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Planning a family trip to Dinant can be an exciting adventure! With a variety of activities and attractions for all ages, plus a range of accommodation options, you’ll have no trouble finding something that everyone in your family will enjoy.
From visiting the famous citadel to riverboat rides, read our guide on the best things to do in Dinant and around, where to stay and practical tips to plan ahead your visit with kids.
In a Nutshell
- Best hotels
- In a Nutshell
- Is Dinant worth visiting?
- Day trip to Dinant
- Weekend in Dinant
- How to get to Dinant
- Where to stay in Dinant with your family
- Best things to do in Dinant
- Notre Dame de Dinant
- Charles de Gaulle Bridge
- How to get to the citadel
- Cable car and boat cruise
- 1914 Museum at citadel
- Café/restaurant with playground at the Citadel
- Maison Leffe
- Fun for kids in Dinant
- Rocher Bayard
- Practical stuff
- Best kids-friendly things to do around Dinant
- Railbikes of Molignée
- Château de Vêves
- Park Furfooz
- Provincial domain of Chevetogne
- Grottes de Han
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Is Dinant worth visiting?
Dinant, a small small Belgian city situated on the banks of the Meuse river, is definitely worth a visit. From the stunning citadel to the beautiful view of the Meuse, there is something for everyone.
The citadel, which is perched on a rocky outcrop and dominates the city skyline, is a must-see. It dates back to the 11th century and the views from the top are breathtaking. A cable car will take you up to the top of the citadel, where you can admire the views of the city and the river. The citadel also has a history museum, which is worth a visit.
The Meuse river, which flows through Dinant, is beautiful and has a number of attractions. There are boat tours, from which you can admire the views of the river, and there are kayaking opportunities for the more adventurous. There is also a beach where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine.
For those interested in history, Dinant is home to the Church of Notre Dame, which dates back to the 13th century. The church has a beautiful stained glass window.
If you are travelling with kids, Dinant is a great place to visit. There is a playground right at the citadel next to a cafe, where kids can play and have fun. There are also a number of activities in the area.
In conclusion, Dinant is definitely worth a visit. With its stunning citadel, beautiful views of the Meuse, and variety of activities, it is the perfect destination for a family holiday.
Day trip to Dinant
Dinant is close enough to Brussels to make a day trip out of it. You only need about 3 hours in Dinant to go up to the citadel by the cable car, visit the museum and take in all the beautiful views. You could squeeze in a quick visit to the castles nearby, such as Château de Vêves (great for families, as the kids go on a treasure hunt dressed up as knights and princesses)
Weekend in Dinant
In addition to exploring Dinant and its citadel, discover some of the castles nearby, such as Château de Vêves (top recommendation for kids, they do a treasure hunt in the castle dressed up as knights and princesses) or Walzin (you cannot enter the castle, so just go there in addition to Château de Vêves or for a hike in the area).
Park Furfooz is also worth exploring with its beautiful views. Additionally, the beautiful city of Namur is not far and there is a fun outdoor playground right next to the citadel of Namur. See under the Nearby section for more ideas to plan your ideal weekend. If you are visiting for the weekend, see further below for tips on kids-friendly hotels.
How to get to Dinant
Dinant is about an hour’s drive from Brussels. It is close enough to visit for the day and come back in the evening or visit for the weekend and explore nearby. You do not need a car to explore Dinant, as it is a relatively small town and you will stay around the historic center. You only need a car to reach Dinant and to visit nearby castles and attractions. See under Parking for tips on where to park
We always use this search engine to find the best car rental deal. They compare all major companies, like Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, and more, and you get the lowest price. The earlier you book a car, the lower the price. You also get free cancelation up to 48 hours before pick up, so you can book in advance to save and then cancel if your plans change
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Dinant is about 1.5 hours away from Brussels by train. The train station is conveniently located 5 minutes walk from Notre Dame de Dinant, where you will take the cable car to climb up the citadel (or climb 408 steps, sounds like an easy choice!)
The downside is that you cannot reach easily all the fun family activities near Dinant that are not easily reachable without a car.
