QS Best Student Cities ranking: 31

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Spain's capital and most populous city, Madrid is one of Europe's major financial, administrative and cultural centers, as well as being a tourist magnet with a legendary nightlife and gastronomic tradition.

Home to the famous “galacticos” of Real Madrid, it also boasts some of the world's most important art galleries, such as the Prado, as well as a chic fashion scene. International students may also be interested to know that the city is famed for its outgoing and sociable lifestyle: lengthy siestas, leisurely evenings socializing at the city's innumerable tapas bars, and late, late nights out at the weekends.

Madrid scores well in all of the categories used to compile the QS Best Student Cities, getting its strongest score for “employer activity” – indicating that graduates of the city’s universities are in high demand among both domestic and international employers. Its highest ranked university is the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, ranked among the world’s top 200 universities.

As you’d expect from a Western European capital, the cost of living in Madrid is reasonably high. However, as in several other European countries, this is counterbalanced by relatively affordable tuition fees for international both local and international students.

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QS ranked universities*:

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid; Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM); Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; Politécnica de Madrid

More about Madrid

Number of universities ranked by QS*


Top ranked institution

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (195th in the world)



Average university fees


Mercer Quality of Living rank


Mercer Cost of Living rank


Cost of a Big Mac**


Cost of an IPad***


*Universities assessed within the QS World University Rankings®.

**Based on the Big Mac Index, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

*** Based on the iPad Index, published by Commsec.

See the full methodology of the QS Best Student Cities here >