Exploring Hungary’s Top University Cities

Hungary, nestled in Central Europe, boasts a rich academic tradition and a thriving educational scene. The country has been raising in popularity among international students, and it’s not just for the culture or the picturesque landscape! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll profile the top university cities in Hungary for students, including Budapest, Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, and Pécs. Each city has its unique attributes and offerings. So let’s dive into the reasons to choose to settle in one of these cities while studying in Hungary.

Read also our article on the reasons why you should study in Hungary.

Study in Budapest for International Students

Budapest, the Hungarian capital, is a bustling hub of education and culture. Often dubbed the ‘City of Spas,’ it offers a unique and compelling backdrop for education. With over 100 thermal springs, students can find relaxation and inspiration in this beautiful city. Budapest’s rich history is a living testament to its academic tradition, where two once-separate cities, Buda and Pest, merged to create a dynamic learning environment. Moreover, the city’s iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge symbolizes unity and connectivity. 

As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to explore historic treasures like Castle Hill, home to Buda Castle and Matthias Church, which not only offer stunning views but also a rich cultural heritage. Moreover, the city’s commitment to education is evident through its hosting of half of the student population in Hungary. Lastly, Budapest’s coffee house culture, where intellectuals have gathered for centuries, makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a well-rounded and culturally enriching educational experience.

Budapest - Top university cities in Hungary

Top Universities in Budapest 

Budapest boasts a wide range of programs and courses, making it an education centerpoint. Among the best global universities in Budapest, there are: 

  • Budapest University of Technology & Economics
  • Eotvos Lorand University
  • Hungarian University of Agriculture & Life Sciences
  • Obuda University
  • Semmelweis University
  • Szeged University
  • University of Debrecen
  • University of Pecs

Benefits of studying in Budapest for international students

  • Diverse academic programs
  • Stunning architecture
  • Rich cultural heritage
  • Large student population


  • Higher cost of living compared to other cities


Budapest is a top choice for students seeking a cosmopolitan university experience in Hungary. Though the cost of living is a bit higher, it remains moderate. Another point in favor of this university city is its efficient public transportation system.

Debrecen: Affordable Excellence

The second in our list is Debrecen, which is the largest city in the eastern part of Hungary. Debrecen also serves as the administrative, economic, and cultural center of the Hajdú-Bihar County. Located in the heart of the Great Hungarian Plain, it offers a compelling destination for international students seeking an enriching academic experience.

With its prestigious University of Debrecen, founded in 1538, the city boasts a strong educational tradition that combines history and innovation. Students can therefore immerse themselves in a city known for its vibrant cultural scene. This includes theaters, galleries, and the annual Debrecen Flower Carnival, a colorful celebration not to be missed.

The city’s geographical location, in eastern Hungary near the iconic Hortobágy National Park, provides a unique backdrop for learning. This allows students to explore the rich biodiversity and traditional Hungarian puszta landscape.

With proximity to Budapest and excellent transportation links, Debrecen is an ideal choice for those seeking both academic excellence and a diverse cultural experience in Hungary.

Best student cities in Hungary | Debrecen

University of Debrecen for International Students

The University of Debrecen is one of Hungary’s oldest and most prestigious institutions. It’s particularly well-known for its medical and scientific programs. Additionally, the university’s commitment to research and innovation makes it a magnet for students pursuing careers in healthcare and technology.

Read our review of the University of Debrecen in our top 10 universities in Hungary

Benefits of Studying in Debrecen

  • Academic excellence
  • Peaceful environment
  • Affordable living
  • Strong medical programs


  • Limited English proficiency outside the university settings
  • Continental climate with long and cold winters


Debrecen is a perfect choice for students looking for a tranquil academic setting in Hungary. The living cost also remains budget-friendly, making it an attractive enough destination for students.

Szeged: The City of Sunshine

The third in our list of the best university cities in Hungary is Szeged. Located in the southern part of Hungary, the city boasts a pleasant climate and a thriving academic environment. Known as the ‘City of Sunshine’, it’s an exceptional destination for students seeking a dynamic and enriching academic experience.

Its vibrant cultural scene, complete with theaters, galleries, and the renowned Open-Air Festival, ensures a lively and culturally rich atmosphere. Moreover, Szeged’s historic architecture, exemplified by the breathtaking Votive Church, creates a picturesque backdrop for daily life. The city’s natural thermal baths, like the Szeged Aquapolis, provide relaxation and leisure.

Additionally, its accessible location makes travel and exploration convenient. Furthermore, the welcoming and diverse community, along with an affordable cost of living, fosters a high quality of life for both local and international residents. 


What is the University of Szeged known for?

