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Traveling on a student budget? The world’s best student cities await you

Some cities are more attractive to students because of their quality universities, affordable cultural opportunities, delicious food, exciting nightlife or stunning nature. The world’s best student cities are just waiting to be discovered: great activities, a life filled with history, and exuberant parties are all here.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon has an impressive nightlife, is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, and ranks high for affordability. When a few top universities are added to all of this, it’s not as natural as a popular student city. One of the most popular places among students is the Bairro Alto neighborhood. Crowds of cheerful students fill the small bars of the neighborhood from Thursday to Saturday and overflow into the streets. Goodnight Hostel Lisbon’s enthusiastic staff also don’t let their guests be deprived of entertainment, arranging bar trips to the Bairro Alto district every day. So there’s no reason to miss the party anymore! With many beaches nearby, students also have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities. Surfing, a very popular sport in Portugal, is also very common among students who want to get away from stuffy classrooms. If you wish, you can take surfing lessons in Praia de Carcavelos (if you have a student ID card from Portuguese universities, you are entitled to a discount). If you think surfing isn’t exciting enough, you can also spend the day kitesurfing at Praia do Guincho, which is a forty-minute drive from Lisbon. If you want to experience an adrenaline rush at the extreme, you can also go to Arrábida and do coastal traverse, which includes activities such as rock walking, jumping from cliffs, zip lining and swimming.

Vienna, Austria

The diverse student population, cultural richness and low tuition fees are more than enough to attract thousands of students to the capital, which has one of Europe’s greatest historical riches. Vienna has a long history as one of the international leaders of the art world, and cultural events in the city don’t just appeal to the wealthy. By presenting your student ID card at the Leopold Museum, you can see works by famous Austrian artists such as Klimt and Schiele for only €9. If you’re into the modern arts, you may be pleased to hear that student admission to the Museum of Modern Art is only €7.50. No visit to Vienna would be complete without a night full of music, whether opera, chamber music or orchestra. Students in Vienna have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of classical music, and although these are normally expensive activities, students can get very cheap tickets. Many places sell standing tickets starting at just €3. Even though you don’t need a student ID to catch these opportunities, you have to queue well in advance.

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

It would not be wrong to say that Boston is the student capital of the USA. Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are located in Boston, and the city has five other universities that are internationally ranked. The universities here house many clubs and associations, so you will have no trouble finding extracurricular activities to fill your calendar. You can find a variety of places to mingle with local students, although entrance fees can be a hassle for foreign students. You can drop by the student-run Queen’s Head Pub to do karaoke and general culture competitions with Harvard students, enjoy a night of free music with Berklee students, or dine with MIT’s toxic students at Pinnochio’s Pizza and Subs. With big sports teams like the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and Boston Bruins, everyone here finds a team to support. On match days, you can go to the Fenway area, home of the Boston Red Sox, and spend time with the students at one of the sports bars. Better still, you can join the excitement by buying a ticket to one of the matches. If you are not very picky about which game to watch and where to watch the match, the prices of ‘Sox Savers’ tickets can be as low as $10. Remember to plan ahead as anyone can buy these tickets.

Warsaw, Poland

Thanks to its impressive economic growth over the last few decades, Warsaw has managed to establish itself as a global research and development center and has become a student magnet thanks to its high-level universities. Students have very privileged access to museums, art galleries, concerts and theaters in the city. There are many museums detailing the city’s past, and with great entry fees for students, learning about Polish history becomes a necessity. While the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews reveals the 1000-year history of the Jews in Poland with documents; The Warsaw Uprising Museum also tells the history of the city’s uprising against the Nazi occupation. Don’t forget to mingle with local students between your visits to the museum. Kawiarnia Kafka, near the University of Warsaw, is one of the places students go to for their caffeine needs. You can easily fill your stomach with your student’s budget here. The “milk bars”, which we can call the city’s cafeterias serving only traditional Polish food, are very popular places among the student population. You can try the recently renovated Bar Prasowy. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to stop by Pawilony, a secluded area strewn with 20 small bars serving affordable drinks. Grab your beer and join the conversation!

Lyon, France

France’s third largest city, Lyon, is an excellent alternative to Paris. Although a slightly smaller city, it is home to five internationally respected universities, along with the fifth best university in France (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon). We can also say that it is more affordable than the capital city and offers better food. Students will have noticed this, as the city hosts 120,000 students every year. The first thing every student will notice here is the importance of food. Leading chef Paul Bocuse, who has given the city the identity of the world’s food capital, also operates based in Lyon. If you wish, you can taste the ingredients that the famous chef uses regularly in his meals at the Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse food market. Make sure to stop by a bouchon (traditional Lyon restaurant) in the city that seems to have an endless array of restaurants. You can try quenelle, which we can call steamed fish served with a creamy sauce, at Chez Mounier. Is there anything better than a river? Two rivers of course! Lyon’s two rivers, the Rhône and Soane, do well to draw students to their shores, whether for relaxing drinks, barbecues or outdoor parties. When the sun goes down, you can continue the party at the peniches (boat bars) lined up by the river. Le Sirius is open late and hosts many live shows.

