10 things to do in Leuven, the little big Belgian city.

Leuven offers everything you could wish for from a welcoming, human-sized city that gives you the feeling of being a metropolis. Discover the traces of history, enjoying the creative and cultural atmosphere, the liveliness of the university and its students, the wide range of cafes, restaurants and shops. Leuven breathes tradition and innovation.
The city is easy to discover on foot through the compact urban center. Everything is within walking distance. In 10 essential points, what you can do to discover the little big city located in the heart of Belgium.

  • Climb the university library tower: Climbing the stairs, you will find a photo exhibit showing the turbulent past of this building.
    At the top is the balcony which offers an impressive view over Leuven. Enjoy the view!
    And don’t miss the Great Reading Room.
  • Visit the church of San Pietro to admire its beauty and the masterpieces located inside: The Last Supper is a jewel of Dieric Bouts. It is still in the place where it was originally painted. This masterpiece and other works of art can be admired for free in the church.
Dieric Bouts, the last supper in St. Peter's Church
Dieric Bouts’ Last Supper
Shutterstock photo
  • Discover Groot Begijnhof, the medieval town of the city: Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Groot Begijnhof is a labyrinth of narrow streets, courtyards, monasteries and houses built in traditional sandstone in the 13th century.
  • Have a beer at the Oude Markt, the longest bar in Europe: Oude Mark is probably the most popular meeting place in the city. The square is home to many bars and restaurants offering the best Belgian beers … all to try, of course!
  • Count the statues of the famous people of the Town Hall: The icon of Leuven is the town hall, one of the most famous Gothic town halls in the world “carved” with biblical scenes. A true ‘Hall of Fame’ with 236 images of historical figures adorning the exterior of the building.
Town hall Leuven, Belgium
Leuven Town Hall,
photo by Shutterstock
  • Visit the oldest Catholic university in Europe: You can stroll through the historic colleges of KU Leuven passing by the University Hall, originally the hall of the city. The Anatomical Theater, the Botanical Gardens and Arenberg Castle are also part of Leuven’s rich university history.
  • Discover the birthplace of Stella Artois: Take the interactive tour of the Stella Artois brewery. Find out everything from the beer hall to filling lines in full action. Throw yourself into the world of brewing and enjoy a refreshing drink straight from the source after the tour.
  • Discover Leuven by bike: Leuven is the city of cycling for excellence. In reality it is not necessary to use public transport, because you can get everywhere by bicycle. Cycling is also a pleasant and quick way to explore the city, just like a true citizen of Leuven.
Bikers in Leuven, Belgium
Photo by Tobias Cornille on Unsplash
  • Relax in the park of the Abbey: This beautiful abbey is one of the best preserved monasteries in Belgium. The buildings, the gates, the church, the water mill, the barn and a fenced vegetable garden have remained virtually unchanged since the 17th century. An oasis of peace just outside the city center.
  • Visit M Leuven, the art museum for art lovers: M Leuven houses a collection of antique and contemporary pieces of art. The visual culture of the present and the past placed in an impressive decor. The museum building was designed by the Belgian architect Stéphane Bee.
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