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Best & Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Leuven, Belgium

Best & Fun Things To Do & Places To Visit In Leuven, Belgium

Arenberg Castle

Arenberg Castle

Arenberg Castle, Leuven, Belgium / Stephane Mignon / Flickr

Check out the gorgeous college campus in the world.

The original castle was erected in the fourteenth century by the Heverlee family.

Because of his marriage to Anna of Croy, Arenberg could hold onto Heverlee Castle in Leuven for two centuries.

While it may surprise you, this castle has undergone multiple restorations since it was erected in Renaissance-era architecture in 1600.

A significant renovation was also carried out in the Neo-Gothic style during the nineteenth century.

The property of the duke of Arenberg was handed to the University of Leuven in 1916 by the latter.

Flemish architecture is known for its sandstone window panes and brick exteriors.

The Engineering Science Faculty of the KU Leuven currently uses the Arenberg castle.

Students here adore their “royal campus” because of the neighboring park and the historically gorgeous facades.

In addition, anyone can enter the structure without paying a fee.

Guests have access to a large lawn directly in front of the castle on which they can unwind, study, or engage in an outdoor activity with their companions.

You’ll have to drive around 30 minutes outside of Leuven. Getting here is easy enough on a bike or foot.

Address: Kardinaal Mercierlaan 94, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Baracca

Have a hankering for some Italian fare while you’re in the city of Leuven? Baracca has your back!

The city of Leuven has a rich history and culture mainly attributed to splendid structures, beer, and good food.

In the heart of the city’s thriving foodie district, you’ll find the hip and highly regarded Baracca.

You can dine in peace while still being stimulated and intrigued by the menu’s emphasis on locally sourced, naturally flavorful fare that a group can enjoy.

A pleasant ambiance and excellent cuisine are the hallmarks of La Baracca.

If you want to try a trendy cocktail, ask for a Bitter Spritz, which they make in-house.

When it comes to pizza, they have their masonry oven and make their fresh crusts.

This is the place to go for your fix for those who enjoy deliciously oven-fresh pizzas.

Baracca is a popular destination, so you’ll want to book in advance.

Address: Tiensestraat 34, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Barboek

Coffee and books in the same place? That’s fascinating!

To be honest, there’s nothing like reading a book while sipping a hot coffee.

Even if you’re reading a book alone, having a cup of coffee nearby can help track how long you’ve been reading.

At Barboek, you can get a cup of coffee, choose a book, and settle in for a few hours of quiet contemplation.

It’s a 300-square-foot former printing shop that has now been tastefully refurbished.

Barboek offers a welcoming vibe that draws in guests. You can easily spend the day here because of its pleasant atmosphere.

Furthermore, Barboek plans events like book exhibitions, reading groups, and more every week.

Enjoyable things to do, including going for a stroll or sitting down with a cup of coffee and reading some new books.

Looking for a laid-back day? Barboek is your best bet. While in Leuven, be sure to stop by!

Address: Schrijnmakersstraat 17, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Botanical Garden Kruidtuin

Botanical Garden Kruidtuin

Botanical Garden Kruidtuin, Leuven, Belgium / alh1 / Flickr

To be honest, the Kruidtuin looks and feels like something out of a fairy tale.

This garden in the middle of the city is one of Belgium’s oldest public spaces. University students often do their homework here.

Here’s a tidbit you may not have known! The University of Leuven set up this botanical garden in 1738, long before Belgium was even a country.

In 1835, just a few years after Belgium became free, the city of Leuven took over ownership.

It is within walking distance of Grand Place, making it a must-see destination.

This “herb garden” gets its name from the presence of many of the medicinal herbs that were once found there.

Often, shows are put on in the orangery, the entrance hall, and outside.

The botanical garden is essential for science, but its beautiful landscaping, flowerbeds, trees, benches, and water features make it peaceful in the middle of the city.

This botanical garden is a must-see for any serious plant enthusiast.

Plants of all kinds are displayed at this botanical garden, from the most common and well-known to some of the most exotic and tropical.

Kruidtuin is ready to welcome you to its greenery!

Address: Kapucijnenvoer 30, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

De Kotmadam

De Kotmadam

De Kotmadam, Leuven, Belgium / Anton Raath / Flickr

Among the most widely known statuary in Leuven town is here for your viewing pleasure.

In the heart of Leuven, the Oude Markt is a plaza dominated by restaurants and other businesses that cater to tourists.

De Kotmadam is the most notable statue in this area.

The term “kotmadam” refers to a female student housekeeper. Fred Bellefroid was the one who crafted this statue in 1984.

There are a number of other statues scattered throughout the city, but this one, in particular, stands out because of its unique expression.

In what appears to be a dressing gown, she’s slouched over, carrying an old coffee can in her other hand.

Once you see this statue, it’s as if she’s inviting you to join her for a seat.

