Top 10 German cities to live in for students

Are you, like many other prospective students, still looking for a city in Germany where you will be in good hands during your studies? In this article, we present the top 10 cities to study in Germany.

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These features make a city particularly attractive for students

Every year, numerous students are faced with the question of which city in Germany they would like to study in. The choice of university is, of course, the main factor that determines in which city you will spend your time studying in Germany. However, there are other aspects that make a city attractive to students. These include the cost of living because your budget is usually limited during your studies. In particular, the cultural offerings and international social environment in your study city will ensure that you enjoy your time studying in Germany. A good infrastructure, security and promising economic prospects also play a role when you decide which city you want to study in.


No list of the top 10 student cities can be without Heidelberg, probably the most historic university city in Germany. The Ruprecht Karls University in Heidelberg is the oldest university in Germany and is also one of the oldest universities in Europe. There are currently around
40,000 students in the city, 31,000 of them at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität
alone. In relation to Heidelberg’s approximately 160,000 inhabitants, these figures make the city a typical student city. In addition to the Ruprecht Karls University, there are other universities in Heidelberg, such as the University of Education and the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences.

With an average cost of living of around 690 euros per month, Heidelberg is around 40 euros above the national average, but students should not be put off by this. The city has a lot more to offer besides its historic university. Located directly on the Neckar River, Heidelberg is an ideal option for nature lovers in particular. So if you are looking for nature, a university steeped in history and a typical, tranquil student city, Heidelberg is the place to be.


Münster is also known as Germany’s bicycle city, as the city can boast the highest proportion of bicycle traffic in Germany. With its 300,000 inhabitants, Münster is not a large metropolis, but the city still offers everything a student’s heart desires. Münster is home to various universities and colleges, such as the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster and the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Münster. But not only these but also the Münster University of Applied Sciences, the German Police University and the Münster Art Academy are located in the small Westphalian city.

This means that the city offers a wide range of educational opportunities, but there is also plenty of culture on offer. Münster is home to numerous museums worth seeing, such as the Pablo Picasso Art Museum. There are also many inviting cafés and beautiful parks in the city where you can relax after university. On average, the cost of living for students in Münster is around 659 euros per month, which is in the middle of the national range.


The city in Saxony attracts students with its low cost of living. Per person, these average 612 euros per month for a student. Leipzig is home to 16 universities and three university-like institutions. The University of Leipzig is known as the second oldest university in Germany. It is also home to the Leipzig Graduate School of Management, the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences, the Leipzig University of Visual Arts and the Leipzig University of Telecommunications, among others.

In the city itself, there is plenty for enterprising students to experience. From the alternative neighbourhood of Connewitz to the Leipzig lake district, the city and its surroundings offer attractive leisure opportunities for students.


In the heart of Saxony lies the city of Dresden. Centuries-old buildings such as the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) and the Fürstenzug (Procession of Princes) represent the flourishing culture of Saxony’s capital. A whole ten universities and colleges are located within the city. These include the well-known Technical University of Dresden, but also more specific universities such as the University of Church Music or the University of Dance.

The cost of living for students in Dresden averages 621 euros, which is below the national average. In summer, the Elbe meadows invite you to relax with friends after studying. The German capital Berlin and also the Czech capital Prague are only a stone’s throw away by train. For nature lovers, Dresden offers another plus point, as the Saxon Switzerland National Park is quickly reached by train and invites you to go climbing, hiking or cycling.


The German capital is the largest metropolis in the country, attracting numerous students every year. However, the city’s ever-growing popularity and limited living space also explain why Berlin is the sixth most expensive city in Germany for students, with an average monthly cost of living of 760 euros.

The cultural offerings in the German capital are overwhelming. Whether you’re in the mood for wild party nights or relaxed evenings at one of the city’s lakes, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Berlin. The city offers so much that one study programme alone would not be enough for you to experience and see everything. Berlin embodies diversity and uniqueness like no other city. In addition, the start-up scene here is booming and constantly growing. There are more new start-ups in Berlin than anywhere else in Germany. So if you plan to found your own start-up, later on, you can most likely already make valuable contacts and make yourself known within the start-up scene during your time as a student in Berlin.

