Dinant is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Belgium. The small city reminds me of a fairytale.
It’s not too touristy, yet there are lots of great restaurants, cafes and things to do here. Besides, there are many lovely castles to explore in Dinant and its surroundings.
It’s located in the province of Namur, in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium. It’s very easily accessible, even by train.
So, what should you do, where should you eat and how long should you visit? Read on to find out everything you need to know about Dinant.
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Essential things to know before you go
Valuta: Euro €
Language: In Belgium the following languages are spoken: French, German and Dutch. In Dinant, due to its location, primarily French is spoken.
Tipping: Tipping is not necessarily required here.
How to get to Dinant, Belgium?
Dinant is easily accessible. You can reach Dinant by car, by bus or by train.
It’s located around 90 kilometers south-east of Brussels, 30 kilometers from Charleroi and also around 30 kilometers from Namur. By car it will take around an hour and a half from Brussels.
Dinant can also be reached by train or bus. You can take a train from Brussel to Namur or Ottignies and from here you can either take the train or bus to Dinant. It takes less than 2 hours to reach Dinant from Brussel.
If you’re traveling from Amsterdam to Dinant by public transport, like we did, it will take around 5 hours in total.
Is Dinant in Belgium worth visiting?
Dinant is definitely worth visiting. It’s a small city, yet there is a lot to do here. Personally, I think Dinant is one of the best places to visit in Belgium, because it’s suitable for a lot of different people.
Dinant is located in the Ardennes, so if you want to go hiking, it’s a great place to visit.
If you want to go on a small city trip, then it’s also an ideal place to visit, as there’s lots to do here. You can visit museums, explore castles and discover more cultural sights.
Additionally, if you’re a foodie, then this is an amazing place for you to visit. For such a small city, there is a surprising amount of restaurants. Even Michelin worthy restaurants. Also in the surroundings of Dinant you will find many good restaurants.
When to visit Dinant Belgium?
The best time to visit Dinant is between May and September, when the weather is at its best. You will be able to enjoy Dinant even better when it’s sunny outside.
During summer it gets more crowded, but it’s not completely filled with tourists. Hence, I would still recommend visiting Dinant in summer.
How many days in Dinant Belgium?
Two to three days is perfect for your stay in Dinant. Dinant is only small, yet at the same time there is enough to do here to keep you occupied for a couple of days.
If you prefer slow travel, then you should stay for four to five days. You can go hiking in the area, visit a few castles, go kayaking, explore the amazing cuisine and more.
How to get around Dinant?
Dinant is a very walkable city. Distances aren’t far from each other. You can however choose to cycle in the area, or if you have a car you can explore more of the region by car. There are also buses available if you want to visit a place which is a little further away.
An exciting way to get around Dinant is by electrical step. There are lots of them around and you can hire them via the Bolt app. In this app you can also see where the available e-steps are located.
The best places to stay in Dinant
So, where should you stay in Dinant, Belgium? There a couple of great accommodations here. Read on to find out the best places to stay:
Les Terrasses de Sax
If you want to stay in an apartment, yet you prefer to have excellent views, then stay at Les Terrasses de Sax. This newly renovated apartment has gorgeous views over the Meuse River. It’s located right in the centre of Dinant. One of the apartments has a terrace worth checking out. Click here to view their prices and more.
La Merveilleuse by Infiniti Resorts
If you don’t mind to have to walk 10 minutes to the centre of Dinant and you want to stay in a unique place, then opt for La Merveilleuse instead. This hotel is located in an old monastery. There are two buildings here, one where the hotel is located and one where Leffe Maison is.
It’s a little more expensive than to stay in an apartment, yet the views and service make up for this. Additionally, breakfast is included in the price. If you do choose to stay here, don’t forget to have a drink on the beautiful outdoor terrace. Click here to view their prices.
Jules & Jim Apartment
If you’re looking to stay in a convenient location in an affordable apartment, then Apartment Jules & Jim is the place for you.
Besides its location, the best thing about this apartment is its private outside terrace / garden. It’s the ultimate place to drink your coffee in the morning or to relax a little after a day of exploring.
The apartment is owned by local artists. They have their art gallery next to the apartment.
The best things to do in Dinant
There are lots of things to do in this fairytale city and its surroundings. Some of the best things to do in Dinant include the following:
Visit the Dinant Citadel
The Citadel of Dinant is a fortress with beautiful views of the city. The current fort has been built in 1815 and was originally fortified in 1051. I would highly recommend a visit to the citadel, as it’s one of the highlights in Dinant, Belgium. Especially lovers of scenery and history will like the place.
You can either choose to take the cable car up to the citadel or to walk the steep stairs. The cable car only takes around one minute to reach the fortress. We took the cable car, which cost us 12 euros per person in total. The price of the visit to the citadel is included.
When you reach the top you can expect to find a playground, the citadel itself of course, a cafe and a self service terrace restaurant. When we we’re there, there was even a lovely choir singing.
Especially the views from the fortress are beautiful. If you want to learn more about Dinant’s history this is the perfect place to visit.
