15 Things To Do In Dinant, Belgium

Things to do in Dinant
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Brussels may be Belgium’s most popular city, but 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the capital lies this hidden gem, home to the saxophone and Europe’s hardest biscuits. Located at Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium, the city of Dinant sits at the point where the Meuse and Lesse rivers meet. Towering stone cliffs and a massive rock split into two greet the city’s visitors, providing an imposing presence that warrants further exploration.

Dinant was originally a Celtic settlement before eventually falling into the hands of the Romans. During the medieval period, the city experienced major progress thanks to its copperware industry known as Dinanderie. Although Dinant’s name translates to “Sacred Valley” or “Divine Valley” (Divo-Nanto) in Celtic, it has seen much destruction during the first and second world wars. Today, the city’s historical buildings still stand as a reminder of all it had to endure since the days of its first inhabitants.

Beneath Dinant’s romantic facade lies a rich history that emanates from every corner. It is a city that begs to be explored left and right, above and below. If you want to skip the crowds of Brussels, head to this city blanketed with medieval ambiance and experience the unseen Belgium of centuries ago. Read more to learn about the best things to do in Dinant, Belgium.

1. Admire the centuries-old Walzin Castle

Dinant Château de Walzin
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zairon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Chateau de Walzin or Walzin Castle is a castle in Belgium in the province of Namur, near the city of Dinant. It is perched on top of the cliffs next to the River Lesse, and it is now a popular photography spot for its classic castle views surrounded by nature. It was built in the 13th century and is one of the largest castles in Belgium. The castle was restored after it was burnt down by the French army. The 15th-century Renaissance horseshoe tower with four cannon ports still exists. The castle is now private property and it is a quiet place since it is not accessible to the public. To get some splendid views of this castle on the rocks, hike by the river and cross a bridge until you reach the scenic spot.

Walzin Castle

Address: Rue de Walzin 1, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

Website: Walzin Castle

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2. Sample local brews at Maison Leffe

Leffe Sortiment 01 12
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Хрюша used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Maison Leffe is a beer museum in the heart of Dinant, in Belgium. It offers beer tastings at La Merveilleuse Hotel, a former monastery with views of the Meuse Valley. Leffe, a brewing tradition since 1240, was started by canons to prepare a healthy and invigorating beverage for the pilgrims of the monastery. These brewing traditions have been passed down generations for nearly eight centuries. Maison Leffe will let you explore the rich character and deep roots of the exceptional abbey beer. Savor the different varieties of Leffe and stir all your senses through interactive experiences. You can also make use of the opportunity to discover the true meaning of the word ‘zythology’, the craftsmanship behind every Leffe variety, and the delights of food pairing.

Maison Leffe

Address: 23, Charreau des Capucines, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

Website: Maison Leffe

Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 11am - 6pm (closed Mon - Thu)

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3. Visit the iconic needle rock of Rocher Bayard

Rocher Bayard, Dinant
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mamiot used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Rocher Bayard is a needle-like rock located on the right bank of the Meuse River, between Dinant and Anseremme. Standing on an epic ridge of protruding limestone, Rocher Bayard continues up the side of the valley. You can drive through the needle and along the ridge while northbound on Rue Defoin. A popular tourist attraction in the Ardennes region, Rocher Bayard is associated with the folklore of the four Aymon sons and their horse Bayard. Legend has it that as they escaped from Charlemagne riding on the back of the horse, the animal took a leap forward to cross the river. At this time, the horse’s hooves struck the rock, causing the separation. In reality, the soldiers of Louis XIV separated the rock for an easy road next to the Muese in order to invade Dinant. The road was then widened to allow automobiles.

Rocher Bayard

Address:Rue Defoin, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

Website: Rocher Bayard

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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4. Check out the art at Ubique Gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Ubique Gallery on Sunday, January 24, 2021

If you are an art lover, don’t miss this lovely gallery in Dinant. This art gallery exhibits and sells various artworks centered around specific themes. The works include paintings, sculptures, photographs, and graphics. Various workshops are organized within the gallery, such as an introductory painting workshop. An experienced facilitator will help you in foundations and in using various art materials like colors, paint, brushes, additives, acrylic and oil glazes, etc. The awe-inspiring artworks and art courses make the gallery worth a visit. The gallery is open only on Saturdays and by appointment.

