A day in Heverlee, delightfully mingling with the locals

Are you someone who likes to go off the beaten track? Who turns left, where everyone goes right? Then be sure to read on! In this blog you will find tips for visiting a neighbourhood where most visitors never come. Where you effortlessly blend in with the locals and where – especially on a Sunday – the place hums with a cosy vibe.

9 October 2023

Welcome to Heverlee! A borough of Leuven, just outside the city centre but easily accessible. With some top attractions, unique shops, surprising restaurants and a large Sunday market.


At Karma feel good store, good feelings are guaranteed. Colourful clothes, surprising gifts and original decoration, there is something for everyone. You won’t be leaving without a bag full of fun.

KARMA feel good store, Naamsesteenweg 166, 3001 Heverlee

Stuifmeel en Stamper, the flower and plant business of Nico and Dave, also spoil the senses. In addition to fresh cut flowers, there is also a beautiful selection of silk flowers and plants, the decor trend of the coming years.

Stuifmeel en Stamper, Naamsesteenweg 177, 3001 Heverlee

Take along a fashionable souvenir with a Belgian twist from your city trip to Leuven? Then go shopping at the June clothing store in the City. With a great selection of affordable Belgian fashion, you will certainly find something that suits you here.

June in the City, Naamsesteenweg 382 D, 3001 Heverlee

And don’t miss the local market on Sunday. Our tip: collect a delicious lunch at the various stalls and have a picnic in the neighbouring Arenberg Park. Fresh bread rolls, local cheese or veggie spreads, Moroccan olives, freshly baked waffles, homemade yoghurt, choice enough to fill that picnic basket.

Beautiful parks

You’ll find the Arenberg Park and Castle about a five-minute walk from the Sunday market. Via the main entrance at the Kardinaal Mercierlaan you arrive on the magnificent driveway to the castle. Just like a postcard! Unfortunately, the building itself has rarely been opened to the public. But the park itself is an attraction. Can you find the water mill and the Saint Lambert chapel? The chapel is a popular wedding venue for the true Leuven locals. You'll see why right away.

After the picnic, it is time for another must-see in Heverlee: Park Abbey. One of the best preserved abbey sites in Europe, with another beautiful park around it. The abbey’s historic halls were restored recently. Our tip: be sure to admire the stucco ceilings in the library. And you can do that without getting neck pain. There are special reclining seats so you can discover all the details. Good to know: A visit to the abbey site itself is free; you only pay for a visit to the buildings.


The ViaVia Café is an absolute favourite of Leuven people. In a city teeming with more than 190 nationalities, it’s hardly surprising that a world cafe has thrived here. The menu includes dishes from all continents, although their spaghetti and South African bobotie are world famous. Or at least in and around Leuven.

Furbetto is the “new kid in town” who won the hearts of locals in a short space of time. Booking in time is therefore necessary here. Seasonal, Italian inspired, but with a healthy dose of playful disobedience. That’s what restaurant Furbetto promises us.

And do you think now, that's too much for one day? Then stay overnight in Heverlee. There are some small, charming B&Bs and hotels.

Book your stay here