Until my two favorite uncles moved to Leuven last year, I didn’t know much about the city. I remember a school trip from back in the days, but other than that trip I hadn’t seen much of the capital of Flemish Brabant. Now after a few visits, I did not just got to know the city better, I already have discovered a few favorite hotspots that I’d like to share with you guys.
Coffee time at Thelma Coffee & Design
At Thelma Coffee & Design, you can try on some clothes, have a cup of the local coffee blend ‘MOK’ and read a book or magazine, all at once. As I love both coffee and shopping, it goes whithout saying that Thelma’s quickly became a favorite of mine.
Apero at Bar A Muze
During summer you can find on top of the Museum M, the lovely rooftopbar ‘Bar A Muze‘. Not only can you enjoy some tasty cocktails there, but the views upon the city from up there, are wonderful to say the least!
Eat at Baracca
If I have to choose an absolute favorite place to be in Leuven, it would be Baracca! This retaurant brings the authentic Italian cuisine, that we all know and love with a modern twist. The decor is robust and the pizza ovens are beautifly integrated into the interior. At Baracca it’s all about sharing. And that’s a good thing here because everything I have tasted so far is so yummy! During my first visit they were 5 of us (family dinner you know) so we ordered a lot of different things and it was a real feast! I did not take pictures back then, because I really wanted to enjoy the moment. As this is one of the best Italian restaurants in Belgium in my opinion I wanted to go back with my friend and include it into a blogpost. We ordered a Pizza Capricciosa and Pasta alle Vongole to share, as sharing is caring you know and I couldn’t choose between these two dishes. Another reason why I also love to go to Baracca, is the genuine friendliness of the people that work there. I’m seriously counting down the days to my next visit. One thing my family knows by now… If I visit them in Leuven… we’re having lunch or dinner at Baracca. If you like to go to Baracca too, make sure you book a table in advance, because it’s always super busy.
Sleep at Penta Hotel Leuven
Just a stroll away from Baracca lays Penta Hotel Leuven, a hip and trendy hotel where the check-in is a bit different than the one we are used to. Or as they say it theirselves: “Who needs a receptionist for check ins? Our bartenders do it with cocktails!’. Beeing a passionate, former receptionist I can totally say that the check-in went as smoothly as in other hotels, so please bring on the cocktails.
The guest rooms are very spacious and equipped with all modern features, (say hello to free blockbuster movies in the room) and a full set of chic toiletries (I mention this because the quotes upon the packaging were so funny – like for exaple on the soap; we only want you for your body)!Hahahaha!
In the morning you can enjoy a fantastic breakfast, where there is basicly everything your heart desires (well mine did)! And if you are really feeling that ‘Easy like Sunday morning’ vibe, you can stay in bed, order room service and watch some more movies. There is no need to hurry, because on Sundays check-out is until 3pm! Heaven trully is a place on earth right?!
Visit Grote Markt, Town Hall, University Library & Great Béquinage
But Leuven is so much more than a great place for food and shopping. The tourist in you will be very satisfied aswell, because Leuven has a lot to offer on a cultural level too.
- Grote Markt: You can’t visit Leuven,without passing by the ‘Grote Markt’, the city’s main square.
- Town Hall: The town hall is Leuven’s pride and joy. Moreover, it’s one of the best-known Gothic town halls worldwide. It took three architects and thirty years to build it.
- The Univeristy Library & tower at the Ladeuze Square: learn you a lot about the university library’s turbulent history and its impact on the city.
- Great Béquinage: the Great Béquinage dates back to the 13th century. During its glory days about 360 beguines lived there. I honestly couldn’t help feeling transported back in time while I was wandering the cobblestoned alleys, courtyards, gardens and parks. This is a must visit!