Slung along the River Meuse beneath craggy green cliffs, DINANT, 30km from Namur, has a picture-postcard setting, its distinctive, onion-domed church of Notre-Dame lording it over the comings and goings of the barges and cruise boats. The Romans were the first to put the place on the map, occupying the town and naming it after Diana, the goddess of the hunt, but the town’s heyday came much later, in the fourteenth century, when it boomed from the profits of the metalworking industry, turning copper, brass and bronze into ornate jewellery known as dinanderie. Dinant’s prosperity turned rival cities, especially Namur, green with envy, and they watched with some satisfaction as local counts slugged it out for possession of the town. They may have been even happier when, in 1466, Charles the Bold decided to settle his Dinant account by simply razing the place to the ground. One result of all this medieval blood and thunder was the construction of an imposing citadel on the cliff immediately above the town, and, although Dinant was sacked on several subsequent occasions and badly damaged in both World Wars, the fortress has survived to become the town’s principal attraction.

Nowadays, Dinant makes a healthy living as a base for the tourist industry on the rivers Meuse and Lesse, its cruise boats, canoes and kayaks providing watery fun and games for thousands of visitors – though frankly the scenery is not nearly as wild as you’ll find deeper in the Ardennes, whilst the town itself is quickly exhausted.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Belgium features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 fascinating second cities

20 fascinating second cities

Barcelona, Spain It's usually the capital cities that get all the attention, but what about a country's second city? These are twenty of our favourite second c…

02 Oct 2014 • Rebecca Hallett camera_alt Gallery
Map: beer from around the world

Map: beer from around the world

Beer-lovers rejoice: the British Government recently announced that a pint of beer in the UK will be a whole one penny cheaper than before. Not exactly saving a…

31 Mar 2014 • Charles Parkes insert_drive_file Article
10 of the world's more unusual restaurants

10 of the world's more unusual restaurants

1. s’ Baggers, Nuremburg, Germany Making slow service and difficult waiters a thing of the past, this fully-automated restaurant in Nuremberg boasts hassle-f…

17 Feb 2014 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month