If there’s something that I’ve realized in the previous few months, it’s that you just don’t all the time must journey removed from dwelling to have an excellent expertise. Nonetheless, I used to be pleasantly stunned when spending in the future in Leuven (Belgium) lately!
I visited pupil metropolis Leuven for the space-themed “KNAL! Pageant” (“BANG! Pageant”), of which you’ll be able to learn extra about over on The House Tester. Do you know that the town was the birthplace and scientific playground of Professor Georges Lemaître: the founding father of the revolutionary “Huge Bang” Idea? Now you do!
Right here on The Journey Tester, I’ll share a few of my different cultural and gastro-tips with you, so if you go to Leuven, you’ll have a good time exploring.
MORNING IN LEUVEN
BREAKFAST AT LEUV
Whereas lodge breakfasts are nice, I nonetheless want to start out the day in a brand new metropolis exploring the native choices. I stumbled upon Bar Leuv, and this was an excellent selection! Whereas it’s referred to as a bar, that is the go-to brunch spot on the town it appears. They do all-day bowls, salads, large plates, espresso & tea , eggs… and waffles (simply sayin’). The employees was tremendous pleasant too, which is all the time signal.
Parijsstraat 6, Leuven – barleuv.be
TIP: Top off on snacks for the day over at Färm, an natural grocery store that permits you to help impartial producers and household companies and keep away from multinational agricultural corporations.
EXPLORE LEUVEN’S HISTORY ON FOOT!
The town of Leuven dates again to the ninth century. Its historical past is wealthy when it comes to spiritual artwork in addition to world-class structure and infrastructure. Right this moment, the town continues to resume itself with up to date tasks built-in into the age-old settings.
And the very best factor? It’s tremendous simple to discover Leuven on foot!
KU Leuven – The College of Leuven (KU Leuven) has influenced the cityscape for over six centuries with a variation in architectural kinds within the in any other case primarily Gothic interior metropolis. The scholars and other people of over 155 totally different nationalities deliver a buzz to the town the place tradition and creativity reigns.
De Oude Markt – With a minimum of 182 eating places and 240 cafés, Leuven has maybe the most important focus of meals and beverage retailers in all of Flanders. And that within the interior metropolis which solely spans about 2 kilometers! They name the Oude Markt (Previous Market) in Leuven the “Longest Bar in Europe”. The sq. is surrounded by pubs and eating places and really types the beating coronary heart of the town’s nightlife space. No marvel Leuven is so well-liked amongst college students!
Stadhuis Leuven – The Metropolis Corridor of Leuven is among the most well-known Gothic metropolis halls on the earth. Embellished with 236 statues and consisting of three flooring, it took virtually 30 years to finish the constructing, with the assistance of three architects.
TAKE A COFFEE (AND CHOCOLATE) BREAK
In any case that strolling, it’s time to chill out a bit and have a (espresso) break! In fact I’ve additionally included a chocolatier, as a result of we’re within the #1 nation in Europe for chocolate after all!
Listed below are some choices for you:
GET CULTURED AT M LEUVEN
M Leuven (“Museum Leuven”) homes a set of each historic and up to date artwork. The distinctive constructing, combining the historic buildings with trendy design, was designed by the Belgian architect Stéphane Beel.
At M Leuven, I visited an exhibition that was a part of the KNAL! Pageant (BANG! Pageant), you possibly can learn extra about it over at The House Tester.
TIP: From the roof terrace you might have a lovely view over the town. Additionally don’t skip the interior courtyard!
Leopold Vanderkelenstraat 28, Leuven – mleuven.be
AFTERNOON IN LEUVEN
HAVE LUNCH AT BAR JEROME
Along with Simone, a contract author from The Netherlands, I visited Bar Jérôme for lunch and had such an excellent meal right here. We went for a sharing platter made out of some starter dishes and topped it off with a slice of their selfmade cake. Yumm!
Bar Jérôme additionally has a deli part and is nice to go to for both breakfast, brunch/lunch or only a cup of espresso with some cake (positively have cake). All in an excellent informal ambiance. Can advocate it!
