Leuven (Louvain in French) is a city in the Flemish Brabant province of Belgium, of which it is the capital. During the academic year, Leuven is teeming with students coming from all over Belgium to study in the Catholic University of Leuven, the oldest in the Low Countries and the oldest Catholic university in the world. The Old Market, filled with cafes, is called "the longest bar" in Europe.
The historic centre of Leuven is one of the most beautiful in Belgium. From the Gothic Town Hall to the Begijnhof, Leuven offers buildings in many architectural styles from the ninth century onward. The Begijnhof and the belfry are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
During the academic year, Leuven has lively nightlife. A huge range of Belgian beers can be tasted in many of the bars. Each year around August 15, Marktrock, a free music festival in the center of the city, is organized in Leuven. Other summer events include Beleuvenissen, Hapje Tape, and Leuven Kermis (Leuven Carnival). During the Jaarmarkt, the entire city is transformed into one big market. InBev's main Belgian factory, which produces such beers as Stella Artois, Leffe, and Vieux Temps can be visited.
There are a few Leuven hostels in and near the center of town. Hostels in Leuven are quite pricey, but they offer very good value for money. Leuven is only a short drive by car on the E40 from Brussels. It can also be reached from Brussels by train and takes only twenty minutes. As it's a small city, Leuven can easily be discovered on foot or by bike. Walk to the tourist information desk on the Grote Markt for tourist information.
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