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A Definitive List of the 6 Best Cities to Study Abroad in Europe

Studying abroad in Europe is a brave decision, but only the first of many coming your way. The next big decision immediately follows: just where should you go? Europe has so many countries to choose from, and each of those countries is home to many quality universities. It might be a little overwhelming at first to decide where you’d like to spend an entire semester (or more!).

Your college or university may have a set list of partner universities that you can choose from, but the final choice remains yours. So we're here to help!

Here’s our list of the 6 best cities to study abroad in Europe. All tuition numbers are courtesy of QS Top Universities.

1. Paris, France

The first city on the list is obvious. Not only is Paris (rightfully) a tourist magnet for all ages, it also attracts foreign students from all over the world to its universities. QS Best Student Cities just named Paris the best city for students in the world for the third straight year, thanks in large part to the relatively low international tuition ($2,400 on average) and the fact that it’s home to no fewer than 17 internationally-ranked universities.

There are more than 200 museums in and around the city, including the world-famous Louvre and the monumental Palace of Versailles just 45 minutes away, making it perfect for art students and history buffs. But Paris is a city so richly steeped in culture and history that it's perfect for any international student looking to broaden his or her horizons.

Read More: Top 5 Driving Roads In France

2. London, England

Not far behind Paris is London, the British metropolis set majestically along the River Thames. The average international tuition fee ($22,000) is far higher than that of Paris, but it’s home to the 2nd best university in the world according to QS. London also boasts an environment that's perfect for students of all countries, which can more than make up for the added expense.

An obvious plus for international students is the country's native language, English. Beyond that, a lively nightlife scene makes for perfect evenings after a long day of studying and visiting monuments like the London Tower.

Read More: Top 5 Driving Roads In The UK

3. Munich, Germany

Looking to save some money on tuition? Look no further than Munich, where you pay exactly $0 for your studies. Thanks to a German law that affects multiple German states, including Munich's home state Bavaria, the government heavily subsidizes tuition to make it more affordable for students from all over the world.

This iconic German city also scores points for its high standard of living and employer activity. Global corporations like Allianz, BMW, and Siemens are all based in the Bavarian metropolis, making it an ideal place for business students looking for prestigious internships.

Read More: Top 5 Driving Roads In Germany

4. Barcelona, Spain

Unlike many cities on this list, Barcelona does not boast a university among the top 150 institutions for international students worldwide. But its low tuition rate ($2,400 per semester), along with the city's iconic medieval heritage and buildings, still make it a deservedly popular study abroad destination.

Not that we could blame those students: Who wouldn't like to snack at a tapas bar after class and head to straight to the beach for a study break? And of course, the famous architectural monuments of Antoni Gaudi, like the Sagrada Familia and the Casa Vicens, are important stops not just for architecture students, but for anyone wanting to experience a bit of history during their stay.

Read More: Top 5 Driving Roads In Spain

5. Zurich, Switzerland

The quality of living in Switzerland's largest city earns it a spot on this list, coming in above that of London and Paris. Conveniently located in the center of Europe, it's also an ideal destination for students looking to explore the continent during their semester or year abroad.

As Switzerland's financial center, plenty of employers are continuously seeking students for internships and practicums, while the low international tuition fees ($2,000) means plenty of money is left over for the city's active nightlife.

Zurich also benefits from a number of scholarships available to students looking to study abroad in Switzerland, making your stay even more affordable.

Read More: Top 5 Driving Roads In Switzerland

6. Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh is listed as the 17th best university for international students, making the Scottish capital a popular destination for students from around the globe. Like London, the average international tuition ($22,000) is higher than many other cities on this list.

But Edinburgh offers something not many other cities can: the quintessential "old world" experience. The historic downtown with its quaint pubs invites students to take a study break with the majestic medieval Edinburgh Castle keeping watch over the city. No wonder the city boasts one of Europe's highest percentages of international students, along with a favorable quality of living.

Adventure While You’re There

Of course, studying abroad means not being confined to one place. As wonderful as the cities on this list are, we wouldn't expect you to stay within their confines for the entirety of your stay in Europe. You want to explore the continent, and we'd love to help! The vast majority of the cities on this list are within our long-term car rental network, which allows you to take a drive to a neighboring country and enjoy Europe's rich culture and heritage.

Many travel companies will advertise student discounts and travel perks for students or teachers, but there is more to it than that with the Peugeot Open Europe program. Auto France does indeed offer discounts to students, but in addition, the terms for student/teacher contracts are even more appealing than that of a traditional tourist contract.

For example, if you need a vehicle for more than 90 days, your discount essentially doubles. Also, as a student or teacher (providing you show proper documentation), the French government designates your contract as such and you are allowed to have a vehicle for up to 355 days rather than the maximum 175 day for regular tourists. That’s basically a full year of a having a brand new, tax-free, long-term car rental with all insurance costs included, which is an advantage for students and teacher that we don’t think can easily be matched!

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