Dinant – One Of The Most Beautiful Cities To Visit In Wallonia
Dinant, the city of monsieur Sax, is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Wallonia. Located by the river Meuse, Dinant is characterized by colourful houses on the quay and steep cliffs in the background. Once you’re in town there is no need to worry on how to get around, you can pretty much walk through it in less than an hour!
Citadel of Dinant
Sitting high above the town of Dinant sits the Citadel of Dinant. It is one of the first things you will notice when you arrive as it sits on a gigantic rock face. It’s the perfect spot if you are in need of a position to see potential threats coming from afar which is probably why the Citadel has a rich war history.
There are three ways that you can reach the top to visit the museum and experience the breathtaking views from the fortress. You can take the stairs if you’re up for a challenge. We gladly skipped the 408 steps up and took the cable car. You can also park your car at the top for free.
You will be given a pamphlet to take a self-guided tour on the fortress grounds and museum. There are 9 points of interest including a detailed account of the fascinating history and the important role the citadel had.
The fourth stop on the self-guided tour is the panoramic view. At a height of 100 meters above the Meuse River, you will be able to look out on a breathtaking landscape. It might be one of the most spectacular views in Belgium! The view alone is worth visiting the Citadel!
There were two rooms in the Citadel that left a big impression on me. The first one was a replica of the WWI trenches. While walking through the trenches you can hear loud explosions and the sound of shooting bullets all around you.
The second room was a sloping room. It’s a reconstruction of a bunker that has been hit by a bomb. The sensation walking through the room is amazing and very weird at the same time! I visited with a friend so of course we, as the greatest daredevils (not), had already stirred each other up all the way in the first room and then walked like two drunks through this sloping room. I wish I could describe the experience of the sloping room better, but I guess you’ll have to try it out for yourselves.
If you’re not into this experience, you can always take an exit before these rooms.
Tip: There is a place to get snacks and drinks but you can even bring your own lunch and enjoy it at the top.
The Cathedral of Dinant
The 13th-century Gothic Collegiate Church of Our Lady is so worth a quick visit. Its most iconic part is the separate 16th-century pear-shaped bell tower.
Stroll Along The Meuse River
The Meuse River is the heart of Dinant and where the town’s life comes alive. It is also the busiest area of the small town with a lot to see. I recommend walking along both sides of the Meuse River as it provides different views.
Another option to enjoy the Meuse River and the stunning views of Dinant is to go on a river cruise. It’s always a fun option when you’re visiting in the summer.
Bridge of Saxophones
The Bridge of Saxophones connects the two parts of Dinant over the river Meuse. You can’t miss it if you want to stroll on both sides of the Meuse River. It’s also decorated with saxophones which have symbols of different countries on them!
Even though the bridge is famous for its saxophones, it’s actually called after Charles de Gaulle, the old president of France. Wondering why? He was a part of the French army during the WWI battles in Dinant.
Beautiful places to visit near Dinant
Le Parc de Furfooz
The nature reserve Furfooz is located in the Lesse valley and only 15 minutes driving from the beautiful city Dinant.
Go on a beautiful 4km hike through the forest and meadows, along the steep cliffs and explore the many caves that you can find in this nature reserve. The walk is perfect for everyone, for friends and families.
Entrance to the park is €5 and at the moment you can only enter if you’ve bought your tickets online. There is a discount for students.
Visit A Nearby Castle
There are a number of fairytale-like castles to explore near Dinant. The easiest way to get around and reach most of these is with a car. But you could always hire a driver or even take a boat to one.
Chateau de Freyr is just a few minutes north of Dinant along the Meuse River. If you take a boat tour, there is a good chance you are visiting this one. Castle Freyr dates back to the middle ages during the 14th century.
The Walzin Castle has to be one of my favourite castles in Belgium and one of the most incredible places to visit in Wallonia. A unique way to explore the area is by kayak! In the summer you can kayak on the Lesse, enjoying the view of the Walzin castle towering over the river from its steep cliffs.
Tip: check beforehand if the water is high enough to kayak.
A few other castles that you can visit depending on your time in Dinant is Chateau d’ Annevoie, Chateau de Veves and Chateau de la Poste. All three of these are within 25-minutes of Dinant which makes them great places to explore.