Top 5 Alternative European Student Cities

By StudyLink

This month, we take a look at some of the best places to study in Europe, but rather than focussing on the all-time favourites, such as London, Paris, and Berlin, we’ve decided to look a bit harder and uncover some excellent study abroad destinations that you may not be familiar with. So aside from the countries’ capitals, which are always popular student destinations, this is our list of the top 5 alternative European student cities.
1. Manchester (UK)
Situated in the north of England, Manchester is a cultural hub that attracts students from all over the world each year. Home to a handful of universities in the city, with even more just a short distance away, Manchester has plenty of choice available to students when it comes to university selection. It’s also home to two of the most famous football teams in the world, Manchester United and Manchester City. The city also hosts various athletic meets throughout the year and is home to Lancashire County Cricket Club.
If sport doesn’t take your fancy, the city can provide plenty of other entertainment in the form of music and nightlife; Manchester helped to produce the likes of Oasis, Take That, and The Smiths, acts that are now renowned worldwide. If you’re looking for somewhere to study in the UK, but don’t fancy following the crowd to London, Manchester is an excellent destination with a vast choice of universities and excellent culture, making it one of our top alternative european student cities.
2. Lyon (France)
Nestled between Marseille and Paris, Lyon is France’s second city, perfectly positioned where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet. Often overlooked in the study abroad world, Lyon boasts four world-class universities, and with just one and a half million people calling the city home, it has a real student vibe. It is also home to one of the country’s best universities, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, which is ranked fourth in France and 133 in the world.
France’s capital of food, Lyon can be described as food heaven for those who enjoy French cuisine. With over twenty Michelin starred restaurants for you to enjoy on a special occasion, and hundreds of others offering excellent everyday dining, Lyon will keep your taste buds satisfied whilst your chosen academic institutions will feed your brain.
3. Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Rotterdam is a young city, and it certainly shows when it comes to it’s nightlife and community. A vibrant Dutch city, it’s crammed full of modern architecture and people from all around the world call it home. Rotterdam also plays host to the largest port in Europe, making it an important driver behind the Dutch economy. In turn, this means there are plenty of employment opportunities available, whether working directly with businesses who are based at the port, or with those who are supported by the port’s activities.
Studying in Rotterdam isn’t free, but it does offer excellent value for money, with the government subsidising tuition fees, which helps to keep the tuition costs lower than the more popular study abroad destinations. The Netherlands as a whole is relatively kind on the wallet when it comes to living expenses, and there are discounts available for students on a variety of leisure activities and transport costs. All in all, the Netherlands is a great study abroad destination, and choosing Rotterdam is a good choice to make. That’s why it’s third on our list of top alternative European student cities.
4. Munich (Germany)
The capital of the Bavarian region of Germany, Munich is also home to the annual festival, Oktoberfest, which ironically takes place in September. Whilst Munich is well-known for it’s beer, it is also a thriving student city, with two of the country’s top institutions calling the city home; Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU).
What makes Munich such an attractive place to study is it’s split personality. It has a buzzing atmosphere, but is also incredibly laid back. High culture and academia brush shoulders with the Oktoberfest patrons. Munich is also a prominent player in the German economy, which in turn is the fourth largest in the world in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), meaning it’s an excellent place to gain experience in a number of industries. All in all, Munich is a wonderful place to study abroad, coming in fourth place on our list of alternative student cities in Europe.
5. Lausanne (Switzerland)
Last on our list, but certainly not least, is Lausanne. Lausanne is a great place to study in Switzerland, a country that is famed for it’s academic excellence. Lausanne mixes business with pleasure in a way no other European city seems to manage, with the Olympic Committee calling it their home. Situated on Lake Geneva, the city is home to the University of Lausanne, which has seven faculties where around 12,400 students and over 2,000 researchers work and study. The institution is known for it’s state-of-the-art learning environments and strong support it offers its students, as well as it’s close connections with nearby France, Austria, Germany, and Italy.
Switzerland is a prosperous and diverse nation, with three official languages spoken in the country; German, French and Italian. In addition, it is also possible to study courses taught in English, another factor that helps make Lausanne such a favourable study destination.
That’s it, our top five alternative student cities in Europe. Whilst there are plenty of other excellent study destinations in Europe, these are the places that stood out for us, but are often forgotten behind the likes of London, Berlin, Madrid, and the other capitals across Europe. If you want to study in Europe, you can find out more in our European study destination directory, and be sure to check out our study abroad advice section for helpful tips before you go.

The latest articles on StudyLink

StudyLink recommends

Sign Up to StudyLink

Sign up to StudyLink, the home of quality study abroad advice.

Click Here to Sign Up Now
  • Receive the StudyLink News newsletter
  • Save your favourite courses to build a shortlist
  • Be the first to find out about exciting new study opportunities

Join Our Newsletter


Sign up to today for free and be the first to hear about any new study abroad opportunities

Subscribe Now