Things to do in DINANT for one perfect day

You only have one day in Dinant / Wallonia and still don’t want to miss any things to do and highlights during your city trip? No problem at all with the travel tips and BIG5 checklists from JOURNICATION! This Dinant travel guide shows you with maps the route to the best places within the city on the Meuse in southern Belgium. In addition to my personal experience report, you will receive recommendations on the best hotels, restaurants and photo spots in Dinant and an overview of the costs. You will see, in 24 hours in Dinant, there are more sights to discover than just the Citadel and the famous Collegiate Church Notre-Dame. Let’s go for a perfect day in Dinant in 2021!

What do you learn in this article?

BIG5 Things to do in Dinant

You don’t want to miss any sights? Find all the tips and your checklist for the city trip to Dinant here:

BIG5 Dinant – Speed Date

Outstanding:

The view from the fortress of the city, the river and the surrounding landscape

Sucks:

The small town can be completely overcrowded, especially in the main season

DO:

Start as early as possible in the morning to experience the cozy little town in the most relaxed atmosphere possible

DO NOT:

If you’re late: go downtown. You can spend a lot of time in endless lines of cars squeezing through the small streets

Don’t tell your mother:

Put one foot in front of the other on the steep stairs of the citadel…

BIG5 Dinant- Rapid Fire Q&A

  • What makes Dinant so worth seeing? – In Dinant, a beautiful backdrop awaits you with the Meuse, the Pont Charles de Gaulle and the church and citadel in the background
  • Is there more to Dinant than the Instagram backdrop by the river? – Absolutely, the old town, the Maison Leffe and the museum in the citadel take longer than just a few photos
  • How many days should I plan to visit? – One day in Dinant is enough. However, there is so much to discover in the whole region that you should have several days in the back of your mind
  • Where is the best place to park? – There are some parking spaces right on the river, but these are limited in time and of course quite expensive. The best thing to do is to park a bit outside and avoid the traffic jams in the narrow streets
  • If I’m just passing through, what should I definitely see? – The view from the citadel is definitely the highlight of Dinant!

BIG5 Dinant – Orga

When is the best time to travel to Dinant?

The best time to travel to Dinant is from June to September with many hours of sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures.

Arrival & Departure to Dinant

Visa: Check here whether you need a visa for Belgium with your passport

  • Flight: There are flights to Wallonia from Brussels South Charleroi Airport (IATA: CRL), which is also served by many international airlines
  • Bus: From Namur (several times a day, ~ 50 minutes, ~ 10 euros)
  • Train: Dinant is very well connected to the Belgian rail network, there are direct intercity connections to Brussels and Namur as well as regional trains to the Ardennes. You can conveniently book tickets online on the official SNBC website
  • Car: You can easily travel by car from Namur via the E411 (~ 30 minutes) or along the Meuse (~ 35 minutes)

Next it goes to … Namur, Liège or Durbuy in Wallonia or the Belgian capital Brussels. You can find a practical route for a complete Wallonia tour in my article …

Accommodation / Hotels in Dinant

Recommended location: All Dinant sights are within walking distance from the city center. Larger accommodations in the surrounding area offer more comfort

  • Budget: Panamá Selva (Froidvau 272 272, 5500 Dinant; € 26 in a dormitory, € 60 in a double room) – great guesthouse with shared kitchen, just outside the center with parking spaces
  • Medium:La Ferme des Belles Gourmandes (20 Rue du Camp Romain, 5500 Dinant; double room for € 80 alone, € 90 for two) – a bit out of the way on an old estate with a great atmosphere and a fantastic breakfast
  • Medium:Le Cerf Vert (1 Rue du Collège, 5500 Dinant; from 85 € double room) – modern guesthouse in the center of Dinant, everything within walking distance (parking included!)
  • Medium:Le Godétia (22 Rue Adolphe Sax, 5500 Dinant; from 110 €) – apartment with a great location with a river view!
  • Noble: La Merveilleuse by Infiniti Resorts (Charreau des Capucins, 23, 5500 Dinant; ~ 200 € double room) – treat yourself to some luxury during your Wallonia tour! This modern hotel has a spa and wellness area as well as a casino

Price Level in Dinant

In Belgium you pay with EURO

Withdraw money: You can find ATMs all over town

Beer indicator: In den Restaurants am Fluss starten die Biere bei 4,00 Euro (0,33 Liter), in den Seitenstraßen etwas günstiger

Cost of a taxi: In Dinant ist alles fußläufig erreichbar, ein Taxi mussten wir nicht nehmen…

