You’ve made up your mind to study in Europe, but you’re not sure where to go. Find out which European cities will be the top options to study abroad in 2023.
By far, many students choose Europe as their study abroad destination. Considering all the amazing possibilities, choosing a country, let alone a location, to live in and attend school in can be a daunting task. The variety is staggering, with each country offering its own culture and allure.
This is a lot to take in and process. We have produced a list of the top ten European cities to study in during 2023 to help with your decision-making. Here you will find a collection of Europe’s most visited and highly regarded tourist destinations. Even though this isn’t an exhaustive list of European study abroad locations, it’s an excellent place to start looking for the appropriate spot for you to go.
London, England: excellent for the most prestigious universities
Half of all international students from the United States choose to study in the United Kingdom, making it one of Europe’s most popular study abroad destinations. Besides being home to 13% of the UK’s population, London also attracts a sizable number of international students from all across Europe.
London, the continent’s most populous metropolis, also boasts the continent’s greatest concentration of different ethnic groups. In this enormous city, you can do or eat anything your heart desires. No one person could possibly experience all that London has to offer; each borough has its own distinct character.
Those interested in furthering their education can find a bevy of top-tier institutions offering a fantastic selection of courses taught entirely in English.
London’s diverse population makes it a fantastic location for exchange students from all over the world to make new friends. London is never going to tire you because to its amazing array of restaurants, bars, clubs, and pubs, as well as its beautiful parks and world-renowned museums.
Even outside of these top cities, the United Kingdom has much to offer, so explore all of your study abroad possibilities with our comprehensive guide to the country’s finest urban centers.
- Best Universities: Imperial College London (6), University of London (355th), SOAS University of London (443rd)
- Average cost per semester: 25,098£ ($28,750)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 2,289€ ($2,620)
Barcelona, Spain: The best way to fully experience another culture
It’s easy to appreciate the allure of Barcelona’s laid-back, effortlessly cool way of life if you’re the type of person who believes in “positive vibes,” of which there are many.
The Catalans call this coastal city their capital, so it’s a little bit different from the rest of Spain. There is a significant cultural and linguistic divergence between the Spain most people imagine and the reality. As a meeting point of Spanish and Catalan traditions, it provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in two distinct cultures.
Barcelona’s tree-lined boulevards are home to countless galleries, cafes, and museums. In addition to being a major destination for students from around the world, Barcelona is also known as a culinary mecca in Spain.
In your free time, you can take in the sights of Las Ramblas, the Mediterranean Sea, or Parque Güell, a masterpiece by the renowned architect Antoni Gaud.
Barcelona is one of the most well-known study abroad locations, and for good reason: it’s a wonderfully invigorating place to spend a year or more away from home.
- Best Universities: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (178th), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya BarcelonaTech (UPC) (343rd)
- Average cost per semester: 3,677€ ($3,672)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1,546€ ($1,544)
Madrid, Spain: Perfect for language learning
In Europe, studying in Spain is highly recommended, especially among American students. The majority of them travel to Madrid, the enormous and busy capital. This has resulted in a lively international community, so you won’t feel lonely there.
You may expect to find a diverse population and a wide range of entertainment options in a city of size. Language exchanges are very common in Madrid because of the enormous number of foreign students, English teachers, au pairs, and professionals living there. These meetings, known as intercambios, take place for no cost in public places like pubs and cafes. Even in Madrid, where the English-speaking population is far larger than in the rest of Europe, you’ll have plenty of chances to practice your Spanish.
Large cities like Madrid provide a plethora of activities to partake in when one is not studying. Try a traditional Spanish siesta in Madrid’s largest park, Parque del Retiro, or visit one of the city’s many world-class museums or restaurants to fully immerse yourself in Spanish culture.
If you’re looking to further your education, Madrid is a great option because it’s home to some of the best schools in the country and numerous established study abroad programs. No need to worry if your Spanish skills aren’t perfect; classes are available for learners of all proficiency levels.
Check out our recommended study abroad destinations in Spain if you’re still undecided about where to spend your semester abroad.
- Best Universities: Complutense University of Madrid (226th), Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M (320)
- Average cost per semester: 3,677€ ($3,672)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1,500€ ($1,498)
Amsterdam, Netherlands: Superb for getting around
You can win the heart of almost anyone with just a short stroll down one of Amsterdam’s shady canals. Even if your only knowledge of this city comes from cliches about its infamous red-light district and wild nightlife, you’re missing out on a lot. The inhabitants of Amsterdam, like those of the rest of the Netherlands, take life easy. The city is not too big, so you can get around on foot or, if you really want to blend in, on a bike. Moreover, the rest of Europe is just outside your doorstep thanks to the airport’s status as a major international hub.
