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Enchantment By The River: 10 Things To Do In Dinant, Belgium

Enchantment By The River: 10 Things To Do In Dinant, Belgium
Andrea
Andrea
Updated

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 find out the best things to do in Dinant, Belgium.

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

La collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant est considérée comme l’une des plus belles églises de Belgique ! Ne manquez pas de la visiter durant votre séjour.

Posted by Citadelle de Dinant on Wednesday, 18 November 2015

#notredame #notredamededinant #belgium #wallonie #church #weekendout #natgeotravel #natgeo #nationalgeographic #nature...

Posted by Pronto per Partire on Saturday, 12 August 2017

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

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

2. Stroll around the River Meuse

Meuse River at dusk.

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: [email protected]

Website: Croisières Mosanes

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

3. Climb up the Citadelle de Dinant

Le saviez-vous ? La Citadelle de Dinant a été reconnue comme l’un des meilleurs joyaux cachés européens.

Posted by Citadelle de Dinant on Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Vous souhaitez venir à Dinant ? De nombreux hôtels vous accueillent. Choisissez celui qui vous plaira et venez nous rendre visite à la Citadelle ! http://bit.ly/2uqKm4e

Posted by Citadelle de Dinant on Saturday, 29 July 2017

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

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

4. Discover an underground wonderland at the Grotte La Merveilleuse

Grotte de Dinant La Merveilleuse ....

Posted by Nous les Belges on Thursday, 14 April 2016

Inside Grotte la merveilleuse, the magnificent caves of Dinant. You can fit a chapel in there.

Posted by Vishualization on Wednesday, 10 February 2016

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

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

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

Château de Freyr

Posted by Dinant, Ambiance Tourisme on Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Posted by Château de Freÿr on Thursday, 10 August 2017

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

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

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

La Maison de Monsieur Sax participe, ces samedi 25 et dimanche 26 avril, au Wallonie Week-end Bienvenue à Dinant. Cet...

Posted by AIAS - Association Internationale Adolphe Sax, Dinant, Belgium on Friday, 24 April 2015

©Ph. Dehuit

Posted by AIAS - Association Internationale Adolphe Sax, Dinant, Belgium on Saturday, 2 July 2016

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, [email protected]

Website: The House of Monsieur Sax

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

7. Have a bite of the famous couques de Dinant

Oyez Oyez, Braves Gens! La patronne vous invite à son nouveau point de vente où vous serez accueilli par Yann! (Avenue Churchill 2, 5500 Dinant)

Posted by Couques de Dinant V. Collard 1774 sprl on Sunday, 2 April 2017

Posted by Couques de Dinant V. Collard 1774 sprl on Friday, 17 February 2017

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: [email protected]

Website: Maison Collard

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

8. Cross the Pont Charles de Gaulle

Pont Charles de Gaulle.

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

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

9. Explore the great outdoors


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, [email protected]

Website: Mountain Network

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

10. Traverse the Furfooz Park and Nature Reserve

A post shared by B E N 📷 (@ben_explorer) on Aug 21, 2017 at 8:26am PDT


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, [email protected]

Website: Parc de Furfooz(in French)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Dinant and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Dinant

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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