Leuven Travel Guide

  • Leuven
    by angiebabe
  • Beguinage Leuven
    Beguinage Leuven
    by FilipDemuinck
  • University Library - Leuven
    University Library - Leuven
    by FilipDemuinck

Leuven Highlights

  • Pro
    OlafS profile photo

    OlafS says…

     Lots of nice buildings, a great brewery and picturesque atmosphere 

  • Con
    miketrudeau profile photo

    miketrudeau says…

     Not too many tourist sights. This is actually sort of a pro. 

  • In a nutshell
    irisbe profile photo

    irisbe says…

     Most enjoyable when sunny weather, city of students and people who love a drink and a walk 

Leuven Things to Do

  • Groot Begijnhof

    This historic group of structures is a reminder of the glorious past but also used very much in the inglorious present by faculty and students lucky enough to live here. I went at night and absorbed the fantastic atmosphere.

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  • Ypres- Brugge- Brussels- Louvain

    The Louvain city hall... reportedly to be built as Louvain's answer to Brussels' Gothic city hall, that, in its turn, got into rivalry in elegance, with Brugg City hall. At last, the latter had borrowed from Ypres' city hall (the Cloth hall, in fact) its style... dixit our guide at the City Hall.Now, between Brussels and Louvain... a rivalry dating...

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  • Sint Pieterskerk

    St Peter is the patron saint of the city.In Louvain, you can't miss this church. It's on the main place, the Grote Markt place, neighbouring the city hall and the Tafelrond (cf next tips).If you come to Louvain by train and step down at Leuven station, just head to the place where stand the buildings that look of another era (rebuilt, not...

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Leuven Hotels

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Leuven Restaurants

  • Warning: Kalypta, what a shame !

    They cheated us with the bill. If you go to Leuven don't go to this place. The waiter and the owners (Jo Vanreusel and Maria Corbeels as I found later in the internet) are just thieves. I have looked for other opinions on this restaurant and 90% noted that the service was very bad. I would add that is even dangerous. They will try to get your money...

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  • Ancient atmosphere

    This is an old school restaurant in the heart of an old school town! A bit tired looking but presided over by an energenic host. I tried the ribs with their special house sauce. More of a dry rib than a wet one for my taste but still interesting.

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  • Simple decent food, Belgian style!

    A large piece of meat, lots of sauce, lots of french fries, a small salad and some mayonaise, that is how belgians like their food. Unlike the french or italian we believe in large portions. In that respect, this is a typical belgian restaurant. Don't confuse this with "streekgerechten" = typical regional foods, which are usually simple hearty...

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Leuven Nightlife

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  • Mixed company in a mixed space

    STUK is the kind of mixed-use space that Europeans always do so well. A bit like the Vooruit in Ghent but more focused on students and their needs. Kind of like a really cool student union! Part cafe, part cinema, etc., etc. Lots of students studying as well as chatting. Apparently, can get very crowded on clubStuk nights. Have a beer and...

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  • To the tables down at....

    A place festooned in the ribbons and stripes of club revelries (and rivalries) past. What a great atmosphere. The bartender- Jacky- told me he has tended bar their 42 years and counting. Now that's the kind of tenured "faculty" I like! There was even a little raffishness in the once-nicotine stained air as the hour drew late and the normal...

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  • A little night music

    An attractive spot very popular with the students. The bartender admitted that most of the jazz legends pictured around the place NEVER set foot here. Still, their spirit surrounds this place! Most of the time it is dj programmed music so check for the occasional live sets on their website. Casual

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Leuven Transportation

  • So close to Brussels Airport

    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...

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  • Parking places

    Gini and I had some trouble parking our car in Leuven.These are possible parking lots (not free) I found on the net. http://www.leuven.be/showpage.asp?iPageID=1686#14Seems 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...

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  • Hire a bicycle

    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 13000 LeuvenOpening hours:Every week day (Mon-Fri) from 7 am to 7 pmDuring high season also on Saturday: 8.30 am to 7 pmHow to get there by car:E314...

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Leuven Shopping

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  • SALE!

    Most stores in Leuven, Hasselt and Tournai are in their "final" sale mode. So not a bad time to buy the stuff you need at reduced rates.

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  • Shop like a student

    This is the old Yale CO-OP and old Harvard COOP all rolled into one! A great many books along with essential student supplies. Unlike the Library, I didn't need a special card to enter here. Specially good selection of foreign language manuals. Books, of course! About average

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  • Kitchen tools and gadgets

    It's always a delight to browse through a kitchen and cooking shop. There are always items that I need and there we were, spoiled for choice. I bought a 'Molenmes' (knife) by Robert Herder (Solingen, Germany). Made by hand, is always sharp because of how it is sharpened. It's not rust free but that makes the steel much harder. The little vegetable...

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Leuven Local Customs

  • Jef Lambeaux has roots here

    The man who sculpted Brabo fountain on Antwerp's Grote Markt and some pieces in Brussels' Petit Sablon area (Kleine Zavel) has roots in Leuven, dixit our voluble guide at City Hall.Yes, some of his works are in the entrance hall of the Louvain's City Hall.The most famous ones are his fountain in Antwerp (1886), Robbing the Eagles Eyrie (1890),...

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  • Town-wide Snowball Fights

    Although the winters in Leuven are cold, damp and dark, it generally does not snow. In my year living in this city, there was only one snowfall. It was great. about four inches of nice, damp, packing snow. The whole town, which consists almost completely of students, fell to throwing snowballs at each other all afternoon. If you visit Leuven, it...

