With Valentine’s Day fast 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 Europe, the Italian capital offers the prospect of spending sunny afternoons sipping espresso in historic piazzas with your other half. Rome promises charm and sophistication by the bucketload, as well as the best pasta, pizza and ice cream around (so you’ll have plenty to console you if your romance turns sour.) Rome was ranked 70th in the most recent QS Best Student Cities.
Top universities in Rome, based on the QS World University Rankings® 2020: Sapienza University of Rome (203rd in the world), Universita degli Studi di Roma – Tor Vergata (511-520), Università degli Studi Roma Tre (801-1000).
Austrian capital Vienna was ranked 13th in the most recent QS Best Student Cities, and is perfect for foodies and history lovers alike. If you and your loved one are adventurous types, Vienna is only a few hours from some excellent ski resorts (and even better après-ski). Whether you want to watch couples pass by as you watch the world from a cozy café or take a trip to the opera, Vienna is your city.
Known as the birthplace of philosophy, in antiquity Athens had a popular cult of Aphrodite and her son Eros, the deities of love and desire. Like these immortals, the city itself holds significant powers of attraction, keeping the senses saturated with dazzling sun, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and a multitude of modern and historic sites to explore. Watch the sun set over the iconic Acropolis, and muse on all the great thinkers – and lovers – who’ve visited the same spot before you.
Top universities in Athens: National Technical University of Athens (joint 454th in the world), National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (651-700), Athens University of Economy and Business (801-1000).
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. In short, it’s a perfect city to explore with a loved one or even for meeting that perfect study abroad partner. The city also currently comes in at 31st in the Best Student Cities.
Top universities in Buenos Aires: Universidad de Buenos Aires (74th in the world), Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires (joint 344th) and Universidad Austral (joint 400th).
A more tranquil alternative to the Japanese capital, Kyoto is 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. Currently ranked 18th among the world’s top cities for students in the QS Best Student Cities 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. 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 close to the Eiffel Tower. With relatively affordable fees and a huge selection of universities, Paris was ranked the world’s seventh-best city for students in the latest QS Best Student Cities.
New York City
New York is the star of countless romantic comedies – and with good reason, with the twinkling Manhattan skyline and the urban oasis of Central Park. The city’s diverse array of cultural venues and distinctive neighborhoods 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.
A city of pretty archways, medieval architecture and vibrant nightlife, Prague is definitely 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 hustle and bustle of the city center with opportunities for quieter quality time together. Escape from the busy streets by visiting the islands just off 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 luxurious Topkapi Palace.
This article was originally published in February 2015 and most recently updated in February 2020 to incorporate the latest rankings results.