15 Things to do in Dinant Belgium: The Saxophone Town

Dinant Belgium is a charming town and one of Belgium’s best hidden gems located in the Province of Namur. Although it’s the 5th most visited city in the country, it’s not a place I had previously heard of or known to visit til now. Find out the best things to do in Dinant, Belgium in this useful travel guide!

Dinant sign in front of the Meuse River in Belgium

Quick Facts before visiting Dinant Belgium:
💱Currency: Euro €
💶 Budget for a trip to Belgium: The average daily cost for a trip to Belgium is €114 a night for both food and accommodation.
💜 Is tipping required in Belgium? Tipping in Belgium is not required. Sometimes service fees can be included.
☀️ Best time to Visit Dinant, Belgium: May to September if you want the best weather (highs of 20C/74F) but expect more people at this time. I visited in March and had the whole town to myself!
🗣️ Language in Belgium: There are 3 languages spoken in Belgium: Dutch, French, and German. In Dinant, French is predominantly spoken.
🏥 Travel Insurance in Belgium: I recommend SafetyWing which will cover you in case of trip cancellations or any accidents during your travels.
🏨 Top Hotel choice in Dinant: For the hospitality, affordability, and stellar location: Les Voisins De Mr Sax

Is Dinant Worth Visiting?

I definitely fell in love with this little Wallonian town located in the Southern region of Belgium. The towering Gothic Cathedral and Citadel perched in the backdrop along the Meuse River was a site I truly adored. Also, did you know Dinant is the hometown of Adolphe Sax the inventor of the saxophone? So, you’ll see this instrument throughout the town as it proudly honors this.

Dinant has sadly been exposed to many battles throughout history and there are many fortresses as a result. It can easily be visited from Brussels in a day or even two days as there are many cool things to see! In my opinion, Dinant is well worth a visit!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase something through the links, at no additional cost to you. Read our Affiliate Disclosure here.

📖 Look at my Instagram Story Collection or a detailed guide on what I did during my trip!
🎥 Check out this Instagram Reel to visually see how cool Dinant is!
👉 Follow @joujoutravels on Instagram for solo travel inspo!

The Best Things to do in Dinant

1. Take the Cable Car up to the Citadel

cable car to dinant citadel for views of the city

To get to the Citadel in Dinant you can either climb the 408 step staircase or take the lazy but very cool route which is the cable car! It is only a 2-minute ride and takes you from Place Reine Astrid (next to the Notre Dame de Dinant) straight to the Citadel. If you exit the cable car when you reach the top and take a right you will arrive at Les Canons Cafeteria where you can enjoy a snack such as a Belgian Waffle and drink a Leffe Beer admiring the views beneath you.

🎟️ Tickets: €11 (Includes visit to the Citadel)
🕛 Hours: Daily from 10-6 in high season (April to September) and 10-4:30 in low season (October to November)
📍Address: Place Reine Astrid
Information: Citadel Dinant Website

2. Learn about Dinant’s history at the Citadel

View from the Citadel: Dinant in Belgium
View from the Citadel: Dinant Belgium

The top attraction in Dinant is by far the Citadel and it was one of the highlights of my trip. After taking the cable car you can turn left and visit the entire experience. I learned a lot about these battles including the time when Germany invaded the town on the way to France. There are 14 stops in the experience so be sure to grab the map that is given to you when you purchase tickets to lead you around.

The Citadel dates back to 1040 when the Prince Bishop of Liege built the initial Castle to protect it from invaders. The fortress was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. Dinant truly became an important site in the defense against France. For this reason, the fortress was built very high on the hilltop and you will be able to witness the insanely beautiful views of the historic town during your visit here. 

As you walk through to the central courtyard, you will see many casements, where guns were fired during the World War. You will hear the gun fires as you walk through as a sort of audio experience to make you feel as though you were there when it all happened too! In the courtyard, are many cannons and you can even walk into the collapsed shelter which was dug in 1914 to escape enemy fire. You can walk down into the shelter which is pretty cool but because it’s slanted you will lose your balance. I couldn’t stay in there long as I felt immediately dizzy.

3. Walk across the Charles de Gaulle Saxophone Bridge

Charles de Gaulle  Saxophone Bridge Dinant in Belgium
Dinant things to do Saxophone Bridge Adolphe Sax

Another top attraction in Dinant is the Charles de Gaule Saxophone Bridge. This bridge was named after Charles de Gaule as he suffered a wound in 1914. It is dedicated to Adolphe Sax, a native of Dinant and the inventor of the Saxophone. You will find 28 Saxophones, each representing a different country in the European Union. The bridge was rebuilt several times and the current construction is from 1953, after its destruction in 1940 when the Belgians ruined it to prevent the Germans from crossing the Meuse river.

4. Stroll along the pier for a postcard perfect view of Dinant

Picturesque landscape photo of Dinant in Belgium

The stunning landscape you see here is what made me fall in love with Dinant. The colored buildings perched behind the Meuse river with the towering Citadel and Gothic Cathedral is a sight not to be missed. Cross the saxophone bridge and step down to this platform for one of the most instagrammable spots in Belgium.