Where to stay in Dinant with your family
There are several kids-friendly hotels in Dinant and around
€€ Hotel La Merveilleuse is part of Maison Leffe (you will find more info on Maison Leffe farther below). If you stay there, you will have breakfast at the monastery. Family rooms are available (one of them has even 3 double beds). The view is amazing (if you don’t get a room with a view over Dinant, you can still enjoy it from the terrace). It is conveniently located about 10 minutes walk from the center
€€ Vallée les Etoiles is highly recommended. Bungalows in nature and an indoor pool and sauna give you the best combination for family holidays. It is 18 minutes away from Dinant by car
€€ L’arche De Noé offers cottages in a wonderful location surrounded by nature, which are ideal for family holidays, as you get the whole place to yourself. It gives kids lots of room to play and enjoy themselves. The farm animals complete the picture of the perfect family getaway. It is about 4 km from the center of Dinant
€€ Auberge de la Lesse has an outdoor pool (best for the summer!) and a garden. It is 15 minutes away from Dinant by car and it’s close to Château de Vêves (the castle where kids go on a treasure hunt dressed up as knights/princesses)
€€ La Ferme de Basseilles is perfect for families – and there is a bubble where you can sleep, if you are looking for something unique without kids. The old barn is renovated into a modern house and it can accommodate 2-6 people. It’s about 25 minutes from Dinant and close to Namur.
Best things to do in Dinant
Dinant is an ideal spot for a family outing. The city offers plenty of activities to keep your family entertained, such as: enjoying the spectacular views from the Citadelle, taking a scenic boat ride on the Meuse River, and exploring the castles nearby and the provincial domain Chevetogne. Adventure seekers can also take their pick from water and adventure parks located in the nearby towns
Notre Dame de Dinant
The Gothic cathedral Notre Dame de Dinant is a 13th-century church, a beautiful example of Gothic architecture just below the citadel
Address: Rue Adolphe Sax 1, 5500 Dinant
Charles de Gaulle Bridge
The bridge right in front of Notre Dame de Dinant is the Charles de Gaulle Bridge. It is named after Charles de Gaulle’s regiment that on August 15, 1914, marched across the bridge to attack the citadel of Dinant, which had been occupied by the Germans. During this battle, de Gaulle was injured.
On the bridge you will see several giant saxophones – an hommage to Adolphe Sax, the inventor of saxophone. Dinant was his hometown and there is a small museum near Notre Dame de Dinant on his work, called Maison Adolphe Sax
At the other end of the bridge, you will also see the statue of General De Gaulle. The exact spot is here.
This is also the perfect spot to take a photo of the iconic view of Dinant with Notre Dame de Dinant
The citadel offers a magnificent view of the city of Dinant and the river Meuse; you can reach it by cable car or by climbing 408 steps (!), visit the museums there and enjoy a drink at the terrasse with a panoramic view (and a playground next to it). There is also a boat tour on the Meuse if you want to see Dinant from the water!
The citadel is open between 10.00 and 16.30 to 18.00 depending on the season. You can check here for the exact opening hours
The view from the citadel is breathtaking!
How to get to the citadel
There are three ways to get to the citadel: climb up the stairs, take a cable car, and by car. The most fun is the cable car.
If you want to take the cable car or climb up the 408 steps to the citadel, the starting point is here (next to Notre Dame de Dinant). No need to reserve in advance, you buy tickets on-site. This is the starting point of the staircase. If 408 steps don’t sound very appealing to you, you’re not alone 🙂
You can also just drive up to the citadel. There is free parking at the citadel (150 places).
Address: Chemin de la Citadelle 15, 5500 Dinant
Cable car and boat cruise
You can get combined tickets for the citadel and the cable car or a ticket for the citadel, the cable car and a boat tour. You can find more info here.
1914 Museum at citadel
The 1914 museum at the citadel is about the events that took place in August 1914 in Dinant. Some parts are new and interactive, and other parts of the museum are older. You can find here the booklet for kids for the Dinant citadel and its history (in French) here
Café/restaurant with playground at the Citadel
There is a frituur (the Belgian version of fast food with French fries, burgers, and more) with a terrasse with a panoramic view of the citadel – and a playground right next to it! Burgers, fries, ice cream, and drinks, fast-food style.
