With Valentine’s Day approaching, we thought we’d bring you a rundown of nine of the world’s most romantic places to study abroad! Whether you’re looking for love during your study abroad experience or just want a little romantic charm to fill the coming semesters, discover these nine romantic cities, all guaranteed to win your heart.
Undoubtedly among the most romantic cities in which to study in Europe, the Italian capital offers the prospect of spending sunny afternoons sipping espresso in dove-speckled piazzas with your other half. This may be a slightly romanticized version of your study abroad experience (kind of the whole point of this list…), but Rome promises charm and sophistication by the bucket load, as well as the best pasta, pizza and ice cream around. Plenty of consolations if the romance doesn’t work out after all! Rome was ranked joint 61st in the QS Best Student Cities 2016.
Top universities in Rome, based on the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017: Sapienza University of Rome (joint 223rd in the world), Universita degli Studi di Roma – Tor Vergata (481-490*), Università degli Studi Roma Tre (701+).
Austrian capital Vienna is ranked 16th in the QS Best Student Cities 2016, and is perfect for skiing couples and history lovers alike. If you’re on a tight student budget, you’ll be pleased to know that a romantic dinner for two in Vienna can cost very little. Tuition fees are also on the low side, making Vienna not only one of the region’s most romantic cities, but also among the most affordable places to study in Europe. Whether you want to watch couples pass by as you watch the world from a cozy café, or take a date to explore all the famed architectural artifacts and artistic legacies, Vienna is your city.
Known as the birthplace of academia, the Greek capital is also the home of ‘Eros’, the god of love and son of Aphrodite – the counterpart to the Roman figure of Cupid. Like these deities, the city itself holds significant powers of attraction, keeping the senses saturated with dazzling sun, vivid hues, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and a multitude of modern and historic sites to explore. Rekindle flames old or new as you watch the sun set over the iconic Acropolis, and muse on all the great thinkers – and lovers – who’ve visited the same spot before.
Top universities in Athens: National Technical University of Athens (joint 395th in the world), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (651-700), Athens University of Economy and Business (701+).
4. Buenos Aires
Although you might argue that Buenos Aires is usually associated with passion rather than romance, the Argentinian capital is nonetheless renowned as a city of seduction. It’s not just the famously sensuous tango getting people all het up; the city also offers an eclectic mix of cuisines, cultural sights and natural surroundings, perfect for exploring with a loved one or even to seek out for that perfect study abroad partner. The city also currently comes in at 32nd in the Best Student Cities 2016.
Top universities in Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires (joint 85th in the world), Universidad Austral (joint 308th), Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires (UCA, joint 310th), Universidad de Belgrano (joint 352nd), plus five more universities ranked within the top 800 in the world.
For more of the top universities in Latin America, see the latest QS University Rankings: Latin America.
A more tranquil alternative to the Japanese capital, Kyoto offers one of the most picturesque places to study abroad, especially during the spring and summer months, when the city’s historic temples are complemented by an abundance of cherry blossom. Ranked 21st among the world’s top cities for students in the QS Best Student Cities 2016 alongside nearby cities Osaka and Kobe, Kyoto is widely admired for its historic Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, as well as its traditional tea ceremonies. Who will you share a cup with?
A constant feature in lists of the world’s most romantic cities, Paris is undoubtedly one of the most amorous places to study in Europe, as well as being a frontrunner in style and sophistication across the board. Indulge in gourmet cuisine and haute couture, or enjoy the simple pleasures in life – grab some bread, cheese and your loved-one and stake out a picnic spot with a view of the Eiffel Tower. With relatively affordable fees and a huge selection of universities, Paris was ranked the world’s best city for students in the QS Best Student Cities 2016.
Top universities in Paris: ENS Paris (33rd in the world), Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech (joint 53rd), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC, joint 141st), Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) (221st). For more top universities in Paris, see this article.
7. New York City
What could be more romantic than road-side pretzels, glistening skylines and honking taxis? Although you might not think of New York City as one of the world’s most romantic cities, anyone who spends much time here is bound to end up falling in love with the place. The city’s diverse array of venues and scenes means that whatever your interests, you’re guaranteed to find a likeminded soul. To add to the attraction for students, New York also boasts one of the world’s most impressive selections of internationally ranked universities. Whether it’s love at first sight or a slow-burning affair, NYC wins every heart in the end.
Top universities in New York: Columbia University (20th in the world), New York University (NYU, joint 46th), Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (301st). For more top universities in New York, see this article.
A city of pretty archways, medieval architecture and vibrant nightlife, Prague has got to be another of the most romantic places to study in Europe. The Czech capital offers many charms comparable to those of Paris – beautiful riverside views, world-renowned art, great food and drink – as well as an even more attractive price tag. Wander the historic cobblestoned streets arm in arm, and find your own favorite among the city’s many cozy places to eat and drink. Regardless of how long your romance lasts, Prague promises to keep offering new delights.
Finally, Turkey’s Istanbul is the perfect place to study for loved-up explorers, ready to combine the vibrant life and bustle of the city center with opportunities for quieter quality time together. Escape from the busy streets by visiting the islands just off of the city’s shores, or spend a special moment together soaking in a dazzling sunset across the seascape. Istanbul’s vibrant culture and centuries of historic architecture provide two more reasons to fall in love with the place, from the all-round sensory immersion of the spice market to the luxury-laden Topkapi Palace.
This article was originally published in February 2015. It was last updated in February 2017, to incorporate the latest rankings results.
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