In the southeast of Belgium in the province of Namur, not far from the French border, you will find the town of Dinant. The city is beautifully enclosed between the Maas and the surrounding hilly landscape. The area surrounding the city has been inhabited since prehistoric times, but the area around Dinant has only been permanently inhabited since the Romans. During the Middle Ages and the centuries after, the city has always played an important role in the defense of the Meuse. The citadel of Dinant is still vivid proof of this. The city has been known for its coppersmiths since the Middle Ages. In an attempt to take this wealth, Charles the Bold threw 800 coppersmiths two by two into the Meuse during a siege of the city.
Top 10 things to do in Dinant
#1. The citadel of Dinant
High above Dinant is the citadel of Dinant. According to Country Calculator, the citadel can be reached from the city via a 408-step staircase or by cable car. Once at the top you will find a tavern on the left with a large playground next to it and the citadel on the right. The current citadel was built by the Dutch in the 18th century on the remains of earlier castles that stood here. The top of this rock has been built on since the 11th century AD. These defenses had to ensure that the bridge over the Maas was guarded. A guided tour can be taken in the citadel, which takes about 50 minutes.
#2. The House of Sax
Dinant is the city of the Sax, the inventor of the saxophone Adolphe Sax was born here and spent the first years of life there. Dinant is proud of this and you will know that everywhere in the city you will come across richly colored saxophones. There is also a street and a square named after Adolphe sax, on this square you can find a huge saxophone. In the Reu de Adolphe Sax is the House of Sax. This interactive museum is open every day of the week and is free to visit. In the museum you can find out for yourself for which musical movements the saxophone has played an important role. A statue of Adolphe Sax sits on a bench in front of the museum.
#3. Bayard rock
If you approach the city from the south, you will come across Bayard rock on your way. This stately rock looks a lot like an oversized menhir. According to legends, this separation between the two rocks was created because Ros Beiaard jumped through it when he was on the run with the four Heems children from Charlemagne. The separation between the two rocks was actually made by the troops of the Louis XIV who wanted to simplify the access to Dinant.
#4. A boat trip on the Maas
If you want to visit the city in a nice relaxed way, you can do so on one of the many excursion boats that depart from Dinant. During these cruises you get to see a beautiful view of the city of Dinant and the surrounding villages. Many of these cruises also sail past the place where the Lesse flows into the Meuse. Especially the view from the Meuse on the rock Bayard is beautiful from the Meuse. The tickets for the cruises can be ordered on the banks of the Meuse.
#5. The Abbey of Leffe
The Abbey of Leffe is located just outside Dinant in the village of Leffe. This abbey was founded here in the 12th century by the Premonstratensians of Floreffe. Leffe beer has been brewed here from 1240, although the Premonstratensians only owned the brewery in name. The Abbey of Leffe has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years. In the 18th century the monastery was destroyed and evacuated by the revolutionaries. It would take until the beginning of the 20th century for the abbey to be restored and regain its original function. Leffe Abbey beer is now brewed by the Ab InBev building chain.
#6. Dinantse koek
The Dinantse koek is perhaps just as famous as the city itself. The cake is made from flour and pure honey and then baked in the oven. The cake is very hard and very difficult to eat, but this does not make it any less tasty. In terms of taste, the cookie is most like a cross between chewy chewy and gingerbread. The cake is for sale in many different shapes at the various patisseries in Dinant.
#7. The Collegiate Church of Our Lady of Dinant The Collegiate Church of
Our Lady of Dinant was built in the 13th century on the remains of the first church in Dinant. The church with its pear-shaped bell tower is one of the most striking buildings in Dinant. The inside with its beautiful stained glass windows is just as beautiful and special as the outside of the building. During the First World War, the church was heavily damaged by German bombardments, but was restored to its original glory in the years after the war.
information about the Collegiate Church of Our Lady of Dinant.
#8. The cave “la Merveilleuse”
These caves may not be the largest caves in the Ardennes, but they are among the most beautiful caves in Belgium. The cave “la Merveilleuse” was discovered at the beginning of the 20th century when a railway was being built. The cave can be visited with a guide. A visit to this cave will take about 50 minutes. During the visit you descend to the heart of the cave and then come out again via a different route. Along the way you will be treated to beautiful stalactites, stalagmites and beautiful underground waterfalls.
The Flamiche is a typical Dinant cheese tart that is made from low-fat cheese. In most cases the cheese boulette of Romedenne is used for this. The bottom of the pie consists of improved bread dough. This bottom is topped with the Romedenne cheese and beaten eggs, better and more flavoured. After this the cake goes in a warm oven for 20 minutes and enjoy. This cake is available at many catering establishments in Dinant.
#10. Maison du Leffe
The Maison Du Leffe has been housed in the hotel la Merveilleuse since 2012. In this museum dedicated to the Leffe abbey beer, the history of this beer and the associated abbey is told. The museum is located in a renovated Capuchin monastery. This creates a special atmosphere in the museum. After the museum visit, you can drink a Leffe in the hotel bar, which is located in the old courtyard of the monastery.