Published: 14:00, 06 September 2017 |
Just a three-hour drive from Calais is the beautiful Belgian town of Dinant, one of northern Europe's best-kept secrets.
On the banks of the winding River Meuse, the charming town is the ideal destination for Brits on a long weekend.
Dinant certainly has a colourful past. Over the years it's been fought over by the Romans, Franks, French, Dutch and Germans and the town was even briefly captured by the Austrians at the end of the 18th century.
However, it's the picturesque setting and laid back feel that draws today's more well behaved visitors - plus there's plenty to see and do
Perched on an outcrop above the town is the centuries-old fortified citadel. It's now a museum with sweeping views, although you do have to climb the 420 steps carved in the rock to reach it.
If that sounds a bit too much, follow the lead of the locals and use the cable car instead. It costs around 11 euros and offers some breath-taking scenery on the way up.
Nearby is another tourist draw, the family home of saxophone inventor Adolphe Sax. Now the Maison de Monsieur Sax, the museum is packed with interactive exhibits on the instrument’s development.
Beer lovers know Dinant as the home to one of Belgium's most famous beers, Leffe. The elegant, smooth, blonde beer was first brewed by monks in the town back in 1240, although now of course it's produced industrially to meet international demand.
The abbey of Leffe was founded in 1152 but is now a museum that tracing the history of the monks - and the beer. It can be visited on Tuesdays through to Sundays until the end of September.
Over the winter period, it's open just on Saturdays and Sundays. Tours cost 7 euros and include beer tasting and a gift.
Much of the pleasure of exploring Dinant comes from simply wandering on foot, and most visitors will be drawn to the riverbank.
Cruise boats and kayaks provide plenty of watery fun and games, or alternately find a watering hole of you own, pull up a seat and watch the world go by.
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