Steeped in history, Flanders, Belgium, needs no introduction. It’s the home of the spring classic Tour of Flanders, a hard-as-nails race famous for its cobbled climbs. But there are more reasons to visit than just the riding, says the local tourist board:
The city of Leuven is 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. The city 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. 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’.
But the city would be nothing if it wasn’t for the multitude of cyclists meandering around the city’s charming and picturesque biking routes, criss-crossing the 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.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.
But perhaps Leuven’s biggest claim to fame is that it is home to the Stella Artois beer brand.
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 cafes serving all types of food. No surprise then, that Leuven boosts 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. 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.