Admire Rocher Bayard
Rocher Bayard refers to a 35 meters high rock located in Dinant. It’s an impressive sight to see at least once. You’ve probably never seen such a narrow road before. It’s a popular sight to visit and there are a few parking spots available to park your car while taking pictures.
The passage was made by Louis XVI so the army troops could get past. The rock also carries a famous legend, where the French Knight Aymon fought against Emperor Charlemagne together with his four children.
Cross the Charles de Gaulle Bridge
A visit to Dinant Belgium is hardly possible without crossing the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. You’ll immediately recognize the bridge, as it’s decorated with huge colorful saxophones.
These saxophones are here to honor Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. Dinant is the birth place of Adolphe Sax.
The bridge spans the river Meuse and is pretty hard to miss when visiting. It’s dedicated to Charles de Gaulle.
During World War Iin 1914, Lieutenant Charles de Gaulle’s regiment stormed the citadel of Dinant to confiscate it from the German occupiers.
According to tradition, the lieutenant was hit in the leg (some say it was the hand) while crossing the bridge. In 1925 the bridge was rebuilt again.
However, during World War II in 1940 the Belgian army blew up the bridge to stop the advance of German troops.
The current Charles de Gaulle Bridge in Dinant was inaugurated in 1953.
Go thrift shopping
There are quite some thrift shops around! So, one of the best things to do in Dinant is to go and see if you can score some great secondhand items.
Thrift shopping is not only an affordable way of shopping, but also makes sure you’re shopping in a sustainable way. Some good thrift stores include Hand 2 Hand, and Abracadabra.
Try the Dinant Koek
If you want to try a local speciality, then you should try the Dinant Koek. However: please don’t try to bite it off. The big cookie is very hard! Also don’t expect the cookie to be really tasty. The basis for the cookie is honey and wheat flour.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting experience to try the Dinant Koek in Dinant! When you’re walking in Dinant, you’ll see a couple of shops selling them. They cost around 5-10 euros per cookie, depending on how big the cookie is.
Visit Notre Dame de Dinant
Notre Dame de Dinant is also known as the Collegiate Church of Our Lady. It’s a 13th-century Gothic cathedral. The church replaced a Romanesque church from the 10th century, which collapsed in 1228. Only the North door was left of it.
The most iconic part of the church is its bell tower. When you arrive in Dinant, you will immediately recognize it.
Visit Leffe Maison
Dinant is home to Leffe Maison, a Leffe beer museum. The museum is only small. Entrance is around 10 euros per person. However, the terrace is really nice! It’s home to beautiful views and has a good atmosphere.
They serve Leffe beers from a food truck. The beers are tasty and honestly it’s one of the best terraces I’ve seen in Dinant. You can easily spend a few hours here. From Dinant centre you can walk here in around 10 to 15 minutes uphill.
What’s good to know is that you can also sit on the terrace without visiting the museum. I would highly recommend going here, as it definitely is one of the best things to do in Dinant.
If you’re not interested in the small museum, at least visit the terrace and admire the gorgeous cliff views.
Go wine tasting at Chateau Bon Baron
If you’re a wine lover, you should definitely visit Chateau Bon Baron. This winery produces high-quality wines and is run by a very friendly couple named Pjotr and Jeanette van der Steen. It’s around a 7-minute drive by car from the centre of Dinant. If you go by bike, it takes around half an hour to get there.
Visit Maison Adolphe Sax
Maison Adolphe Sax is the saxophone museum in Dinant. It’s dedicated to the inventor of the saxophone named Adolphe Sax (1814-1894). The inventor was born in Dinant. It’s a very small museum, yet worth visiting.
There’s no entrance fee and the museum is located in the centre. In front of the museum you’ll find a bench with a statue of Adolphe Sax on it.
Visit Grotte de Dinant La Merveilleuse
Grotte de Dinant La Merveilleuse are the caves of Dinant. It costs around 10 euros per person to visit these caves. Inside the caves there are beautiful natural structures. It’s also a nice place to cool down on a hot day.
From Dinant station it takes around 15 minutes by foot to get here. Viewing the caves takes around 30 to 45 minutes.
Kayak on the river
One of the best things to do in Dinant Belgium is to kayak on the Lesse River. You can rent a kayak at Dinant Evasion. There are three different routes you can choose from: 9 km, 12 km and 21 km.
If you choose the 12 km or 21 route, you can view the Walzin Castle from the water. This is a private castle which cannot be accessed, however from the water you have a gorgeous view of it.
I would recommend taking the 12 km route, as you can see the beautiful castle from here and it’s more beginner friendly.
Renting a kayak will cost around 30 euros per person. The exact cost depends on several factors such as what kayak you choose.
In summer, especially on weekends, it can get very crowded on the river, so please keep this in mind.
Hike in Parc de Furfooz
Parc de Furfooz is a beautiful nature reserve located in Dinant, Belgium. It’s especially recommendable for nature lovers. The park is about 3 to 4 kms long and the entrance fee is currently 5 euros per person.
