The Top 10 Most Instagrammable Student Cities


Updated on Jun 14 • 7 minute read

When you're considering which city to choose for your upcoming international exchange, the choices may be somewhat overwhelming. You may be looking forward to a warm Mediterranean climate, or perhaps you are searching for a destination packed full of cultural attractions and artistic events. You could be considering some of the world-class universities in the Netherlands, or choosing your ideal student housing options in Berlin.

However, when making this all-important decision, it definitely doesn’t hurt to surround yourself with beauty and immerse yourself in a culture that appears to be absolutely fascinating. Just glancing through your social media feed, you’re probably sure to see quite a few destinations that appeal to your interests, along with taking a peek into events and activities that you hope to take part in when you relocate.

So, let’s take a look at ten of the most Instagrammable cities for students, and learn more about why one of these places could be the perfect place for your international exchange!

10. Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is a bustling city located in Japan, which was once the country’s capital for over 1,000 years. If you’ve wanted to experience the art of classic dining known as “kaiseki,” with its multiple dishes, Kyoto is the ideal place to give it a try.

Nestled on the island of Honshu, it promises traditional Buddhist temples, imperial palaces, beautifully landscaped gardens and vistas that you’ve only seen on postcards. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with such an ancient, traditional culture to explore and a total of 17 WORLD Unesco Heritage sites.

Kyoto is an extremely student-friendly city, with a compact center and a low cost of living. It’s so appealing to students that one out of every 10 people attends one of the seven universities, with over 150,000 students, with about 9,000 of those being internationally based. Some of the top universities include Kyoto University (the second leading university in all of Japan), Doshisha University and Ritsumeikan University.

9. Rome, Italy

Italy has long drawn international students from all across the globe, all hoping to immerse themselves in the ancient culture and hip, trendy lifestyle of today. While Milan and Florence are both known for their beauty, is any Italian city more beguiling than Rome?

Instagram and other social media platforms are consistently filled with images of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Trevi Fountain. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a spot with more well-preserved reminders of the Roman civilization — all in one place.

Rome hosts 24 universities and colleges, which provides students with a variety of courses to choose from. Popular choices include John Cabot University (providing an extensive number of courses in English), the University of Rome III and Sapienza University of Rome.

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8. Cape Town, South Africa

Situated on South Africa’s southern coast, Cape Town is a wonderful place if you are looking for a mix between a vibrant city and nearby natural beauty. South Africa is rather unique in that it has three different capital cities: Cape Town as the legislative capital, Bloemfontein as its judicial capital and Pretoria as its administrative capital.

Cape Town definitely has its fair share of gorgeous beach and mountain views. Set in the shadow of Table Mountain, you can really get some postable pictures from the cable cars that go to the top of the mountain. And don’t forget a visit to Robben Island, the prison that once housed Nelson Mandela.

When it comes to top-ranking universities, Cape Town is an excellent choice for your international exchange. Choose between universities like University of Cape Town (South Africa’s oldest university) and University of the Western Cape.

7. Paris, France

Paris, known as the City of Lights, is the most-visited city in all of France, and for a very good reason, even amongst other attractive options such as Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg. France’s capital city is an epicenter for art, full-bodied wine and culinary delights that can’t even be described.

Of course, the Instagrammable moments in Paris are many, ranging from everyday beauty to special moments in front of some of the most beloved landmarks on the planet. Whether you’re capturing a quiet little cafe on a cobblestone street or the wonders of the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, you’re definitely not going to run out of inspiration.

Even though it can be somewhat expensive, Paris has been ranked as the best student city in the world more than once. Of course, its number of international universities may be its greatest appeal, including Sorbonne University (the largest arts and humanities university in France), the American University of Paris and Paris Descartes University.

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6. London, United Kingdom

London is one of the most remarkable cities on the globe, filled with history, legend and some of the trendiest neighborhoods in the country. It’s the capital of the United Kingdom, and it’s known for remarkable neighborhoods such as the Notting Hill, Covent Garden and Kensington.

Any Instagram page will explode with images caught from the London Eye, the city’s giant observation wheel, along with other familiar sights like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. It’s also nice to step back in time at the Tower of London, or search for antiques along Portobello Road.

