5 of the Most Stunning Student Cities in Europe

5 of the Most Stunning Student Cities in Europe

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Updated January 14, 2021 Updated January 14

Sponsored by ESCP Europe

If you’re about to finish secondary school, you’re probably weighing the pros and cons of different study destinations. Have you given some thought to studying abroad in Europe?

Home to nearly 1,000 QS-ranked universities and a host of Fortune 500 companies, it’s the nerve center of research, academia and business.

For graduates and young professionals, living on the continent also means a safety net and plethora of other benefits, such as some of the best working conditions in the world and an unmatched quality of life.

So it’s probably not a coincidence that business schools like ESCP Europe have got satellite campuses in some of the finest European cities, including London, Madrid, Paris, Turin and Berlin. Here’s a closer look at what makes these five cities so stunning.


Healthcare index: high

Quality of life index: high

Cost of living, excluding rent: £775.82 (US$1,042)

QS Best Student Cities ranking position: 1st

London was the 12th most popular city with students who were surveyed as part of the QS Best Student Cities 2018 ranking and it’s easy to see why. Whether it’s taking selfies at London Fashion Week, cosplaying at London Games Festivals or sampling flat whites in Shoreditch, you’ll never run out of stuff to do over the weekend.

London is also overflowing with career opportunities. The Big Four (PwC, Deloitte, E&Y and KPMG) and 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies all have head offices in London. London’s amazing concentration of businesses provide an incredible array of opportunities for students, from summer internships to graduate schemes.

ESCP Europe’s 4,000 m2 London campus is located in Hampstead, one of the loveliest areas in the capital, close to the city center and within a 10 minute walk of a 320-hectare park of woodland, ponds and stretches of tall grass. A range of high-end boutiques and restaurants can also be found nearby.

The main building is a traditional Victorian building with a beautiful fireplace and has its own chapel with vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. The business school boasts 12 lecture halls, a student lounge, campus cafe, a simulation trading room and a language lab.


Quality of life index: high

Cost of living: very low

Healthcare index: high

Living costs, excluding rent: €884.12 (US$1.044)

QS Best Student Cities ranking position: 5

While many cities would claim to be the best for culture, Paris has the most art galleries, public libraries, live music venues and cinemas in the world, according to the World Cities Culture Report.

One of the best things about living in Paris is the sheer amount of cultural offerings at your doorstep. There’s the Louvre, of course, with its Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa and Egyptian mummies, as well as the Musée d'Orsay on the Left Bank, which has the largest collection of impressionist paintings in the world, and the Musée Rodin, a gorgeous 18th Century mansion in the seventh arrondissement dedicated to the works of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Then, there’s the food. You don’t really need to spend a huge amount of money to eat well in Paris. There’s a myriad of delectable crêpes suzettes, croque monsieurs and steak frites to be had in one of the city’s hidden bistros for under €10 (US$11).  But, as any cash-strapped student living in Paris have no doubts discovered, a trip to the nearest boulangerie will usually suffice for a little pick-me-up.

ESCP Europe has two beautiful campuses in Paris - one in the 11th arrondissement, which is right in the heart of the city, and another in Montparnasse, a lively area with a mix of shops and restaurants, which was once home to the likes of Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald.


Quality of life index: very high

Healthcare index: very high

Cost of living, excluding rent: €757.92 (US$892)

QS Best Student Cities ranking position: 7th

Berlin is the home of 36-hour techno parties, converted warehouses and co-working spaces, where art, music, business and club culture cross pollinate. Ask any European student where they’d like to travel this summer, and you’ll probably find that Berlin is at the top of their list.

It’s not a complete mystery why. Berlin is the capital of cool, and the diversity of its nightlife is unrivalled. The hip German city caters to everyone, whether it’s a quiet pint in an old-school kneipen (pub) or a midweek electronic rave in an disused power plant.

Not to mention, compared to Paris or London, Berlin is very affordable and a breeze to get around. A monthly season ticket would set you back €81.00 (US$95.37), and you can get to anywhere anywhere in Berlin 24-hours a day, using the underground rail (U-Bahn), suburban rail (S-Bahn), buses or trams.

ESCP Europe’s Berlin campus overlooks the baroque gardens of the Charlottenburg Palace, a beautiful 17th century palace with rococo flourishes, a tea-house and a carp pond.  ESCP Europe’s main Berlin building was designed in the neo-baroque style by Ludwig Hoffmann, one of Berlin’s most famous architects and boasts world-class facilities.



Quality of life index: very high

Cost of living: very low

Healthcare index: high

Living costs, excluding rent: €646.88 (US$760)

QS Best Student Cities ranking position: 32

Bursting with art galleries, restaurants, theaters and world-famous institutions like the Prado and the Reina Sofia, Madrid is one of the most vibrant art and culture destinations on the continent.

It’s blessed with mild winters and balmy summers, with temperatures rarely dipping below 6°C/42.8°F, which can go as high as 32°C/89.6°F in peak summer season. Each year, big summer festivals make the most of the weather and color the streets, with people gathering to celebrate Pride, a host of live music festivals such as Veranos de la Villa and many special-interest events like Mulafest, a four-day skateboarding, breakdancing and street art fest.

Relocating to Madrid for university is also a chance to learn the third most widely spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English. It’s in high-demand among employers and is the official language of many companies.

If you wish to study in English, there are many courses fully taught in English on offer at  Madrid’s world-class ESCP Europe Business School. Minutes from the National Park of Monte del Pardo, it’s ideally located for students. Surrounded by a 6,000 m2 garden, it has a car park, a well-stocked library, state-of-the-art computer labs, a cafeteria with outdoor seating, and comfortable multi-purpose classrooms.


Quality of life index: high

Cost of living: very low

Healthcare index: high

Living costs, excluding rent: €694.05 (US$819)

Situated at the foot of the Italian Alps and a two-hour drive from the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Turin has beautiful tree-lined boulevards and large piazzas built in the Baroque style.

It’s an extremely affordable Italian city: you could rent a one bedroom flat in the city center for just €515 (US$608). It’s also a very compact and walkable city. Strangely enough, Turin has managed to stay off the radar of tourists so it doesn’t share some of the daily aggravations and problems which you might expect from cities like Rome or Venice.

ESCP Europe’s Turin campus is located in the Palazzo dei Poveri Vecchi, a freshly renovated 19th century red-brick building with mosaic floors, interior arches with pillars and high ceilings. It has its own outdoor seating and garden and a new wing with a student lounge.


Take a virtual tour of ESCP Europe Business School’s gorgeous campuses in Paris, Madrid, London, Berlin, and Turin, all with world-class facilities and renowned staff and faculties.

All living costs and quality of life indicators were taken from Numbeo.

This article was originally published in June 2018 . It was last updated in January 2020

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