Leuven is small town about 30km from Brussels in Belgium. It’s a beautiful university town with lots of character. Leuven is rich in history and culture and it’s a compact vibrant little city making it an ideal place to explore. There’s much to do and see and of course Leuven boasts many incredible foodie spots. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do while visiting Leuven:
1. Visit the Town Hall
This is one the most beautiful and well known Gothic Town Halls in the world. It’s Leuven’s pride and joy and the city challenges you to attempt to count the number of statues on the Town Hall.
2. WURST Haute Dogs
You cannot visit Leuven and not try a ‘haute dog’ from WURST. These are fancy hot dogs; hot dogs that went to private school and a visit to WURST is well worth it. My hot dog was topped with bacon, crispy onion and watercress. It was served with a side of coleslaw and potato wedges with sour cream. It was without any doubt the best hot dog I have ever eaten.
3. Take a Tour of the Stella Artois Brewery
Experience the birthplace of Stella Artois in full action, from the brewing hall to the fast bottling and canning lines. And of course you’re in for a cold fresh glass of Stella – tapped straight from the source – at the end of the tour.
4. Rent a Bike and Travel Like a Local
Leuven is a quintessential cycling city and this is the preferred method of transportation for locals. It’s also a small city so there’s no need to take public transport – like busses – to get around. What better way to explore a city than pedalling around while taking in all of the sights.
5. Chocolate Company Café
If you have a taste for all things chocolate and want to try the very best that Belgium has to offer, you need to visit Chocolate Company Café. Their crème brulee hot chocolate is absolutely incredible!
6. Visit Saint Peter’s Church and Admire Bouts’ Masterpiece
The Last Supper is Leuven’s most famous painting by Flemish Primitive Dieric Bouts. Admire this beautiful masterpiece in the very chapel for which it was initially created.
7. Enjoy a Drink in the Oude Markt
This gorgeous unique square, where people gather outside in the sun, is lined with pubs and food establishments making it ‘the longest bar in Europe’. It’s the perfect spot to sit and enjoy a Belgian beer. If you prefer sweeter style drinks like me, Belgian kriek beer is amazing.
8. Visit the University Library’s Bell Tower
Climb up the Library’s Bell Tower for a magnificent view of Leuven. As you climb the tower’s steps, a photo exhibition teaches you more about the library’s turbulent history. Beyond the fifth floor is the balcony, which opens onto a unique panorama of the city. You’ll appreciate this beautiful city even more from above.
9. Baracca Restaurant
Baracca is a trendy and very popular restaurant situated in the vibrant foodie strip of Leuven. The restaurant boasts an assortment of food such as tapas, tacos and pizzas. They also serve up some incredible cocktails. Baracca was awarded the Gault-Millau 2021 Pop Up of the Year and it’s not difficult to see why.
10. Shop Like a Local
Leuven is the perfect city for strolling and shopping. There are numerous well known shops boasting affordable fashion as well as some Belgian stores that pay homage to local brands and designers. If you’re looking to pick up some new fashionable items, Leuven is the ideal city. In case you’re visiting on a weekend, and are from a large city, you may not realise that most stores in Leuven are closed on Sundays, except for the first Sunday of the month where stores are typically only open from 1pm to 6pm. So be sure to plan accordingly.
For more ideas, suggestions and upcoming events be sure to have a look at Visit Leuven’s website https://www.visitleuven.be/en