London was crowned the world's best student city, in spite of languishing close to the bottom of the list for affordability.
The UK capital topped the QS Best Student Cities Ranking 2023 for a fourth year in a row.
Seoul, Munich, Zurich and Melbourne rounded out the top five, while the Scottish capital Edinburgh broke into the top 10.
Dubai ranked best student city in the Middle East
In the Middle East, Dubai was the highest ranked and came 51st overall.
The rankings, compiled by education consultancy QS Quacquarelli Symonds, said that the cost of student life has risen significantly.
“Worryingly, cities are broadly becoming less affordable for students by QS’ measures, with just under 90 per cent declining in our Affordability metric,” said Ben Sowter, senior vice president of QS.
London ranked highest around the world
London was placed top for its score in six factors, including student mix, employer activity and the range of highly ranked universities in a single city.
It scored 98.5/100 for “student view” — whether students would recommend it to others — a result bettered only by Berlin.
Mr Sowter said London had garnered an “outstanding opinion of students who have studied there and the exceptional quality of its universities — both of which translate to an outstanding student experience”.
“However, with the cost of living a growing concern across the UK, the potentially diminishing affordability of studying and living in the city and Britain more broadly is at the forefront of the public and policymakers’ consciousness.”
London School of Economics' guide for prospective students says they should allow for £1,200-£1,300 per month for living expenses, including accommodation, food and travel.
Other guides warn it can be much higher for those socialising regularly, with the cost of living soaring in the UK.
Further notable highlights included Canada boasting three top-20 student cities, while US, Japan and Switzerland have two each.
The highest-ranking cities in the US are Boston (11th) and New York (18th).
China's top entry was Beijing at 29th place.
The fastest rising cities were Almaty in 75th, which rose 30 places in one year, Abu Dhabi in 71st and Ankara in 77th.
QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranks 110 cities around the world. Of these, 58 improved, six remained stable and 46 declined.
It includes cities with a population more than 250,000.
The results are based on the opinions of 98,426 students regarding their time spent in a given city.
Best student cities in the world 2022