Two weeks ago, I went on a little getaway with my boyfriend: we very spontaneously decided to go to Belgium for the weekend! I have visited the country multiple times before, but I had never been to the Ardennes area. I was very excited to get out of the country and explore other places again, because it has been quite a while since we were all able to do that. Therefore I enjoyed this 2-day trip even more! To make the most out of our weekend, we decided to book a hotel and stay one night to fully be able to explore and absorb all the region had to offer.
My boyfriend and I both love to take photos, and that’s exactly why I decided to make this a two part blogpost series; I simply have too much footage to share with you! In this post I will share our experiences through a photo diary of our first day in the Ardennes and the village Dinant (where we stayed for the night). I hope you enjoy!
Stop 1: Chateau Walzin
When I was researching activities to do and sights to see in the area of the Ardennes close to Namur and Dinant, I stumbled upon so many magical-looking chateaus. I couldn’t wait to see the medieval castles for myself, so we immediately drove to Chateau Walzin from our homes in the Netherlands. We parked our car and hiked for a while until we arrived at this beautiful viewpoint. The chateau was built on the edge of a cliff; not only resulting in a beautiful sight, but also functioning as a natural barrier to ensure the safety of the inhabitants. Unfortunately we weren’t able to go inside the place, but the view from outside was already worth the trip!
Stop 2: Our Hotel and The Leffe Museum
After the long drive, we were more than ready to drop off our bags at the hotel and freshen up a bit. When we arrived there, we realized that there was also a museum in the hotel building! As you may know, Belgium is quite famous for its beers and Leffe is one of the many beers that the Belgians brew. The beer brand got its name from the district in Dinant, Leffe. That is why the town decided to open a museum dedicated to this lovely drink. I had heard about it, but it coincidentally happened to be part of our hotel. We decided not go inside the museum for the tour (since there were so many other things we wanted to do), however we definitely made sure to try some of the famous beer (as you’ll read later)!
Stop 3: The Heart of Dinant
After we rested for a while, we walked down the hill and right into the city centre of Dinant, which appears to be one of the most picturesque places in the Ardennes. You can stop by at a cute chocolaterie, go inside the cathedral of Dinant, go up the cliff to visit the well-known citadel and drink a beer at one of the many cafes! We decided to first stroll along the river and look at the reflection of all of the colorful houses in the greenish water. We then went into the cathedral to admire the breathtaking stained glass windows. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to go up the cliff by cable car to visit the citadel, but I can imagine that offers some amazing views as well! Dinant is not a very large city, so you can easily explore all of its cute streets and buildings in a few hours, which is exactly what we did. Just walking around and taking in the beautiful scenery is the best tourist attraction in this town, if you ask me ;).
Stop 4: Leffe and Dinner
We got back to our hotel to change outfits and consume our welcome drink (yay!). Of course, we had to take a Leffe each. We got the Leffe Ruby and Leffe Blond, both were really nice, but the Leffe Ruby was spectacular. The beer was so fruity and sweet; the best one I have tried so far!
When we were walking through town earlier, we passed by a very nice looking Greek restaurant called ‘Les cinq fountains’, we kept it in mind and eventually chose to have dinner there. My boyfriend and I both eat vegetarian and even though there was no vegetarian main course on the menu, the lovely staff was more than happy to make us a totally custom vegetarian meal. It was extremely delicious, we almost wanted to eat there again the next day :)….
Stop 5: One Last Drink and Admiring The Lights
Once we finished our amazing dinner, we found a very cozy bar named ‘La Capsule’. It is located right along the riverside and is the perfect place to end your day. We tried another beer and enjoyed the atmosphere of the bar (they have amazing music as well). Finally, we walked back to our hotel and stopped every now and then to admire the city at night, with all its lights and shimming reflections. It was a wonderful first day.
I hope you liked reading this blog about my first day of exploring the Belgian Ardennes and the city of Dinant. Soon, I will upload the second part of this travel diary; I hope to see you there!