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Leuven is a city of about 100,000 inhabitants, located just 30 kilometres east of Brussels, Belgium. Its centre is one of the most beautiful in the country and if you have the time, a daytrip from Brussels or, even better, staying in the city itself, is really recommended! It has a lively atmosphere, thanks to the fact that it is a major student city as well.
Leuven doesn't have an airport, but Brussels Airport is just a 15-minute ride by train or car away.
Leuven railway station runs frequent trains to Brussels (20 minutes), the international airport (15 minutes), Ghent (1 hour), Antwerp (50 minutes), Mechelen (20 minutes), Liege (1 hour) and Bruges (1.5 hour).
|HI De Blauwput Leuven||Martelarenlaan 11a||Hostel||89|
|Lodging At 8||Weldadigheidsstraat 8 3000 Vlaams Brabant||Guesthouse||-|
|Leuven City Hostel||Ravenstraat 37||Hostel||80|
|St. Jacob||Brusselsestraat 125||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Internet is widely available in Belgium, but internet cafés are not common, because most people have internet access at home or through wifi. There are multiple internet access points in all cities and it is free in most libraries. Also in multiple gas stations, train stations and diners on the highways there is Wi-Fi available. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi nowadays and if you can't find any you can always fall back on Quick or McDonalds which both offer free Wi-Fi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Belgium is: + 32. To make an international call from Belgium, the code is 00.
Belgium has a modern telephone system with nationwide cellular telephone coverage. Belgium uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are three main companies (Proximus, Mobistar and Base, and a large number of MVNOs) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free. You can get sim cards for the three main companies in dedicated phone shops. Sim cards from the MVNOs are readily available at supermarkets (Carrefour, Aldi, Colruyt to name a few all have their own brand). All networks provide UMTS and HSDPA (3G) mobile internet coverage, and are rolling out a 4G network, mainly in the big cities and eventually in the whole country.
De Post is the national postal service of Belgium, with Dutch, French and German versions. They offer generally fast, reliable services. It's a relatively expensive service though, with normal domestic post (cards, letters etc) up to 50 grams costing €0.61. To other European countries it costs €1.03 and outside Europe it's €1.34. At the post offices, you can buy stamps and they have other services as well, including international money transfers. The opening times of post offices are 9:00am or 10:00am until 4:00pm or 5:00pm, depending on whether it's the main central one or a smaller branch or in towns. Some of them might be open on Saturday mornings, and remember that quite a few still close for lunch break! De Post also offers the sending of parcels, but you could also use private international companies like UPS, TNT or DHL, as they offer roughly the same services and prices, but are generally faster.
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