Wandelingstraat 10, Leuven – barjerome.be
On the lookout for extra tasty hotstpots in Leuven? Take a look at:
VISIT THE SINT-PIETERSKERK
The Sint-Pieterskerk (Saint Peter’s Church) within the coronary heart of Leuven didn’t have a straightforward time rising up. In-built 986, in Romanesque model, it’s the oldest church within the metropolis, but it surely was twice destroyed by hearth.
Demolition of the Romanesque constructing started within the fifteenth century and the development of the present Gothic church began, however quite a few towers continued to break down throughout building as a result of unstable floor. They had been by no means rebuilt. Luckily, I suppose, as a result of an earthquake in 1750 brought about issues once more.
The most important blow nevertheless got here through the two world wars, by which the roof and a big a part of the inside had been diminished to ashes. In consequence, many valuable artistic endeavors had been misplaced without end.
Over the previous century the church has undergone quite a few thorough restoration campaigns, which signifies that it may now be admired once more in its full glory. The church with belfry was acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Website in 1999.
One of many highlights within the church is Dirk Bouts‘ painted triptych: The Final Supper. It dates from the fifteenth century and was extensively restored within the Nineties. Bouts is taken into account one of the essential Flemish Primitives and metropolis painter of Leuven.
Was is exclusive about your go to to the church is which you could hire a so-called “hololens” for a mixed-media expertise. With some kind of a ski-helmet with glasses, you will notice 3D photographs projected onto artworks within the church, together with spectacular animations and storytelling. An excellent solution to uncover the tales behind the church, its artwork treasures and the bustling Leuven of the previous and current!
The church is open every single day and there may be free entry. You pay further to hire the hololens.
Grote Markt 1, Leuven – mleuven.be
GO SHOPPING AT LOCAL & VINTAGE SHOPS
Let’s be actual: procuring is enjoyable. However on the identical time I’m not a fan of huge overconsumption and positively not of quick vogue tradition.
Fortunately, Leuven gives a large selection of native, acutely aware and sustainable outlets the place you possibly can store guilt-free!
Take a look at:
DISCOVER UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LISTED BEGIJNHOF
Escape the busy metropolis heart for an oasis of peace at Het Groot Begijnhof (The Nice Beguinage). This space crammed with historic homes has been named UNESCO World Heritage since 1998. It’s an excellent place to wander round in silence.
A begijnhof is a set of particular person and/or communal dwellings owned by beguines, often within the neighborhood of a chapel or church and sometimes surrounded by a wall with a number of entrance gates.
Beguines had been single girls who emerged all through Western Europe across the finish of the eleventh, early twelfth century. They pioneered by establishing a brand new way of life and being the inventors of a brand new literary style; vernacular theology.
The ladies who lived within the beguinages had consciously chosen this type of cohabitation, as a result of it preserved their private freedom alongside their spiritual and every day practices. Not like those that entered the customarily closed monastic orders, beguines had been capable of maintain their private belongings and rights and use them throughout the constraints of the principle. Many owned their properties and likewise had private belongings outdoors of it.
EVENING IN LEUVEN
TASTE BELGIUM BEERS IN THE PUB
Beer is synonymous to Belgium and in Leuven, visiting the native Stella Artois brewery is a should for beer lovers. It’s open each Saturday for guests.
Aarschotsesteenweg 20, Leuven – breweryvisits.com
Whereas I’m personally not an enormous beer drinker, I did take pleasure in my go to to Domus, a so-called “home brewery”, which serves home-made beers in a comfy ambiance. The craft home beers run via a copper tube straight from the brewery (throughout the road) to the faucet!
I’m positive you’ll discover one thing you want right here, particularly paired with a comforting meal.
Tiensestraat 8, Leuven – domusleuven.be
GO FOR DINNER
There are many dinner choices in Leuven and with the 2 nights that I spend right here, I can advocate visiting De Hoorn if you happen to’re on the lookout for an informal night time out (their burgers are superb). This restaurant is positioned in a former brewery, the place they produced the primary Stella again in 1926! The kitchen makes use of natural meat and seasonal veggies. Closed on Mondays and Sundays.
