About rock gods and other saints - Leuven (route)

The car-free towpath along the Leuven-Dijle Canal leads you away from the city, to one incredible stop after another. You can expect to uncover a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history, the life of Father Damien, and an impressive medieval castle keep.

Practical information

 Starting point and parking lot:

  • Depart on your bicycle from VisitLeuven (junction 10) in the centre of the city: Naamsestraat 3, 3000 Leuven

You can easily reach Leuven by train. From the train station you can follow the Bondgenotelaan to the Grote Markt. If you want to arrive by car you can park in different parkings in the city, or even beter outside the ring around Leuven. Like for example at the Kessel-Lo Provincial Domain Car Park 3 (junction 5) and cycle from here to junction 83. You will have to pay to park in the Domain’s car park in July and August.

How do you cycle the route? This route is not signposted, so it is best to download the gpx file for your GPS. You can also simply print out the route.

Length: 37 km

Altimeters: 80 meters

Highlights of the route

Leuven-Dijle Canal

In 1750, Prince Karel Van Lorreinen turned the first spade of earth to signal the start of the construction of this canal between Leuven and Mechelen. It’s great cycling on the flat towpaths along the banks.

Damien Museum

The farm where Jozef De Veuster – better known as Father Damien – was born in 1840 is now a fascinating museum about the life of this hero and saint. As a missionary, he worked among the lepers on the island of Molokai (Hawaii) and died of leprosy himself. You will find some very peculiar pieces in the Damien Museum, such as the coffin in which he was buried in 1889 and brought to our country by ship in 1936. After your trip, be sure to visit St Anthony’s Chapel, Father Damien’s final resting place in Leuven since 1936.

Rock Werchter X

The Rock Werchter X Experience Centre tells the story of the annual Rock Werchter rock festival by means of posters, facts, images, names, and music, of course. And figures, many figures: more than 1,000 concerts, millions of visitors, and 500 artists from 20 countries. Be sure to take a look at the North West Walls in the Festival Park in Werchter. These are impressive constellations of ocean containers that form the canvas for works of street art.

De Plas

Tons and tons of sand were mined here for the construction of the E314 motorway. When the pit was filled with water, it became a recreational area where you can enjoy swimming on hot summer days. The beach and sunbathing area are always accessible, even when the green flag is not flying.

Ter Heyden Donjon

Thirty metres high, surrounded by water, and with a ground plan in the shape of a Greek cross. Ter Heyden Donjon is an impressive piece of architecture from1350, with a spiral staircase connecting itssix floors. A tip: The In de oude Brouwerijbeer pub at the foot of the tower is openevery first and third Sunday of the monthfrom April to September.

Also take a look in the VisitLeuven brochure!