📷 Photo tip: Have someone stand on the street level and capture the photo of you standing on the below platform.

The other photo spots include the corner next to the Saxophone bridge!

DInant in Belgium pictures
Dinant in belgium view of the gothic cathedral and meuse river

5. See the gorgeous interiors of the Gothic Cathedral

Theh inside of Notre Dame Gothic Cathedral in Dinant, Belgium

The Notre Dame Cathedral (The Collegiate Church of Our Lady) is a 13th Century Gothic Cathedral and is the center of the town of Dinant. The one standing today replaced a 10th-century Romanesque church which was destructed in 1228. It is free to visit the inside and I definitely recommend it as it is truly stunning!

6. Enjoy breakfast or lunch at the Solbrun Cafe with a View

best cafes in Dinant with a view Solbrun

This cafe was my favorite! It was located next to the hotel I was staying at so I visited twice! Everything in there is delicious. I especially loved the quiche and the hot chocolate was pure chocolate – so rich, creamy, and good! You can also buy Belgium Chocolates and other amazing treats. The best part is there is a nice view – you can sit next to the window and admire the landscape of the Meuse River.

Cafe: Solbrun
 🕛 Hours: 10-6pm Daily; Closed Tuesdays
📍Address: Rue Adolphe Sax 10, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

7. Visit the museum dedicated to the birthplace of the Saxophone

Le Maison de Monsieur, a saxophone museum in Dinant dedicated to Adolphe Sax

Maison Adolphe Sax (aka Mr. Sax’s House) is a tiny museum dedicated to Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the Saxophone! You can visit the museum for free and you will have the chance to listen to a mixture of saxophones using the interactive screens inside. Outside you will find a sculpture of Mr. Sax on a bench.

Maison Adolphe Sax
 🕛 Hours: Open Daily
🎟️ Admission: FREE
📍Address: Rue Adolphe Sax 37, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

8. Take a River Boat Cruise across the Meuse River

Another fun thing to do in Dinant is to take a River Boat Cruise along the Meuse River! The 45 minute boat ride will leave you with some of the best views of this cute town. It is in operation from April to October and you can buy tickets on the Dinant Evasion website for €10.

9. Have a pint at the Leffe Museum

Leffe Museum Interior in Dinant Belgium Monastary
Views with leffe beer Maison Leffe in Dinant

After a day of exploring Dinant, you won’t want to miss visiting the Leffe Museum. The brewing of Leffe Beer started in an Abbey in Dinant by monks during the plague. They decided to brew the beer as a way to disinfect the contaminated water at the time. The museum is super interactive and you can go around listening to the origin and story behind the beer as well as smell the different types of ingredients that make it. After the museum visit, you can enjoy a tasting of your choice either inside or outside on the terrace with a wonderful view. The €10 entry ticket also includes a free gift like you see above in my picture. I got a Leffe Souvenir glass and 2 beers to take home so it was well worth the price.

Maison Leffe
🕛 Hours: Open Daily from 11am to 7pm
🎟️ Tickets: €10 (Includes entry to the museum, tasting, and a free gift!)
📍Address: Charreau des Capucines 23, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

10. Visit the Dinant Town Hall at night to see the Glass Saxophone Fountain lit Uup

Dinant Town Hall Glass Saxophone Fountain Lit Up at Night

As you may be well aware by now, Dinant is full of symbols of the Saxophone. Another great place to see the symbol of this impressive instrument is the Town Hall of Dinant. You will find the glass sculpture and fountain illuminated by night.

11. Visit the Medieval village of Bouvignes

Medieval village of Bouvignes in Dinant, Belgium

From Dinant, you can take a 20-minute walk and reach the small medieval village of Bouvignes. If you hike up the signed pathway, you will reach a ruined castle with spectacular views of the small town and you can even see Dinant further back in the skyline.

12. Try the Cake of Dinant (Couques de Dinant)

Couques de Dinant - a Belgium Specialty Food

The Cake of Dinant known as Couques de Dinant is a very hard cookie that you will see in many bakeries and stores all around Dinant. You can’t bite directly into it as you would probably break your teeth! So instead, be sure to suck on it or dip it into coffee so it can be properly consumed. How cute is this heart one? There are many different styles you can choose from – some can be super elaborate and just pretty to look at! Be sure to pick up this traditional Belgian cookie! I got mine from Solbrun but they are everywhere really.

13. Have mussels at Chez Bouboule

Best Mussels in Dinant from Chez Bouboule

I was really craving mussels which also happens to be a Belgium specialty so I stopped by Chez Bouboule. They have some of the best in town and with such large portions too. Of course, you have to get the fries too!

