Dinant, Belgium - a Belgian Fairytale Town

Coming “home”? {can we call Brussels my home base for this trip?!} the previous night I was on such a high from a fantastic 3 days in Paris and I was pumped for whatever my last day had in store! Since the get-go I had been planning on doing Luxembourg on my last day so I’m typically Tracy fashion I got in from Paris, grabbed some fresh Belgian fries and people watched in downtown Brussels until late into the night before heading back to my hostel to plan for the previous day (have I mentioned that I’m a procrastinator?!) I had heard mention from other travelers that Luxembourg was a hefty day trip but I still thought it was doable. I started checking online and realized that not only was it more than $60 round trip to go to Luxembourg from Brussels, but it was also just over 4 hours each way; so 8 hours total in a train on my last day in Europe...that didn’t sound great. But to be honest I felt like I had covered much of Brussels already. So, back to the drawing board. I contacted my best friend Google and started trying to piece together my final day in Belgium. 

And then I saw it, the picture that caught my attention looked like a real like fairy tale picture. I couldn’t really find much other information on the small town though other than seeing that it was tiny and really had no public transportation other than a train that could dump you at the north end of town that I could snag for only a couple of bucks each way. SOLD...I was going to Dinant in the morning!

I went to the train station not too far from my hostel and asked the man behind the counter for a round trip ticket to Dinant for the day and he asked me twice if Dinant was the correct town and then if I knew someone there (I was beginning to doubt my decision at this point!) I hopped on the train & a quick nap later, and I was in Dinant....umm ish. I started walking, and then I found the actual town. O.M.G. it was BEAUTIFUL!

First stop for me was checking out the inside of the beautiful, town center; Notre Dame de Dinant, and it most definitely didn't disappoint! And lordy, the stained glass in this church is one of the largest and most impressive in Europe!

The town was so pictuesque that I spent the next hour or more just walking up and down both sides of the river than ran through the town. It's a small enough town that I was easily able to walk from one extreme of the town to the other side. 
 Flags from European nations flanked both sides of the main bridge in town providing not only a colorful focal point, but also a great landmark in town as well as a beautiful backdrop for photographs!

Next on my list came to tackling the Citadel that was situated at the top of the large "hill" directly behind the massive church. If you look closely in many of the pictures you'll see it taking up most of the hilltop. Once I purchased my entrance fee and assured them that I'd take the stairs instead of the lift {totally worth it for the views && bragging rights alone ;)  } I began my climb of all 400+ steps to the top of the hill where the 100 year old Citadel stands. 

 Though the Citadel itself wasn't anything overly impressive, the views from the top and the walk up were beyond breathtaking {also...they literally took your breath away after all the climbing 🤣}

The remainder of my afternoon was spent walking out of town to an underground cave where I was able to tour the cave and the rock formations & crystals inside, checking out an old brewery in town, as well as the old university on the other side of the river.

Hands down though, at the end of the day as I was taking the train back to Belgium with a happy belly and a happy heart, I couldn't have been more pleased with my impromptu trip. Dinant, you absolutely blew me away!

I got back to Brussels late in the evening, used the last few euros I had for one more go-round on the fries & beer and headed back to the hostel to pack. My 10 day Belgian adventure was coming to a close, and I had a classroom full of littles waiting for me back in the States.

Until next time Belgium!