Thousands of international students travel to Europe every year, and many of them find their way to Germany. If you are one of those lucky students, you will want to check out the 30 best cities for international students before you go.
Some of these towns are famous for their cuisine, architecture, art, and ambiance, but all of them are full of history and opportunities to grow, learn, and most importantly, have fun.
Whether you are stopping by Germany on your tour of Europe or you are taking advantage of their tuition-free college programs, you are sure to enjoy indulging in some sightseeing while you are there.
Table of Contents
- 1. Stuttgart
- 2. Munich
- 3. Wurzburg
- 4. Passau
- 5. Fussen
- 6. Stralsund
- 7. Bayreuth
- 8. Trier
- 9. Augsburg
- 10. Frankfurt
- 11. Heidelberg
- 12. Cologne
- 13. Regensburg
- 14. Berlin
- 15. Potsdam
- 16. Nuremberg
- 17. Weimar
- 18. Leipzig
- 19. Hamburg
- 20. Lubeck
- 21. Schwerin
- 22. Wismar
- 23. Bamberg
- 24. Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- 25. Dresden
- 26. Tubingen
- 27. Freiburg
- 28. Marburg
- 29. Dusseldorf
- 30. Baden Baden
Stuttgart is well known for its amazing technical schools and many students come here to specialize in engineering. The colleges here aren’t limited to engineering though, and any industrial-loving student is welcome to come to this city of cars.
Amazing colleges aren’t the only thing that has put Stuttgart on the map, Porsche and Daimler also make their home in this amazing city and both have large museums dedicated to their craft and cars.
Many international students who have ended up in Stuttgart love it for its hustle and bustle. While it’s no New York City, it has its fair share of phenomenal food, exciting nightlife, and arts.
Munich is the third-largest city in Germany and also one of the most popular with students. There are several great colleges in the area, including the Technical University of Munich, Ludwig Maximillian University, and the Munich University of Applied Sciences, to name a few.
These colleges are all considered top-notch and thanks to Germany’s progressive college programs, many are free or extremely inexpensive. While the cheapest colleges in the United States are several thousand dollars per semester, some German colleges are only charging $650–1000 or nothing at all.
The evenings and weekends in Munich are never boring, with music venues, eateries, theatre, dancing, shopping, and beautiful parks to enjoy
The city of Wurzburg has three main colleges for you to choose from, and all three are dedicated to their students. The University of Music, the University of Applied Sciences, and the Julias-Maximilians University welcome many international students each year.
If you choose to attend one of these prestigious universities, you will be studying in a town well known for its delicious wine, historic castles, and over-the-top fun festivals.
If you want to be strategically placed to explore the beautiful country of Germany on the weekends and during breaks, Wurzburg is the perfect place for you. The city is located near the center of the country,y and they have lots of modes of public transportation for you to use to take advantage of for your explorations.
The town of Passau is known for its shopping, history, and beer. If you decide to attend university here, you will likely have lots of downtime to enjoy your stay and engage in many of the activities and clubs the University of Passau offers.
The University of Passau encourages its students to do more than just attend class and study. They want their students to enjoy a healthy work-life balance and believe that starts with offering clubs and extracurricular activities for their students.
The university offers over 50 sports, 70 clubs, and 4 student committees for you to engage in and enjoy. If you can’t find something to do here, you probably won’t be able to find activities you like anywhere.
While Fussen isn’t a bustling college town or massive center for learning, it is a scenic town with a lot to offer its international students. Music students, in particular, will be interested in the town’s violin making, which has occurred in the town for hundreds of years.
History-loving students will love taking tours of the local castles and learning about what life was like here before cars and cell phones.
This scenic town is only two hours from Munich and has stunning views of the mountains in the distance. Many people also enjoy strolling through downtown, taking in the quaint shops and eateries as they explore what feels like another time.
Stralsund University of Applied Sciences is a popular choice for international students that want to study in a picturesque historical town.
Stralsund is known as a town of leisure, and millions of visitors come here annually to soak in the sun and enjoy all the town has to offer. From posh museums to sports and history, this town has everything an international student could ask for.
This Hanseatic city is proud of its heritage, and it shows in its well-preserved downtown buildings. Here you can indulge in the delicious foods of the region, shop to your heart’s content, and take in a game at a local pub.
Whether you attend school here, or just stop by for a visit, you are sure to love this unique city.
If you are an international student searching for a town surrounded by nature, Bayreuth may be the city for you. This town has several colleges, all of which have progressive offerings for students.
The city typically has about 10–15 thousand students a year, and all are able to enjoy the historic downtown area, scenic nature parks, and shopping
While students may not consider Trier the perfect college town, it’s certainly the perfect town for a weekend getaway when you need a break from school.
Trier is home to 8 of UNESCO’s world heritage sites and its downtown is incredibly well preserved, leaving you feeling as if you have walked into the Renaissance. It also boasts the oldest cathedral in Germany.
