As I mentioned you here and here, due to my studies (want to know more about them? click here 😉 ) I had the possibility to live and study for 5 months in Belgium! In particular, I was staying in Leuven, a university city not far at all from Brussels.
I really enjoyed my stay there but since I’ve noticed that not many people know this little town, I though about listing a few reasons why Leuven should be on your list while visiting Belgium, I hope they’ll be sufficiently good to convince you to go!
So hear you go with the list of reasons why you should visit Leuven:
1 | It’s just 30 minutes away from Brussels
Literally, 30 minutes or even 27 sometimes. There are many direct trains from Brussels to Leuven so it’s very easy to get there if you’re spending a few days in the capital but wish to get out of the usual busy rhythms of a big city and enjoy the more relaxing atmosphere of a little town. Plus, the train is not expensive at all, especially if you manage to get the go pass, which I wrote about here 😉
2 | To go back in time and feel like a fresher student again
Leuven happens to be a university town (indeed, I was there due to study reasons 😉 ) and it’s university is really well known not only in Belgium but all around Europe! Because of this, you can imagine how many students there are around the city and how many events or initiatives organised by them! You can definitely breath sparkling and lively air while walking around 🙂 Also, since reputation of the courses is very good, the city hosts many Erasmus and exchange students so it could be very probable that you’ll hear many people talking in English or other languages besides Flemish!
3 | It’s town hall it’s just too beautiful not to check it out
When I was checking out Leuven from the internet before getting there I already understood that the town hall building was pretty nice. But guys, seeing it live it’s even more impressive! So big, majestic and well decorated, perfectly on style with the city! Plus, during Christmas time the structure is surrounded (as all the city actually) by many lights and it’s just so nice passing by it and seeing all the town hall illuminated!
4 | Everything is walking distance and if you need a break there’s a vast choice of cosy cafès
As I said before, Leuven is not a big city so everything is seeable just by walk or by bike of course. (Oh I didn’t tell you, the quantity of bikes you’ll see around is definitely remarkable, mainly because of the many students 😉 ) And if you feel like stopping for a while or eating/drinking something, it’s full of cosy cafès and restaurants where to enjoy a nice break, for example the chain “Le Pain Quotidien” which I reviewed in this post here (one of my favourite brunch locations) has a shop there too!
5 | The University Library it’s quite something
The other marvellous building you can find in Leuven (oh wait, there is also a third one which is pretty nice: the cathedral 😉 ) is the university Library. Already from the outside is nicely decorated especially the colourful windows decorations but when you enter it’s just like going back on time. I had the luck I could go there to study and well I have to admit that studying there was quite remarkable 🙂 The weird thing was that while studying there you could see tourists passing by you but particularly during exams period there are so many students that you don’t even care if you’re in the memory picture of someone 😀 Unfortunately if you’re not a Leuven student to enter you have to pay a little fee, but I can assure you it’s totally worth it! 🙂
6 | To feel like a local while drinking something at one of the many bars at the Grote Markt (Great market square)
Now, if you want to try a full Leuven experience you HAVE TO go to the Grote Markt, sit at one of the many tables around the square and enjoy a drink (of course since you’re in Belgium, beer is highly recommended 😀 ). The ideal time would be in the evening because you could see how much student life there’s around there but if you’re there any other time you can also do it 🙂 Plus, the building around the square follow the typical Belgian architecture which is really nice to see!
7 | To enjoy a full beer tour experience at The Stella Artois Factory
As you all know I think, one of Belgium greatest glories is beer. While being there I’ve learned that there are actually different typical types of beer depending on the area you are (just like pasta in Italy :D). The most drunk in Leuven is Stella Artois which also happens to have it’s facotory not far from the city centre (10 minutes by bus). If you’re beer lovers, it is possible to visit the factory and book a tour through their website 😉
I hope I gave you enough good reasons and convinced you to stop by Leuven next time you’ll be in Belgium! 😉 And don’t forget to let me know what you thought about it!
What about you? Have you ever been to Leuven? Which were your favourite parts of the town? 🙂
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