Tips for a mini cycling break in Leuven
The people of Leuven love to ride their bikes. And it’s easy to see why because Leuven is fun to explore by bike, thanks to its historic city centre, which is a low-traffic area, its layout making it easy to navigate, and the many green areas in and around the city. Below we share our tips for a fun, two-day cycling trip to the capital of Flemish Brabant.
Bring your bike to Leuven
In Leuven we roll out the red carpet for tourist and their bikes. Many of Leuven’s hotels have locked bicycle storages, where you can securely park your bike for the night. Enquire about the options when booking or choose a place to stay the night from the list of ‘Bicycle-friendly accommodations’. Did you know that you can bike on the train? Enquire with the public transport company and before you know it, you’ll be riding out of the station, down Bondgenotenlaan.
Tip! Are you unable to bring your bike to Leuven? You can rent one from Leuven Leisure, Fietspunt Leuven Station or Dokter Velo.
Put together your own picnic
Don’t forget to pack some a meal and drinks for your bicycle tour. Head to the Saturday market in Brusselsestraat, the perfect place to stock up on some nutritious snacks. The market stalls sell bread, meat, cheese, fruit, olives… All the ingredients for a delicious, copious picnic. Follow your nose through this surprising, bustling market!
Bike past the abbeys in the region around Leuven
You can go on several nice bike tours from Leuven, all with different distances. Culture, nature or both? The cycling route past Leuven’s abbeys is 14.1 km long. Follow the bicycle waypoints and get ready to admire St Gertrude’s Abbey, Keizersberg Abbey, Vlierbeek Abbey and Park Abbey.
Tip! Looking for an even tougher challenge? How about the Voervallei route (47 km)?
Picnic near Park Abbey
Park Abbey is located just outside Leuven’s city centre. This 12th-century abbey is surrounded by stunning nature. The two large ponds near the abbey are just the perfect place to get away from the heat on a sweltering summer day. Park your bike and find a spot on the banks for a fun picnic. The abbey buildings and PARCUM museum are both well worth a visit. Immerse yourself in the history and philosophy of the Norbertine Order that founded the abbey and find out more about this unique religious heritage.
Tip! Does your route not take you past Park Abbey? No worries, Leuven has loads of fun places for a picnic.
A delicious dinner to maximise your recovery
Have you just finished a particularly gruelling bike ride? A large dinner will speed up your recovery and replenish your carbs. You can take your taste buds on a journey around the world in Leuven’s restaurants, but if you’re looking to sample traditional Belgian cuisine, you won’t go hungry either. From finger-licking good shrimp croquettes to beef stew and waffles: it’s all there for you to enjoy.
Enjoy a well-deserved night’s rest
Nothing beats a good night’s sleep after an action-packed day. Whether you prefer to sleep in a hostel, a former convent or a B&B, Leuven has something for everyone. Some hotels also offer bicycle storage.
The morning coffee talk
What better way to wake up your sleep head than with a large cup of hot coffee? Do like the locals and head to one of Leuven’s many nice coffee bars.
Follow the footsteps - or rather bike tracks - of George Lemaître
George Lemaître became world-famous as the scientist who formulated the modern big bang theory. If you’re interested in finding more about the many and the big bang, you can bike from Leuven to Louvain-la Neuve, the two university cities where Lemaître worked as a university lecturer. The 34-kilometre route winds its way through Meerdaalwoud and the countryside of Brabant Wallon. Scan the QR codes en route to learn more about the evolution of the universe, planet earth and the future.
Reward yourself with a big scoop of ice-cream
Can you think of a better way to reward yourself after a long bike ride than with an ice-cream? On a boat, in the bustling city centre, or in the city park: there are loads of options to choose from!
Can't wait to explore Leuven during a weekend bike trip?
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People mainly associate Leuven with Stella Artois or Belgium’s oldest university. But the lovely city on the Dijle River has so much more to offer.
How to get there
Leuven is very easily accessible. There are many ways to travel from the neighbouring countries straight to the heart of our university city.