Lund, Sweden

Lund is one of Sweden’s oldest cities and is home to Lund University. 41,000 students, equivalent to half of the city’s population, are enrolled in the university, which is one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Northern Europe. So whenever you see someone in Lund, you might think that there is a 50% chance that person is a student. Lund is a typical university town, with cobblestone streets, old student traditions and a university dating back to the 1600s. We can say that what the city lost in size, it gained with its magic and character. Various traditions with a long history are also encountered during the school year. Spexes, student theater associations, stage comedy and musical plays based on historical events. Founded in 1831, the Lund University Male Voice Choir performs on the steps of the main university building every year on May 1, and this concert is also broadcast on national television. Finally, students celebrate Walpurgis Night on April 30 each year. Celebrations start early in the day with strawberries and champagne in Stadsparken, continue with barbecue and drinks at noon, and a traditional bonfire is lit in the evening at the end of all this entertainment.

Montreal, Canada

Being a student means you’ll have plenty of free time and vacations. Fortunately, Montreal students have the opportunity to make good use of this free time, thanks to 90 great city festivals spread over the calendar year. Perhaps the most famous festival in the city is the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, held in July every year. This very busy 10-day event is the biggest jazz festival in the world: 650 concerts held in 10 open-air stages and 10 indoor concert halls! If jazz isn’t your thing, you can find countless other festivals, from pop music (POP Montréal) to blues (FestiBlues) to electronic music (MUTEK). Film lovers will also feel at home here: The Montréal Film Festival brings together the works of both well-known and first-time filmmakers. Those who yearn for laughter might consider attending Just for Laughs, the world’s largest comedy festival. Some of the more bizarre festivals we have chosen are: Croissant Festival, Jane’s Walks, Anarchist Book Fair and Festival Phénomena.

Heidelberg, Germany

Home to Germany’s oldest university, dating back to 1386, Heidelberg is one of the few places that survived the destruction that hit many German cities during World War II. You can find some of the country’s best preserved architectural monuments in this city. Almost 40% of the city’s population consists of students studying at the six universities here. Heidelberg, built around the Neckar River; With its castles, narrow streets, rows of green hills and peaceful parks, it has influenced and inspired many writers and philosophers over time. You can tour the historical parts of the city using the Philosophenweg (Philosophers’ Path), a two-kilometer slope. When you reach the top, fascinating views of the city and the castle ruins will be waiting for you. Do not miss your chance to take a breather by sitting in one of the numerous cafes in Heidelberg between walks. You can try the famous ‘student kiss’ (Studentenkuss) chocolate fudge created here at Café Knösel.

Melbourne, Australia

Forget Sydney completely! The place to find Australia’s cool teens is Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne. With a lively cultural scene, sunny weather and beaches just two steps away, this might be the place you’ve always dreamed of studying. Affordable dinners take on a whole new dimension here: restaurants where you can bring a beverage to accompany your meal are a favorite of students here. The Italian restaurant Tiamo is one of those wonderful places where you can bring your own wine. Students also love to wander around the bohemian Fitzroy district. Browse recycled fashion at Hunter Gatherer, snap photos of street art on Rose Street, and end the day with an ice-cold beer at Perseverance.

Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom

Located on the east coast of Scotland, Dundee attracts students with its community-oriented, ultra-modern university campus and mild climate that has earned it a reputation as Scotland’s sunniest city. If your holiday concept is to enjoy scenic walking paths, this city surrounded by hills, valleys and beaches is the place for you. If you stop by the Angus coastline, you may have the opportunity to unleash your hidden golf skills in the historic golf town of Carnoustie. Scots have been playing golf here since the early 16th century. Wandering along the coast, you’ll also pass Arbroath, famous for its smoked haddock. A little further on is the Montrose Basin, a river mouth that is home to 50,000 migratory birds. While hiking in the Angus Valleys, you will witness the landscape change before your eyes: You will pass through Strathmore’s farm fields to see six valleys, each with a different characteristic, encounter the steppes, and see the majestic Highland mountains.

Madrid, Spain

Madrid, one of the liveliest cities in Spain, is one of the most sought after by international students, and it’s not hard to understand why. The city almost comes to life with the sunset and the night is long, as if it never ends. You can start your night with a late dinner in El Tigre, famous for its delicious and inexpensive tapas. You can continue your party-filled Spanish night by drinking sangria at Las Cuevas de Sesamo, one of the students’ favorite places. Another popular place for students is Bar Campus, located near Universidad Complutense. Students who gather here to get away from the books have a competitive night of karaoke. Madrid also has many nightclubs that will not disappoint those who want to dust off the dance floor: the giant Ibiza-style Kapital and Joy Eslava, which operates in a 19th century theatre, are just two of them.


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