Glasgow University founded in 1451, is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world | Source: Hurtigruten

The Most Beautiful Universities Around the World

Some universities around the world offer far more than just learning environments. They provide spectacularly lavish places to live, explore and acquire knowledge.

The most beautiful universities are architectural masterpieces and stunning landmarks in their own right with ancient libraries, beautiful botanical gardens and magnificent museums amongst the spectacular grounds.

Such is the prestigious nature of the world’s finest educational institutions, many are named World Heritage-listed sites protected by the United Nations for having cultural, historical, scientific or other significance.

University of Cambridge

Location: Cambridge, England

Consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, the prestigious English institution spans 710 acres comprising 31 colleges each with unique design and astonishing ancient architecture. Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world with notable buildings including King’s College Chapel and the Cripps Building at St John’s College.

The brickwork of this masterpiece build is of significance including the Queens College containing “some of the earliest patterned brickwork in the country” and St John’s College showcasing examples of English bond and Flemish bond style brickwork.

Situated nearby Cambridge city centre, the River Cam runs through the campus and it’s home to eight museums and art collections. Famous alumni include Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking.

St John’s College, Cambridge | Source: St John’s College
Queens’ College, Cambridge | Source: Will Pryce for Country Life

National Autonomous University of Mexico

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

The largest university in Latin America, the National University of Mexico is a stunning spectacle designed by some of Mexico’s best-known architects including Mario Pani and Enrique del Moral. One of the largest campuses in the world spanning 7.3 square kilometres, the university features multiple museums, a library with a mosaic by Juan O’Gorman and an Olympic Stadium that hosted the 1968 Summer Olympic Games.

The main campus, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, is also adorned with murals by some of the most recognised artists in Mexican history including Diego Rivera and the landmark Rector Tower by David Alfaro Siqueiros. 

David Alfaro Siqueiros Mural | Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

Trinity College

Location: Dublin, Ireland

One of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, Queen Elizabeth I founded Trinity College in 1592 as the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin. Defined by its intricate medieval architecture, the university’s most iconic building is the Library of Trinity College Dublin crafted in an elegant Baroque style.

The library contains around 7 million printed volumes – as a legal deposit for Britain and Ireland, a copy of every publication must be deposited to the library. One of Dublin’s most prominent tourist attractions, the approximately 47 acres of grounds also contain a chapel and public theatre designed by George III’s architect, Sir William Chambers and a state-of-the-art business school.

Notable alumni include some of Ireland’s most famous writers including Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker.

The Long Room at Trinity College Dublin
The Long Room at Trinity College Dublin | Source: The Guardian

Royal Roads University

Location: British Columbia, Canada

Situated in the Hatley Park National Historic Site on Vancouver Island, Royal Roads University features 565-acre landscaped gardens and natural woodland. The main building of Hatley Castle resembles a beautiful royal residence from a fairytale surrounded by extensive walking trails, stunning scenery and wonderful views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  

The University has been used as a location for filming including transforming into Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for the X-Men films. Visitors can tour the castle, the heritage gardens and Royal Roads University Museum with 2009 Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying; “There is surely no more beautiful campus in Canada.”

Royal Roads University
Hatley Castle, Royal Roads University | Source: House Beautiful

Yale University

Location: Connecticut, United States

The prestigious Ivy LeagueUniversity founded in 1701 is famous for its Gothic revival architecture and buildings designed by famous architects such as Frank Gehry. It’s also known for several iconic modern buildings including Louis Kahn’s Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art, Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink and Paul Rudolph’s Art & Architecture Building.

The campus is also home to Yale University Library, the third-largest academic library in the United States holding approximately 15 million volumes. Mixing with the Gothic, Georgian and modern buildings, the university also features 500 acres of athletic facilities including the Yale Golf Course.

Yale University campus in New Haven | Source: Spark Admissions

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Location: Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong

A relatively modern university founded in 1991, the campus spans 148 acres in the countryside in Clear Water Bay overlooking Port Shelter. Built on terraces carved out of the hillside, the university is known for modern architecture and views with residences and sporting facilities right on the seafront. Standouts include the Lee Shau Kee Library with 12,350 square metres of floor space spread over five levels and the sweeping entrance piazza with a sundial sculpture.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology | Source: New Straits Times

The University of Bologna

Location: Bologna, Italy

Established in 1088, the University of Bologna is the oldest university in continuous operation in the western world with five campuses in Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini. Defined by its grand architecture, the spectacular buildings dating back to the Middle Ages and Renaissance era include the beautiful Bologna University Library featuring arched ceilings, dark wood and ornate columns.

The campus is also home to Palazzo style buildings and an approximately 5-acre botanical garden.

Bologna University Library | Source: Flickr

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