The University of Szeged is one of Hungary’s leading research universities. The institution stands out for its high academic standards. It also consistently ranks among the top universities in Hungary and Central Europe.

Moreover, the University of Szeged’s Faculty of Medicine is particularly renowned and attracts medical students from around the world. This medical school also gets recognition for its high-quality medical education and cutting-edge research in the field of healthcare.

Read more on the subject in our guide on medical studies in Hungary

Pros of studying in Szeged, Hungary

  • Rich cultural experiences
  • Strong humanities programs


  • Slightly higher cost of living


Szeged truly encapsulates an ideal blend of academic excellence, cultural vibrancy, and a sunny disposition. This makes it an exceptional place to call home while pursuing higher education.

Pécs: The Historic Haven

Pécs, a city steeped in history and culture, is another inviting destination for those seeking an enriching academic and cultural experience. As one of Hungary’s oldest university cities with a heritage spanning millennia, Pécs offers a unique blend of historical significance and modern academia.

Home to the prestigious University of Pécs, this city provides a top-tier educational environment with a wide range of programs. The institution is also one of those that offer a warm welcome to international students. 

Moreover, UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Pécs showcase its historical treasures. The city’s cultural diversity is celebrated through festivals and events year-round. Furthermore, its Zsolnay Porcelain heritage is a testament to artistic craftsmanship. Nestled in the Mecsek Mountains, the city offers outdoor escapes. 

Pécs - university cities in Hungary

University of Pécs, Hungary

The University of Pécs has a long and illustrious history, dating back to its founding in 1367. It is one of the oldest universities in Hungary and Central Europe, making it a testament to the country’s rich academic tradition. The university also stands out for its diverse student body, with a significant number of international students from all around the world.

Benefits of studying in Pécs, Hungary

  • Historical charm
  • Strong medical and natural sciences programs
  • Moderate cost of living


  • Language barrier outside the classroom
  • Smaller city vibes compared to Budapest or other major European capitals


Compared to other university cities in Hungary, Pécs offers students an affordable living and a tight-knit community. This beautiful town promises a comprehensive and satisfying journey for those who choose to call it home while pursuing higher education.

Miskolc: The Gateway to Northern Hungary

The last of our top university cities in Hungary is a hidden gem in Northern Hungary. Miskolc has a rich industrial history, particularly in mining and metallurgy.

The city’s Diósgyőr district stands out for its medieval castle and iron works, providing a glimpse into Hungary’s industrial past. Moreover, Miskolc offers a compelling backdrop for academic pursuits thanks to its cultural richness and natural beauty.

The city is also home to the University of Miskolc, renowned for its technical programs. That makes it an attractive option for students seeking a quality education in engineering and related fields.

Additionally, Miskolc hosts various cultural festivals, such as the International Opera Festival and the Bartók+ Dance Festival, providing students with opportunities to engage with the arts. The city’s proximity to the Bükk National Park allows for outdoor adventures and exploration of limestone caves in the Karst landscape.

With an affordable cost of living and a well-connected transportation system, Miskolc offers students a multicultural environment, historical sites, and a taste of traditional Hungarian cuisine.


Why choose the University of Miskolc?

The University of Miskolc is the largest university in the Northern part of Hungary. It also boasts a well-equipped campus and research facilities, enhancing students’ academic experience. Moreover, the university’s path to internationalization makes it an appealing destination for those seeking a diverse and enriching educational journey in Hungary.

Pros of studying in Miskolc, Hungary

  • Unique charm
  • Strong engineering programs
  • Affordable living
  • Industrial connections


  • Limited cultural attractions


Miskolc is a hidden gem for students seeking specialized technical education in Hungary. The city provides a close-knit academic community and a lower cost of living compared to larger university cities in Hungary. And lastly, it’s an excellent choice for students interested in engineering and technology. 

To sum up, exploring Hungary’s university cities is a great way to spot what the country offers best: the cultural vibrancy of Budapest, the academic excellence of the universities in Debrecen, the sunny climate of Szeged, the industrial focus of Miskolc, and the Mediterranean charm of Pécs. The choice is yours, but one thing is sure: you’ll come up with the historical richness and the welcoming and inspiring environment all along your study stay. Each one of these university towns will leave an indelible mark on your academic and personal growth abroad.

About Herilalao

A versatile freelance content creator and SEO specialist, I have a passion for writing and a knack for optimizing online visibility. I help businesses and individuals enhance their online presence through engaging and well-researched content. From writing informative articles to optimizing websites for search engines, I thrive in finding ways to create and manage content that not only resonates with readers but also boosts visibility and drives organic traffic.

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