Belgium is one of my favourite countries! I love its small picturesque towns with a beautiful old architecture, its food and of course beers.
I haven’t heard much about Leuven before I’ve visited it a few weeks ago. But, after I’ve spent a weekend over there, I fell in love with it completely.
Here are some photos I took during my stay there. If you would like to learn more about the places to see take a look at my ‘Leuven – Ultimate travel guide‘, too.
Leuven Photo Diary
The first thing I’ve noticed when we’ve got off the train was that beautiful smell of cocoa. Could there be a better way of saying: Welcome to Belgium? Well, I don’t think so!
The train station is quiet close to the city center so we took a short 10 minutes walk towards its main square, the Grote Markt.
When we came to Leuven’s main square I knew I gonna love this city. A beautiful Medieval Town Hall and a Saint Peter’s Church are making it looks so ancient. I could only imagine all the history that happened here.
Saint Peter’s Church
After some sightseeing we took a break in Sint-Donatus Park. I love visiting city parks when I’m traveling, because you can meet so many locals there and get a good sense of a city. This one was filled with students, studying or chatting with their friends. It gave to this old historical city such a nice young vibe.
The other way I love to discover city’s identity is by going to some local stores. It’s always interesting to see the work of local designers, fashion or books that are popular in that particular country or a city. And Leuven really had a lot to offer regarding it.
Vaartkom & the old Stella Artois Brewery
And when talking about experiencing the city like a local, there is no better way than to go to some residential neighbourhoods and have a drink among the people living there. Especially when that neighbourhood looks like Vaartkom and when that drink is their local beer, Stella Artois in a bar next to the old Stella Artois brewery.
Sometimes when you walk with your camera, you start to notice some details you’re usually not seeing. You’re starting to look to the world with an eye of photographer. And in a beautiful cities like Leuven it’s so easy to get inspired.
Spending a night in the old Begijnhof
After the whole day of strolling around the city I needed my own private oasis of peace and quite. And surprisingly I’ve found it in my own hotel. It was located in the old Begijnhof and its garden was just magical. Sipping a nice cranberry beer and talking about everything we’ve seen during the day, while my son was busy with exploring the garden, was definitely something I needed in that moment.
After having a delicious breakfast in the hotel’s garden we went to explore the Begijnhof area more. It was still quite early in a morning, so it was even more peaceful than usual. It looked like an old Medieval village right in a middle of a city. I loved discovering traces of a modern life in it, like a bicycles parked on its streets.
While walking towards the city centre we stumbled upon Leuven’s Botanical garden. It just opened, so we decided to took a peak into it. And was it a good idea! Small botanical garden is such a gem and definitely something I would recommend anyone to see while in Leuven.
Walk towards the city
While we walked downtown from the old Begijnhof and the Botanical garden, city started to woke up. First visitors started to stroll around it, looking for a nice coffee place or just walking around the town.
We were quite lucky, because during a weekend we were in a town, it’s M-Museum Leuven opened its doors again, after a few months of renovation. It was a huge cultural event and many people rushed to renewed museum to see it in a new glory.
University Library and its Tower
A few steps from the M-Museum there was another building, that, to be honest, impressed me much more – Leuven’s University library. I was stunned with its beauty, but the fact that it’s still in use and that Leuven’s students are studding there every day, impressed me even more. I’ve also climbed that tower and had some lovely view on Leuven from it.
It was a great place to finish our visit to Leuven. After a lunch in one of the restaurants with a view on a tower, we walked for the last time through the Leuven’s streets towards the train station.
Filled with impressions from that lovely town, we felt just encouraged to explore more of a less known Belgian towns.