Frankfurt am Main

Frankfurt am Main is known as the largest and most important financial metropolis in Germany. The large city in the centre of the country is equipped with numerous universities such as Goethe University or the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. If you see yourself working in international business, Frankfurt is a good place to be a student. If you have ambitions to work in banking or other financial sectors, studying in Frankfurt can certainly help you. Here you can already make your first contacts and have the opportunity to get used to the environment.


Hamburg is the pearl of the north and, with its 2 million inhabitants, one of the largest German cities. The maritime metropolis has so much to offer, certainly including the attractive proximity to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Housing in Hamburg is also affordable. On average, the cost of living in Hamburg for students is 400-650 euros per month, which is within a perfectly acceptable range.

Hamburg offers a high recreational value with its harbour and the three rivers that cross the city. Thanks to the central location of the Hanseatic city, you can easily reach other cities in the north from Hamburg, including Bremen, Lübeck or Kiel. A wide range of educational institutions makes Hamburg complete for students. For example, you can study at the University of Hamburg or the Technical University of Hamburg.

Freiburg im Breisgau

Freiburg im Breisgau is the city with the most hours of sunshine in Germany and currently has around 220,000 inhabitants. Over 30,000 of them are students, which means that at least every seventh person in Freiburg is studying. This makes Freiburg a real student city. With its six colleges and universities, the city offers students a wide range of educational opportunities. The best-known university in Freiburg is the Albert Ludwig University, which is also the largest university in the city. In addition, there is also the Pädagogische Hochschule (University of Education) and the Katholische Hochschule (Catholic University).

The average cost of living for students in Freiburg is 630 euros per month. Freiburg also has a lot to offer in terms of culture and entertainment. There is an annual jazz festival and the Ebneter Kultursommer (Ebnet Summer of Culture). In tranquil Freiburg, you’ll find plenty of cosy cafés where you can enjoy yourself after university. The city is generally considered to be very safe, as fewer crimes are committed here than the national average.


The city of Aachen in North Rhine-Westphalia is also a classic student city. Due to its location on the border triangle, Aachen has a noticeable international flair. A notable point, especially for students, is that the city is one of the German cities with the highest density of pubs per inhabitant. This makes Aachen a sociable, pleasant place to live for young students.

Approximately 40,000 people are currently studying in Aachen, which makes up about 15% of the total population. The current cost of living in Aachen for students is around 850 euros per month, which is in the upper range in a national comparison. Two different universities are located in Aachen. One of them is the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, the other option is the Fachhochschule Aachen.


Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg, is known for its automobile culture and the Swabians’ favourite dish, Maultaschen. But in Stuttgart you can not only eat Maultaschen and drive a car, you can also study. There are a total of 27 different colleges and universities in the city, with around 50,000 students working on their degrees. The two largest educational institutions here are the University of Stuttgart and the Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences.

However, the Swabian university city is not only home to numerous universities, but also to many international business enterprises. Global corporations such as Daimler and Bosch have their headquarters in Stuttgart. The average cost of living for students is around 861 euros per month. Stuttgart conveys a relaxed attitude to life, which is mainly due to the architecture, which is more reminiscent of the atmosphere of a small town. Outside the city centre, there are indeed many older contemplative houses, complemented by numerous trees and green spaces.

Find your guest family with Fintiba

Finding accommodation in Germany can be a big challenge. That’s why we want to make your first time in Germany easier by partnering with Hestia. Together we offer you the opportunity to stay with a German host family in one of 16 popular German cities.


As you can see, there are many different cities in Germany, each with its own advantages. Each one is distinguished by its special features. We hope that our article will give you a good impression of the most popular student cities in Germany. In general, however, you can be sure that no matter which city you choose, you will have an unforgettable time in Germany, during which you will get to know and love your new hometown.

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The Fintiba Companion: Guiding your way to Germany step-by-step

Never miss an important step on your journey to Germany. From preparing your university application to mastering your visa application and navigating through daily life in Germany – the Fintiba Companion provides you with relevant information throughout all important stages of your German adventure within a comprehensive checklist – tailored to your individual situation.

Last update: April 12, 2023