Restaurants, Bars & Cafés in Dinant

  • Le Café Ardennais (Avenue Franchet d’Esperey 4, 5500 Dinant) – a down-to-earth restaurant with river views and regional cuisine
  • Café Leffe (Rue Adolphe Sax 2, 5500 Dinant) – the eye-catching restaurant right on the bridge has one
    beautiful outdoor area right on the river and a lot of space inside – but can be very crowded and touristy, not for everyone!
  • La Table d’Antonio (Rue Alexandre Daoust 49, 5500 Dinant) – the restaurant right on the banks of the Maas delights with great regional and seasonal cuisine
  • Le Jardin de Fiorine (Rue Georges Cousot 3, 5500 Dinant) – fine dining in an old mansion from the 19th century, with a cozy garden (“Jardin”) as an outside area
  • La Broche (Rue Grande 22, 5500 Dinant) – upscale restaurant, is in the Michelin Guide for 2021

BIG5 Dinant – Activities

  • Enjoy the view from the citadel
  • Taste the local beer at Maison Leffe
  • Immerse yourself in the eventful history of Dinant
  • Stroll through the old town away from the Meuse
  • Relax by or on the Meuse

BIG5 Dinant – Photo spots

  • The Rocher Bayard is a very special rock formation
  • From the center of the Pont Charles de Gaulle
  • From the left bank of the river with a view of the cathedral and citadel
  • Highlight: From the front viewing platform of the citadel
  • The “Café Leffe” with its colorful flowers, the hustle and bustle and the Meuse in the background (viewpoint near the zebra crossing in front of the church)

 

BIG5 Dinant – Things to do off the beaten track

  • Discover the ruins of the Château de Crèvecoeur 
  • Venture into the Dinant grotto, “La Merveilleuse” (the miraculous). Long undiscovered grotto, the entrance of which is only 500 meters from Dinant train station
  • Visit beautiful castles like the Chateau Vêves
  • Take a hike to Walzin Castle
  • Immerse yourself in the untouched nature of Park Furfooz

BIG5 Dinant – Culinary Journey

  • Couque de Dinant – a hard gingerbread biscuit
  • Flamiche – a salted flat cake with eggs and very fatty cheese
  • Enjoy the local Leffe beer
  • Gratin au chicons – gratinated chicory, sometimes wrapped in ham
  • Typical of Walloon cuisine are dishes with rabbit, e.g. Lapin aux Pruneaux (with dried plums)

BIG5 Dinant – Communication

In Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium, people speak French

  • thank you – merci
  • yes – oui
  • no – non
  • hello – bonjour
  • goodbye – au revoir

BIG5 Dinant – Helpful Websites / Links

 

BIG5 Dinant – Overview map for your city trip

Things to do in Dinant: Also from the higher downtown of Dinant you have a great view of the citadel

A perfect day in Dinant 🇧🇪 – here is your overview

Best suited for screenshots 📷📝

Your morning in Dinant

  • Dinant Citadel
  • Notre-Dame de Dinant collegiate church
  • Pont (bridge) Charles de Gaulle

Your afternoon in Dinant

  • Dinant old town
  • Maison Leffe
  • Rocher Bayard
  • Boat trip with excursion boat, pedal boat or electric boat
  • Relax on the Meuse

Your evening in Dinant

  • Authentic Walloon dinner
  • Evening walk on the river

 

In addition to the BIG5, I have summarized the things to do inDinant and the circular route for you in an overview map:

Click on the icon at the top left to use the full range of map options!

Things to do in Dinant in the morning

When it comes to the most touristic places in Wallonia, Dinant is sure to be among the top spots. And rightly so. The city is picturesquely situated on the Meuse, steep cliffs tower above the Notre-Dame church and the citadel of Dinant towers above everything.

Over the past few years, the city has become known primarily for great photos on social media and is regularly overrun by large crowds, for whom the small streets and paths on the riverside are not really designed.

Nevertheless: absolutely worth seeing! The first destination for today is one of the highlights in all of Wallonia:

Things to do in Dinant: Climb the Citadel

The approximately 100 meters up to the citadel lead 408 steep steps, but also a comfortable cable car. Depending on the time of year and time of day, a very vivid queue can form. So it’s worth getting there early. Admission to the citadel and its exhibition, including the cable car, is 10 euros. For the “ascent” we took the cable car, down the steep stairs – certainly not the sportiest option, but pleasant in the July heat. There is also a combined ticket that combines a visit to the citadel with a river cruise on the Maas (20 euros).

 

The Citadel of Dinant was built by the Dutch in 1818–1821, in whose territory the city lay before Belgium was founded. During the First and Second World Wars, there was fierce fighting over the Maas bridge, sometimes in the citadel as well. The citadel was converted into a museum after the Second World War. Today you can visit many rooms in the citadel such as the kitchen, a forge, the prison, as well as garrison rooms and lounges. Everywhere a wide variety of exhibits convey a better understanding of bygone times. Old guns are on display in the courtyard, and an armory shows weapons from many centuries.

