Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Belgium travel, Things to do in Leuven

It is fair to say that the world famous Stella Artois has put the name of Leuven in the map, but after 3 weeks staying in this lovely place, I would like to reiterate that it is more than just a beer city.

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From the medieval buildings lining up the city side by side separated by cobbled stone road, this charming little city will surely bring peace and tranquility to any visitors, be it young or old.IMG_1986_7_8_tonemapped_watermarked

The list below will show you where to visit if you decided to drop in this city with just 30 minutes train ride from Brussels.

1. Stadhuis, The Town Hall

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This majestic Gothic style building boosted as one of the most famous town hall in the world. A must visit place! You will be mesmerized by the huge number of sculptures on the building front facade. IMG_19203

Be sure to visit this place in the day time, and pay another visit in the night time as the warm flood light gave the building a different perspective.

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If you are interested to know more of this history of the building, a guided tour is highly recommended. I can’t remember well how much the tour will cost but if I am not mistaken, it is 1euro per person.

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Tel. : 016 27 22 76

E-mail : visit@leuven.be

Open : Guided tours for individuals:
• During the tourist season (1 April - 30 September):
every workday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Sat., Sun. and public holidays at 3 p.m
• In the off-season (1 October - 31 March):
every day at 3 p.m.
The salons are not open to the public during weddings and official ceremonies.
Guided tours for groups: only after booking a guide at the tourist office, two weeks in advance


2. Grote Markt (Great Market) and Oude Markt (Old Market)

I felt that visiting Great Market and Old Market is more of an experience than a destination. *

Great market – nice cafe and restaurants can be found around this area, but mostly youngsters/ young at hearts would gather in this area, hang around the Grote market while admiring the architecture of Stadhuis and the buildings around it, or perhaps just to people watch?

Oude Market – Crowned (unofficially) as the longest bar street in Europe. The glorious and pride of Leuven’s golden nectar shines through this area! Drinking virtue started as early as after lunch time during weekend and make sure you grabbed a few of the hundreds of microbrew or commercially brewed local beers. Whichever you choose, you will be delighted to know there are no such thing as bad tasting beer around!

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Have no idea which pubs to start? Just refer to this website for the map layout and details of each and every cafe/pubs in Old Market: http://www.leuven.com/oudemarkt/cafes/index.html


3. Groot Begijnhof (Grand Beguinage)

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Wanted to know how does it feels like when walking through the streets in the flemish golden era? Seek no further than this UNESCO certified world heritage. IMG_1883

Originally set up in the early 13th century, this historical quarter houses almost 300 apartments in about 100 houses. Step into this 3 hectares land that will surely transformed you back into the Flemish era!

This estate open its doors to welcome customers all year around, but please be sure to respect the residents privacy and peacefulness by keeping your noise down and not peeping into the windows.You might notice that a lot of students and academic staff stays here now as it is part of the accommodation facilities owned by KUL now.

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More info of Groot Beginjhof : http://www.leuven.be/en/tourism/sightseeing/beguinages/groot-begijnhof/index.jsp

Contact
Location: Het Groot Begijnhof

Open : The Groot Begijnhof is open to the public free of charge.

Address : Schapenstraat , 3000 Leuven


4. St Peter’s Church

This wonderfully looking church being more impressive on the exterior than the interior, has a very unusual building architectural design. Being an incomplete building structure, it certainly gave a paradox view of a church on its west facade.

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More details of the church can be found at:http://www.leuven.be/en/tourism/sightseeing/churches/sint-pieterskerk/index.jsp

Contact
Location: Sint-Pieterskerk

Open : Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m
Saterday: 10.00 a.m. - 4.30 p.m
Sunday and public holidays: 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Monday: 10 a.m. -5 p.m. (only 15/3-15/10).

Address : Grote Markt , 3000 Leuven


5. KUL ( Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) library and its proximity

Named as one of the most impressive buildings in Leuven city, this Flemish neo-renaissance styled building is a must visit place in especially during the university is in session. This is the place where you want to soak up that study culture and at the same time, explore the marvelous architecture of this building.

KUL is kind enough to make a simple guide for visitor to read on their website. Please visit the webpage to better understand and appreciate the history of the building itself, on top of a brief explanation of the rooms in the library.

KUL does organized a guided tour for the library but unfortunately it is limited to students, staff and alumni of K.U.Leuven, visitors and conference participants of K.U.Leuven and senior pupils only. However, all hopes are not lose yet, as you can contact the Leuven tourist office to enquire about their own guided tour for the university library building.

The library opens to its visitors on Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. But just to be sure, please refer to this website for interactive search on the opening hours.http://opac.libis.be/cgi-bin/li_code.pl?library=BIBC&language=ENG

Contact
Location: Universiteitsbibliotheek

Address : Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein 21, 3000 Leuven


Opening hour: please check on their website


Well there you have it! My top places and things to do while in Leuven, Belgium. I hope you enjoy the blog post and as always, any constructive comments are welcomed here! Next time if you happen to be in Brussels, why don’t you just pop in to Leuven. You will be surprised on how this little city manages to enchant you.

2 comments:

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