A day in Dinant
If you're a fan of natural elements, then you'll definitely enjoy Dinant. The Walloon city is all about water and stone, as it is set on the Meuse river and overlooked by its famous citadel standing on top of a high cliff. The city isn't very big, nor is it very modern, but its setting in the Meuse valley confers the city with a huge advantage for people looking for a change of scenery. You got it, Dinant is more proof that our Kingdom is rich in potential discoveries!
Visit of the Caves "La Merveilleuse" | Rue de Philippeville 142, 5500 Dinant
Dinant is home to some of the most beautiful caves in Belgium, if not in Europe. Discovered in 1904, the caves are known for the clarity and delicacy of its stalactites and waterfalls. The caves are located at walking distance from the center (10 min) and the guided tour takes you about 40 meters down under the ground for approximately one hour. Visits start every hour and entrance fee is €9,00. Fun fact: it is 13°C in there, so it was actually warmer in the caves than outside when we visited Dinant in the middle of winter.
In the footsteps of Adolphe Sax
Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, was born in Dinant and the city is very proud of that legacy. Since a few years, the saxophone is physically present in the city through 28 colorful, large scale saxophones, one for every member state of the European Union. 24 are located on the Pont Charles de Gaulle, 3 others have been placed near La Maison de Monsieur Sax (I leave it to you to find the last one).
Lunch at Maison Solbrun | Rue Adolphe Sax 10, 5500 Dinant
Dinant can be described as picturesque and photogenic, but the adjective hip does not apply to the city. We were desperately looking for a nice spot to lunch when we bumped into Maison Solbrun, a chocolate shop/tea room that serves soups, toasts and salads at noon. The staff is very friendly and the location offers a great view on the Meuse river. For dessert, why not try a local specialty called the "Couque de Dinant", a very hard cookie made of honey and flour?
Visit of the Collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant | Rue Adolphe Sax 1, 5500 Dinant
This Gothic cathedral with pear-shaped bell tower is a local icon. Besides its remarkable architecture on the outside, the cathedral boasts one of the largest stained glass in Europe! Its doors are open all day and for free.
The citadel offers an amazing view over the valley and its surroundings. You can access it by foot by climbing the 408 stairs up to the top, you can take the cable car, or you can take your car to the top of the cliff. Either way, you'll have to pay for a ticket to enter the site (€8,50). It will give you access to the corridors of the fortress, but these are of little interest. The experience really is all about the panoramic views!
This day trip is suited for both Saturday and Sunday. The train will take you straight from Brussels to Dinant in about 1h45. By car it will take approximately 1 hour. You can park for free just outside the center at Rue André Sodar for example or at the parking of the citadel.