A picturesque town that rests on the banks of the Meuse River, Dinant is a joy to discover while touring around Belgium. Like the Belgian city of Liege, Dinant is found in the Walloon region of the country where French is most widely spoken. Just 13,000 people call Dinant home, and come summertime, tourists flock here to enjoy all that Dinant travel has to offer. As for the Dinant attractions, two of the more distinguished ones simply dominate the town’s skyline, and they are the imposing Citadel and the gentler Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. You can explore caves on Dinant vacations, run the river for terrific views, and see what the surrounding countryside has in store. Dinant was where the saxophone was invented. Native son Adolphe Sax unveiled the first one in the early 1840s, giving the city a musical claim to fame. You can get to Dinant by hopping on a Belgium train from nearby Namur. Namur is connected by rail and bus to other Belgium cities, such as Brussels and Liege, and it serves as the main link for Dinant.
One of the most popular things to do on Dinant vacations is to take a river cruise. These tours are offered between Easter and the month of October, and they are a great way to take in the city from a different vantage point. These cruises can last anywhere from 45 minutes to a few hours. The extended river cruises often include tours of other beautiful Walloon towns, such as Celles or Freyr, where a stunning castle awaits visitors. Belgium is well known for its beer, and for visitors who want to see how it’s brewed at an abbey or monastery, the Abbaye de Leffe can be found just outside of Dinant. It’s open to visitors from June 1 until August 31, and guided tours are available. Of course, the Dinant attractions back in town should also figure prominently on your Dinant travel itinerary.
Rising above the Dinant Belgium city center is the impossible to miss Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. Originally a Romanesque church, this structure has seen plenty of renovations over time. In 1228, falling rocks from the nearby cliffs pummeled the church, and it was rebuilt in Gothic style. In 1466, the church was destroyed by the Duke of Burgundy and his son, and in the twentieth century, both World Wars took their toll on it. While the main spire is quite a site from the street below, it is also well appreciated from the Citadel, which looms over the city, a constant reminder of Dinant’s military past. After visiting the Church of Notre Dame, it’s recommended that you ascend the cliff to get to the Citadel. Also rebuilt and renovated several times, the Citadel was originally erected in the eleventh century. The version that you see today is the result of renovations in 1821. You can drive up to the Citadel if you rent a car, or you can hail a cab. Those seeking a workout can climb the 408 steps to the top of the bluff, and there is also a cable car that transports visitors. There is a fee to access the Citadel, and it is worth every penny, if not for the views of the town and river alone. Audio tours are available in English at the Weapons Museum, and there are also a restaurant and a children’s area at the summit. Simply put, all Dinant vacations should include a trip up to the Citadel.
Dinant Belgium has seen its fair share of rough times, and like many cities in the country, past wars and skirmishes are mostly to blame. In 1466, one of the most significant events in the history of Dinant occurred. It was in this year that the Duke of Burgundy and his son Charles the Bold exacted harsh punishment on Dinant natives in response to an uprising. As the story goes, the town of Dinant was laid to waste and 800 of its citizens were thrown from the Citadel into the Meuse River below. In Medieval times, Dinant first started to gain recognition for its skilled copper workers, though the Duke of Burgundy’s assault on the town would basically put the Dinanderie, or hammered copper trade, to rest. As early as the 1200s, copper engravings that were being produced here were highly sought after, and though the art form all but disappeared for hundreds of years, it is coming back strong now. Dinant might not be the best destination in Belgium for shopping, but take one of these copper engravings home and it’s sure to grace your abode.
While Dinant Belgium was a neutral town in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it was adversely affected by wars between Spain and France. Dinant also suffered at the hands of German forces during WWI. Today, the people of Dinant find their small, riverside haven to be a much more peaceful place than it was in the past. Dinant travel is on the rise, and the summers see an increased amount of people booking rooms at the Dinant hotels. Tours of Dinant are surely rewarding, and tours that take you out in the surrounding countryside only reveal more interesting attractions. To the near east, the beautiful Ardennes region is a terrific place to visit for those who enjoy the outdoors, and head for the charming village of Falmignoul on a Meuse valley day tour and you can not only enjoy great area views, but also some beer at the Caracole brewery.