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12 Most Beautiful Universities In The World

Picture of Cecilia Ackerman
Updated: 29 September 2016
Every year students and tourists flock to famous universities around the world for their history, architecture, gardens, and overall beauty. The following academic institutions are known for magnificent historical and modern structures, the stunning landscapes that surround them, and their curated green spaces.
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Peking University, China

A major research university in the Haidian district of Beijing, Peking University is well known for its spectacular campus gardens, as well as its traditional Chinese architecture. Built on the site of the former Qing dynasty imperial gardens near the Summer Palace, the campus has incorporated much of the original landscaping, historical buildings, and pagodas into its design.

Peking University, Haidian Qu, Beijing Shi, China

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Xiamen University, China

Xiamen University is located in the Siming District of Xiamen in Fijian Province, China. Situated on the coast of the East China Sea among rolling hills with mountains rising behind it, Xiamen University is picturesque and tranquil. In addition to its location, the university’s expansive green gardens, lakes, and distinctive traditional architecture add to the charm of the Xiamen University campus.

Xiamen University, 422 Siming S Rd, Siming, Xiamen, Fujian, China

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University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Established in the 13th century, the University of Cambridge is one of the most famous academic institutions worldwide. Its older colleges are situated along the River Cam, where it is tradition to punt on the river while admiring the university buildings. The English Gothic stone buildings with detailed carving and stained-glass accents characterise the recognisable and stately campus at Cambridge.

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

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University of Oxford, United Kingdom

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, the campus at the University of Oxford is remarkable for its historical buildings and green spaces. If you are in the area, make sure to visit the Sheldonian Theater, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1668, as well as the university’s numerous gardens and arboretum.

University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Coimbra University, Portugal

Founded in 1290, Coimbra University is one of the oldest universities in the world. If you are visiting, don’t miss the stunning São Miguel Chapel. A university built throughout centuries, its beauty derives from its historical architecture, evident in the university’s Cathedral of Santa Cruz, its 16th-century colleges, the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, and the baroque stylings of the Joanine Library.

Coimbra University, Coimbra, Portugal

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Stanford University, USA

Stanford University is located in California near Palo Alto. Its beauty derives from its combination of Romanesque Revival and Mission Revival-style architecture, as well as its pristine grounds on the 8,180-acre campus that includes a lake and woods lined with jogging trails. The university architecture is characterised by stone buildings connected by arcades and red tile roofs.

Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA, USA

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Trinity College, Ireland

Trinity College, also known as the University of Dublin, is known for its beautiful historical buildings, arranged in quadrangles around campus greens. From the arched ceiling and dark wood of the Long Room at the Old Library to the university’s Campanile, detailed design, craftsmanship, and history are evident everywhere on the Trinity College Campus.

Trinity College,

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University of Bologna, Italy

As the oldest university in the world, the University of Bologna campus is laden with historical architecture and art. Stone and wood carvings adorn red rock buildings and medieval towers strung together by miles of porticos. After traversing the squares around the university, cobblestoned streets will carry you to parts of the city where you will find beautiful vistas of the campus from above.

University of Bologna, Via Zamboni, 33, Bologna, Italy

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University of Rostock, Germany

Located near the Baltic Sea in Rostock, Germany, the University of Rostock is the oldest university in Northern Europe. It is notable for its incredible stone and brick architecture adorned with ornate carvings and statues dating from the 15th century, as well its modern buildings.

University of Rostock, Ortsamt 7, Rostock, Germany

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University of Cape Town, South Africa

Set against the magnificent slopes of Devil’s Peak in Cape Town, South Africa, the University of Cape Town is the oldest university in the country. The red-roofed stone buildings of the university present a dramatic contrast to the craggy peaks that tower above it. The grandeur of both the landscape and architecture have earned the university much recognition as one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.

University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa

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Moscow State University, Russia

Moscow State University is impressive in size, scope, and structure. The main building is located on a hill above the Moskva River and is the tallest educational building in the world. One of seven tiered skyscrapers constructed under Stalin, the tower is flanked by two wings, and the entire structure is illuminated at night.

Moscow State University, ul. Leninskiye Gory, 1, Moscow, Russia


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Aarhus University, Denmark

Aarhus University is the largest university in Denmark and among the most prestigious in the world. The distinctive modern architecture at Aarhus University was designed in the 1930s and is characterised by yellow brick walls, tiled roofs, and large windows. Ivy covers many of the building exteriors, and the structures blend in with the campus parks and the surrounding landscape.

Aarhus University, Nordre Ringgade 1, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark