One of the most beautiful day trips from Brussels is without doubt the city of Dinant. From the pictures alone, you can see that Dinant is one of Belgium’s most picturesque, cozy villages! Think of historic houses on the banks of a romantic winding river surrounded by green, lush hills.
Reason enough to visit Dinant! But what do you do in Dinant besides strolling around this cute little city and enjoying the view?
In this post, you’ll discover my personal recommendations for a day trip to Dinant. I’ve visited the city myself on a day trip multiple times and will recommend you the best things to do in Dinant!
Top tip: at the end of this post I’ve included a map that shows the addresses of all the things to do in Dinant!
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Things to do in Dinant on your day trip
Discover Dinant’s history in its citadel
Located high on a hill, the citadel of Dinant does not only offer you a stunning view, but you can also learn a lot about the history of Dinant. In particular, the role Dinant played during the first and second World War. During the wars, Dinant played a very strategic role and was one of the cities hardest hit by bombarding. If you want to know anything about the history of the city, I suggest you visit the Citadel of Dinant. However, this won’t be for you if you don’t like to learn about war!
When standing on top of the mountain, you’ll have an amazing view of the city and its surroundings. So if you don’t feel like visiting the citadel, at least go up the mountain to see this amazing view!
You can reach the Citadel by climbing its 408 stairs. Don’t want sore legs? Take the cable lift (included in the price of a ticket).
|Citadel + lift||€11|
Visit the church of Dinant
Besides its famous citadel, the Collegiate Church of Our Lady is one of the largest buildings in Dinant and will directly catch your eye. The 13-century gothic outside of the church is very beautiful to look at and inside you’ll discover the story of children in Dinant who witnessed a miracle or an occasional art exhibition.
It’s definitely a nice stop while strolling around the city!
Maison Adolphe Sax
Did you know that the inventor of the saxophone, Mr. Adolphe Sax, was born in Dinant? This genius man grew up in a small house somewhere in what is now called Rue Adophe Sax. To honor this particular inhabitant, the city has opened a museum on the spot where the house of Adolphe Sax used to be.
Maison Adolphe Sax is a small museum dedicated to this historical figure. If you’re interested in some history and instruments, I suggest you pass by on your day trip. You can just walk in and discover the museum, no entry fee asked!
Fun fact: people in the city are so proud of Adolphe Sax that you can find saxophones everywhere!
If you love beer, you can’t miss this one. Leffe is a traditional Belgian beer, named after the village Leffe. In this village next to Dinant is an Abbey situated where the canons used to brew this beer as from 1240!
Right now, the beer is taken over by AB InBev, the largest beer company in the world (and Belgian as well), honoring the tradition of the Leffe beer as much as possible. Contrary to what you might think, Maison Leffe is not located in the old brewery but on one of the hills surrounding Dinant.
This museum shows you the history of Leffe and its brewery from its inception to its downfall. After visiting this interactive museum, a Leffe beer is included in your entry ticket! So if you’d like to try a traditional Belgian beer (and I hope you do!), you should stop by this place!
|Museum + degustation (1h)||€10|
This lovely castle can be found not far from the city of Dinant. So if you’re on a day trip to Dinant it might be worthwhile to stop at this castle!
Unfortunately, the castle is not open to visitors, but you can admire it from below. At the river below, there’s a parking spot where you can park your car and take a 5-minute walking route to the best view of the castle!
Or if you’d like some adventure you can always just go through the water! Fun story: I tried to cross the river through the water when only halfway seeing that there was a bridge… Anyways, it’s your choice!
Alongside this castle there’s also a hike that will show you around the region of Dinant.
I’ve included the parking spot on the map at the end of this post!
Château fort de Crèvecœur
Looking at the right on top of the citadel of Dinant you’ll be able to see the ruins of an ancient castle, called Château fort de Crèvecoeur.
These ruins can be visited all year long freely but on your own risk.
History goes that when Hendrik II attacked the fortress in 1554, 3 brave knights defended the castle with their wives watching them from the inside.
When the knights fell, their wives decided to take weapons and fight along. But when all seemed lost, they climbed up the tower, dressed in white and jumped hand in hand.
This heartbreaking story gave the castle its name.
Grotte La Merveilleuse
Discovered in 1904, these caves are one of the few caves open for visit in Belgium. Closest by Dinant, Grotte La Merveilleuse is certainly worth a visit! Take a guided tour and discover the beauty that nature has to offer in this region!
Walk over the Charles de Gaulle Bridge
The Charles de Gaulle bridge connects the 2 parts of the city over the river Meuse. It’s also decorated with saxophones which have symbols of different countries on them!
This bridge is called after Charles de Gaulle, a former prime minister of France and officer during the WWI battles in Dinant.
Walking over the bridge gives you a very romantic sight over the water!
There are 2 fun options if you want to go on the river in Dinant. Either you pay for a river cruise in a big boat or you rent a small one where you and your family can cruise the river freely!
Whatever you choose, cruising the river will be a magical experience (especially at sunset)!
Be aware that the cruises only go from April to October.
|Rent a small boat||€52/hour|
|River cruise – 45 min||€9|
|River cruise – 2 hours||€15|
Taste the Couqe de dinant
The Couqe de Dinant is a special kind of cookie resembling ginger cookies and a typical specialty from Dinant. In all bakeries you encounter you’ll see these delicious cookies lying asking you to buy one!
So why not buy one and taste something traditional from Dinant? I promise they are really good!
Drive through Bayard rock
Bayard Rock is a special rock right before you enter the city of Dinant that is split in two so that cars can drive through a tiny split!
It’s very impressive to see (since it’s huge and the split very tiny) and you can perfectly see it when standing on top of the hill at the citadel or driving on the highway past Dinant!
How to get in Dinant
The most convenient way to get to Dinant is by car, since you’ll be able to discover a lot of its surroundings. However, if you’re taking a quick day trip from Brussels it can be convenient as well to take the train.
The railway station is right at the city center so within a 5 minute walk you’re in the middle of old Dinant. By train you can reach the city (from Brussels) within 1 hour and a half. Not bad, right?
If you decide to go by car, park your car in one of Dinant’s public parkings or park for free on top of the Citadel! You can go down by lift if you also purchase a ticket to the Citadel.
Your map of Dinant
I hope you gained enough inspiration for when you visit Dinant on a day trip! Let me know in the comments which things to do in Dinant resonate the most with you! Would you like to take a cruise? Or visit the Citadel?
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