In 2018, London was ranked as the top city in the world for students, due in part to its appealing array of museums, theatres, restaurants and accessibility to other cultural attractions scattered throughout the United Kingdom. However, the true draw for most students is in over 40 universities and institutions of higher learning, which is one of the largest numbers in the world, including King’s College (a public university famous for its world-class research), Imperial College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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5. New York City, USA

New York City, affectionately known as the Big Apple or the City That Never Sleeps, is the largest city in the United States, with five unique boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan. Over 26 million people visit Times Square, one of the most famous tourist destinations on the planet, every year.

Armed with your smartphone or camera, post-worthy landmarks and buildings abound. Whether you cruise out to the Statue of Liberty, go to the top of the Empire State Building or browse the merchandise in Chinatown, it won’t be difficult to find plenty of creative influences.

New York City indeed has something for everyone, and its enormous network of subway lines, buses and trains make is super-simple to get from one place to the next. NYC’s group of highly acclaimed universities also rank amongst the highest in the world, including Columbia University (a private 18th-century Ivy League University), New York University and Fordham University.

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4. Barcelona, Spain

Many students are attracted to the weather in Spain, which means that, along with locales like Madrid, Barcelona is always a top pick for international exchanges. Barcelona is the not only the largest city in the region of Catalonia, but it is also its capital, bordering the warm Mediterranean Sea.

If you’re looking for a handful of sunny photos to brighten up your Instagram, Barcelona is an excellent choice. But, it’s not all sea and sand, so be sure to pose in front of the Sagrada Familia Church, the Roman archaeology at MUHBA or its lovely pastel-colored residences.

Barcelona is a truly international city, making it very appealing for students studying abroad. With so many acclaimed universities to pick from, some of the most popular include the University of Barcelona (offering a total of 74 Bachelor’s degrees and one of the oldest universities in the world), the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

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3. Venice, Italy

Venice is the capital of the Veneto region in Italy, and it is every bit as wonderful as you’ve ever envisioned. It is literally perched over the Adriatic Sea on approximately 100 tiny islands, thus the need to travel by canal.

While you’re in Venice, Instagrammable moments are literally around every corner. Whether sailing down a sunny canal on a gondola or hanging out in the ever-popular Piazza San Marco in front of St. Mark’s Basilica, you’ll be sure to make tons of memories.

Studying in Venice may prove to be a bit on the expensive side, but some good budgeting will help you to live in this magical city just like a local. You’ll quickly find that the world-renowned universities are well-worth it, such as Ca’ Foscari University (housed in a beautiful gothic palace), IUAV University of Venice and the Conservatorio di Musica “Benedetto Marcello.”

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2. Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is an incredibly unique city for a lot of reasons, but one is because it is located in both Asia and Europe. Once known historically as Constantinople, the largest city in Turkey is almost mythical, filled with sights, smells and sounds that remind you that you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Your Instagram will never be so popular than when it displays some of the off-the-beaten-path spots in Istanbul, whether it be 20 million tulips in the springtime or a true winter wonderland in the winter. And of course, you must visit the ancient Roman Hippodrome and the intricate mosaics at the Byzantine Hagia Sophia.

In a country with over 200 universities, Istanbul is consistently ranked as a top student city, with approximately 50,000 international students annually enrolled in its top-notch universities. Some of the city’s favourites are Istanbul University (listed in the Top 1,000 Universities in the World), Marmara University and Istanbul Technical University.

1. Santorini, Greece

Situated along the Aegean Sea, Santorini looks like it came straight out of a storybook, and it even has the tales and legends to back up its mystique. In fact, the island was nearly destroyed by a volcanic eruption back in 16th Century B.C.

When you’re talking about Instagrammable student cities, it’s not difficult to see why this picturesque city tops our list. With its whitewashed houses perched on cliffs and beaches with lava rocks in red, white and black, you’re sure to fill up your Cloud with some of the most beautiful images ever taken.

Santorini is not only about its looks, as it is close to several leading universities. Greece has over 20 universities and 15 technical institutes. For example, you can find the Technological Education Institute in Piraeus.

To sum things up, there are numerous Instagrammable cities that students can explore. Use your international exchange as a chance to explore some of the places that you’ve only dreamed of seeing, and let HousingAnywhere help you find a room or an apartment in the neighborhood that suits you best. Happy travels!

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