Dinant is the Belgian city of the moment. Queen of Instagram and the web, we see it everywhere, including the top 10, 20… places to visit in Europe. Foreign tourists flock there. Find out why everyone is crazy about Dinant. And let yourself be tempted!
It all started with a contest: the selection of « Best Destinations in Europe – 2019 * ». Dinant came in 11th place (in front of giants like Athens and Florence), becoming one of the top cities to visit in Europe. This 11th place means that over 17,000 travellers, more than 2/3 of whom are foreigners (128 different countries are represented in these votes), voted for Dinant as their favourite destination in Europe. This ranking has been widely shared. And since then, Dinant has become… trendy! An unexpected twist for this small town of Condroz.
So, why does everyone fall for Dinant? Just because the city is…
Here, you can admire at the same time in your field of vision: the Meuse, a row of colourful houses on its bank, the sculptural belfry of the Collegiate Church, an imposing rocky cliff and, above all, a fortified citadel. And that’s just one viewpoint. Dinant is also home to the Bayard rock, a vertiginous staircase of 408 steps leading to the Citadel, the Marvelous cave, the folkloric giants of carnival, the extra-large saxophones that brighten up the Charles de Gaulle bridge…
The secret of this unique atmosphere is an incredible natural environment, combining rocky cliffs and water, in which the architecture of Dinant integrates harmoniously.
Whether you are a Pro or amateur photographer, Dinant will surely make you want to shoot!
The magic of Dinant awakens at dusk when the cliff lights up, and the lights of the city reflect on the Meuse. A little out of town, the Castle of Walzin sits on the edge of a cliff. A view that can leave you speechless and that guarantees original and impressive images.
© WBT – S. Wittenbol
Whatever your mood, your shape, your desire of the moment, your company, you will find tailor-made activities in Dinant:
- Romantics, a stroll along the Croisette and snuggle on a cruise on the Meuse.
- Families, admire your amazed kids on a cable car
- Cavers, explore the labyrinths of The Marvelous cave.
- History buffs, discover the medieval architectural heritage.
- Music lovers, follow in the footsteps of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.
- Foodies, fill your belly with a Flamiche, a flavourful local cheese pie.
- Outdoor lovers, try climbing, adventure trails, trekking, mountain biking, or kayaking on the Lesse…
In short, unless you are bored with life, there is an excellent chance to find in Dinant an activity to your liking.
For a little journey back in time, head to the castle and the gardens of Freÿr, just a few kilometres away from Dinant. There you will discover how the nobility lived at the time of the Renaissance. Reverence welcome ;P
At Human scale
Everybody, or almost, spends much time commuting every day. So when we can spend a few days in a city that is packed tightly together, where we can do everything on foot, we say « yes, let’s go! « . Bye-bye, car and traffic jams. Hello, pedestrian walks.
Its small size also adds a cosy and intimate atmosphere, which boosts the charm of Dinant and, most importantly, makes visits easier for families with children: nothing here is too far.
In Dinant, take your time
There is no need to run and try to see everything in a day. It is impossible, and it would spoil all the pleasure. Enjoy a slow travelling experience and stay a few nights in a charming house typical of the Condroz region. Thanks to our diverse selection, you can arrange a stay to your liking.
A three-day trip to New York is no longer precisely in tune with our times. Hello, carbon footprint and the slump on return (thank you, jet lag). Now, we think locally, and we enjoy it ten times more (at least). In the heart of the province of Namur, Dinant is close to the E411 motorway. It is less than two hours away from the big Belgian cities (Brussels 1h30, Mons 1h15, Cork 1h, Antwerp 1h45, Ghent 2h). And the train station can welcome those visitors who opt for more sensible transport.
Faced with the behemoths of tourism in Europe; such as Barcelona, Paris and Vienna, the city of Dinant dared to register for this online contest. This bold move to make its mark on the European map was backed by the activities it offers throughout the year, from culture, folklore, sports, gastronomy, or nature… Clearly, this little corner of the Meuse valley is on the move.
Beer and sax, this is a tantalizing duet. The Dinant Jazz festival takes place at the Leffe Abbey during the summer holidays and promises super-smooth evenings.
Admittedly, this point is not limited to Dinant, as Belgium loves good things ;p
But here we find local specialities, including the must-try couques of Dinant. These cookies, with medieval origins, will catch your eye from the windows with their shapes of flowers, fruits, animals and other local symbols. But beware! Taking a full bite is out of the question, or you’ll risk breaking your teeth. Hey yes, Dinant is as hard as the rock nearby. But then, how do you eat these cookies? Just break a piece and suck it to unleash that unmistakable taste of honey and spices, unless you prefer to dip it in a cup of tea or coffee. Yummmy!
In a more festive note, this is a paradise for craft beer lovers. Of course, you can make a pilgrimage to the Leffe Abbey. And if, like us, you like to discover local artisans, treat yourself to a beer and a stroll at the Brasserie Caracole, a timeless brewery near which you can make beautiful walks in the countryside.
The couque of Dinant is cooked at 300° C, which caramelizes the honey. That’s why it’s so hard!
If you prefer something easier to bite, opt for the couque of Rins, a softer version of the biscuit, reminiscent of gingerbread.
Finally, everything we’ve mentioned comes together at one point: Dinant is a city without pretence. Set in a breathtaking natural setting, its medieval history is still palpable. And its inhabitants, who are always amazed at the general craze around their city, are truly genuine.
The Dinant Haute-Meuse Tourist Office has designed trails for children that combine games and legendary adventures, such as The Oath of 7 stones. Discovering stories, legends and adventures is particularly relevant in these places steeped in history.
© WBT – JP Remy-Bayard
Dinant is a city to see, experience, smell and taste! What are you waiting for to (re)discover the charms of this pearl of Condroz?
* The « Best Destinations In Europe » are selected each year by Internet users on the European Best Destinations platform which promotes tourism in Europe and focuses on sustainable destinations.
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