It is barely a 15 minute ride to Brussels Airport so it makes Leuven an appealing pre-flight night than just staying in Brussels centre. Trains depart about every half hour (5.50 Euros one way as of Jan 2012). I bought my ticket a day in advance to save time so always make sure you make specific what DATE you will be using it for when you purchase it!
Gini and I had some trouble parking our car in Leuven.
These are possible parking lots (not free) I found on the net.
Seems it is difficult to park your car near the train station. Yet, we found a place back the train station, not in front of it (Martelarenlaan). BUT.. there has to be a BUT... pay attention to where you park your car. Gini had a 25 euro fine (hadn't seen it was not a free parking... hadn't paid so got fined).
Esp. to reach KUL Leuven, check:
I've just downloaded a 7.9 km city walk in Leuven and thought: maybe this is doable by bike.
Of course it is! And much less effort too ;-)
So here's some contact details:
Prof. Roger van Overstraetenplein 1
Every week day (Mon-Fri) from 7 am to 7 pm
During high season also on Saturday: 8.30 am to 7 pm
How to get there by car:
E314 junction 15 Leuven and junction18 Herent. E40 junction 23 Haasrode.
Or by train, since the bike rental is next to the train station in Leuven
The center of Leuven (i.e. excluding the outer boroughs of Wilsele, Heverlee and Kessel-Lo) is a circular shaped city enclosed in an outer ring with a circumference of ca. 2.5 km / 1.6 miles, meaning the distance from the ring (e.g. the railway station) to the heart of the city is only slightly over 1 km / less than a mile. This means all the sights and things to do are within a convenient walking distance. Leuven is also pedestrian-friendly, with many parts of the very center of the city being closed to motorised traffic, often with the exception of buses and taxi's. If you would need a taxi to get from the railway station to your hotel or the other way around, you will note there are plenty of taxi cabs waiting right outside the station.
If, however, you need to call a cab, the most obvious choices would be :
- Taxis Breckpot ( tel. 016 / 20 20 20 )
- Taxis Denny ( tel. 016 / 20 65 65 )
Right next to the station are the platforms for the buses (if you exit, go to the right). The Brussels-bound 358 line runs regularly and makes stops all along the Bondgenotenlaan (Leuven's main street) to the center, then through Brusselsestraat toward the western side of the city. A single fare within the city is slightly less than 1 Euro and can be purchased from the driver. If you need to get to a particular place or hotel and want to get there by bus, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and i'll look up the specifics for you.
Click here to download a detailed map of Leuven.
Getting around in Belgium is best done by rail, it is after all a small country and travel distances between cities of interest are short.
Consult the website of the Belgian railways to find out about the route that matches your itinerary.
If you don't already have a railpass of some sort, a Belgian RailPass at 62 Euro will entitle you to 10 trips of your choice and is a great value when you travel between cities like Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Liege, etc... The good thing is you can share the RailPass with someone, all you have to do is fill out the date and destination per person before you board the train.
For more details on travelling to other Belgian cities, check on http://www.red-nucleus.be/travel
If you need any help planning your trip(s) feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com
To get around you should have a bike. If you haven't you can hire on different places. The youth hostel for example aranges bikes for you for a fair price. If you arive by train you'll see the thousands of bikes on the parking next to the station. Every student has one to move from one place to another. But since the trafic situation in Leuven changed and it gets more difficult to move around by car, even car-adicted people start driving bikes! Ok there is still a long way to get them all on the bike.... But anyway it is the best way to see Leuven!
This is a must: you can't get everywhere in Leuven by car, so you have to do what all locals do: take a bicycle when your' re in the centre ..
Make shure you set it safe, because bicycle-theft happens a LOT !
Leuven centre isn't that big, so you can get perfectly anywhere ( within Leuven centre ) in less then 10minutes by bike ..
Public Transport is very good in Belgium (although we can't stop complaining about it). Leuven can be reached quite easily by train from anywhere in Belgium. Leuven itself is quite small so you can go on foot but busses serve every part of town. Also in the area around Leuven virtually any place can be reached by bus.
Leuven is easy to reach by car. Parking shouldn't be a problem either, although you're usually going to have to pay for it. A big parking garage is Ladeuze, underneath the university library. However, you can try to find a free spot. Just outside the centre, well within walking distance from it, are entire streets where you don't have to pay. If you can find a place, that is. You can also try to find the Lidl supermarket, which is very close to the centre. It has a free parkingplace. Of course it's intended for customers, but if you feel guilty about it you can always buy something for your conscience.
When we go to leuven during a holiday, the carparks are usually closed. What we then do is we park the car under the bridge at the harbour. That's the harbour which is near the Stella Brewery. This is free and safe.
The bus is a rather comfortable way of getting to Leuven as well.
Recently a huge new red modern building has been erected just near the white building of the train station at the Martelarenplein. What a contrasts!
This building is the central place to take the bus.
Outside a time schedule let you know where and when next is departing.
If necessary, it is now easy to combine bus+train or bus+bicycle.
------------panoramic picture, pls click on it to enjoy the complete view!
The road in front of the station is a one direction road for cars, and only busses are allowed to take the other direction as well.
So be careful if you cross.
Nothing compares to the bicycle when moving around in a city, or when driving distances lesser then 20 km.
At Leuven, with over 30 000 students each year, this is the ultimate way to get you through the city!
Near the trainstation a huge parking space is kept for these 2-wheelers.
It must have had about 30 lines, each line about 150 bicycles... so you can start counting! I just guessed I didn't wanted to spend the whole afternoon counting parked bicycles `-)
How to find yours again in that huge heap?
Each line has a number and you better then memorize the yours!
--------- Panoramic picture, click on it if you want to enjoy it to the fullest !
Far out one of the best ways to travel is by train. The Belgian railroad is very accurate. The only negative point of it is, that the last trains taking you back home might be leaving earlier then you intended to stay.
It's quite an easy place to get to. It's on the main ralway line from Brussels and it's about 1/2 an hour journey.
Arriving by car seems simple enough too (when Caro is driving) and you can park almost right in the centre in a large underground carpark (you emerge into one of the main squares). The parking fee seemed quite expensive though, especially as we were there in the evening. Maybe it's even more during "peak" times :-S
Getting around is pretty simple - it's a quite small and compact city, so you can walk to most of the places that you'd want to see. Even the beguinage is not too far to walk.