You don’t have to be a student to appreciate the charm of a historic university town. With their multicultural, liberal and highly educated populations and a constant influx of new residents, university towns are ever changing, creating a sense of excitement and potential that often permeates the whole town. In addition to the less tangible benefits, you’ll also usually find thriving nightlife and plenty of quality bars, restaurants, and innovative businesses both large and small. Despite dramatically different landscapes, climates and histories, these three locations exemplify all the most desirable characteristics of a university town.
Home to no less than four universities, this city by the sea provides its students and residents with spectacular views out onto the Pacific Ocean, sunny weather and plenty of fascinating architectural sights. Established as an integral international port in the early 19th century, the city’s old quarter is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the funicular railway system declared a historic monument.
Affectionately known by locals as Valpo, the city has a bohemian reputation that attracts students, artists and musicians alike. This makes less expensive properties often the most hotly contested, although mansions dating back to the colonial era can still be valued well over 200 million Chilean pesos.
One of the most ancient universities in the world, Cambridge enjoys a longstanding rivalry with Oxford – termed ‘the Other Place’ by students – that stretches back 800 years. The 31 colleges that make up the university are scattered throughout the city, with the Gothic majesty of the Kings College chapel probably the most iconic sight. Despite being less than 50 minutes’ train journey from central London, Cambridge retains a rural charm, helped in large part by the preservation of the historic city centre and the college greens, or ‘backs,’ that line the banks of the River Cam.
As a large percentage of Cambridge property is owned by the colleges and therefore reserved for students, the real estate market here is competitive. There are also several picturesque villages located just outside the city, where many professionals choose to live with only a slightly longer bicycle ride to work the next day. Cambridge’s elite academic reputation isn’t solely restricted to university students and professors, either, with the innovative technology companies operating on the outskirts of the city earning it the nickname ‘Silicone Fen.’
Founded in 1477, Uppsala is the oldest university in Sweden. Like Cambridge, its influence on the city that surrounds it is unmistakable, with its numerous historic buildings dominating the centre to this day. The high numbers of international students and expatriates have also left their mark on Uppsala, with this multicultural population evident from the hugely diverse selection of restaurants and street food. It isn’t hard to see why everyone wants to come here – along with its immediate aesthetic appeal, the city has the lowest unemployment rate in Sweden. The majority of residents choose to cycle from place to place, but the excellent public transport system has recently been given a lavish overhaul, making it even easier to travel quickly into Stockholm and other cities and opening Uppsala up to commuters.
To find out more about living these internationally renowned centres of learning, simply visit the Engel & Völkers website.
Furthermore, if this matter is of interest to you have a look at our article about Santiago de Chile.