Interview with a local : Leuven, Belgium. A Visitors Guide by someone who knows best!

Today we talk to Belgium-based Sofie from about her home town Leuven, Belgium. Sofie helps people to plan worry-free trips by providing them with detailed travel itineraries based on her own travels as well as practical travel information and how-tos. And if you really don’t like to research or simply don’t have the time, she’ll create a custom itinerary for you. She’s driven by an urge to explore and a cup of green tea (or two).

What you can expect from this article…

  • 1 Where are you living?
  • 2  Tell us about yourself?
  • 3 What is your favourite thing about Leuven?
  • 4  What is your favourite thing to do in Leuven with a day off?  
  • 5 What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Leuven? 
  • 6 And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening?
  • 7 Is there one thing not many people know about Leuven?

Where are you living?

Hi! I live in Leuven, capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium

 Tell us about yourself?

I’m a travel blogger, copywriter and consultant which gives me the opportunity to work from home and just about anywhere in the world. I’ve always visited Leuven, often as a child and a teenager and studied here for four years before moving to Antwerp for one year to get an extra master’s degree. Once I started working in 2010, I moved into an apartment outside Leuven’s city centre with my partner. We’ve been living here ever since. 

Whenever I’m not working, I love taking dance classes and trying out new coffee bars in the city. I’ve recently also created a meetup group for entrepreneurs in Leuven to get to know more local people who work online.

What is your favourite thing about Leuven?

I love how walkable Leuven is. You don’t need any public transportation or a car to see the whole of the centre. Thanks to the large student population (40,000 students for 90,000 inhabitants!), it’s also a lively place with lots of things going on and plenty of cafes where you can dance late into the night.

 What is your favourite thing to do in Leuven with a day off?  

I love going to the iconic Oude Markt (Old Market Square), pick a chair on one of the many cafe terraces and watch people walk by while enjoying a tea in the sun. The Old Market Square is a must for anyone visiting the city. It’s the heart of the centre and for locals, it’s the place where you’ll always bump into someone you know.  

What in your opinion is the one thing you can’t miss when you visit Leuven? 

As far as I know, Leuven is the only city with not one, but two beguinages. The beguinages of Belgium and the North of France are UNESCO World Heritage sites that once housed communities of religious lay women. Especially the Grand Beguinage of Leuven is an oasis of peace and quiet within the city and always nice to take a stroll through. Each year, there’s one evening in winter when they light the entire place with candles. It’s quite magical.

Any top tips where to go/ what to do on a rainy day? 

The Museum M combines a permanent collection with temporary exhbitions from both classic and modern artists. It’s always interesting to go and have a look to see what’s on. The Museum also has its own cafe where you can get drinks and even a bite to eat. it’s a great place to spend a rainy afternoon. 

Where is your go-to restaurant?

I like going to Entreprise in the Naamsestraat because they have a bit of everything. It’s not the most refined restaurant in town, but you can literally take anyone there and they’ll always find something to their liking. On the menu are tapas, salads, pasta, meat dishes… And there’s an open kitchen which I always find a plus as well. Entreprise is also known for its cocktails so it can get packed in the weekend. Make sure to make a reservation if you’re set on going. 

And where do you suggest going for a drink in the evening?

I’m a very a-typical Belgian in that I don’t drink alcohol. Nope, no beer either! I do know that The Capital is the biggest beer cafe in the world in terms of how many beers they offer. In a very brown-pub-like interior, you can take your pick from no less than 2,000 brews! I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a beer fan. Just make sure you don’t need to drive anywhere after 🙂 

Is there one thing not many people know about Leuven?

Leuven has a marvellous university library. It looks like a medieval building but was actually only built in the 1920s, after the First World War. Leuven’s university, which dates back to the 16th century, did have another library before that, but it was bombed by the Germans during the war. The current library was a present from the Americans for the city and the university. If you’re willing to climb 300 steps, you can visit the top of its tower for a great view.

If you would like to hear more from Sofie about Leuven, you can find out more here:  

If you enjoyed this interview and would liek to find other similar interviews packed with tiop tips from locals in cities throughout the world, follow any of these links!

Jamaica  Tel Aviv  Dubai  Rio de Janeiro  Tenerife   Paris   Lisbon   Washington  San Diego

As always, I LOVE hearing from you! Have you been to Leuven or planning a trip there? Does anyone else have any top tips to share with us?! 

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