All of this leaves Trier as a must-visit for any history-loving international student.
Augsburg was founded in 15 AD and is one of the oldest towns in Germany. It has several universities, with the largest being the University of Augsburg. Students who wish to study here have over 90 programs of study to choose from.
Students will have plenty to fill their spare time with, learning about the city, visiting the zoo, museums, and exploring the ancient city.
If you are interested in business management, marketing, or finance, Frankfurt could be just the place for you. Renowned not only in Germany but in all of Europe, this town has everything you could wish for as an ambitious student ready to take on the world.
Frankfurt is a major hub for travel and commerce, which opens up the doors of opportunity to hard-working students looking to make their mark in the private sector. Many students are able to work and network while studying to secure amazing jobs after graduation or to gain hands-on experience before heading back to their native country.
If you are considering Frankfurt, you will love the futuristic architecture, high-rise buildings, shopping, and beauty that abound in this German city.
Home to Heidelberg University, the oldest university in Germany, Heidelberg was founded in 1196 and the school was built in 1386. Back then, the university was mainly for rich young men from prestigious families, but now the school is quite progressive and welcoming to all.
The school is known as a leading research university, and it has an acceptance rate of 76%. If you end up choosing this college for your international studies, you will no doubt be in for an enjoyable experience at a prestigious school.
The fourth-largest city in Germany, Cologne is known for its bustling social scene and incredible gothic architecture. While it isn’t known for being a college town, there are quite a few schools here.
Students who choose to live and study in Cologne will be in for a treat as it is considered one of the cultural hubs of the country. Filled with museums, clubs, restaurants, and more, there is always something to do in Cologne.
Considered one of the top tourist destinations in Germany, Regensburg is located near the fabled Black Forest. It also boasts Roman remains, incredible architecture, fabulous shopping, and delicious local cuisine.
Many tourists enjoy visiting this city by river cruise, and international students are no different. There is a lot to see, a lot to do, and a lot to learn about in this ancient city.
You can’t have a top list of cities in Germany without mentioning Berlin. The capital of Germany is alive with opportunities for the international students who stay there. There are over 20 colleges in the city and five of those are large public universities.
The course offerings at the colleges in Berlin are diverse, so you will no doubt be able to find a program that suits you even if you are going after a less common degree.
Many students love Berlin for its bustling nightlife and varied cuisine, but there is truly something for everyone in this capital city with museums, theatres, stunning architecture, and well-manicured parks.
Potsdam is the largest city and capital of Brandenburg, Germany. Famously home to the once King of Prussia, this city is filled with the history and incredible architectural beauty we have come to expect from German towns.
The University of Potsdam is a great choice for those wishing to live and study in this capital city. Only founded in 1991, this university is much newer than most we have discussed thus far, but its programs are touted as top-notch.
If you are an international student looking to get work experience during your stay, Nuremberg could be the perfect place for you. This bustling town is the economic center of Northern Bavaria and there is a plethora of work opportunities for students who wish to learn on the job.
There are strict rules for international students wanting to work, so be sure to iron out the details with your new employer before beginning. Students are allowed to work roughly 100 full-time days, or 200 part-time days while in the country studying.
When you aren’t at school or working, Nuremberg also offers a great art and culture scene, lots of history, and gorgeous architecture.
Weimar is a small college town that was founded after World War One, and the cost of living here is relatively low compared to many cities in Germany. This can be a boon for many international students on a budget, but you will be trading the difference in living expenses for less history, architecture, and the historic Germantown feel that many other cities have to offer.
If you are ok with that, it is near enough to other towns that you can get your history and German ambiance through weekend trips to some of the other towns on our list.
Home to one of the best zoos in Europe, Leipzig is a great place for those seeking animals and culture. This classical music hub is well known for its arts and culture as well as being an important city in the book industry.
It’s rated one of the most livable cities in Germany and that is due in part to the city’s ambiance, friendly citizens, and learning opportunities. If you are looking for a well-known city to do your studying, Leipzig could be the perfect city for you.
The original home of the hamburger, it’s no surprise that international students flock to Hamburg in droves.
Hamburg is a very large city in Germany and, as such, they are able to provide students with numerous colleges to choose from. Many of these colleges are renowned for their state-of-the-art facilities and high-tech programs, but that’s not all this town has to offer.
Theatre, art, architecture, and a bustling economy are all things that Hamburg has going for it. The town of Hamburg was founded in 500 AD, and when you look at the buildings, it’s easy to be transported back to an older and simpler time.
Many students find this old-world charm perfect for focusing on their studies and excelling in the classroom.
Lubeck is the original home of the Hanseatic League or Hansa. This organization was formed by German merchants and towns in order to protect trading interests. The Holstentor is the original seat of the Hanseatic League and it’s now a museum dedicated to their history. This stunning architectural beauty is one of the draws of the city. Built in 1464, this city gate and its towers are a true example of Gothic medieval architecture.
