Dinant is a small city plopped in the middle of nature in the southern, French-speaking region of Belgium. It’s located on the beautiful Meuse River with a giant rock looming above it (of which I was very fond – it looks mega epic). The lush green hills surrounding it make for a beautiful backdrop that may or may not be a green screen (still skeptical).Regardless of whether or not it’s actually real, it’s gorgeous and 100000% worth visiting. I’ll wait while you get out your phone or pen and paper or wherever you keep your list of places to see while you write it down.
To convince you even further, it’s pretty easy to get there – a train runs straight into the city, or you can drive. If you’re coming from Brussels, it’s a 1 hour and 45 minute train ride, and a little more than a 1 hour drive. I even visited Dinant solo (and I don’t speak much French, either) and felt totally safe!
If for some reason you still haven’t added it, let me convince you with some fun things to do (and pretty photos) below:
HOW TO SPEND ONE DAY IN DINANT
CITADELLE DE DINANTMy #1 recommendation is the Dinant Citadel! This was definitely my favorite thing to do in Dinant.
To get there, you walk up a TON of steps (408, to be exact). So fair warning, you’ll probably be sweaty and red-faced and half-alive when you get to the top but it’s worth it for the views!
If steps aren’t really your thing, you can still take a cable car to the top instead.
The Citadel itself is amazing. The building is beautiful and there’s actually a museum inside! You learn all about the Citadel, as well as its role in WW1 and WW2. I found all the exhibits to be extremely well done and very engaging.
You can easily spend a few hours here exploring the different rooms. There’s even a cafe, Les Canons, at the top so you can stuff your face with Dinant treats after all that exploring!
COLLÉGIALE NOTRE-DAMEYou can see the Collegiate Church of Our Lady before or after the Dinant Citadel – it’s at the base of the hill right before you start walking up the steps. I just found it to be a beautiful building inside and out and would recommend popping in to check it out.
WANDER AIMLESSLY THROUGH THE CITY
Dinant is pretty small so it won’t take long, but the beautiful streets are worth getting lost in.
GET YOUR CRUISE ON
Visiting the city between April and October? Great! Why not take a boat cruise along the River Meuse?
Visiting between November and March? Fear not, you can still walk along the banks! And at least this way you’ll get a workout.
THE SAXOPHONES ALONG CHARLES DE GAULLE BRIDGEI love a good bridge (it’s just so romantic, you know?), but why see a plain old boring bridge when you can see one lined with giant saxophones??
That’s exactly what you get on the Charles de Gaulle Bridge!
Why the saxophones you ask?
Well, the actual inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax, was born in Dinant! And each saxophone is decorated to represent a different member of the European Union. Quite cool, no?
Ok, but why is the bridge named Charles de Gaulle? Who’s that guy?
Glad you asked! (Well, not totally sure if you actually did, but I’m just guessing here…)
The bridge is named for one of the previous presidents of the French Republic. He was actually shot in the leg in a battle in Dinant back in 1914, and thus the city built a bridge in his honor. Because why not?
…AND ON THAT NOTE, THROUGHOUT THE TOWN
You’ll also find saxophones all throughout the town! You can even go on a “saxophone hunt” if you’re feeling ambitious. Have fun!
HOW TO GET TO DINANT
You can rent a car and drive, but I took the train and found it super easy. If you’re coming from Brussels, it’s a 1 hour and 30/45 minute train ride, and a little more than a 1 hour drive.
If you take the train, you can go direct from Station Brussel-Schuman. Otherwise, you may need to take a short bus ride or change trains once or twice.
THE BEST HOTELS IN DINANT
I only went as a day trip, but you can totally stay overnight if you become obsessed with Dinant (fair warning: this is very possible)! Unfortunately, you can’t get a room at the Dinant Citadel, but you CAN stay at some other pretty cool accommodations:
If you’re feeling fancy: La Merveilleuse by Infiniti Resorts or La Belle Étable
If you’re living on a budget: Auberge de Bouvignes or Hotel ibis Dinant
Enjoy your trip to Dinant! It’s a beautiful city, and one I’d love to go back to one day.
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