20 Of The Most Stunning Universities In The World

Published 2 years ago on October 23, 2017
By Vincent

When attending the grand institutions of higher education, inspiration lurks around every corner with the best educators on offer alongside the mixed and eclectic views of the students from all walks of life.

But sometimes it is the buildings themselves that can offer up great moments of beauty and wonder. Here we look at some of the most beautiful universities in the world.

1. Peking University - China Peking University, Haidian Qu, Beijing Shi, China

Built on the original grounds of the former imperial gardens from the Qing dynasty, this stunning university has tried to incorporate much of the original architecture and landscaping into its campus and as such has maintained a feel of regal grandeur with the repurposing of historical buildings and pagodas as places of education and study.


Truly an awe-inspiring place to expand your knowledge and go out into the world from.

2. Xiamen University - China 422 Siming S Rd, Siming, Xiamen, Fujian, China, 361005

On the coast of the East China Sea, with rolling hills sitting just behind it, Xiamen University has green gardens and lakes as part of its campus as well as traditional Chinese architecture containing lecture halls and classrooms.


One of the most tranquil places to calm the mind and let it take on knowledge.

3. University of Greenwich - England, United Kingdom King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9NN

The centerpiece of Greenwich village and a UNESCO world heritage site, the main campus of the University of Greenwich is the Old Royal Naval College. Originally the Palace of Placentia, built by King Henry VII, it went on to become a naval hospital and then college. On the banks of the Thames, it has the river on one side and the glorious Greenwich park on the other where the Royal Observatory overlooks it from high on up. A magnificent painted hall that contains stunning frescoes and sparkling chandeliers is where students graduate from.

So peaceful, it is hard to believe that this is located in such a busy metropolis as London but it offers a reprieve from the hectic city life that surrounds it.

4. University of Oxford - England, United Kingdom University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

The oldest University in the English-speaking world, Oxford has grand and dreaming spires and numerous gardens and arboretums dotted throughout the ancient city. So old is it that no one is quite sure when it was founded but records dating back as far as 1097 suggest it was a center of education before then.

With Britains largest academic library, that has the right to request every single book published in Britain and Ireland, it has long been seen as one of the best Universities on the planet. 

5. University of Cambridge - England, United Kingdom University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Formed in the 13th century after some academics at the University of Oxford fell out with locals and fled further North East to start another University, it rapidly grew into something to rival the prestige of the former and the two have enjoyed a fierce yet friendly rivalry ever since.

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On the banks of the river Cam where tourists and students alike punt through the riverways of the city, it has English-gothic buildings accentuated by stained glass windows giving it an imperious and stately air.

6. Queen's University - Northern Ireland, United Kindom University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NN

The Lanyon building has become the face of the university and was built in 1849 in a Tudor Gothic style and, although not all other buildings on campus match this style, they do have a magnificent red brick hue to add to the magical surroundings.


7. Aberystwyth University - Wales, United Kingdom Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth SY23 3FL

Founded in 1827, this university sits on the Welsh coastline with the rolling valleys moving off into the countryside behind it.


Suffering from a fire in 1885, parts of it were rebuilt but what is left of the 'Old College' are still incorporated in its use today and present a magnificent setting.

8. Coimbra University - Portugal Coimbra University, Coimbra, Portugal

Built throughout the centuries, the hodge-podge makeup of the University's architecture is part of what lends to its charm and magnificence encompassing the Cathedral of Santa Cruz, its 16th-century colleges, the Royal Palace of Alcáçova, and the baroque stylings of the Joanine Library.


9. Trinity College - Ireland Trinity College, Dublin Southside, Dublin, Ireland

The stunning architecture of Trinity college is modeled on that of Cambridge and Oxford in the United Kingdom but this is the oldest university in its native Ireland.

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Arranged in a quadrangle around beautiful, lush green lawns it has history dripping from all angles as it was founded in 1592, across the road from the former Irish houses of parliament.

10. University of Bologna - Italy University of Bologna, Via Zamboni, 33, Bologna, Italy

Being founded in 1088 makes this the oldest university in the world and as such, the history of the place is immense with medieval towers linked by porticos of red rock buildings.


Filled with art and carvings from various points of time in its history it is an endless array of treasures and delights to discover.

11. University of Rostock - Germany University of Rostock, Ortsamt 7, Rostock, Germany

Lying near the Baltic sea, this magnificent university is renowned for the ornate 15th-century carvings that bedeck its red stone brickwork as well as its many modern buildings that are designed to complement the older ones around it.


The oldest university in Northern Europe and the third oldest in Germany.

12. University of Cape Town - South Africa University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa

With the slopes of Devil's Peak behind them, the red-roofed buildings of South Africa's oldest and most prominent university contrast wonderfully against the craggy backdrop that nature has provided.

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Established in 1829, it is the second oldest University on the whole of the African continent and is consistently ranked amongst the best in the world.

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

The tallest educational building in the world, it is a tiered skyscraper built under Stalinist Russia and towers over the Moskva River that runs below the hill it sits upon.

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Illuminated at night, its sheer size and scope are breathtaking as well as the spires that puncture the sky above it.

14. Aarhus University - Denmark Aarhus University, Nordre Ringgade 1, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

Characterized by its yellow brick walls and tiled roofs, this is the largest University in Denmark with much of it moss covered with large windows to take in the surrounding area.


Designed in the 1930s to blend in with its surroundings rather than impose itself on them, it has a quieter but no lesser, beauty than other buildings on this list.

15. Stanford University - USA Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA, USA

A mixture of Romanesque and mission revival architecture span this college campus that  8,180-acres at its disposal with woods, lakes, and fields all containing jogging trails and walking paths between the stone arcades of the buildings.


Founded in 1885, it is a relatively young university but is still one of the most prestigious in the word.

16. Pepperdine University - USA 24255 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90263, United States

Overlooking the Pacific ocean, it draws its architectural inspiration from the Mediterranean and is situated in the luxurious locale of Malibu.

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Stunning coastline views greet attendees and its Theme tower has become an iconic symbol of the university that was only founded in 1937.

17. Mount Holyoke College - USA  50 College St, South Hadley, MA 01075, United States

An all-female college founded in 1837, its buildings were designed between 1896 and 1960.

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Although much of the architecture is breath-taking, it is the natural sights that are the show stealers as the grounds contain stunning waterfalls, lakes, riding trails, and even a designated botanic garden.

18. University of Auckland - New Zealand Auckland 1010, New Zealand

The largest and highest ranked University in New Zealand, perhaps fittingly, its architecture looks somewhat like something out of The Lord of The Rings films.

Its clock tower is an ornate, white building that is a Category I historic place and was finished in 1926.

19. The University of Sydney - Australia New South Wales 2006, Australia

The oldest university in Australia is immense in its size and scope as it takes up two suburbs with its campus.

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Ranging from neogothic to ultra-modern in its architectural design, it has a Great Tower that has become the enduring image of the university.

20. Wroclaw University of Technology - Poland wybrzeże Stanisława Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland

Dotted throughout the city of Wroclaw, the university buildings differ from many on this list as they focus predominantly on modernist design.


Main buildings sit just off of the Ode River whilst the glass and steel reflect its serenity and makes it a light-filled place of solace to study.

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