By Ronan McMahon
The top university towns in Europe are known for their vibrancy, youthful atmosphere, and lively nightlife. Not only are they a great place to study, but they also offer visitors and residents plenty of culture, tons of restaurants and cafes, and centuries of scholarly history that echo through the streets.
But their popularity means that real estate prices can be high. The demand for student accommodation pushes prices up, so if you’re looking for a cheap home in any of the major university cities like Paris…or Oxford…or Heidelberg in Germany, and you’ll be hard pushed to find anything in your budget.
By concentrating on Europe’s smaller, but equally attractive, university cities, not only will you still get the lively atmosphere of the more “famous” (and expensive) student cities, you’ll also find some bargain homes. And these cities are home to some of Europe’s oldest universities…all over 700 years old.
Check out what my researchers found in Europe’s oldest university cities below.
Home to the oldest university in Portugal, and one of the oldest in Europe (it was founded in 1290), Coimbra has been attracting students for literally centuries. The university dominates both the skyline—its sits majestically atop a hill overlooking the old town—and the atmosphere here…it’s a buzzy little city with plenty of culture, history, and color.
About a 15-minute drive from the historic center of Coimbra, in an area called Cernache, is this 1-bed, 2-bath townhouse. It has an open-plan kitchen and living/dining area and is located on a quiet street.
Despite its location in the South of France, Montpellier doesn’t get the crush of tourists that its more famous southern neighbors do. Which means prices here are much more affordable. Montpellier’s university was founded in 1289 and it has one of the oldest and most distinguished medical schools in the world. The city’s historic center has wide boulevards filled with restaurants, cafes, and bars and the city hosts numerous festivals of music and arts throughout the year.
Just northwest of the city center is this 1-bed, 1-bath apartment with a fitted kitchen, and a bright living room that leads out to a small balcony. The building has a cellar can be used and there’s free car parking.
Salamanca is the home of Spain’s oldest university, founded in 1218, and the city itself is often referred to as “the Oxford of Spain.” The university welcomes thousands of visiting students each year, which gives the city an international vibe. The huge Plaza Mayor, said to be the most beautiful in Spain, was once a bullfighting ring, but today is home to boutique stores, bars, and restaurants. Like the other university towns above, the student population gives this city a lively and youthful atmosphere with plenty to see and do.
This 3-bed, 2-bath apartment is just across the river from the university district. It also has a fully fitted kitchen, a living room, and a balcony. The building has a community garden and an outdoor pool. It comes furnished and is ready to move into.