When one thinks of Belgium, Brussels usually comes to mind. But Leuven is a city that shouldn’t be overlooked the next time you find yourself in Belgium!
I arrived in Leuven to start the final week of my Euro adventure. We would spend the first half of the week here and the remaining part of the week in Antwerp (both cities right around Brussels). Apart from fries and chocolate I didn’t know what to expect from this cute little town. But let me tell you what, it was one of my favorite stops while we were in Belgium. Here are a few reasons why I loved Leuven so much.
Home to KU Leuven
Founded in 1425, the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) is the oldest university in Belgium. Of course this means that that the city of Leuven is a so called, “college town”. So you bet I took full advantage of the perks that come with such a stereotypical city! I’m not just talking about great bars, but also cheap food. I’ll never forget the cute little Thai Hut, right outside our hotel, where you could get a container of amazing Thai food (big enough for two meals) for only 6 euro! My kind of restaurant :).
Modern yet Timeworn
If you find yourself wandering about the streets in Leuven it isn’t that surprising to come across a building that dates itself back to the 1400’s or 1500’s. There is a lot of history in Leuven and it is very easy to get set back a few hundred years while exploring. I quite enjoyed just walking along the cobblestone streets and admiring all the cute shops and ancient architecture. Surprisingly, this city is also very modern. The hotel I was so fortunate to stay at, The Penta Hotel, had a very trendy/contemporary vibe to it and was one of my favorites throughout the trip.
Home to Stella Artois
A stop in Leuven wouldn’t be complete without a Stella Artois Brewery tour. A tasting and free sandwiches had my name written all over it, so I of course had to make a stop here. Did you know that the Stella Artois we know today was originally created as a Christmas brew? I was also pleased to learn that this particular brewery recycled 99.65% of their materials. Or in other words, they only produce .04% of waste throughout their entire brewing process. Talk about sustainability!
It might be the case that I enjoyed this city so much because I am a university student myself, but it is nonetheless a great stop to consider while visiting Belgium!