The Dinant Citadel in Wallonia, Belgium

By - November 10, 2011 (Updated: December 1, 2014)

The Citadel of Dinant perched above the city

The Citadel of Dinant perched above the city

When you first set foot in the Walloon city of Dinant, you can’t miss it. Looming over the buildings below, jutting straight out of the hillside, is the Dinant Citadel.

Although we had been to Dinant on many occasions, Andrew and I had never actually visited the famous citadel. This past weekend we decided it was high time we had a look.

There are two ways to get to the Citadel from the centre of Dinant. After purchasing your ticket, you can start to climb the 408 stairs. You may make it to the top in a few hours.

Only 408 stairs to go...

Only 408 stairs to go…

Andrew and I preferred to take the gondola that was conveniently included in our admission price. I’m not a huge fan of gondolas, and spend most of the ride trying not to imagine cables snapping and fiery crashes, but this one was thankfully quick and easy.

Dinant, Belgium

Up, up and away… The view from the gondola in Dinant

Once at the top, you are faced with, in my mind, the best part of the whole experience – the view. Even though it was a foggy November morning, when we visited, we could still see all of Dinant, as well as quite far up the Meuse River in both directions. On a clear day I’m sure the view would be even more spectacular and well worth the price of admission to the citadel.

Dinant, Belgium

A beautiful view of the Meuse River, running through Dinant, Belgium

Once we had sufficiently admired the view, we headed inside the citadel. We were greeted by an elderly gentleman and offered a pamphlet, in English, tracing the route and explaining the history of the Citadel. He lead us to the beginning of the self-guided tour and we set off to follow the numbered markers.

The citadel itself is impressive. It was built in the 11th century to control the Meuse valley. It was destroyed in 1466 by Charles the Bold but rebuilt by French engineer Vauban during Dinant’s occupation by Louise XIV’s troops, from 1675-1698. The Citadel was again destroyed and rebuilt in the early 1800s, by the Dutch.

During Belgium’s struggle for independence, the Citadel was occupied by Belgian partisans. It was finally demilitarised in 1878, but was still the scene of violent conflicts during both World Wars.

Inside the Citadel of Dinant

Inside the Citadel of Dinant

Unfortunately the citadel’s exhibits are quite dated and in need of a facelift. The dusty, bedraggled mannequins look like they have been on site since the time of the first Citadel.

Nonetheless, it is worth a quick stroll through the rooms while trying to image what life would have been like here. A tour of the entire citadel takes under an hour.

View from the Dinant Citadel

At least the views are worth the trip!

The is a small cafe and souvenir shop on site. Outside the citadel, on the other side of the lift, is a large play area for the children and a cafe with indoor and terrace seating.

The Dinant Citadel
Place Reine Astrid, 3-5
5500 Dinant

For more great castle articles, be sure to visit our Castles in Belgium page where you’ll find links to all of the castles in our little country.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison Cornford-Matheson
- 6 hours ago


  1. Comment by Sarah Bittorf

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Sarah Bittorf November 14, 2011 at 09:43

    I just got your escapes email this morning and it’s SO fitting because I just posted about our day trip to Dinant about 20 minutes ago! It’s so beautiful…we loved the little town!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison November 14, 2011 at 10:24

      That’s great Sarah! It’s a great little spot to visit 🙂

  2. Comment by Ash

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Ash January 10, 2012 at 16:37

    We went to Dinant a while ago but unfortunately had been to Namen just before! We were also very late in the afternoon and couldn’t participate in any of the guided tours, so that’s a shout-out to others who may be planning a visit. I far preferred Namen, but perhaps that’s because we had a great tour guide and it was sunny when we were there, and rather rainy at Dinant. Who know! I did enjoy the view 🙂

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison January 10, 2012 at 16:51

      We love Namur too and will often take visitors on a day trip to both if they only have a day to cover the ‘highlights’. I agree, things like weather, guides and good food can all make such a huge impact on hope much you enjoy a place. I’m glad you had a good adventure into Belgium!

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