Leuven is a university town located 30km to the east of Brussels. The first references to the town may go back to the 9th century. Founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V, KU Leuven bears the dual honor of being the oldest extant Catholic university in the world and the oldest university in the low countries. Leuven has a rich heritage and contains various historical buildings from different centuries. Its finely sculpted Town Hall and Saint Peter’s church with the famous ‘Last Supper’ by Thierry Bouts, are fine examples of flamboyant Gothic architecture at its best. The Baroque style can be found in St. Michael’s church, in the interior of the St. John the Baptist’s church, and in the unrivalled stucco of the Park Abbey. Other styles can be found in The Romanesque Gate, the Saint Lambert’s church and the remains of the first town walls. Various other historical buildings belong to the patronage of the university.
Next to its cultural heritage, Leuven provides an excellent environment for relaxation in its numerous bars and restaurants. The Old Market is known for its lively nightlife, and offers a large collection of the famous Belgian beers. Beer has played an important role in Leuven’s history. At present, the headquarters of the worlds largest brewery group AB Inbev are located in Leuven. First records go back to the 15th century to the ‘Den Hoorn’ brewery.
How to get to Leuven
Brussels Airport (28 km from Leuven)
Leuven is located approximately 15 minutes’ drive from the Belgian National Airport of Zaventem. The airport has its own train station (Brussels National Airport), with direct trains to Leuven. The station is underneath the airport and is accessed via lifts and escalators in the arrivals hall. Several car hire companies also operate from Brussels Airport.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport (90 km from Leuven)
Brussels Charleroi South airport is one hours’ drive from Leuven. If you land here, you can take the bus to Charleroi railway station and take a train from there to Leuven. Several car hire companies also operate from Charleroi Airport.
Leuven is easy to reach by train from all Belgian and European cities. The station is very close to the town centre.
Leuven is a 20-minute train ride from Brussels, 45 minutes from Antwerp, 50 minutes from Liège and 1.5 hours from the Belgian coast.
Your train journey from Leuven to Brussels South Station takes just half an hour. If you take the Eurostar or the Thalys you can be in Paris in 1.5 hours and in London, Amsterdam or Cologne in 2.5 hours.
Leuven is located at the junction of two important motorways: the E40 and the E314. The ‘P’ signposts will guide you to the different car parks.
Car parks in Leuven
Overview of the busstops in Leuven.
Parkings and busstops in Leuven
Points of interest
The city of Leuven has an excellent tourist information website: