Leuven, the capital of Vlaams-Brabant and situated a quick 20 minute train ride from Brussels, will welcome back its student population the third week of September, the start of the 2013-2014 academic year all around Belgium.
Some of the restaurants and shops hang signs in their windows informing the Leuven summer locals of ‘holiday’ closures until September. Without the tens of thousands of students around, café bars close early and frituurs turn off their frying vats for most of July and August.
The guidebooks suggest visitors come to Leuven when the student population is en force during the academic year. Therefore, if you want to party or witness the student crowd at its best head to Leuven midweek. Be prepared for the onslaught of students (and their bicycles), commanding a huge quantity of Belgian beers (student-discounted 1 euro/ $1.20 glasses), including Leuven's locally brewed Stella Artois.
Just want to see the sights and have a few fresh Stellas and trappist beers? Well, I suggest planning your trip sometime during the more peaceful weekends.
Accommodations in Leuven:
• For the best deals on hotels in nearby Leuven, Brussels, and other European cities search Booking.com. Hotel Binnenhof is a great pick in Leuven. It's clean, comfortable, includes a deluxe breakfast, and only 2 minutes walking to the Leuven train station.
• Leuven City Hostel is a new and modern place, situated in the vibrant city center of Leuven. http://www.leuvencityhostel.com/LCH/