Don’t miss the little airplane near the cafe, kids love it!
Regarding the boat tour, here is the site that is proposed by the official website of Dinant with many different options and themes
Maison Leffe is where the beer Leffe started in 1240. Back then, it was safer to drink beer than water, as boiling kills bacteria, and beer was the perfect solution. You can get an interactive tour with a tasting and a gift (a Leffe glass and two cans of beer) for about EUR 10. Maison Leffe is about 10 minute’s walk from the center of Dinant. You can reserve your visit here or you can buy tickets at the entrance depending on the availability
You can also stay at Hotel La Merveilleuse, which is part of Maison Leffe. If you stay there, you will have breakfast at the monastery. There are family rooms (one even with 3 double beds). The view over Dinant is amazing. It is conveniently located about 10 minutes walk from the center. See availability and prices here
Fun for kids in Dinant
Kayak and adventures
You can rent a boat or go on a cruise with kids below 4 years old. For older kids, there is kayaking at river Lesse and some adventurous trails. All these are available at Dinant Evasion
Are you looking for more places to enjoy water? There are lots of recommendations on where to swim, kayak and more in our guide Where to enjoy the water in Belgium
Rocher Bayard is a spectacular ridge, that was constructed by King Louis XIV’s army in the 1600s. Later it was expanded to accommodate cars and other vehicles in the town. You will pass through it about 2km before reaching Dinant
*Dinant and the citadel are stroller-friendly, wheelchair friendly (as long as you don’t opt for the 408 steps option!)
*Dogs are allowed at the citadel
*Toilets are available at the 1914 museum and next to the playground
*Parking is available at the citadel and a few spots near Notre Dame de Dinant, see more details below under parking
Free parking at the citadel (150 places)
Parking haut du téléphérique
Chemin de la Citadelle 15, 5500 Dinant
There is free parking here (140 places, 10 minutes walk from the cable car entrance next to Notre Dame de Dinant)
Place d’Armes, 5500 Dinant
Also parking here (EUR 2 per hour, 4 minutes walk to Notre Dame de Dinant)
Parking Public Dinant Centre
Rue Grande, 5500 Dinant
Best kids-friendly things to do around Dinant
There are several fun activities for families around Dinant. Here is a selection of the ones we have tried and recommend.
Railbikes of Molignée
The railbikes of Molignée are one of the best activities in the area. Kids love it so much! A railbike is a vehicle that you can pedal on old railway tracks. You can use them to reach Abbey Maredsous and have lunch at the kids-friendly restaurant there. This is about 10 minutes by car from Dinant
Read more: Railbikes of Molignée
Château de Vêves
Château de Vêves is one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Belgium. But this is not why it’s on this list. The reason why Château de Vêves is a must visit with kids is their treasure hunt around the castle while the kids are dressed up as knights or princesses! This is about 15 minutes away from Dinant by car
Read more: Château de Vêves
Park Furfooz offers a short hike in beautiful nature with an iconic view from a cave and Roman remains. This is between Château de Vêves and Walzin, so easy to combine with both. It’s 15 minutes by car from Dinant
Read more: Park Furfooz
Walzin is one of the most stunning castles in Belgium. It is not accessible to the public, so you can only walk around it and admire it from afar. We hiked around it and found an amazing viewing point!
Read more: Walzin Castle
Provincial domain of Chevetogne
Chevetogne is one of the best provincial domains for all ages. There are lots of playgrounds for all tastes and an outdoor swimming pool that is perfect for the summer, a farm for kids, forests and lakes…
Read more: Chevetogne
Grottes de Han
Grottes de Han is the perfect way to spend the day. A wildlife park with play structures along the route, a little train that takes you around the domain, a cave.. It is simply amazing!
Read more: Grottes de Han
Namur features a gorgeous citadel that you can reach by cable car, several museums there and a little train that takes you around. What makes Namur perfect for a family visit is the private outdoor playground next to the citadel!
Read more: Namur
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Jo Koni (Georgia Konidari) is a writer and the creator of World Wild Schooling, a digital platform dedicated to travel. She is on a mission to explore the globe and share her experiences with fellow travelers. You can follow Jo on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.