Over the years, the statue has become a tourist trap, so many folks have posed for photos with it.

Address: Oude Markt, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Fons Sapientiae

Fons Sapientiae

Fons Sapientiae, Leuven, Belgium / Pedro / Flickr

Most of Leuven is a beautiful mix of old and new, with stunning architecture and breathtaking views.

There is no stopping you from watching Fons Sapientaie!

In Leuven, the Fonske represents the university’s student body.

Undoubtedly, it is among the most well-known monuments in the neighborhood.

Leuven received this statue in 1975 as a gift from the Catholic University of Leuven to commemorate its 550th anniversary. Jef Claerhout, a world-renowned sculptor, created it.

When translated into Latin, the entire term Fons Sapientiae means “Source of Wisdom.”

To illustrate the inflow of new information into the student’s brain, a statue of a man pouring water into his cranium is displayed.

Some students mistakenly interpret the statue as representing an overflowing keg of alcohol.

Fonske is also sometimes given a costume by organizations celebrating a special occasion.

Fonske is near the town hall if you’d like to look closer.

Address: Rector de Somerplein 3, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Groot Begijnhof

Groot Begijnhof

Groot Begijnhof, Leuven, Belgium / Nigel Swales / Flickr

Explore the legendary buildings and streets of Leuven.

Many small, well-built apartments can be found just outside Leuven’s city center – and the Groot Begijnfof is among them.

For many years, this enchanted part of town was the home of hundreds of Beguines.

But today, foreign professors, staff, and students from Europe’s oldest Catholic university live there.

The Leuven Groot Begijnhof, a winding labyrinth of narrow alleys and small houses, is open to visitors.

You’ll find the Beguinage and a smattering of the city’s most historic streets here.

For a stroll or a quiet seat, it’s a wonderful place to find yourself.

In addition, there are about 100 dwellings on the property, many of which have carvings, figurines, or decorative elements.

What’s the best part, though? Visiting the Groot Begijnfof is completely free.

It’s time to hurry up. Bring your camera and take advantage of the many canal bridges that run through the area.

Address: 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Jan Fabre’s Beetle Totem

A visit to Leuven’s university library would be incomplete without seeing Jan Fabre’s Beetle Totem!

A Totem is an enormous bug, spanning 2.7 meters across, hanging 23 meters in the air on a needle.

An internationally recognized multidisciplinary artist from Belgium, Jan Fabre, created the artwork.

In light of this, its design is made to appear less odd. It is a present from the institution in honor of its 575th anniversary to the community.

The artist says that combining a fantastical piece of art with a traditional university library building shows what the town and its most famous university are all about.

The Rotterdam-based studio took 2.5 years to complete the beetle. The paint was created to achieve the same hues as an actual scarab.

Aside from that, the totem is a meeting place and a symbol of a reality that the naked eye cannot see.

Check it out while you’re in the Belgian city of Leuven!

Address: Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Leuven Town Hall

Leuven Town Hall

Leuven Town Hall, Leuven, Belgium / Jiuguang Wang / Flickr

The city of Leuven takes great pleasure in its town hall! Furthermore, it’s among the world’s most prestigious Gothic town halls!

A few interesting tidbits: There were three architects, and 30 years were spent constructing this town hall, didn’t you know? 

It’s easy to see why because of all the intricate details. Every detail appears to have been considered. Approximately 236 statues adorn the facade.

Supporting corbels are adorned with carvings depicting scenes from the Bible.

The steep roof has four levels of dormer windows, with an attic gallery on the upper level.

Natural light is let in through the roof’s octagonal turrets, which have openings on all four sides.

Furthermore, a tour guide can take you on a look inside.

By doing this, you’ll learn more about this building and its area, including details you might have missed otherwise.

The Grand Place of Leuven is where you’ll find this spot.

When in Leuven, don’t miss a tour of the city’s magnificent town hall. Seeing it with your own eyes is the only way to truly appreciate it.

Address: Grote Markt 9, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

M Leuven

M Leuven

M Leuven, Leuven, Belgium / P.Ro Simply Photography / Flickr

Let yourself be charmed by the simply gorgeous museum in Leuven.

A museum of art in the Belgian city of Leuven, known as Museum Leuven, or M, was inaugurated in 2009.

Architect Stéphane Beel, who designed the building, is also worth noting for his work.

The dazzling building is a real draw. This is because it has a modern design that combines some old buildings.

The variety of Leuven is also shown by the museum’s old and new crafts.

Here, tourists and people living in the area can see an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, costumes, and works of art.

At the museum, the momentary exhibits are always worth seeing.

Furthermore, the museum has a roof deck that offers fantastic views of the Leuven horizon.

Not to mention the inner courtyard, which is a must-see!

Start exploring the M Leuven right now!