There’s a small cafe located near the park. It’s tracks are very doable with small children. In 1.5 to 2 hours you can see the whole park! The park is home to small caves, rocks, cliffs, ruins and lots of trees. It offers a really calm escape.
By car it takes around 15 to 20 minutes to reach Parc de Furfooz from Dinant Centre. By bike it takes around half an hour. You can also take a bus or train to the nature reserve.
It’s a good idea to book your visit in advance, as sometimes the park can be ”fully booked”. At the moment, a reservation during summer in the weekends is mandatory. According to their website only 300 people are allowed in the park per day and dogs aren’t allowed to enter.
Explore nearby castles
When in Dinant, you should definitely explore its nearby castles. Nearby castles worth exploring are Castle of Freyr, Veves Castle and Castle of Crevecoeur.
The last one is a ruined castle that you can easily visit by foot from Dinant and which has no entrance fee.
The other castles can easily be reached by car. You can also visit them by public transport by taking a bus, however it will be more difficult to reach them.
The entrance fee for Veves Castle is 9 euros per adult. If you’re a senior or a student, you get one euro discount. Have a look at their opening times, as this can be a bit confusing.
The entrance fee for Freyr Castle is also 9 euros per adult right now. Making a reservation to visit the castle is recommended.
Where to eat and drink in Dinant?
There are lots of restaurants in Dinant and its surroundings. So many that it can be hard to choose where to dine! That’s why I’ve compiled this list of the best places to eat and drink:
Pizzeria Onda Calabra: for delicious pizza
Pizzeria Onda Calabra is located near Dinant Station. It’s the best place in Dinant to eat pizza. Here we had one of the best pizzas we have ever eaten outside of Italy, without exaggerating.
The interior of the pizzeria is simple, yet their food is delicious. Don’t expect the place to be luxurious or anything. However, the staff is very friendly and the wood oven pizzas are delicious. If you love pizza, please go and eat here during your stay in Dinant. You won’t regret it.
Address: Rue de la Station 15, 5500 Dinant, Belgium
The 90 d6bels: for drinks with live music
The 90 d6bels is a good place to go for some drinks. They also have some live music and gigs going on now and then. This rock café has kind staff and a relaxed atmosphere. They have various beers and cocktails at affordable prices.
Especially the mojito cocktail is delicious here. If you like rock cafes or alternative places, then you should definitely visit this place.
Address: Pl. Albert Ier, 5500 Dinant, Belgium
La Capsule: for craft beers by the water
If you love beer and you’re in Dinant, La Capsule is a must-visit. They have a very large selection of both traditional Belgian beers (with many Trappist ales available) and local craft beers. The staff are polite and knowledgeable and they serve good hors d’oeuvres to compliment the beers.
What’s even better, is that you have nice views while having drinks at La Capsule. When you sit outside, you can admire the cliffs and the river. When you sit inside, you can sit beside a very cosy interior.
Address: Bd Léon Sasserath 8, 5500 Dinant, Belgium
Restaurant Les Mougneus d’as: for high-quality food and a unique experience
Eating at Les Mougneus d’as was definitely one of our best experiences here. If you’ve ever wondered what the true meaning of charming is, then this is it.
The owner of the restaurant is friendly and the food is incredible. Please make a reservation in advance to be able to eat here. The whole menu was in French, but the owner was kind enough to translate a little.
You can choose to sit outside or inside, both are beautiful. Especially the confit duck (in French: Confit de Canard) and the Crème Brûlée we’re out of this world delicious. If you fancy an authentic dinner, definitely visit this restaurant during your time in Dinant.
The restaurant is located in a nearby village. The location really adds to the experience. It’s a 30-minute walk from the centre of Dinant. The walk to the restaurant has some lovely views and will be one of the highlights of your trip.
Address: Pl. du Bailliage 24, 5500 Dinant, Belgium
Restaurant Le Confessionnal: for Michelin worthy food
I can’t talk about where to eat and drink in Dinant without mentioning Restaurant Le Confessional. This restaurant was mentioned in the Michelin guide and with good reason.
Their food is very high-quality and their service is outstanding. The interior of the restaurant feels very authentic. They have a lovely outside terrace as well.
If you want to eat here, which I highly recommend, then you should book your reservation well in advance! Otherwise, chances are high that the restaurant will be fully booked. Even on Sundays.
Address: Rue Rémy Himmer 4, 5500 Dinant, Belgium
More restaurants worth visiting in Dinant Belgium:
As Dinant has so many restaurants, there are some more restaurants worth checking out here. Some of these places are:
- Restaurant La clochette
- La planche des saveurs
- Ostaria La Piave
- Tout Simplement
- Les Amourettes
- Le trois x 15
Dinant is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Belgium. Even though it’s small, there are loads of things to do in the area.
You can explore nearby castles, hike in Park Furfooz, dine at Michelin worthy restaurants and discover Dinant’s history at the Citadel, Notre Dame or the Adolphe Sax Museum.
You can also try some local craft beers on the terrace of Leffe Maison or at La Capsule. Whatever you choose to do, I’m sure Dinant won’t disappoint.
Away with Danae