The 15 Most Beautiful College Campuses Around the World
There's a lot of learning to be done not only in the classrooms of college campuses, but also outside. Universities and academic institutions from across the world play host to some of the most notable architectural masterpieces and astonishing landscapes.
There are very few places where traditional Palladian architecture lives next to modernist theaters or lush woodlands surround Gothic-style halls as seamlessly as college campuses. Each academic building and green space plays an integral role in educating its students and visitors on the history of the college and its region. More importantly, the hallowed grounds help to shape each student into who they are as individuals. While there are many factors that go into selecting the right college, the campus's ability to inspire creativity and provide refuge should be taken into consideration.
We've searched throughout the world to discover the most beautiful college campuses with sprawling grounds that are just as highly regarded as their programs. From the base of Devil's Peak in South Africa to the rolling hills of Georgia, each of these beautiful college campuses pays homage to its origins while making way for an even brighter future.
University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England
Established in 1209, the University of Cambridge is regarded as one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world. Beyond its academic excellence, the campus is also known for its botanical gardens and architectural gems found on almost every corner. King's College, in particular, is often named one of the finest examples of late English Gothic architecture and features the world's largest fan vault. The River Cam also runs right through the city university, adding to the campus' picturesque views.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Masshucettes
Massachusetts Institute of Technology exhibits a diversity of architectural styles not seen on any other campus in the world. There's a neo-futuristic auditorium from Eero Saarinen, a Frank Gehry-designed modernist complex, and neoclassical buildings designed by William Welles Bosworth—just to name a few.
National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico
Works from some of Mexico's most renowned architects and artists can all be found in one place—the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The crown jewel of the largest university in Latin America is the central library designed by Juan O'Gorman which is covered in murals depicting the university's history. In 2007, the National Autonomous University of Mexico was named a UNESCO heritage site as it stands as a symbol of modernity in Mexico.
Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Swarthmore College's campus boasts an eclectic collection of modern and Collegiate Gothic-style architecture, but there's one breathtaking element that makes the college stand out: a 425-acre arboretum filled with magnolia trees, hiking trails, and an outdoor theater. Just outside Philadelphia, the college's green oasis draws the attention of students, locals, and horticulturists from across the world. From the 200 varieties of roses making up the Dean Bond Rose Garden outside Parish Hall to the towering trees of Crum Woods, you're greeted with a bountiful display around every turn and corner.
University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa
The University of Cape Town is not short on impeccable views with the ivy-covered buildings and dramatic mountains of Devil's Peak in the background. At the center of campus, Sarah Baartman Hall stands as a sneak peek of the offerings found on the university's campus.
Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida
Nestled in the oldest city in the United States, Flagler College stands an a delightful example of the architectural vernacular associated with St. Augustine, Florida. The liberal arts school is housed in the former Ponce de León Hotel, which was built 1888 as a luxury resort under the direction of businessman Henry Flagler. Much of his original vision remains—including the ballroom, which now serves as a palatial dining hall with Tiffany stained glass windows.
Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea
Over its three campuses across Seoul, Kyung Hee University's classical architecture gives another layer of interest to the ever-evolving city. Fragrant cherry blossom trees guide incoming students toward the regal admissions hall with its Corinthian-style columns and a bubbling fountain. The main campus also houses the Natural History Museum and Hye-Jung Museum.
Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia
Walking the campus of this quaint liberal arts college in rural Mount Berry, Georgia feels like you're visiting the set of a fairy tale movie. There's no short of natural splendor at Berry College, thanks to the more than 27,000 acres of forests, meadows, and lakes surrounding the campus. English Gothic-style academic buildings and serene reflecting pools add to the fantastical quality.
University of Coimbra in Coimbra, Portugal
Established in 1290 by King D. Dinis, the "General Study" was first established in Lisbon as a university for the arts, law, common law, and medicine. It moved to Coimbra in 1308, but it did not settle into its permanent residence at a palace overlooking the Mondego River until 1537. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage site's sun-bleached walls, botanical gardens, and Joanina Library give insight into the country's academic history.
Stanford University in Stanford, California
Stanford University embodies the quintessential American campus with its sprawling green lawns, California Mission-style. architecture, and tree-lined walkways. A list of heavy-hitting designers and architects helped mold the campus, including Frederick Law Olmsted who cultivated the prestigious school's flowerbeds and green spaces.
University of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil
Brazil's most prestigious university features striking centuries-old architecture and tree-lined public squares—all with the sandy beach and mountains of São Paulo as its backdrop. In addition to its award-winning research institutions, the University of São Paulo houses a number of museums and art galleries such as the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan
As one of Japan's most celebrated art schools, it's no surprise the Tama Art University would display jaw-dropping architecture and works of art. Architect Toyo Ito famously designed the school's library so that the vaulted concrete arches mimic the rolling hills of the campus.
Sorbonne University in Paris, France
It's hard not to fall for Sorbonne University's beauty as the memorizing avenues and monuments of Paris's Latin Quarter are its playground. The research institute was established by Robert de Sorbon as part of the University of Paris in 1257. In 2018, the college officially merged with Pierre and Marie Curie University, establishing its own prestigious scientific institutions.
Tsinghua University in Beijing, China
Founded in 1925, the Tsinghua University currently sits on the former site of the Qing Dynasty's royal gardens. Because of this, the campus offers an ideal mix of traditional Chinese architecture, peaceful reflecting ponds, and cutting-edge academic labs.
Oxford University in Oxford, England
A walk through the grounds of Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, feels like a visual history lesson on architecture and art. Since it's considered a "city university," its facilities are spread all across the town's center, resulting in a medley of building styles from Saxon to Postmodernist. One of Oxford's most recognized and noted buildings includes Radcliffe Camera, a Palladian library dedicated to scientific publications.
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