Ubique Gallery

Address: Rue Grande 55, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

Website: Ubique Gallery

Opening hours: Sat: 2pm - 6pm (closed from Sun - Fri)

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Dinant Tour Guide

Miriam  Meda

Miriam Meda

I inspire and help you on your trips to Belgium with my project, Curiositas Mundus. My goal is to avoid you any surprises once you land in this beautiful and small country. Traveling with kids? No problem. Are you a high school teacher preparing for your next study trip? No worries. Families? Friends? Solo travel? VIP? Companies? Universities? Lost souls? Restless minds? Physical challenges or difficulties? All of you are welcome! My specialty is the preparation of tours all over the country. I can guide you through the Belgian streets, museums, bars, chocolate paradises and other places of interest. I want my services to be cultural, responsible, and engaged with the local people. I already have ideas to improve that relationship tourists-inhabitants and to work also with local non-profit associations and businesses :-) In a more personal way, but also related to this nice job of guiding strangers from all over the world, I am a crazy learner of history (especially European history), art, literature, comics (long life to Marvel), languages (you can contact me in English, French, Spanish or Dutch; now I am trying to learn Japanese), philosophy, sociology, politics, videogames and so on! Above all, I have tons of curiosity about everything that surronds me.

5. Sign up for an adrenaline rush at Dinant Evasion

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Dinant Evasion on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Dinant Evasion is a high adventure park in Belgium and a perfect place for thrill-seekers. Perched on top of a hill with panoramic views of the Meuse Valley, Dinant Adventure offers several levels of adventure challenges, caving, paintball, and laser games. The rock face offers climbing routes while the forests are an ideal setting for treetop adventure courses and monkey bridges. Dinant Adventure has chosen daring routes where balance, courage, and agility are the real focus. All these activities take place under the supervision of certified staff.

Dinant Evasion

Address: Rue de la Carrière 1, 5500 Dinant

Website: Dinant Evasion

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 11 - 72 USD

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6. Marvel at the medieval glory of the Collégiale Notre Dame de Dinant

Dinant Collégiale Notre-Dame-de-Dinant Fassade 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Zairon used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This magnificent 13th-century Gothic cathedral with a pear-shaped bell tower is one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks. The collegiate church, sitting at the location of a collapsed 10th-century Romanesque church, went through constant reconstruction until the 1820s. It houses stunning stained glass windows, an unfinished 19th-century painting, a 1400s baptismal font, and a 1731 Dinanderie lectern.

Collégiale Notre Dame de Dinant

Address: Place Reine Astrid, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: None

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7. Stroll around the River Meuse

Source: Photo by user Luc Viatour used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another one of Dinant’s iconic landmarks is this majestic river that flows into the North Sea. Visitors can take in the scenery by walking along the river or crossing the saxophone-lined Charles de Gaulle bridge. Cruises are available if you want to take a sightseeing tour right on the water.

If you’re going to visit Dinant on mid-August, then you’re in for a treat. The Meuse is also the site of the annual Régate de Baignoires (Bathtub Regatta), where participants race in bathtubs instead of boats.

Cruises on the Meuse

Address: Rue A. Daoust 64, Dinant, Belgium

Price: From 8.84 USD (7.50 EUR) for adults. Various discounts are available

Contact: info@croisieres-mosanes.be

Website: Croisières Mosanes

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8. Climb up the Citadelle de Dinant

0 Dinant - La citadelle (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jean-Pol GRANDMONT used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This 1815 fortress sits atop a stone cliff, overlooking the city as a silent testament to its tumultuous history. It takes around 400 steps to get there, but the views alone make it worth the climb or cable car ride. Inside, visitors can view various exhibits that provide a glimpse of what the fortress was like in its prime.

Citadelle de Dinant

Address: 3-5 Place Reine Astrid, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Prices: From 10.02 USD (8.50 EUR) for adults, 7.07 USD (6 EUR) for children

Website: Citadelle de Dinant

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9. Discover an underground wonderland at the Grotte La Merveilleuse

Dinant grotte la Merveilleuse 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user EmDee used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you think that Dinant is beautiful above ground, wait until you see what lies beneath it. Discovered in 1904, this limestone cave is a subterranean wonderland of stalactites, stalagmites, and waterfalls. It has a constant temperature of 12 degrees Celsius, and tours usually last for around an hour.

Grotte La Merveilleuse

Address: Rue de Philippeville 142, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: 11 am to 4 pm (Tuesday to Friday), 11 am to 3 pm (weekends and holidays)

Price: 10.60 USD (9 EUR). Discounts are available

Website: Wallonie Belgique Tourisme

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10. Explore remnants of the Renaissance at the Château de Freÿr

Chateau de Freyr
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Richardprins used under CC0

Reminiscent of France’s Versailles, this Renaissance castle is considered as one of Wallonia’s major heritage sites. Located on the Meuse River’s left bank between Dinant and Waulsort, the palace contains labyrinthine gardens, magnificent interiors, furniture dating back to the Dukes of Beaufort-Spontin, and traces of the royals that walked through its halls.

