Looking for something different to try out over a weekend?
Then how about visiting Leuven in Flanders? A city influenced by gothic architecture, full of unique art galleries, beautiful cycle routes and home to one of Europe’s oldest universities.
Situated just 20 minutes from Brussels, Leuven is the perfect getaway for people who want to experience a weekend break with variety. Leuven is an enchanting city full of history and culture making it an alluring destination for all visitors.
In your visit you cannot miss the centrally located Great Market Square, an absolute delight, surrounded by magnificent monuments like the Town hall and St Peters Church. The construction of the present Stadhuis (Town Hall) dates back to 1439 and it is the detailing of the corner turrets, ridge turrets and balustrade, which gives the building its flamboyant exquisite character.
St Peter’s Church is the oldest church in Leuven and home to two magnificent masterpieces by Flemish artist Dirk Bouts, ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Erasmus’. The church is also home to various rare religious objects in precious beautiful metals.
A youthful vitality is apparent with a multitude of cyclists meandering around Leuven’s charming and picturesque biking routes which criss-cross its numerous parks and picnic sites. The ancient Great Beguinage, now part of the University, is one of Belgium’s oldest convents. Cobbled streets, cosy red-brick cottages and delightfully restored arched doorways adorn this quaint part of Leuven and form part of its rich historical past.
Leuven is a city that embraces green spaces; why not spend an afternoon relaxing in the Provincial Park or in the botanical gardens. The magnificently restored orangey in the Botanical Garden dates back to the 17th Century and is home to an array of exotic plants, trees and shrubbery. A perfect opportunity for a relaxing afternoon.
Perhaps Leuven’s biggest claim to fame is that it is its home to the international beer brand Stella Artois. On your visit, why not become a beer connoisseur and sample the wares in the Domus Brewery pub in Leuven. This is a unique experience as it serves three beers that are pumped directly from the brewery via pipelines.
Leuven is a city that has much to offer, so when you’re not out and about exploring the beautiful historical building you can sample something a little more active like rowing or canoeing on the River Dijle, and there’s nothing more grand than morning boating on a genuine Viking boat!
With all the sightseeing, walks and cycle trips, you are sure to have built up an appetite. There is no difficulty in finding a nice place to eat in Leuven. The city boasts over 178 restaurants and 241 cafés serving all types of food. No surprise then that Leuven boasts the most food and drink outlets in Flanders. Enjoy a light lunch in one of the buzzing cafés followed by a few locally brewed beers. Cheers! Well known for its love of good food, take some time to enjoy a meal in one of Leuven’s gastronomic restaurants and perhaps a visit afterwards to one of its lively street bars which remain open into the early hours!
It’s fair to say that Leuven is a city that has much to offer, a few days in this magical city will offer a refreshing opportunity to really soak up the culture and experience the laid back attitude of the Leuven people.
For further information on Leuven or Flanders in general visit www.visitflanders.co.uk.
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