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Locals Lieve & Rik share their tips for spending 24h/48h in Leuven. DAY 1 10 am | There’s no better way to start the weekend than with a visit to the tower at the university library to take in the unique panorama of the entire city. 11 am | The doors of the Museum M, about 100 m from the university library, open at 11 am. Your museum ticket will also get you into the treasury at St Peter’s Church, which is the oldest and largest church in Leuven. Among other things, you’ll find 'The Last Supper' by Dirk Bouts in the M-Treasury of Saint Peter. The Leuven Town Hall, one of the most beautiful late Gothic buildings in Europe, is just across from Saint Peter’s Church. (There is a guided tour every day at 3 pm) 1 pm | It’s definitely time for a bite to eat by now. You can get something on the Grote Markt, the square between the Town Hall and the church. This same square is also a great place to come drink something in the evening when the last rays of the setting sun turn the Town Hall golden. 2 pm | Weekend visitors are best off popping into the shops on Saturday afternoon. But don’t forget the quieter shopping streets with their smaller, cosy boutiques, like the Parijsstraat and the Mechelsestraat. You can stop at Barbóék, which is a unique combination of a coffee bar and a bookshop, for coffee. 5 pm | If your legs aren’t too tired, now is the time to head to the Sluispark via the Vismarkt and Saint Gertrude’s Abbey and walk along the Vaartkom. Construction on the new Leuven is going on here on the site where Stella beer used to be brewed. If you’re feeling a bit peckish again, you can head to De Smidse, the old Stella Artois forge, which now houses a modern market for traditional foodstuffs. This unique setting is also home to Pasta Atelier Rossi. According to Gault&Millau, chef Felice Miluzzi is the best Italian chef in Belgium. On the other side of the Dijle River is the Grand Café De Hoorn, where you can enjoy a bite to eat and the view of the old copper brew-kettles of the historic De Hoorn brewery. If you’d rather bypass the meat, you can go to the Noordoever, a vegetarian restaurant on the banks of the old Vaartkom, that’s just 100 m up the way. They put the tables outside on the banks in the summer. DAY 2 We know the Leuven city centre like the back of our hands, so now it’s time to expand our range. The easiest way to do this is on two wheels, and you can even opt for an electric bike. You can rent bicycles here. 10 am | First stop: the Botanical Garden, Belgium’s oldest botanical garden (1738). It’s not the largest but it is the most charming of gardens in our country. 11 am | Second stop: the Great Beguinage, one of the largest beguinages that is still maintained in Belgium. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The three-hectare enclosed garden is a peaceful oasis in the middle of a busy city. noon | Head out of the city and into Park Abbey in Heverlee. The Abbey was once the largest in the Low Countries and hard work is now underway to restore the gigantic area. You can have lunch here at Brasserie Abdijmolen. You have a gorgeous view of the abbey site’s ponds from the brasserie terrace. 2 pm | If you’ve still got some energy in your legs, you can ride on over to the Vlierbeek Abbey. The church is definitely worth the effort but even more so is the tavern In den Rozenkrans, a pub where the interior has not changed for the past 50 years. A break on the terrace is a must in the summertime.
The ILUVLeuven Ticket gives you the opportunity to visit the most important buildings of Leuven at a favorable rate. 1. ILUVLeuven Ticket: 8 euro | Gives acces to: • Town hall • University library & tower • M-Museum Leuven 2. ILUVLeuven Ticket XL: 16 euro | Gives acces to: • Town hall • University library & tower • M-Museum Leuven The tickets are available at Visit Leuven, Naamsestraat 3, 3000 Leuven
Both from a cultural and art-historical point of view, Leuven offers a wide range of possibilities. From the magnificent GothicTown Hall to the modest splendour of the Saint Peter’s Church & the M-Treasury of Saint Peter and the delicious atmosphere at the Oude Markt (Old Market Square), Leuven has it all. You are sure to come back again.
Leuven is well known for its countless enjoyable bars and cafés, ranging from student drinking holes and boisterous dance cafés to trendy cocktail lounges. Partly due to the presence of the students, Leuven has a very lively nightlife. The Oude Markt is Leuven’s meeting place par excellence, particularly in warm weather when the numerous terraces quickly fill up. You can sample the very tastiest local beers in unique, atmospheric surroundings. Students, visitors and locals come here to enjoy a drink, take in the atmosphere and enjoy a good chat. The world has been put to rights here dozens of times over. Here is an overview of the greatest places to go out in Leuven.
City project as a result of the 500th birthday of the world-famous anatomist Andreas Vesalius. One of the most influential characters in the renaissance period and former student at the University of Leuven.
Trendy boutiques, colourful shops to browse in and authentic specialist shops in Leuven are all just a stroll away. Pedestrian plazas and attractive short-cuts lead shoppers through streets with coffee bars, pubs, pavement cafés and enticing restaurants. No matter in which direction you leave the Grote Markt, within a minute you are sure to discover a gem of a shop.
A small-scale city like Leuven has numerous cosy and often unique spots. We give you an insider guide into beer spots.
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