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  • TJOKOLATEKE

    Like on so many airports also in Leuven it is a good custom to bring your friends or relatives some chocolat for their good health! In Belgium you can find these shops in the pedestrian area in the larger cities, they are almost on the street, you can eat from the paper or pack in a large variety of boxes and such.Please give it a try and taste the...

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Leuven Warnings and Dangers

  • Quite a workout

    Along with dodging the many bikes that come from all directions, I noticed that the ancient street stones, especially around the Grote Markt area, are slippery when wet AND really work you legs into submission. You will feel some pain overnite especially if you are not used to walking on this kind of surface.

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  • No worries ... Well, hardly any.

    I think it's okay to claim Leuven is a safe and clean place. There's little crime here - you hardly ever hear about a murder, robbery, rape or assault having happened here. When walking the streets late at night you may bump into a drunk but that's about it. Most places are well lit and you'll rarely see groups of people loitering. The picture to...

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  • Always Lock your Bike (it Won't Help)!

    Because Leuven's population is about two-thirds student, and the town core is very small, there is a great market for renting old clunky (but very fun) bikes. Each of these has a solid carrier on the back that acts like a back seat, so a team of bikes can really transport a lot of people around!Anyways, there are just about as many bikes stolen as...

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Leuven Tourist Traps

  • Walk the walk.

    hmm... I don't see any 'added value' in the horse-and-carriage rides the city offers. While I'm sure these horses are well looked after, I'm just not that fond of the idea of exploiting animals for our entertainment. I reckon a horse and carriage ride out on the countryside is all well and good, but I see very little point in such a ride in the...

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  • Fonskes chocolate

    Although Fonske, a statue in the centre of the city, is the symbol of our town and chocolate is a belgian speciality, Fonske chocolates are a new invention an not a tradition at all. They can be bought all over town so they are made in a factory. Try the brands that made belgian chocolates famous or try one of the stores that produces chocolates...

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  • Leuven Hotels

    24 Hotels in Leuven

    127 Reviews and Opinions

Leuven What to Pack

  • Download the map

    Comfortable, rubber soled shoes. Bring an umbrella that can withstand the wind An absolute necessity is to download the free map (in color, preferably) from Use-it. It is the only guide you need to Leuven unless you know people there. Other Belgian cities available, too.

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  • It rains ALOT

    What do you need? Coming from China perhaps, but I have found clothing and shoes to be very expensive here in Leuven. Bring the stuff from home. You must bring a jacket regardless of the time of year you visit plus an umbrella as it rains alot. Good walking shoes are a must because the city is really well designed for getting out into nature on...

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  • Needful things

    Bring comfortable shoes for walking. There's no point in driving a car into the city - you can easily do everything on foot. Just bear in mind there are many cobbled streets in Leuven, so if you want to venture off the beaten path a bit, your feet will kill you at the end of the day unless you wear something suitable, like sneakers. The weather,...

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Leuven Off The Beaten Path

  • Make sure to wander

    Make sure to wander off of the Use-it map.. There are some interesting streets that curve in all sort of unexpected directions, especially South of the city center. Especially look out for unusual architectural details.

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  • De Lantaarn Cafe

    Anchoring a corner of the former Stella factory, this bar had the reputation of having the most direct "pipeline" to all that golden, liquid Stella goodness. A regular Joe kind of place- laidback and authentic. Check it out before it moves or disappears since the old brewery site has been sold, making the bar's days numbered. Well worth the healthy...

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  • University carillon

    Bell ringing has been a hobby of mine since the late 1990s. My boyfriend is a carillon player and so bells are a theme wherever we visit.I simply love the bell music. Those huge bells can be hunderds of years old. Their sound was heard by people in the middle ages. Isn't that just amazing?For some information about the carillon at Leuven...

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Leuven Sports & Outdoors

  • marc56's Profile Photo

    by marc56 Written Feb 16, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Outside Leuven, 5 km from the center, in Kessel-Lo, there is a recreation area.
    You can do there a lot of sports.
    It's a area in the nature.
    The sports you can do: tennis, minigolf, soccer, basketball, petanque, walking and jogging, rowing on a pond.
    For the kids, there are many gametoys, a pond with electric boats and a wsimming pool.
    This all in open air.
    To get there, you take bus number 2, direction Holsbeek and get off on "Het provinciaal domein Kessel-Lo.
    There are also two bars where you can have a meal and a drink.

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Leuven Favorites

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  • University life

    The Catholic Universtiy of Leuven is the oldest in Belgium. Some decades ago it was the object of a bitter discusion between the Flemish and the French speaking communities in Belgium. Although Leuven is in Flanders, the language most broadly used in the University used to be French. When the Flemish nationalist movement begun to get stronger, they...

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  • Festivals and Concerts Galore

    It seems as though every day a new concert or festival comes to town. There's always a fair or parade or something going on. Some of the best concerts ever come through here. The most unbelievable line-up was at the four-day rock festival just outside Leuven, called Rock Werchter. Here are just a few of the Bands that...

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  • The Arenberg castle

    The castle of Arenberg wich is now property of the univercity, was before the world war the home of the family Von Arenberg. They were one of the richest families in this part of Europe, but with the war the Belgians thought they helped the germans and so the family had to move out... Know you can walk around in the park or follow classes in the...

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