Best Places to Study Abroad in Spain
From nightlife in the cosmopolitan capital in Madrid to pintxos bars in San Sebastian’s Old Town to the creative chaos and beauty of Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona, Spain truly has it all. Its undeniable liveliness is felt on each street, in each song, and at each terraza. Its beauty is seen in each diverse landscape from the snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevadas to the rugged cliffs of Costa Brava. Among its grandeur and vibrancy are two stunning cities: Seville and Salamanca. Both unique and enticing, and both some of the best places to study abroad in Spain. The difficulty lies in choosing between the two. You’ve chosen to study abroad in Spain.
Why are these two cities the best places to study abroad in Spain?
Highlights of Seville
Known for its beautiful, sunny weather and its long history, Seville is a magical place. Studying abroad in the capital of Andalucia—Spain’s fourth largest city—gives you access to the birthplace of Flamenco, the Universidad de Sevilla, and Semana Santa processions as well as the oh-so-amazing Feria de Abril. Escape to Parque de María Luisa, visit the Cathedral of Seville that took over a century to complete and climb the ramps of La Giralda, a minaret tower, for the best view of the city, and then explore the Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, an extravagant, Moorish-style palace. No semester study abroad in Seville is complete without an inevitable love affair with Plaza de España, a square with unbelievably intricate detail and tilework.
Highlights of Salamanca
Located in the autonomous region of Castilla y León, Salamanca is known for its world-renowned university. Founded in 1218, the Universidad de Salamanca is the oldest university in Spain. Centuries of learning make for a wise and historical place. Exploring on foot is doable and definitely recommended. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old Town, hit up fiestas in the historic centre with tons of university students, and don’t miss central Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city and the square popular for nightlife. Study abroad in Salamanca to witness the Catedral Vieja and Catedral Nueva, cross the Tormes River on the Roman bridge for beautiful cityscapes, and be a part of young, vibrant university city.
How can you decide if you should study abroad in Seville or Salamanca?
Choosing between two of the best places to study abroad in Spain is no easy feat. But, before you start to scour Google and all its wonder for every travel article and blog, always start off by reading program reviews. If you can, try to get in touch with alumni who can give you firsthand insight into what it is like to study abroad in Seville or Salamanca. Compare your top-pick programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad -- save yourself the hand-cramps from writing out pros, cons, and program specs.
Once you’ve begun your decision-making journey, you may start asking yourself which city is the best place to study in Spain for YOU. To help get you started in attempting to answer that question, here are a couple important factors to take into account when choosing which Spanish city is perfect for your study abroad adventure:
Each City’s Unique Personality
The smell of oranges on orange trees when they’re in season is a stunning sensory characteristic of Seville. Between the sun and the citrus scent, you’ll fall for a place that boasts the biggest Semana Santa celebration and unreal Feria de Abril celebrations—tons of casetas, tents, line the Guadalquivir River and tons more people dance sevillanas.
Whether you’re enjoying the warm, temperate climate, exploring the narrow streets of Santa Cruz, or attending a bullfight at Maestranza, the bullfighting ring, Seville offers study abroad students tons of festivities and an unmatchable charm. If you need any more reasons to study abroad in Seville, take a look at these 10 highlights of studying in Seville.
As a university student, you’re bound to feel the young, lively pulse of Salamanca everywhere you go. As a hub for students, there are tons of options for live music, concerts, films, and more activities to keep schedule loaded with cultural activities. Check out the streets surrounding the central Plaza Mayor including Bordadores, Prior, Rúa Mayor, and Meléndez, because they’re bursting with bars and botellones.
Salamanca celebrates the weeklong Feria de Salamanca, and one of the city’s patron saints, Virgen da la Vega, during the second week of September. Salamantinos drink, eat, dance, attend bullfights, and watch parades with the street partying continuing late into the night. The student atmosphere is bumped up a few notches around this time as everyone is returning to university, just in time to celebrate before the cold of winter arrives.
Location, Language, & Culture
There are tons of opportunities for adventure when you study abroad in Seville. Delve into the city’s 17th-century golden age at the Museo de Bellas Artes, be in awe at flamenco concerts, classes, and workshops at the Museo del Baile Flamenco, and marvel at the Gothic masterpiece that is the Catedral de Sevilla. Blending Moorish, Christian, and Jewish influences, Seville’s unique history is seen in its streets, museums, and architecture—you’ll definitely learn lots of Spanish history studying abroad here!
Located in the heart of Andalucia, Seville is close to several other southern cities. Soak up all of sunny Andalucia by visiting Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Córdoba, Granada, and Nerja and Marbella on the Costa del Sol. On a high speed train, you can get to Cádiz in under an hour and to Madrid in under three—not bad, right? If you’re into flying and country hopping, head to Seville’s international airport to get a feel for places outside of Spain.
With a rep for its pure Spanish, Salamanca offers a prestigious educational and linguistic opportunity for study abroad students. Don’t miss out on looking for the Lucky Frog on the Universidad Civil, and the astronaut and ice cream cone on the Catedral Nueva. Salamanca is a Renaissance city and an ideal study abroad location because it’s bursting with museums, architecture, concerts, and history—and it’s only about two and a half hours from Madrid by train and bus!
Salamanca is a smaller, walkable city close to the countryside. Hang in the many gardens and parks to relax—Calixto y Melibea Garden is a must-visit. Head to the La Covatilla resort to go skiing in the Sierra de Béjar mountains. Hike in surrounding areas including the Sierra de Béjar mountains, the Batuecas Valley, and the Arribes del Duero area. Study abroad in Salamanca means lots and lots of adventurous activities in and out of the city—head north to León and then Galicia, or west to Portugal! If you’re looking to do a lot of international travel, however, keep in mind that you may have to hop on a bus or train to Madrid to catch more international flights to country hop.
What are the best study abroad programs in each city?
Top Salamanca Study Abroad Programs to Check Out:
- Study at the University of Salamanca with API
- Spend a semester or year in Salamanca with AIFS
- Study in Salamanca with IES Abroad
- Immerse yourself fully in Salamanca with Athena Study Abroad
Opportunities to Study Abroad in Seville You Should Consider:
- Perfect your Spanish with Spanish Studies Abroad in Seville
- Spend a semester in Seville with Adelante Abroad
- Study at the University of Sevilla with ISA
- Study abroad in Seville on a budget with CSA
Bonus — Study Abroad in Granada!
If you’re not feeling the study in Seville vibes and Salamanca study abroad isn’t quite looking like the spot for you, studying in Granada is a great choice! Famous for its free tapas when you order a drink, Granada is another great Spanish city to study abroad. Wander the Albayzín neighborhood to really pick up on the Moorish influence, sip on Alhambra beer, and get lost touring the magnificently breathtaking La Alhambra, showcasing Muslim and Christian influences in its grand structure. Granada’s location in the heart of Andalucía sets it amid the Sierra Nevada mountains, yet also super close to the Mediterranean coast.
If free tapas and the beach + mountains combo didn’t grab your attention, read more reasons about everything Granada has to offer in a study abroad city.
Now that you’ve got a more complete look at some of the best places to study abroad in Spain, it’s up to you! Go with sunny, southern Seville or university-centered, unique Salamanca, or plot twist: Granada—only YOU can choose the best city to study abroad in Spain for you!