Leuven Travel Guide

Browse 59 travel reviews, 44 travel blogs and 596 travel photos from real travelers to Leuven.

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Leuven Overview

The capital of the Flemish Brabant province in the Flemish Region of Belgium, just 30 clicks outside of Brussels, Leuven is a true university town, complete with the oldest Catholic university in the world, initially founded in 1425. From the towering spires of the Grand Place and two distinctly unique World Heritage Sites to the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch InBev, this is a town of distinct possibilities, boasting a decidedly Belgian experience.

With a history going back to roughly the ninth century, founded along the river Eijile in the beautiful Flemish countryside, Leuven is a town of unique experiences. Perhaps the most dramatic of these is the drastic change of the population between the academic year and the rest of the year. While the city is somewhat quiet and reserved during the summer months outside of a few random tourists, once school sets in it transforms into a bustling hive of activity, complete with a sizzling nightlife to go along with the stunning historical sites, awesome brew and food, and the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Leuven is a testament to amazing architecture, and like most of the major European cities, the city center is almost completely pedestrianized, meaning that you should prepare yourself for quite a lot of walking around. Beyond that, getting around the city can be be done by taxi, bus, or by renting a bicycle, something that is quite foreign to most American travelers. From sites such as the university library, the Gothic City Hall, the fountain of wisdom known as Fonske, and places like St. Peter’s Church, Grand Beguinage, or the Arenberg Castle, Leuven boasts more wonders than you can shake a stick at, and regardless of what time of year you come you are in for a treat. The city is only recently beginning to transform into a major destination for foreigners, so now is the perfect time to visit before the crowds start setting in.

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