Address: Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Oude Markt

Oude Markt

Oude Markt, Leuven, Belgium / Jorge Franganillo / Flickr

The Oude Markt in Leuven is “the world’s longest bar.”

If you’re looking for something unique and memorable, the Oude Markt is where you want to be.

Only in this square can you find such a large proportion of cafes and restaurants in one location.

Because of this, Oude Markt is regarded as Leuven’s ideal gathering spot.

It’s also encircled by a few of the city’s most historical buildings, making it a great place to start exploring.

The whole center buzzes with excitement. For that reason, Oude Markt can get crowded, especially if the weather is awesome during daylight hours.

This is a great spot to relax on the several outdoor verandas and observe passersby in the warmer months.

This picturesque spot is a great place to rest your feet after a day of city exploration.

One of the nicest things to do in Leuven, no matter what you drink, is to spend an evening strolling the bars along Oude Markt.

Address: Oude Markt, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Park Abbey

Park Abbey

Park Abbey, Leuven, Belgium / Amanda N Sherrington / Flickr

Looking for something to do while in Leuven? Park Abbey is the spot to go!

Duchess Godfrey II had a hand in establishing the Park Abbey Leuven in the 12th century.

As a result of the religious conflicts between Spain and the Netherlands, Park Abbey has a past of hardships. It was fortunate that it was able to survive.

Most existing structures were built in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively.

Regarding religious architecture in Leuven, this is a treasure trove of history.

Historical sites and genuine surroundings make it a haven of tranquility just outside of the city of Leuven.

You can explore historic buildings in this park, complemented by the four lakes’ scenic scenery.

The library facility and the dining hall are worthwhile stops where delicate plastering pieces of art can be found.

As part of Parcum, an arts center dedicated to religious art, the abbey houses a permanent collection and rotating exhibits.

In addition to regular exhibits and performances, the museum hosts a wide variety of special events year-round.

Address: Abdij van Park 7, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Provinciedomein Kessel-Lo

Provincedomein Kessel-Lo is the perfect place to get away from the city if you’ve had enough of it.

It’s essential to spend time together as a family; outdoor activities provide the perfect opportunity for that.

Families with young children will have a blast in this province’s realm. To take advantage of the diversity of things to do offered by this destination.

Aside from the play facilities and the several lakes, there are numerous things to see and learn about in this area.

There are a lot of playgrounds and sports facilities in town, so people of all ages, from babies to grandparents, can have fun.

Not to mention the outdoor pool, which is a favorite among visitors.

In addition, the Provincial Domain is a wildlife and leisure area located northwest of Leuven, Belgium.

A biodiverse area has been designated as a protected natural area.

The zoo, where youngsters can interact with the animals, is another amusement park feature.

As a photographer, you’ll find the domain a treat. It’s an excellent idea to take a stroll around here.

A few cafes and eateries may be found in the area.

Fortunately, Provinciedomein Kessel-Lo has everything you need. Spend the day exploring the area.

Address: Leuven, Belgium

Saint Anthony’s Chapel

Look inside Leuven’s tiniest church, and you’ll be surprised!

It is thought that the earliest chapels at this location date as far back as the fourteenth century.

Since it was built in the 16th century, the current building has had many additions and changes.

Father Damien is regarded as one of the greatest Belgians of all time and a source of motivation for all Christians. In the city, he’s a well-known person in the clergy.

On the island of Molokai, in the Hawaiian Islands, he dedicated his life to the purpose of serving the island’s lepers.

The crypt of the Holy Father Damien is also a well-known attraction at Saint Anthony’s Chapel, which many people visit on their way to the shrine of Saint Joseph.

You may see Father Damien’s tomb in the church and various artifacts and images that chronicle his life.

People throughout the world are awed by his tenacity and commitment.

This has resulted in a worldwide tourist attraction in his honor.

Address: Hasseltweg 263, 3600 Genk, Belgium

Saint Peter’s Church

Saint Peter's Church

Saint Peter’s Church, Leuven, Belgium / Filip Maljković / Flickr

Discover Leuven’s most breathtakingly beautiful church!

A wooden church built in 986 was set ablaze in 1176 and overtaken by a Romanesque structure.

In the 1500s, the Brabantine Gothic style was used to build Saint Peter’s Church, a Roman Catholic church.

An unfinished bell tower is at the center of the parterre, shaped like a cross.

Amidst their incompleteness, the Belfries of Belgium and France, including the church’s towers, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.

As absolutely gorgeous as the building is, the treasures are hidden within. Some of the finest examples of art masterpieces can be found in this area.

In addition, the best-known Dirk Bout’s “The Last Supper” mural can be found within Saint Peter’s church, among several other greatest works.

Saint Peter’s Church is an absolute delight to spend at least an hour or so.