Enjoy the magnificent view from the citadel

Without a doubt, you have one of the best photo spots in Dinant from the viewing platform of the citadel! Here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city with the Notre-Dame de Dinant church and the Meuse bridge.

Things to do in Dinant Wallonia Belgium round trip itinerary route sightseeing tips: View from the citadel on the old town and bridge of Dinant

The circular route also takes visitors to the citadel to a replica bunker from the First World War. The replica is based on a bunker that was hit hard by a gun shell. Everything is crooked, dark and lets you have an exciting experience. In the battlements, which was particularly contested in 1914, you will find changing exhibitions about the acts of war and incidents in Dinant during the First World War.

 

Things to do in Dinant: Visit the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame

On the way back towards the bridge you will pass the magnificent sacred building, which you could just marvel at from above. The church, built in the 13th and 14th centuries, is an important cultural heritage of Wallonia. Take a look inside, too. The wooden door at the north gate is from the previous church from the 10th century!

Stroll across the Pont Charles de Gaulle

The colorful musical instruments on the Pont Charles de Gaulle will almost immediately catch your eye. No wonder: the city is famous for its son Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. A number of brightly painted saxophones are exhibited on the bridge in his honor.

 

Now it’s time to enjoy the well-deserved lunch break. For this you have a particularly large selection in a tourist city like Dinant. The restaurants with the best view can be found right on the river. But these are usually the fullest and most expensive ones, which I would recommend for a relaxed coffee, beer or other soft drink in the afternoon. For the lunch break it is worth going into the old town a little more.

Café Leffe on the Meuse in Dinant

Things to do in Dinant in the afternoon

Dinant also has a lot to offer away from the river. Stroll through the cozy old town, especially to the Hôtel de Ville (town hall) on Rue Grande, the Palais de Justice (courthouse) and the Maison Adolphe Sax, where the inventor of the saxophone was born on November 6th, 1814. Sit with him on the park bench 🙂

Take a leisurely stroll along the river, there are a number of beautiful circular trails in both directions. A little outside of the city center you come to the Rocher Ballard, a special, pointed rock formation. According to legend, the rock was split almost 40 meters deep by a horse Bayard’s hoof. It was with this horse that Charlemagne escaped his enemies.

Wallonia Belgium round trip itinerary route sightseeing tips: The imposing Rocher Bayard near Dinant

And now again over the bridge to the left bank of the Meuse.

Here you will find a statue of Charles de Gaulle on the shore near the bridge. The future French President was wounded here in Dinant during the First World War in 1914 while defending the important Meuse bridge.

 

The memorial of the Dinant massacre commemorates a terrible event in the First World War, when on August 23, 1914, 674 residents of the city were killed by Saxon troops because they were suspected of having participated in the war on the French side.

Things to do in Dinant: For a beer at the Maison de Leffe

You will pass Notre-Dame de Leffe Abbey, namesake for the world-famous type of beer. The abbey was built on the outskirts in 1152 and is still home to a community of monks and the museum for one of Belgium’s most famous abbey beers. The beer is no longer brewed here, but in the museum you can learn a lot about the history and the manufacturing process.

Many interactive elements are integrated and everything is designed in a very modern way. In the high season, however, it can happen that you have to wait a little until the previous group has finished the respective station … Very important: The tasting of the Leffe beer at the end of the tour is included in the museum ticket.

 

You can now relax directly on the river bank or in a café on the promenade, or take a boat trip – either in a pedal boat or with an electric motor.

Things to do in Dinant Wallonia Belgium Sightseeings Highlights for a day Travel Tips Hotel Recommendation: View from the Pont Charles de Gaulle on the Meuse in Dinant

Things to do in Dinant in the evening

That was definitely a tough day – especially when you didn’t take the cable car up to the citadel, but the steep steps. End the evening with an authentic Walloon dinner. You can find more restaurant recommendations above in the article in the BIG5 section.

Don’t expect a great nightlife in Dinant. Let the evening end comfortably. A little digestive walk along the Meuse is particularly nice. In the evening the Pont Charles de Gaulle and the shore are beautifully illuminated.

Dinant Wallonia Belgium Sightseeings Highlights for a Day Travel Tips Hotel Recommendation: The Citadel and Collegiate Church of Dinant illuminated at night

Do you have more than one day in Dinant?

Great, there is really a lot to discover in the region!

Dinant is a great starting point for day trips in Wallonia. A great place is Vêves Castle on the Dinant – Rochefort road. Please note the opening times, however, guided tours through the castle are not always possible – but only absolutely worth seeing from the outside. The route also leads you somewhat through the original landscape of Wallonia, not just over the wide motorway.

Vêves Castle near Dinant is worth the detour

From Brussels, comfortable and convenient day trips are offered to Dinant and Luxembourg:

 

You can find a practical route for a complete Wallonia tour in my article Wallonia Road trip – Itinerary, Things to do & Tipps

 

 

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