City Guide: 24 hours in Leuven

Leuven is a city that can easily be explored over the course of a few days. However, if you only have 24 hours to visit the city, there is limited time to see everything. That means your day has to be planned carefully to ensure you hit all the incredible sites.

Don’t worry, we have recommendations of places and activities well worth checking out if you only have one day and an evening in Leuven. This itinerary will give you a great look at what Leuven is all about and fill your 24 hours with plenty of fun.

Rebecca Poulsen
20 September 2022

How to spend 24 hours in Leuven

10:00 • Start the day with a coffee & pastry

There is no better way to start off the day than with a delicious cup of coffee and pastry combination. You’ll need the fuel to get you through a busy day of touring Leuven!

Luckily, there are plenty of fantastic coffee spots to choose from scattered throughout Leuven. If you’re having a hard time picking one for breakfast, we recommend visiting a second one later in the day for a little pick-me-up!

11:00 • Wander the streets of Leuven and see the sights!

The city of Leuven is designed with walkers and bikers in mind. This means there are few cars in the city center and the streets are designed for safe walking. As you walk the streets, be sure to explore the many different shops Leuven has, you might find the perfect souvenir to take home!

Need inspiration? We recommend these city walk routes to see the best of Leuven. These planned routes are another great way to see the city as well! In fact, why not combine these routes with touring some street art around the city?

Here are just a few of some of the most popular places to visit in Leuven:

13:00 • Time for lunch

Leuven is a great scene for any foodie that loves to discover unique flavours. For inspiration on where to go for lunch, check out these 10 Cheap Eats spots for affordable meals! If the weather is nice, grab a table outside and watch as the city buzzes around you.

14:00 • Visit the shops

Leuven is well known for its fabulous shopping scene, and it would be a shame if you missed out on it! Shopping streets can be found all throughout the city. Check out this shopping guide to narrow down which shops you want to visit. You’re sure to find a fun souvenir to bring home to remind you of your day trip to Leuven.

15:00 • Hop on a bike

One of the best ways to explore Leuven is by bike because you can do and see so many more things! Renting a bike in Leuven is super easy, and getting around on a bike is quite simple. With few cars in the city center you can be assured you’ll be safe riding your bike all around the city. Check out these bike routes and customize them to your liking whether you want a guide or prefer to do a solo ride.

Some of our favourite places to bike include:

17:00 • Dinner time

Don’t lose time looking for the perfect dinner spot. With so many restaurants to choose from and so little time to visit Leuven, we’ve made it easy for you to choose. Treat yourself to some classic Belgian dish in Leuven.

19:00 • Cheers to beer

A trip to Leuven isn’t complete until you’ve experienced some of the city’s unique beer. The best way to explore the beer culture in the city is to book a tour with a guide. If you’d prefer to venture on your own, check out the Oude Markt, the longest bar in all of Europe! You’ll find every type of beer here and have plenty of options to try. Not to mention, having a beer in a bar is the best way to get in touch with the locals. Be sure to ask them what’s not to miss during your short stay in Leuven.

Want something to have a keepsake for your trip? Check out these beer shops where you’ll find the best Leuven beers to take home with you and enjoy later!

22:00 • Return to Your accommodation

If you’re wanting to stay out later, there are plenty of hip bars open late into the night for the party to continue. But if you’re ready to hit the hay, you can head back to your overnight accommodations to rest and recoup.

Before going to sleep, perhaps you’ll want to go through all the photos you took during your day trip to Leuven. Why not pick your favourite ones and share them with your family and friends? Don’t forget to tag #visitleuven in your posts on social media so we can see the fun day you had. We may even repost some of our favourite photos!

10:00 • The next morning - Heading home

In the morning, enjoy breakfast in your hotel, or venture out to the many local eateries of Leuven or find a cozy coffee spot. If you’re waiting for a return train, getting to the Leuven station is quite simple from anywhere in the city. Many bus routes go directly to the station, making it easy to catch your train.

Extra Tip • Grab an ILUVLeuven Ticket

If you plan to have a packed day and want to visit all the sites and do all the tours, we recommend getting an ILUVLeuven Ticket. This ticket grants you access to Leuven’s most popular sights at a discount rate. Here’s what you get with an ILUVLeuven Ticket:

These tours and sights are some of the best ways to experience Leuven’s rich history and will certainly fill your time in the city with enjoyable activities.

We hope to see you soon!

Whether you’re here for 24 hours, or you’re visiting for a couple of days, we welcome you to the city of Leuven! We look forward to having you and hope you enjoy our beautiful, historic, and innovative city.

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Kruidtuin / Botanical Garden ©Karl Bruninx