My parents were here last month to visit. If you are an expat and are close with your family, you know how exciting this is! It was the first time they were able to experience the area where C and I live. I loved getting to show them around and take them to my favorite local places.
Of course we also had to do some traveling. We went to Belgium for a week and I can safely say I’ve had enough fries and beer to last me until next year. We saw a few cities, but for me the best part of the trip was our day in Leuven, Belgium.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Leuven, as I had never really heard about it as a tourist destination. I only saw a handful of other tourist during the whole day, which for me was a huge bonus. I love just being surrounding by the locals. As the day went on, I was more and more impressed by the city. There was so much history, architecture, and as always, beer. I would highly recommend stopping in Leuven, even if it’s just for a day trip. Here are five of my favorite things in Leuven:
Groot Bengijnhof, known as the Grand Béguinage in English, was by far my favorite area of Leuven. It is a historical area of the city dating back to the early 13th century and has been well preserved. Originally, it served as a community of semi-religious women. Now, it feels like a tiny town inside the city. It was so peaceful and I felt fully transported back in time as I wandered around the cobblestone streets.
The University Library of KU Leuven has a very interesting history. It was burnt down twice during the First and Second World Wars, with some speculation as to who was the culprit. To learn more about the history of the library and the city, you can climb the library’s tower. You will also get a great view of the city when you make it to the top.
Oude Markt is also known as the longest bar in the world, for it’s many bar and restaurants in one small area. It is certainly worth a stop, and also looks like a great place to have a beer or coffee outside in the warmer weather.
The Leuven Town Hall is a stunning building. It stands out as one of the most unique buildings that I have seen in a while. I didn’t have a chance to go inside the hall, but just enjoyed getting to take some pictures. Side note, there is free wifi in the tourist center nearby if you are looking for somewhere to stop and upload your latest Instagram post.
My last stop of the day was to Domus Brewery. Stella Artois is also located in Leuven, but you might want to consider Domus as your brewery of choice. (Or just do both!) Domus brews three original beers that are tapped directly from the brewery itself. It is also the only place in the world where you can drink their beer. I would recommend the Nostra Domus, the amber beer. It perfectly hit the spot after a long day of walking around the bustling city.