Last time, I said that I would do a series about Leuven (for a school project) and that I would divide it in three. Today I’m back with the second and last part. Not because I didn’t enjoy writing about Leuven, in fact, exactly the opposite! I did enjoy it very much, and therefore I did something special (at least for me), I made a video!
In todays video, I’ll show you 7 spots in Leuven which are definitely worth a visit! This ranges from eating to shopping to just chilling/enjoying nature. I tried to make the selection as varied as possible, so I’d like to hear what you think! Underneath the video, you can find a short description and a little more information about every spot.
At the biggest square of Leuven, the Ladeuze Square, you can find the Ladeuze Library. This square and building are quite impressive to see, so it is as a consequence not a surprise that loads of tourists make a stop at the square. While the outside of the library is already kind of impressive, the inside is also definitely worth a visit. But did you know that there is more?
The library has a belltower too, that you can visit for free, together with the carillon player! The only thing you have to do is climb 289 steps, and then you are upstairs where you can enjoy a nice song and an amazing view over Leuven. Sounds easy, right? Registering is required, for more information and reservations go to this website.
The second stop is Sara’s. This is a quite new spot located at the same street of my dorm (so I pass it almost everyday, tempting!). It is a cute coffeebar where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch, think ‘homemade and healthy’. Try for example their fresh-pressed carrot juice or one of their sandwiches with avocado (very instagrammable, sorry not sorry though 😉 ).
During the summer, you can enjoy their terrace, but otherwise, I would recommend to go for the spot at the window, so you can enjoy your drinks/meal while watching the passers-by (we’re all guilty of this, aren’t we?).
3.MECHELSESTRAAT & VISMARKT
When you had a nice meal, you are ready to go on a shopping trip!
Skip the Bongenotenlaan or Diestsestraat for once, and go straight to the Mechelsestraat and the Vismarkt. These streets are connected, and host quite a few more unusual shops, which is in nice contrast with the store chains in the rest of Leuven. The streets by itself have a quite different atmosphere than the rest of the town, I’d call it a cosy vibe! One of those special shops I discovered recently and is also showed in the video, is Animaux Spéciaux. It is located at the Mechelsestraat, and it is an studio/shop where you can find all kinds of interior accessories with stuffed animals. While this might sound a bit gruesome, I suggest you to take a look for yourself, and then you’ll understand why I pointed it out as a hotspot.
This hotspot is actually a little secret in L-town. A lot of photoshoots are already done there and the result definitely yielded quite a few Instagramlikes, and I think that’s part of the reason people don’t like to share the exact location of this spot. I have to admit I am going to join this group, but I do share that it is located somewhere at the Diestsestraat. Look up, look carefully at the video, and maybe you’ll find this spot (I’m sure it isn’t that hard!). And if you succeed, I have one message for you: enjoy the view!
5.BOTANICAL GARDEN KRUIDTUIN
The fifth hotspot might be my personal favorite, it is the Botanical Garden of Leuven, also called ‘Kruidtuin’.
It is the eldest botanical garden in whole Belgium (since 1738), and it is open for visit every single day. The garden consists of different parts, both in- and outdoor. My favorite part is indoor, namely the ‘Orangerie’, where they have a cactusgarden, which is also shown in the video. Unfortunately when we filmed there, the orangerie was already closed (it closes a little earlier than the outside garden), so you can’t really see the rest of it (which is absolutely beatiful), but this might be a good reason to pay a visit to the garden! Outside, you can find different flowers, herbs, plants and fruit, and there is even a spot where you can picnic, so you can enjoy your lunch in between the plants. Oh, did I already mention the entrance is completely free? See you there!
While I absolutely love to eat, it is probably not too surprising that a second restaurant appears in this list!
The werf is well-known by Leuven-students because of its good food at extremely low rates! The restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere and the interior is definitely one to watch. While ‘de werf’ in English means as much as ‘construction site’, the owners did decorate their place like that. Think about industrial lamps, traffic signs and architectural notes on the wall. Additionally, everything is served on (reusable) plastic plates or in lunchboxes, which definitely contributes to the experience.
I’d definitely recommend a stop here, even if it is only to drink something (out of colourful plastic cups) or to enjoy one of their desserts ( the chocolate cake is highly recommended!). After all, you can’t really say you’ve been in Leuven if you have never been to the werf ;).
Last but not least, some cultural heritage. Park abbey is one of Belgians best kept abbeys, just a short walk away from Leuven (it is located in Heverlee). You can enjoy a walk there, just chill at the pond, or go for a run! Unfortunately, the buildings were all being restored at the moment of filming, so these images might not represent the abbey in the best way. In october this year, a museum will open in one of the buildings where you can learn about the history of this abbey. Wheter you’re interested in nature or in culture, the abbey-site offers something for everyone.
This was the second and last part of the Leuven-series. I hope you enjoyed watching & reading, and I’m actually kind of curious to hear what you think about it!
Also, it was my first attempt on video-editing ever (the filming is done by a friend of mine, Jesper Rey), so if you have any tips for me, I’d be happy to hear them!
Are you planning on visiting Leuven anytime soon? Or maybe planning on visiting one of these spots? Let me know!