Leuven is the principal university town in Belgium—it's the home of the prestigious Catholic University of Leuven, founded in 1432. The city, 19 mi/31 km east of Brussels, has many fine old buildings, including the flamboyant stadhuis (town hall), which has the appearance of a gigantic reliquary.

There are many churches and a 13th-century beguinage, really a town within a town (be sure to visit its little church as well). Although the thriving party culture that surrounds the university will appeal primarily to younger travelers (and of course, the young at heart), the stadhuis and the free city tour offered daily are for everyone.

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