As an international student, you will love going out in this city because of the rich musical culture. If partying isn’t your thing, you may spend your time at one of the city’s many charming cafes, fascinating museums, or lovely parks like the green Vondelpark. To get a feel for the city’s history and architecture, take a stroll around the canals.
Many students from all over Europe and the rest of the globe flock to the Netherlands, and hence to Amsterdam, because of the country’s welcoming culture. Despite the fact that Dutch is the official language, you won’t have any trouble communicating because practically everyone also speaks English. If you want to study at a top university where you can take classes in English, this is great news because the classes given at the best institutions cover a wide range of topics that can be useful to you.
- Best Universities: University of Amsterdam (58th), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (214th)
- Average cost per semester: 6,000 – 15,000€ ($5,989-14,972)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 2,494€ ($2,491)
Galway, Ireland: excellent for capturing the spirit of a small city
Ireland is best represented by mental pictures of lush green countryside, dramatic rock faces, and friendly locals. While Dublin is the center of Irish culture, Galway is a popular destination for students from all over the world. It is widely recognized as a bohemian city with a vibrant and varied arts and music scene. Galway is a fantastic option for anyone hoping to study abroad because it is only two hours away from Dublin.
With fewer than eighty thousand people living there, the city is manageable on foot or two wheels. If you’re looking for a city where you won’t get lost in a sea of people, go no further than Galway. It’s easy to find something to do in Galway, as the city is home to a wide variety of exciting nightlife options. Becoming a regular at a bar or cafe is like second nature here.
Galway places you within striking distance of the stunning Irish countryside, a must-see for nature lovers. The Aran Islands, Croagh Patrick, and the rest of the Wild Atlantic Way are right outside your doorstep, as is Connemara National Park. After a busy week of studying, what could be more refreshing than a trek through the hills?
If you want to study English while also having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure abroad, Ireland is the best place in the world for you to do it. The National University of Ireland Galway welcomes students whose first language is neither Irish or another Romance language.
- Best Universities: National University of Ireland Galway (270th)
- Average cost of tuition for a semester (direct enrollment): 7,511-17,025€ ($7,500-17,000)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1,898€ ($1,896)
Prague, Czech Republic: This is a fantastic place for low cost living
You will be enchanted by the city of a hundred spires and orange-tiled roofs. Winter in Prague, when snow blankets the city, makes it seem like something out of a Disney movie. Praha is exciting; it’s a wonderful city to work, live, and study.
Univerzita Karlova, located in Prague, is both the oldest and one of the top universities in all of Central Europe. Since most residents of the capital city can converse in English, a wide variety of courses and majors are available to international students.
Aside from its excellent universities, Prague also boasts an active music and nightlife scene. Many of the best spots to go out and enjoy Czech culture are tucked away, either beneath the city or in more distant suburbs like ikov. The low cost of living in Prague is a major draw for students. There is no shortage of affordable options for students in need of food, lodging, and entertainment.
As a prime example of central European beauty, Prague’s sights are sure to impress. The food is unexpectedly tasty, and the beer is excellent; after all, the Czech Republic is where pilsner was first brewed.
- Best Universities: Univerzita Karlova (255), University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague (358th), Czech Technical University in Prague (378th)
- Average cost per semester: 108,000Kč ($4,436)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 33,626Kč ($1,379)
Paris, France: Perfect for those who want to experience city life
It is nearly impossible to sum up Paris in a few words, despite the fact that thousands of writers have tried to do so. I’ll admit it took me a few visits to Paris before I could really appreciate the allure of the City of Lights, but despite its reputation as a city beset by expectations and false realities, Paris is truly enchanting.
Paris is a massive city that can be both intimidating and exciting. Students and tourists from all over the world flock to the picturesque streets. Expats and international students from all across Europe and the world call the French metropolis of Paris home. It’s a great place to study abroad because you’ll have no trouble making friends.
Paris is overflowing with magical treasures, delicious treats, historical significance, and rare artworks. You can’t possibly run out of options for things to do in your free time.
Paris is a beautiful and academically enriching place to study, which is why it is one of the most popular study-abroad destinations in Europe. Many reputable institutions and organizations offer courses to international students in Paris.
