Last Updated on 20.08.2023 by Iliyan
Wondering how to spend one day in Leuven, Belgium? This one day in Leuven itinerary covered the large and prestigious KU Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven), the marvelous town hall, the UNESCO listed Great Beguinage, and the beautiful St Peter’s Church. Besides that, Leuven is home of one of the most famous breweries in the world – Stella Artois.
In this one day in Leuven you can enjoy walking in the city’s cobblestone streets, drinking a glass of cold beer in the tens of the cafes, pubs and restaurants around alongside exploring historical sightseeing. Leuven is a charming small city next to the capital of Brussels. It’s super easy to visit Leuven as a day trip from there.
Best Places to visit in Leuven in One Day
Let’s get into the best places to visit in one day in Leuven Belgium.
Leuven City Hall
Leuven City Hall is probably the most impressive building in the city.It is situated on the main square (Grote Markt) of the town. Leuven City Hall is a true architectural masterpiece, built in the 15th century in a Late Gothic style. It took three architects and thirty years to build this masterpiece.
The facades are decorated with statues of different historic personalities. These 236 statues represent Leuven’s founded “Hall of fame”.
The Fons Sapientiae statue
This whimsical statue is located in the heart of Leuven. It depicts a boy, holding a book in one of his hands, and in the other one, he pours water (or beer) inside his head. The statue embodies the roaring student life in the town. It symbolizes the knowledge pouring into the heads of the students. The statue carries the name Fons Sapientiae or Fonske, as it’s called by the locals, which literally means “Source of Wisdom”.
Sint-Pieterskerk (St Peter’s Church)
St Peter’s Church (St-Pieterskerk) is the huge Brabantine Gothic church that stands in the heart of Leuven on the Grote Markt, just in front of the City Hall.
It was built in the 15th century, but the towers have never been completed due to an unstable soil.
It houses the Flemish version of The Last Supper by Dirk Bout. Here you can see the jacquemart, or golden automaton on top of the church, which periodically rings a bell.
In 1999, the church with belfry was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage.
Groot Begijnhof (Great Beguinage)
The Great Beguinage is a must for all visitors and one of the best places to visit in Leuven. This beguinage dates from the 13th century. Тhe golden age of the Great Beguinage was in the 17th century with about 360 beguines.
A beguinage is an architectural complex which was created to house religious women, but with more liberal rights than regular monasteries. They are specific for the Flemish region – in Belgium and Netherlands, but you can find them in France too.
The Great Beguinage is a fusion of beautiful alleys, gardens, parks, courtyards and houses in traditional architecture. They are inhabited by students, foreign teachers and employees of the oldest Catholic university in Europe. Currently, the Beguinage is a property namely of the Catholic university.
The Leuven Catholic University (KU Leuven)
KU Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. Founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V, KU Leuven is the largest university in Belgium and the Low Countries. In addition to its main campus in Leuven, it has campuses in 11 Belgian cities.
One of the biggest attractions in Leuven is KU University’s library. However, even if you have only one day in Leuven this is a must. It has been demolished during the time of the First World War but thanks to the financing from the American charity foundation, it was rebuilt again in the traditional Flemish Renaissance style in the 20s.
You can visit both the University Library and Bell Tower, where you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the city. It is recommended to book your tickets in advance from here.
Getting Around Leuven
Since Leuven is a small city, it’s very easy to get around on foot. Luckily, it is a very walkable city, and most of the best places to visit in Leuven are concentrated close each other.
Is Leuven Worth Visiting?
Is One Day in Leuven Enough?
I would say that one day in Leuven Belgium is absolutely enough to visit the major landmarks. It’s a small city, and it’s super easy to get around between most sights and attractions.