14. See the many Fairytale Castles in Belgium!

Veves Castle

fairytale castles in Belgium near Dinant
Fairytale Castles near Dinant Belgium
inside of Veves Castle in Belgium
Inside of Veves Castle in Belgium

Veves Castle is located 10 minutes by car from Dinant’s city center. It is one of the most beautiful fairytale castles in Belgium! It is open to the public and you can visit the stunning interiors too by paying a small entrance fee. The castle was destroyed in 1200 and remained a fortress through the end of the Middle Ages. It was restored between the years of 1969 and 1979. From the 12th century on, the castle was owned by one family under the Beaufort family.

Veves Castle
🕛 Hours: Open Daily from 11am to 7pm
🎟️ Tickets: €5
📍Address: Rue de Furfooz 3, 5561 Houyet, Belgium

Walzin Castle

Walzin Castle - fairytale castles in Dinant, Belgium

The Walzin Castle can’t be visited inside as it’s private property but you can visit it from the outside and admire the pretty structure perched on a hill. It was built in the 13th century and has been unfortunately part of many destructions during the French Revolution.

The first owner was Alfred Brugmann de Walzin in 1850. The latest rebuild was done by Baron Fréderic Brugman in 1930. In 1945, his daughter Baroness Albert de Radzitzky from Ostrowick became the owner. And now, the castle is owned by Count Alexis de Limburg Stirum. The castle is a bit tricky to come across, you will need to park in the lot next to the castle and walk around a lake to get to the spot pictured above.

Walzin Castle
❌🎟️ Entry not allowed as it’s private property
📍Address: Rue de Walzin 1, 5500 Dinant, Belgium

Freÿr

Freyer castle aeriel viewpoint

Freÿr Castle was unfortunately closed when I visited in March. It opens yearly beginning in April when low season ends. I was told by the tourist office that there is no way to view the castle from the outside as it’s enclosed but thankfully my super kind host at the hotel I stayed at showed me this secret hidden gem location! I was able to walk up to this viewpoint and see the castle from beneath. It was pretty impressive and I was thrilled I got to see it at least from the exterior. You can find the spot by searching Rochers de Freÿr on google maps. You can even see the beautiful garden that surrounds the castle from here.

Freÿr Castle
🕛 Hours: Open Daily except for Mondays from 11am to 4pm (closed in low season and reopening month is April)
🎟️ Tickets: €9
📍Address: Freyr 12, 5540 Hastière, Belgium

15. Drive through the Rocher Bayard

Rocher Bayard in Dinant, Belgium street with rocks

On the way back from seeing the castles, you will likely drive through the Rocher Bayard. This famous landscape in Dinant soars 40 meters high – the street is surrounded by 2 giant rocks. The story behind it involves four sons of Aymon who had a horse named Bayard. As the brothers ran away out of terror from Emperor Charles, the horse was said to have jumped over the river and split the rock in half.

Best Places to Eat in Dinant

🍴La Broche: Michelin Star with traditional dishes
🍴La Table d Antonio: Belgian and French cuisine 
🍴Les Amourettes: A trendy atmosphere with Michelin star Belgium cuisine. Funky cardboard car boxes you can dine inside of too.
🍴Le Confessionnal: Local French cuisine
🍴Le Café Ardennais: A nice view of Dinant here and you can try the meatballs and fries
🍲 Chez Bouboule: Mussels and fries are the top choices here
🍲 Le Wiertz: another place for mussels.
🍺 Cafe Leffe: A place for a Leffe beer or even dinner located right in front of the Gothic Cathedral.
☕ & 🍞 Solbrun: A great cafe with a view. Try the yummy quiche and pure hot chocolate
☕ & 🍞 Boulangerie Kempinaire: Another nice cafe for coffee or baked goods

Where to Stay in Dinant

Les Voisins De Mr Sax

I stayed in this apartment-style hotel and it was located in the most convenient spot ever across the Saxophone Museum. The room had a view of the Meuse River and was super affordable as well which was much needed since I was traveling solo. The best part of staying here was the very kind host, Fred. He made me feel just at home and was there every step of the way. In fact, I asked him about visiting the castles and it was pretty much impossible to do without a car and in March when the season is low in Dinant. He took me to all 3 castles by car and I was so grateful! Click here to check prices & book

La Merveilleuse by Infiniti Resorts

Another option is the La Merveilleuse by Infiniti Resorts. It is located directly next to the Leffe Museum and only minutes from the center of everything in Dinant. Click here to check prices & book

How to Get to Dinant, Belgium

To get to Dinant, it’s easiest to fly into Brussels and from there take the train into Dinant. By train, it will take just under 2 hours. Namur is only 30 minutes by train and worth visiting as well! There is a tour that takes you to both Dinant and Luxembourg in a day from Brussels in case you prefer tours! (Link here)

I hope you enjoyed this post about Dinant, Belgium! If you did or have any other tips, be sure to leave them in the comments below.

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2 Comments

  1. Hey, this travel blog is absolute amazing! I’m travelling to Dinant next month I can’t wait! I wanted to ask.. Is it possible to go to Walzin Castle from Dinant without car? Is it possible to cycle there maybe?