. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Oxford and Cambridge, are obviously considered the ultimate university town because they are so famous and the towns have grown up around them.

In many cities students have come along later, and had a huge impact on the city, which has then developed around them. Sheffield and Manchester for example. I think this must be the best experience, as you've got all the convenience of a big student population, combined with the liveliness of a big city. Sheffield is a good example, the two huge universities play a massive part in the city's economy. There are about 40,000 students in the city. So there is a huge business in student rental accomodation, vast areas of student houses, loads of takeaways, bars, shops, nightlife and so on. Sheffield has before been voted as the best city in the UK for the whole "student experience". Although I'm biased about Sheffield- I had a great time studying here and since made it my home. I reckon Manchester would be awesome too, and I know loads of people who've loved it..

5. Posted by mim (Travel Guru 1276 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Cambride has a large student and international student population, the city is quiet, beautiful and highly academic. It's good points end there, there is very limited on things like music scene, night life and broader activities.

I really reccomend you look at other places in the UK like Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, these places have both a thriving student pop and lots of lively things going on where Cambridge is VERY limited, believe me I lived there for 7 years or so!!

good luck, and if you want any more info on Cambridge or Manchester please don't hesitate to send me a PM


6. Posted by BlankFrack (Respected Member 280 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Glasgow has three universities in the city center (and a couple around it) so there are loads of students here. Oxford is really nice too as a place but not so lively.

7. Posted by flo jo (Respected Member 414 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Montpellier in France (south west) is a very big university city (law and medical student everywhere).
Dont know the pourcentage of foreigner student.

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3290 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I've studied at Passau and Tuebingen in Germany.

Out of the two, Tuebingen has more history. It is also considered to be "the" university town in Germany, similar to Oxford in the UK. As such it considers itself very worldly, having hosted some of the most influential thinkers and Nobel price winners. Being an outsider however I found it very provincial as the university was geared toward locals from the Stuttgart conurbation. The whole town is practically nothing but the university and people living off it. I hated it there, because of 1) that provincial feeling within the student population 2) the anonymity of the mass university 3) the weather, especially the wind coming down from the Alb. (It makes you feel cranky, irritated and sleepness at night and tired during the day.)

Passau is a historically grown town with a very young and small university. Only 5 % of the students are original Lower Bavarians, the other 15 % are from all over Bavaria, another 50 % are Germans from all over the country and the rest 30 % are international students. The town is very much Bavarian, not much of a multi-cultural atmosphere. You can see women wearing the traditional dresses in the streets, a rare sight in Germany. Passau is also a much known tourist destination very popular with Japanese tourists and not too far from Munich.

Other university towns I know are Berlin and Magdeburg. I live in Magdeburg, and the university itself is very young too. But the Technical Academy, one of its predecessors, has a long history of being the best when it comes to Math, Computer Science, Engineering and the like. Cost of living is cheap, a lot of students have specifally moved here because it was easy for them to find a 3-bed-flat for them, their husband and their small child. Lots of international students too.

Berlin has three universities - 'nuff said. Check them out.
Leipzig and Dresden are also very hip.

9. Posted by myo (Budding Member 29 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Check out Leuven, which is only some 20 km from Brussels, the Belgian capital. After Oxford and la Sorbonne, it's the oldest European university, and a lot of this old buildings are still standing there. These are truly very beautiful, I stil find myself admiring them every now and then, even though I'm already living in this town for 5 years.
Although the town isn't really big, it's very lively and it hosts more or less the same number of students as "real inhabitants". There's a large international student population from all over the world too. There is a huge number of cool bars, restaurants, parcs and squares to go to, and there's always (from sunday evening until thuesday evening) a party going on somewhere in the city. Also, all big student associations (and there are quite a lot) have their own bars all over town, where beer is even cheaper than in regular bars (1 to 1,50 € for a beer), and they are open to everyone.

If you're planning on travelling here, try to come here in late Septembre-early Octobre (the weather is still nice most of the time and university year just started, so all the students are still partying and enjoying life) or April-May (when the weather gets nicer, and the students come out again, to sit in the parc, drink something on a the "Oude Markt", party at night). Oh yes, Leuven seems almost like a "dead" city in the weekends (most students go home in the weekends) and July-August (university holidays), so try to avoid these periods if you want to enjoy real student life. And avoid June too, which is exam period.

10. Posted by bentivogli (Travel Guru 2398 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

There's too many of those to mention, but here's my own shortlist:
- Leiden, Netherlands
- Padova, Italy
- Cologne, Germany
- Valencia, Spain
- Berlin, Germany
- Venice, Italy
- Louvain, Belgium
- Heidelberg, Germany
- Rome, Italy

Niels (Amsterdam)