Students will love sampling the famed marzipan that the town is known for and Cafe Niederegger is the perfect place to indulge. This 200-year-old cafe offers pure marzipan as well as marzipan-flavored cakes, tarts, chocolates, and drinks.
Just a few miles from downtown, students can have fun in the sun at the Timmendorfer Strand. This beach is considered one of the best in Europe and boasts its own aquarium.
Students will love the opportunity to combine learning with pleasure as they discover the history of this small town while also exploring local shops and restaurants.
For fans of water sports and nature, Schwerin could be the perfect weekend getaway for international students. This small historic town is surrounded by lakes and is popular for sailing, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
History buffs will enjoy seeing the castles and the historic downtown, which has a classic Germantown feel to it.
Nature lovers will enjoy visiting the zoo, the castle garden, or hiking in nature on the outskirts of town.
If you want more than a day trip from this town, there are a few smaller colleges that are happy to host international students as well.
Wismar is a city on the coast of the Baltic Sea. It’s known for its unique architecture, history, and delicious eateries.
The University of Wismar is a smaller college, but it is well-rated and is a great choice for students looking to live in a smaller, off-the-radar coastal town.
Interestingly, for high school-aged children wanting to study abroad, the high school in town participates in student exchange programs that are very well-reviewed, giving many the German schooling opportunity at a younger age.
Bamberg is another town on the list that features a UNESCO world heritage site. This medieval town is full of stunning architecture and will leave students feeling as if they have stepped out of a time machine into the past.
Culture and the arts are very important in Bamberg, and the local cuisine is off the charts. Visiting local museums, taking in the sights, getting a bite to eat, and shopping are all must-dos on any international student’s list. The plethora of shops is enough to make visiting this quaint town worth it.
Often thought to be the filming area for the Harry Potter franchise, this town is magical but is not where you will find Hogwarts castle.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is not a college town, but it is a bustling tourist community due to its architecture and beauty. This city is a must-visit for any international student in Germany. Students will enjoy checking out museums, shopping, and dining in the historic downtown, as well as simply walking around and viewing the medieval architecture.
Dresden is one of the most accommodating cities for international students in Germany. Technische Universitat Dresden is one well-known college in Dresden that is more than dedicated to its students, with over 40,000 international alumni.
One of the few cities on the list with a large area of the city dedicated only to students, young people can enjoy Altstadt and Neustadt with only their peers. Altstadt is an area dedicated to studying spaces and Neustadt is dedicated to socializing and music.
When students aren’t at school, they can enjoy the city known as the “Jewel Box of Germany” for its architectural beauty and visit the many tourist attractions Dresden has to offer.
The University of Tubingen is a well-known university offering 47 programs. This town is known as a college town, so expect many businesses and activities to be geared toward students.
International students are more than welcome here, and the cost of living is relatively low compared to some of the larger towns on the list. Whether living in or visiting this town, students will enjoy the bustling nightlife, plenty of shopping, culture, arts, and more. A beautiful river flows through the town, allowing for transport through the city by boat.
Dubbed the sunniest city in Germany, this town is perfect for sun-loving students looking for an earthy vibe. Freiburg is located near the fabled Black Forest, which is great for weekend exploring and hiking. It’s also well known for its wine country and makes some of the most delicious wine in Germany.
That’s not all Freiburg has to offer though, as they are also one of the most eco-conscious cities in Germany with progressive recycling programs and a cable car that runs 2.2 miles.
If you are considering Freiburg for college, they are well known for their urban planning, environmental studies, and tourism programs.
The home of the Grimm Brothers, this quaint town is well known for being a quiet college town. The main university students can attend here is the Philipps University of Marburg, which also happens to be the oldest protestant institution in the country.
The architecture of the area is famous for cobblestone streets and timber-frame houses, giving you the feeling that you are in a time period way before your own.
This town is dedicated to its school and to the students who study there. The community is very supportive, and you will enjoy exploring the shops and restaurants around the city and meeting the townspeople.
Dusseldorf is considered one of the best college towns in Germany. This city is home to several colleges that focus heavily on the arts and fashion. This love of fashion is reflected in the posh shops downtown.
For students seeking a mixture of city life and vibrant countrysides, Dusseldorf is perfect. The town is filled with small parks and gardens that lend a more relaxed, natural feel to the surrounding areas.
Baden Baden is not known as a bustling college town, but it is a great place for students to visit for a relaxing weekend away from the university. Baden Baden is, however, a well-known cultural hub that features several plush spas and is host to a wide variety of fun festivals.
While Baden Baden is a more expensive town to visit, they are renowned for their health care facilities and have tons of opportunities for enjoyment. Shopping, eating, and relaxing are some of the top things to do while you are in this plush city.