The Belgian city of Leuven lies in the picturesque valley of the River Dijle surrounded by low-rise rolling hills covered with lovely woods. It is widely known for its wonderful architecture, world-famous medieval university and – of all things – its superb beer!
Leuven’s most notable landmark is the magnificent 15th century Gothic Town Hall, often considered to be the finest example of medieval architecture in the world.
The city’s other significant attraction is the St Peter’s Church built also in Gothic style on the site of a 10th century church hat was built in wood. The construction of the church overlapped with the neighboring Town Hall and both shared same architects, at least at the initial stages, and both look remarkably magnificent, although the flamboyant Town Hall looks more elegant.
But the interior decoration of the church is absolutely stunning with 15th century choir chairs, triumphal crucifix and sacraments towers.
Leuven is also proud of being the location of the Catholic University – another 15th century architectural marvel and one of the world’s oldest still functioning catholic universities. The cosmopolitan student community keeps the city atmosphere lively, especially around the Old Market area, where many bars and cafes are located.
Flanked by the St Peter’s Church and the Town Hall is a pseudo medieval building known as Tafelrond which is a replica of the 15th century guild hall that perished in the First World War. The replica, built in 1927, now houses the Belgian National Bank.
This medieval city looks remarkably well-preserved because the old city suffered heavily during the two World Wars and was painstakingly rebuilt afterwards. It is now an ultra modern city with a rich heritage and all visitors find it most charming.
Leuven indeed has plenty to offer to keep its visitors charmed. Its array of magnificent historical buildings, museums, art exhibitions, amazing little shops, lively pubs, restaurants and crazy student parties are adored by all who come to visit this wonderful city.
To enjoy an evening wear comfortable shoes and walk around the great market square – Grote Markt as the locals call it – and watch the tops of Gothic buildings glowing in the setting sun. There are narrow cobbled streets going towards narrower alleys lined with cozy bars and restaurants serving different kinds of food. You will find something to suit your taste.
The city is dotted with hotels ranging from luxury to budget. Browse through relevant websites and select the one that you think you might like. Brussels is the nearest inernational airport that you can easily reach by car or train within 25 minutes.