Address: Grote Markt 1, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Shopping in Leuven

Shopping in Leuven Belgium

Shopping in Leuven, Belgium / Mark / Flickr

Shopping in Leuven is diverse, so you’ll never run out of things to do!

Many unique shops and markets can be found in Leuven, making it an ideal destination for those who love to shop.

Shoppers in Leuven have access to various trendy and historically accurate establishments, all within easy walking distance.

If you’re looking for big European brands like Zara and H & M, you’ll locate them on Bondgenotenlaan and Diestestraat, the town’s shopping streets.

For something different, head to Mechelsestraat, a cobblestoned street lined with modest boutique shops and specialty food stores.

Everything is right here, from clothes shops to exhibitions and bistros to pastries.

In addition, the Grote Markt is likely to have a slew of shops worth exploring.

It’s also worth noting that Leuven has some fantastic weekly marketplaces.

See? Leuven offers a wide range of retail establishments. Whatever you like!

Address: Leuven, Belgium

Small Beguinage (Klein Begijnhof)

Small Beguinage (Klein Begijnhof)

Small Beguinage (Klein Begijnhof), Leuven, Belgium / Michiel Jelijs / Flickr

Besides the Great Beguinage, did you even know the city is home to a smaller beguinage?

Nothing else than a roadway with two small alleyways makes up the Small Beguinage of Leuven.

In any way, its white terrace buildings and azure doors are likely to enchant you with their attractiveness.

Nuns used to live in this area until the nineteenth century.

People who wanted to focus on spiritual growth and doing God’s work were given this gorgeous little street of homes.

However, the French Revolution ended it. Small Beguinage relics were repaired and sold to people around 2000.

Except for one street and about 30 classic Flemish-style buildings, Beguinage is all that’s left today.

The Great Beguinage was guarded and housed by people like you, so this street is no different. It still leases some homes, although the majority are privately owned.

In addition, this area is eerily silent and overflowing with cheerful yellow blooms. 

You can take a stroll from here and have the nicest time in Leuven!

Address: Leuven, Belgium

The Balloon of Friendship

Leuven, Belgium, is a great place to find this notable balloon!

To represent Leuven’s close-knit community, an artist named Danny Tulkens came up with the Balloon of Friendship in 1987, and the Age Association was crucial in commissioning it.

From the outside, it looks like a hot air balloon. It even has a wicker basket where people can get on.

Dany Tulkens, a local sculptor, said he created the balloon to convey the importance of a strong support system.

For the first time since 1890, a group of 40-year-old men has formed a special brotherhood in which they prepare excursions, fun parties, and vacations until they reach 50.

The balloon used to be in Herbert Hoover Square, but it has been moved because of renovations.

However, the piece of art is now situated in a garden near the Leuven bus station.

It’s still a draw for passersby, even in today’s world. An absolute must-see if you find yourself in the Leuven area.

Address: Tiensevest, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Try a local brew

Stella Artois

Stella Artois, Leuven, Belgium / Ken Bosma / Flickr

Are you a fan of the local craft beer scene? A brewery tour is highly recommended!

Leuven’s status as a brewing nation has been established because it offers various beers to choose from.

Stella Artois, the world’s finest beer, was born in this city in 1926.

Leuven is home to the world headquarters of Inbev, the second-largest brewery in the world and makes Stella Artois beer.

Check this out! Stella, the Latin name for the Christmas star, literally means “star.”

On the other hand, “Artois” is derived from the surname of the brewery’s founder, Sebastian Artois. It is also a reference to an area of France in which they originated.

The brewery made Stella Artois a Christmas gift for the people of Leuven. It is generally thought to be a fairly average beer.

Using the best ingredients and a complex brewing process makes sure that it has a unique taste and is of high quality.

If you’d like, you can pay a visit to the brewery, which has an immersive feature.

Visit the brewery and drink a delicious Stella Artois afterward.

As a traveler in Leuven, Belgium, don’t miss the chance to sample Stella Artois!

Address: Leuven, Belgium

University Library

Leuven University Library

Leuven University Library, Leuven, Belgium / alh1 / Flickr

Take a look back at the library’s history!

There is no better place in Leuven to visit than the University Library.

It is one of the city’s most important university buildings, and its size is a reminder of how the Allies defeated Germany in WWII.

In the course of World War II, the original library and its 300,000 volumes were intentionally destroyed.

Using Warren’s sketches as a guide, the University Library was rebuilt after World War II to show how resilient the Belgians were.

It is now home to the university’s humanities library, which gives tours and audio tours to the general public.

This Leuven library’s turbulent past begs to be explored, so don’t miss your chance to do so!

A photo display chronicles the library’s evolution over five decades.

The bell tower, which you can see for miles around, is included in the admission price, providing picturesque views.

Despite the library’s storied past, it has been painstakingly renovated.

Visit this unique location the next time you’re in Leuven. You won’t be disappointed.

Address: Leuven, Belgium