Aside from being an example of classic Renaissance architecture, the summer palace also served as a setting for major historical events. This was where the Coffee Treaty or Treaty of Freÿr between France and Spain was signed in 1675, and eventually the Treaty of the Borders between France and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège in 1772.

Château de Freÿr

Address: 12 Freyr, Hastière, Belgium

Opening hours: Open daily from 11 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: 9.41 USD (8 EUR). Discounts are available

Website: Château de Freÿr

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11. Experience a musical journey at the Maison de Monsieur Sax

Maison de Monsieur Sax - 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ymnes used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Jazz is more commonly associated with the big cities of America, so for most people it’s quite surprising to discover that the musical genre’s iconic instrument originated in Belgium. Born in 1814, Adolphe Sax was the son of a Belgian-French musical instrument-maker. Sax, inheriting his father’s skill, invented the saxophone and its varieties in the 1840s.

Sax’s former house was eventually converted into a place dedicated to his life and achievements. The house is connected to the Anamorphoses Trail, which consists of seven totem poles signifying the different members of the saxophone family. The Collégiale Notre Dame de Dinant and La Maison de la Pataphonie can also be directly accessed through the trail.

Maison de Monsieur Sax

Address: 37 Rue Adolphe Sax, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: Open daily from 9 am to 7 pm

Entrance fee: None

Contact: +32 82213939, info@ccrd.be

Website: The House of Monsieur Sax

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12. Have a bite of the famous couques de Dinant

Couques de Dinant display
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oreo Priest used under CC0

Couque de Dinant is a special pastry that has survived for centuries with its unquestionable strength. This golden-brown biscuit made from flour and honey is arguably Dinant’s most popular product, and it’s known to be beautifully decorated as well as brick-hard. The biscuits are molded using a variety of cutters and wooden templates, with decorations ranging from animals to historical events. Baking them is an art form passed down from generation to generation, and Maison Collard is a household name when it comes to these legendary pastries.

If you’re worried about breaking your teeth trying to bite down the hardest biscuits in Europe, check out the sweeter and softer couque de Rins.

Couques de Dinant V Collard

Address: 72 Rue Grande, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: 10:30 am to 11:30 am, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm (bakery visits)

Contact: couquesdedinant@caramail.com

Website: Maison Collard

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13. Cross the Pont Charles de Gaulle

Dinant (8073159563)
Source: Photo by user Andrés Nieto Porras used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Lined with Dinant’s ubiquitous symbol, the saxophone, this bridge has become one of Dinant’s most distinct features. Completed in 1953, the bridge was named after Charles de Gaulle, a war hero and political figure most commonly associated with the Free French Movement. The bridge provides access to the main square at the foot of the Citadel and Notre Dame.

Pont Charles de Gaulle

Address: Rue de la Station 4, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: All day

Entrance fee: None

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14. Explore the great outdoors

Rock climbing
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jabez used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Southern Belgium has terrain perfect for outdoor exploration. In Dinant, there are a variety of hiking trails which both beginners and seasoned hikers can traverse. Mountain Network is a group that organizes outdoor activities for all ages. They offer a variety of services including archery, kayaking, rock climbing, and GPS activities. After the excursion, guests can chill out with local Trappist beer in hand at the Bar du Moulin.

Mountain Network

Address: Ferme de Pont-à-Lesse, Dinant, Belgium

Price: 11.17 USD (9.5 EUR)

Contact: +32 82227816, ardennen@mountain-network.nl

Website: Mountain Network

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15. Traverse the Furfooz Park and Nature Reserve

Park Furfooz
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user desiderata12 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Lesse Valley is truly a sight to behold, and this nature reserve makes sure that you see all the best it has to offer. The park contains a 4-kilometer (2.48-mile) trail that passes through river banks, caves, and an evergreen forest. It also has a replica of ancient Roman baths, providing visitors with a window to Wallonia’s archaeological heritage.

Furfooz Park and Nature Reserve

Address: Rue du Camp Romain, Dinant, Belgium

Opening hours: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Closing times vary depending on the season

Entrance fee: 4.70 USD (4 EUR). Discounts are available

Contact: +32 82223477, info@parcdefurfooz.be

Website: Parc de Furfooz- in French

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Discover the hidden gem of Belgium

Dinant is not just a pretty city in a little European country. It’s a city with personality, an amalgam of historic sites and natural wonders. With its iconic landmarks and lesser-known havens, Dinant truly shines as a city with one-of-a-kind charm.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Andrea, a chronic existentialist, is a serial dreamer and fervent seeker of wonders.

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