Country: Belgium Language: Dutch or French Currency: Euro (€)
Leuven is a quant city east of Brussels. Its attractive architecture and ancient history fill the streets. As one of Flanders’ oldest university towns, you can expect the nightlife to be rich and active! Enjoy the scenery, drink a cold beer at one of the longest bars in the world, and visit the Stella Artois Brewery. Leuven can easily be explored in one day, making it a perfect day trip from Brussels!
CTW Must See
The Town Hall is one of the most famous Gothic town halls in the world. It was built in the 1440s by three architects and took 30 years to complete. The Town Hall stands in the Great Market Square, and features an incredible, detailed facade. The building is covered with 236 statues that were added after 1850. Guided tours are available to visit the its interior.
St. Peter’s Church
This beautiful Church, located in the Great Market Square, is a large Gothic style building that dates back to the 15th century. Construction on the church coincided with the Town Hall and even utilized the same architects! However, the bell tower wasn't completed as it was originally planned. The building suffered significant damage over the years and during the two World Wars, but has since been reconstructed. It holds some important art works and relics in St. Peter’s Treasury within the church.
Old Market Square
Old Market Square, or Oude Markt, sits beside Great Market Square. The square is one of the most historic squares in the city! It features charming, traditional guild houses, and acts as the city’s nightlife center. As the square is a pedestrian zone, you will find tables and chairs sitting out front all of the restaurants. During the day, you will find locals and tourists relaxing and enjoying a glass of beer. In the evening, the university students fill the city, and especially this square, looking for a place to unwind.
University Library & Bell Tower
The University Library was built in 1928 as a war memorial after being burnt down by the Germans in WWI. The fire unfortunately destroyed many historical books and manuscripts, causing much turmoil. The building was rebuilt after donations were given from charities and schools all over the world. It holds one of the largest carillons in Europe, which was donated by US engineers, as a monument to all those lost in the war. The original carillon contained 48 bells, one for each state in the Union at the time. A visit to the top of the 73.5m tall bell tower will require you to climb nearly 300 steps, but it provides sensational views of Leuven.
More Belgian Adventures...
Belgium is a small country, with the longest train ride being just a couple hours! See our guides on other popular Belgian cities to keep your adventure going!