Top 8 European cities for student travel

This month’s blog focuses on student travel across Europe…

With its rich heritage and wealth of culture, Europe has long been an appealing destination for international students. Whether learning a foreign language or studying art, design, business, fashion, politics, or history, Europe’s cities offer inspiring experiences that will enrich any student’s education.

What makes a great city for a student trip?

While this is very individual, we believe that most students will be looking for a European destination that offers:

  • iconic sights and culture to discover
  • unique activities and bucket-list experiences
  • a lively social scene
  • reliable public transport
  • internationally accessible/well-connected
  • decent and affordable food and drink

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our top European cities for a trip to remember…

8 of the best European cities for students to visit

  1. Barcelona, Spain

Packed full of stunning architecture and UNESCO World Heritage sites, Barcelona is home to many works by the celebrated Spanish architect Gaudí.

Warm – both in climate and hospitality – the cosmopolitan city’s vibrant nightlife is also a point of appeal for many students.

 Must-sees in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia; Park Güell; the Picasso Museum; FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou; Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya; Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)

Take a day trip: Montserrat mountain, scenic Sitges, or the Dali museum at Figueres


  1. Rome, Italy

Rome is bursting with history, culture and some of Europe’s most iconic landmarks and monuments, and captivating ancient architecture.

In addition to the abundance of art and culture, sociable alfresco dining is intrinsic to the Roman experience and visitors will relish dining on pizza, pasta and gelato in local trattoria.

Must-sees in Rome: the Colosseum; the Pantheon; Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel; the Roman Forum; St Peter’s Basilica; the Trevi Fountain; Galleria Borghese

Take a day trip: to Naples and Pompeii, the Tuscan countryside, or Florence


  1. Lisbon, Portugal

As the second-oldest capital city in Europe, Lisbon’s long and interesting history is depicted in several of the museums here and the city has plenty of ancient ruins and domed cathedrals to explore.

The hilly coastal city has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and a very intense and diverse social scene that caters to all.

Must-sees in Lisbon: Jerónimos Monastery; Arco de Rua; Bairro Alto (Lisbon’s most exclusive quarter); Lisbon Cathedral; Rossio Square; Tram 28 to Alfama (the city’s oldest district); Belém Tower; Castelo de São Jorge; a panoramic view from a hilltop miradouro (viewing terrace)

Take a day trip: Sintra, Pena Palace and its gardens, or Sesimbra beach


  1. Berlin, Germany

While Berlin has been the setting for some bleak and harrowing moments in modern history, today, it has a progressive atmosphere of freedom – especially where artistic expression is concerned.

Buzzing with vibrant modern culture, with a laidback and creative community, and thriving nightlife, Berlin is a popular destination for students of many different disciplines.

Must-sees in Berlin: the remains of the Berlin Wall; the Reichstag; Holocaust monument; TV Tower; Brandenburg Gate; Gendarmenmarkt; Museum Island

Take a day trip: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Dresden, or the palaces and gardens of Potsdam


  1. Zagreb, Croatia

Croatia, in general, is a wonderful destination for students, with ancient Roman ruins, idyllic beaches and national parks, majestic mountains – plus Game of Thrones was filmed there!

Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, is a lively city with a great mix of museums, coffee shops and bars.

Must-sees in Zagreb: Zagreb Eye observation deck; Museum of Broken Relationships; Zagreb Cathedral; King Tomislav Square; Ilica Street shopping destination; Maksimir Park; St Mark’s Church and Upper Town; Lake Jarun

Take a day trip: hike nearby Sljeme or Medvednica mountain, Plitvice Lakes and national park, or Ljubljana in Slovenia (140km from Zagreb)


  1. Paris, France

Divided into 20 arrondissements, each with their own unique character, Paris is an exciting, creative and highly cultured city with so much to offer international student travelers.

The stylish and sophisticated city is packed with historic architecture, iconic landmarks, spectacular art galleries and world-class museums.

Must-sees in Paris: Eiffel Tower; River Seine; Palace of Versailles; Moulin Rouge; Louvre Museum; Paris Catacombs; Champs-Élysées; Arc de Triomphe; Montmartre; Palais Galliera; Musée d’Orsay

Take a day trip: Normandy’s D-Day landing beaches, Monet’s garden in Giverney, or Mont Saint Michel


  1. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s history is long and complex, and its varied heritage is reflected in the city’s architecture – where gothic meets baroque and art nouveau melts into cubist.

By day, Prague provides students with an enticing mix of meandering cobbled streets, hidden gardens, cosy cafés, and fairytale scenery, and at night there’s an extensive pub scene to discover.

Must-sees in Prague: Vltava River; Charles Bridge; Prague Castle; Old Town Square; the Jewish Quarter; Wenceslas Square; Kampa Island; St Vitus Cathedral; the astronomical clock; Prague National Theatre

Take a day trip: quaint Cesky Krumlov, Terezin Concentration Camp, gothic town of Kutna Hora


  1. Krakow, Poland

Cited as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities – with picture-perfect scenery, friendly locals and budget-friendly prices – Krakow is a great destination for a student trip.

The Jewish district, in particular, has morphed into a colourful and creative centre, packed with art galleries, coffee shops, bars, and museums.

Must-sees in Krakow: Auschwitz concentration camp; St Joseph’s Church; MOCAK (Gallery of Modern Art); St Francis’ Basilica; abandoned St Benedict’s Fort; Oskar Schindler Museum; Wawel Castle and Museum

Take a day trip: the Tatra mountains or cavernous Wieliczka underground salt mines

For more than 40 years we’ve shared our travel expertise to create comprehensive European travel itineraries. Please get in touch to discuss a single or multi-city or country itinerary.

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