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The 10 most beautiful universities in the world

We would never suggest choosing a university based on how it looks, but studying at a beautiful university can make the study abroad experience a tiny bit more enjoyable

    Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

    Seeta Bhardwa

    Editor, THE Student
    May 26 2021
    Most beautiful universities in the world - Flagler College


    As a university student, you will probably spend the majority of your time on campus. And so, while this certainly isn’t the most important factor to consider (in fact, we strongly advise that it isn’t), it helps if the campus is somewhere you enjoy spending your time in. 

    Universities come in all shapes and sizes and architectural styles. From the traditional grey stone buildings to the more avant-garde modernist structures, university campuses are some of the most interesting collections of buildings you can find.

    It’s important to note that this is certainly not a definitive list of the most beautiful universities in the world, and I’m sure you’ll notice that a range of universally acknowledged beautiful universities are not mentioned. That may be because we’ve already featured them in some of our other most picturesque university articles (which you can find at the bottom of this article), so it only seemed fair to shine a light on some of the other stunning universities in the world that we haven’t waxed lyrical about before.

    1. Heidelberg University

    Heidelberg University looks like something out of a fairy tale, with its turreted buildings, stone bridges and baroque red-brick buildings.

    Founded in 1386, Heidelberg University is not only Germany’s oldest university but also one of the oldest universities in the world. It has retained much of its historical charm, with its original features and brick facade.

    As well as looking beautiful around every corner, the University of Heidelberg is associated with 29 Nobel prizewinners.

    2. Sorbonne University, France

    When you think of Paris, you think of class, grandeur and sophistication. And the Sorbonne University campus fits that description perfectly. Many of the university’s impressive buildings make up Paris’ Latin Quarter and sit within walking distance of some of Paris’ most iconic landmarks.

    Pierre and Marie Curie University.

    3. Flagler College, United States

    Flagler College, located in St Augustine, Florida, is a coastal private liberal arts university. The main building is a stunning cream and red-brick Spanish Revival style construction complete with arched windows and sloping roofs. It was originally built in the 1800s as a hotel, which would explain the sweeping marble staircases and chandeliers. The building is now on the National Register for Historic Places.

    The rest of the campus has retained its historical charm and is adorned by palm trees and fountains covering the entirety of its 19 acre area.

    4. Royal Roads University, Canada

    The fact that the main building of Royal Roads University is a castle is one of the key reasons for its appearance in this list. Known as Hatley Castle, and located in the Hatley Park National Historic Site, the main building has been used as a filming location for a range of films including the X-Men franchise and Deadpool.

    The university campus, which covers 260 acres of parkland, features hiking and biking trails, a Japanese garden and offers views of the nearby ocean and Olympic Mountain range.

    5. University of Otago, New Zealand

    The University of Otago builds on its picturesque surroundings, blending with the sprawling greenery and the Leith River running throughout the campus.

    As well as the natural beauty of the campus, the buildings are a mixture of traditional neo-Gothic structures and modernist buildings. The university was founded in 1869 and is considered New Zealand’s first university.

    6. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

    The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is located in the northern part of Clear Water Bay Peninsula in the Sai Kung District, with panoramic views of the clear, turquoise bay below. The campus lies on a slope, and buildings and facilities are built on terraces that have been carved out of the hillside. The academic facilities are on the upper terraces, and undergraduate halls of residence and sporting facilities are near the seafront.

    The campus buildings themselves are all uniformly white, clustered around the main half moon-shaped central building.


    HKUST campus

    7. University of Catania, Sicily

    The University of Catania, is located on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and is the island’s main university. 

    The institution’s main building is a striking, snowy-white Renaissance structure, which was originally built as a monastery. The rest of the buildings are scattered throughout the city, complementing the rest of the island’s beautiful architecture. Other features of the university that are worth a visit are the university piazza with mosaic tile floor.

    8. Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences, India

    Nestled in the Himalayan mountain range, Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences in the Indian province of Himachal Pradesh is built right into the natural surroundings. It is considered one of the greenest university campuses in India as it produces twice as much energy as it consumes.

    Set amid a pine forest, the university works in harmony with the incredible nature that surrounds it.

    Shoolini University India

    Image credit: Shoolini University FB 

    9. Monterrey Institute of Technology, Mexico

    What’s most striking about the Monterrey Institute of Technology is the imagination and diversity of the architecture across its 36 campuses throughout the country. One of the most recognised of these buildings is the Rectorate on the main campus in Monterrey, adorned with a mural by artist Jorge González Camarena.

    Other buildings of note are the CETEC towers, which are huge stone and glass structures that look as though they were fixed into the ground at an angle, and the Ignacio A. Santos Medical School.


    10. KU Leuven, Belgium

    Another medieval institution to feature on this list, KU Leuven is the oldest Catholic university in the world.

    The university’s rich history can be found within its buildings, and at times it’s hard to tell where the university ends and the town of Leuven begins, so closely are the two linked.  The restored Renaissance building that houses the university’s library is the centrepiece of the university, surrounded by quaint cobbled streets and green parks.

    Think there’s a university we’ve overlooked? Check to see it’s featured in any of our other articles on beautiful universities

    The 10 most beautiful universities in the UK
    The 10 most beautiful universities in the US
    The 10 most beautiful universities in Canada
    The 10 most beautiful universities in Australia
    The 10 most beautiful universities in Africa
    The 10 most beautiful universities in East Asia
    The 10 most beautiful universities in Europe
    The 10 most beautiful universities in Latin America
    The 10 most beautiful university libraries in the world



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