If you’re not convinced about studying in Paris, you should look at the other great options in France.
- Best Universities: Em Normandie Business School (72nd), Institut Polytechnique de Paris (48th)
- Average cost per semester: 15,428€ ($15,407)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1,901€ ($1,899)
Florence, Italy: Excellent for the development of a strong artistic community.
Many international students dream of studying in Italy, picturing themselves in one of the country’s two most popular cities, the ancient and glamorous Rome or the modern and chic Milan. Florence, however, tops them both as Italy’s most desirable metropolis in which to take advantage of an exchange program. Despite its modest population (just over 382,000 people), Florence more than makes up for it in its abundance of art, architecture, and history.
If you visit the city known as the “art capital of Italy,” you will encounter many examples of the country’s most impressive works of visual art. Florence is home to many world-famous attractions, such as the Duomo and the Basilica of San Lorenzo, all of which are guaranteed to dazzle and impress. Several universities may be found in Florence, making it a major center for higher education. There is a big student population in the city, so it’s a great spot to connect with people from all over the world.
Florence is located in the heart of Tuscany, not far from the other major Italian towns of Bologna, Milan, Rome, and Naples. If you ever decide you want to leave Florence, you may take use of Italy’s excellent train network and the country’s compact size to visit dozens of other cities in a single weekend.
If you’re interested in Italy but not sure about Florence, here are some more great study abroad destinations in the country.
- Best Universities: University of Florence (460th)
- Average cost per semester: 1,463€ ($1,462)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1,4750€ ($1,474)
Berlin, Germany: excellent For International Students
Berlin is crucial to the region as the center of Europe’s largest economy. The city has a rich history, and there are numerous museums and other resources available for learning about Germany and Europe.
Berlin’s history has fashioned it into the one-of-a-kind, totally hip city that it is today. Berlin’s rich cultural variety and plenty of exciting tourist attractions make it an excellent choice for international students.
Over 3.5 million people make this city a little too big to explore on foot. However, the city’s excellent public transit system makes it easy to go around and see everything that it has to offer. Many of Germany’s best universities, which rank among the best in Europe and the world, are located in Berlin, the country’s capital. Additionally, the German educational system is widely regarded as among the world’s best and most cost-effective.
While the cost of living in Berlin may be higher than in other European capitals, there are still many ways to see and do everything the city has to offer without breaking the bank. Currywurst, a combination of German sausage and creamy South Asian curry sauce, is a delightful and inexpensive snack option.
You’ll never be bored in Berlin, whether your interests lie in the city’s vibrant nightlife, fascinating museums, or cozy cafes.
Be sure to check out all of Germany’s other fantastic study abroad cities in addition to Berlin.
- Best Universities: Freie Universitäet Berlin (118th), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (131st), Technische Universität Berlin (158th)
- Average cost per semester: 3,960€ ($3,958)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1,829€ ($1,829)
Lisbon, Portugal: Excellent for a higher standard of living
Portugal is one of the smallest European countries, yet its capital city, Lisbon, packs a lot of personality. With only 500,000 people calling it home, Lisbon is manageable on foot but offers a wealth of attractions for visitors of all interests.
Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, is a popular destination for European students looking to study abroad due to the city’s mild climate and laid-back atmosphere. It has a low cost of living without sacrificing quality of life. In Lisbon, you can get more for your money due to the abundance of high-quality restaurants, comfortable hotels, and efficient public transportation.
Lisboa’s tree-lined, cobblestone roads will take you back in time to Portugal’s illustrious past. From the brilliant candy-colored tiled facades of the city’s central buildings to the colorful street art that can be found on almost every street corner, this riverside city is bursting at the seams with art.
The fragrant aroma of freshly baked pastéis de nata (custard tarts) and the booming sound of traditional Portuguese Fado music waft through the air. Because of its substantially lower cost of living compared to many other European capital cities, Lisbon is also a wonderful alternative for students on a tighter financial budget.
- Best Universities: the University of Lisbon (335th), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (339th)
- Average cost per semester: 1750-3500€ ($1,757-3,494)
- Monthly Average living cost including rent: 1418€ ($1,416)
In The Last: Capture unforgettable moments in Europe
Studying in Europe is an excellent way to broaden your horizons and enrich your understanding of the world through exposure to new customs, languages, and cultures.
This list should help you narrow down your possibilities, but remember that every location is unique and has the potential to provide you with an unforgettable study abroad experience.