After several travel to Belgium I can say that I have seen most of the Flanders or at least the more characteristic cities, even if I still miss Ghent. Last time I was in Leuven, which I absolutely did not know existed. And what was I missing.
Leuven, Leuven or Louvain, is a purely university city, where Stella Artois beer was born among other things and which is 20 minutes by train from Brussels. Two full days can be spent in Leuven perfectly, but if you have little time and want to take a day trip from Brussels, that's fine anyway. The city is small and can be easily explored on foot or by bicycle, by far the most used means of transport here.
I slept at Park Inn, the hotel that is part of the famous chain and which is located practically above the train station. There is no noise, do not worry, and the breakfast is very abundant, excellent for a good start to the day. In my opinion, the position is strategic also because, in case you have a little tight schedules, I will allow you to enjoy the town of Leuven to the last.
Where to eat in Leuven
A little place where I recommend you to eat in Leuven, which by the way is near the station and therefore the hotel is De Klimopleuven, an intimate and very welcoming place to spend a good evening in the company of friends or your partner. A classy place and not at all Spartan than by the way it is also a hotel. In case you don't like the Park Inn I think this could be a great alternative.
Where to drink beer in Leuven
Leuven is the home of the Stella Artois, so you already know what to ask in the pubs you frequent. In addition to the Stella Artois, however, the brewery is also located in Leuven Domus and his beer of course. The pub is located in Tiensestraat 8, the entrance is on the corner and the small street with which it crosses also leads to the small brewery which is connected to the pub by an overhanging canal (also seen inside the pub) which directly supplies the local with the fresh beer. Here as well as drinking you can also eat, many dishes are made with the special Domus beer.
Leuven is a very small town, in one day you will have seen the whole center on foot. If you want to entertain yourself a little more I recommend theM Museum, the museum of the city of Leuven. The Museum is a gem of the city, very large and divided into several floors with contemporary art exhibitions, rooms for activities dedicated to school children and young people and one of the best cafés in the city.
In addition to the museum I recommend a visit to the Grote Markt, the square where the imposing library and the market square stands, you realize it because here there are dozens and dozens of bicycles, but also the beautiful Town Hall Square, Stadhuis. If you want to visit the town, remember that every day at 15 pm there is a guided tour inside, which otherwise you won't be able to see for yourself.
As we have already said, Leuven is one campus. You understand immediately as soon as you arrive in the city. Almost only bicycles circulate here and there are many young people and consequently clubs for young people. From university canteens to take-away food shops of all kinds, to copy shops and cafeterias. Seeing Leuven makes you almost want to return to the University, also because this university is considered among the three best in Europe, not bad!