Sluisstraat 79, Leuven – dehoorn.eu
If you happen to’re trying to actually spoil your self, make a reservation over at restaurant trente. You gained’t remorse it! Simply take a look on the photographs under to see the superb dishes that we acquired served. All paired with wine and explanations from the chef. Positively a memorable expertise. You can even go for lunch right here. Concentrate that they’re closed on Sunday, Monday and Saturday afternoon.
Muntstraat 36, Leuven – trente.be
GOT MORE TIME IN LEUVEN?
CYCLE TO ABDIJ VAN PARK & PARCUM
Abdij van Park (Park Abbey) is among the greatest preserved monasteries in all of Belgium and continues to be inhabited by Norbertines. The buildings, gates, church, watermill, barn and walled vegetable backyard have remained virtually unchanged because the seventeenth century!
You’ll be able to spend a complete afternoon right here and particular exhibitions and performances are offered all year long.
Museum Parkabdij, or PARCUM, showcases non permanent exhibitions combining faith with artwork and tradition. The main target lies on beginning a dialogue between individuals of various religions, beliefs and ages, in addition to up to date themes and historic heritage.
TIP: Go to the Abbey by bike! There’s a particular cycle route that takes you previous all 4 Leuven abbeys, you probably have the time.
CLIMB THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY TOWER
Begin your go to on the College Corridor, initially the material corridor of the town. The anatomical amphitheater, the herb backyard (Kruidtuin – one of many oldest botanical gardens in Belgium) and the Arenberg fort are additionally a part of the wealthy previous of the college.
Climbing the tower of the college library in Leuven is spectacular! As you go up the steps, a photograph exhibition exhibits the turbulent previous of this constructing.
When you attain the highest, you possibly can take pleasure in a panoramic view of the town from the balcony. Hope you might have good climate after all!
TIP 1: Through the educational 12 months, the carillon within the tower is performed twice per week. You’ll be able to go upstairs for a novel live performance.
TIP 2: Obtain the Heritage App (App Retailer / Google Play Retailer) and uncover the identified and lesser-known sides of the constructing at your individual tempo with the audio tour, or go to the college on a 360° digital tour >
Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein 21, Leuven – bib.kuleuven.be
Are you excited to go to Leuven after studying our journey tales? Ensure that to take a look at the sensible ideas under that may provide help to plan and e book your journey with ease.
FLIGHTS TO LEUVEN
The closest airport to Leuven is Brussels Airport. Ensure that to take a look at Skyscanner for the very best offers on flights >>
Are you flying via Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam? Ensure that to obtain this € 5,- voucher for a pleasant low cost at See Purchase Fly. A terrific airport lodge at Schiphol is CitizenM (do you know that Nick’s architectural agency designed the idea of those motels all the world over?!), or go for the price range possibility with YOTELAIR.
Get monetary savings by taking a look at reserving different airport further’s corresponding to parking, airport transfers or lounge entry on Vacation Extras.
Flight delayed, canceled or overbooked? You could be entitled to €600 in compensation!
TRAIN TRAVEL TO LEUVEN
Leuven is greatest reached by practice. I travelled from Amsterdam to the town in beneath three hours, which was simple and comfy. You’ll be able to take the Intercity (IC) or the Thalys from Amsterdam or Rotterdam and alter at Brussels South for an area practice, which can take you to Leuven in beneath half an hour.
CAR RENTAL IN LEUVEN
The town of Leuven has been car-free for just a few years now, so if you happen to’re arriving by automotive it’s greatest to park it on the outskirts. There are so-called “P+Bus” parking choices, the place there’s a bus service between a public parking spot and the town. Extra information right here.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT IN LEUVEN
There’s a tram and bus service in Leuven, however to be sincere, it was really easy to stroll in all places that I don’t see why you would want this. The town heart is compact and the small side-streets make for an excellent day of exploring on foot.
One other tip is to hire a motorcycle, which you are able to do proper subsequent to the station over at Leuven Leisure or Fietspunt Leuven (extra information right here). Nice if you happen to’re trying to go to areas on the sting of the town!
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